I just read something that basically stated that fandom is a place where lonely, desperate losers go to find a life.
I know we’ve all heard this from people before. It’s really irritating, and it’s just not true.
It’s especially irritating when this comment comes from someone inside fandom.
Sure there are people who get too involved in their particular fandom and lose their real life perspective. But that’s not the fault of fandom. There’s something wrong with that particular person or that particular situation. This can apply to any shared interest group, whether it’s a reading club or a religion.
Fandom can be pretty much anything. A supplement to a successful life of any kind, a fun hobby. Whatever you want it to be.
There are some destructive fan groups. People can get lost in them. But this obviously doesn’t happen to the vast majority of fans, otherwise fandom couldn’t sustain itself. Lots of someones out there are successful enough in every day life to buy books, and pay for movie tickets, and get t-shirts, and pick out toys for their kids. People who can’t perform as productive, functioning adults aren’t going to be able to do that for very long.
As for pros, I’ve read bloggers complain that creators are too involved in fandom and don’t have real lives, either. They assume that we don’t have any existence past our computers or drawing boards.
It’s utterly bizarre. Do these people know us? Do they have any idea what our lives are like outside of the comic book they just read?
I’ve had a chance to get to know many fans, incredible people with interesting jobs, and fascinating backgrounds, who do important work. Cancer researchers, and scientists from NASA. A man who works at the US Patent office, an assistant for a Senator, the vice president of a soft drink corporation. I’ve met many fans who come from hard scrabble childhoods, whose embrace of heroic ideals helped them develop a sense of hope and a desire to excell.
Comic book creators have very interesting pasts: a former policeman, soldiers, a few dudes whose dads were in the mob. I don’t think I’ve ever met a successful cartoonist who was a boring person or came from a boring background.
I dunno, maybe I just don’t think most people are boring.
We’ve all had our problems with people inside fandom. I know I have. A pro is going to be the focus of more attention then the average fan, and is more likely to get unpleasant attention. So this can give you a skewed view. If you let it, that is.
You frame the world with your eyes. If you’re in fandom and you think fandom is full of boring losers, maybe you should just stop looking in the mirror and get to know some other people.