The relationship between fans and the object of the affection hasn’t always been the easiest. Just ask Mark Waid.

Fan created content has always been a touchy topic, and perceptions run the gamut of responses, hostile to accepting, which I informally call the Lucas-Rowling scale (Lucas generally responding poorly, and Rowling historically giving her blessing to fanfiction. Except the weird stuff).

Lucas is a good example of misunderstanding the fans. His attitude and responses in regards to releasing recuts of the original Star Wars trilogy is a good example.

“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie.”

And this is just a t-shirt, George.

Uh, George, Mr. Lucas, if I may venture an opinion? You’re wrong. Way off the mark, actually. Star Wars is some people’s entire raison d’etre. I don’t know if you noticed, but people are actually putting Jedi down on the census.

But I can see his hesitance to accept fan creations. Despite the fact that much of fan fiction/creation is to reaffirm an affection for a fan object, it’s hard for people-creators-to shake ideas of traditional producer-consumer relationships. To some, allowing fans to create or recreate using canon material is a little too close to giving up control. And fandoms mean beacoup dollars to their owners, which is why corporations throw cease and desists at tumblr pages.

Fan activity, or infringment. A fun game for all!

(This story ends on a happy note). However, equating fan labor with get-rich-quick schemes is short-sighted. The wikipeda entry for fan labor notes that most fans hesitate charging a fee for their creations, in fear of upsetting fan to fan interaction.

Maybe fandom, fan creations, aren’t for the creators at all. Online author Renay, in an article called “Community, You Got Your Industry in My Fanwork,” says that one of the golden rules of fanfiction in the 90s was “don’t talk about fanwork with creators.” Fan creations in fan spaces is for fans, and an area in which the creators are almost encouraged to avoid engaging in.

Fan activity gets a bad rap. But even the weird stuff; the slash fiction and multi-page argument threads about costume design, is the product of people heavily invested in a fan object.

courtesy comics alliance

British couple has super-hero themed wedding

Chances are none of these companies know about this British couple. They are nothing to DC, Marvel, Pixar, or Disney. But to Sharon and Neil Vaughn, these characters are a huge part of their lives. And they are celebrating that. And that’s the core of what fandom/ fan activity is: the celebration of the fan object by fans. Fan activity’s change in who produces content is not an assertion of dominance. It is a display of affection.

Han shot first t-shirt from

Written with StackEdit.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. #1: Way to go, Morrissey! Though I think he was delighted just because it pissed Johnny Marr off.

    #2: I think most industrial creators have issues with fan-made creations because they purely look upon their creations as products. The ones that “get it,” and I’m looking at you, Joss Whedon, know that their work creates an emotional response.

  2. This is a really fun piece about fan activity and fan objects. You raise some excellent points– While I completely agree that fans should have the flexibility to recreate the fandom of their desire, there is that stigma attached to fan creation. Some fans are just so used to seeing their text in a certain way, they will reject anything that doesn’t have the original author/director/writer attached to it. I like to compare fan creations that receive hostile reactions to television reboots, 15, 20 years after the original signed off the air, think of how many people rejected the 2011 Charlie’s Angels reboot, despite the pretty faces and gorgeous location shots–ok, it didn’t help it was a pretty bad show, but you catch me drift. Many ways, fan fic gets the same bad rep, but for the fans sake, they deserve better and perhaps some respect


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About tomwink

Graduate student at Rowan University currently researching public spaces and their impact


copyright, fan activity, fandom, movies, Uncategorized


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