Good morning, Flames.
I took the week off from gathering material for the humor series in order to finish my June short story; we will get back to the funny stuff next week. Since I will be attending my first ever Comic Book Convention this weekend, I hoped you would indulge me in a little fandom talk.
Did you know that the very first Comic Book Convention happened in March of 1970? It took place in San Diego and had only 100 attendees. That one-day minicon earned enough interest and revenue that they held a second convention in August of 1970. The second covered three days, saw 300 attendees and had special guests of Ray Bradbury [Sci-Fi author], A. E. van Vogt [Sci-Fi author], and Jack Kirby [comic book artist-Hulk, Captain America, Thor]. After nine years of steadily increasing interest, the conventioners outgrew their hotel basement and moved to a convention and arts center. The modern crowd has exceeded the limits of their latest convention center pressing the convention to spill over to the neighboring hotels and parks as satellite locations for certain events.
Comic-con International: San Diego grew from a handful of young men who loved the escapist worlds they found between vibrantly painted covers and their desire to share that enthusiasm with like-minded people. Now the annual conventions pack out, seeing as many as 130,000 fans in attendance who are drawn to the celebration from around the globe.
In order to spread the excitement around the country, smaller Cons have popped up near major cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. I’ll be attending the Florida Super-con, but Florida seems to have a Con going off somewhere every few months. I’m excited to be going.
I am looking forward to seeing what the Cosplayers have put together. I want to check out a movie at the film festival. It would be cool to see Karen Gillan or Chekov & Uhura in person. There are twice daily writer’s talks by a published author; that’s definitely on my list. I just hope the sheer number of people won’t make it impossible to take part in my pockets of interest. I’m not one for waiting in line.
All of this has me thinking about fandom and how intensely people become involved. As a reader, I have a few authors or storylines that have really resonated with me over the years. Enough that I pursue owning all of the books, seeing all of the movies or related media, indulge in the purchase of trinkets and tchotchkes, read articles about the creators and other participants, engage in discussions with other fans about that particular universe, and each have provided the name for various pets over the years. (A marked improvement over naming my first dog Frosty Milkshake.)
A few of my favorite fandoms:
Jim Butcher’s world with Harry Dresden at the center.
J.K.R.’s wizarding world (perhaps you’ve heard of it).
Doctor Who – I will confess that I watched it as a child when I was permitted, but I did not fall in love with it until I was an adult. Back then I was all about the Tomorrow People.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, though that’s not represented in a fandom per se. It’s more of a quotable way of life.
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
Then there are the nostalgic things that make me squee — like The Dark Crystal, Legend, and The Labyrinth.
As a writer, I imagine that it must be incredibly rewarding to know that you have created something that inspires so much enthusiasm in people. I don’t necessarily want to be famous as a writer – that’s not what motivates me as a person – but I would love to arouse the imagination of readers to the extent that they bring my fictional world into their physical one and share in it with other people.
Can you imagine what Tolkien would feel if he saw how his four books of Middle Earth had been embraced and reinforced over the decades? I don’t mean the movies alone — in the gaming world Middle Earth is the first source for character archetypes, monsters, and settings. Thanks to Tolkien our most advanced technology is used to allow people to exist in a prehistoric world of magic and battle foes with ancient weapons.
Today, I invite you to talk nerdy to me about your fandoms. Which world of fiction speaks to you? For what do you squeal and cheer and argue to defend?
Lost & Found is almost over. Stay vigilant and keep writing.
We are flamestorming tonight. Be sure to send your request for an invite via email to firstname.lastname@example.org from your gmail account and look for our Google Hangouts invitation before 7:30. It is a text chat, so don’t worry about your hair and feel free to wear your pjs.