I was recently thinking about how and why people join fandoms. There is the obvious: they end up falling in love with a created world or characters. Yet, how does one go from being a passive fan to a true fandom member? Then, I began to wonder about the fandoms that get people started with fandoms.
So, I went back through my own memories to try to figure out which was my first fandom. Arguably, it was The X-Files (making me an X-Phile—the preferred name for the fandom’s members). I not only loved the show, but also read books about it and based on it (of which, there are surprisingly many). Why The X-Files? Well, not only was it well-written and acted with genuine chemistry between the cast (though, let me state here that I am firmly NOT a shipper of Mulder and Scully), but it also combined two of my favorite things: the procedural elements of detective shows with elements of the paranormal (which, it should be stated, differs from the supernatural, in that paranormal refers to unexplainable events believed to have roots in, as yet, undiscovered science). My other favorite show at the time was Homicide: Life on the Street. So, I firmly could consider myself as much part of a detective fandom as I am of any other. How did my enjoyment and “fanship” of these two shows differ? I remain a supreme fan of Homicide (which I will happily argue is one of the greatest television shows of all time) and less of a fan of The X-Files. While, I read books about The X-Files at the time and even wrote my first attempt at a spec screenplay as an episode of the X-Files when I was young, I would argue that Homicide has influenced my writing far more (through the amazing dialogue and construction of character arcs and scenes). So, which of these is the true “first fandom”?
In an informal survey of friends, most people stated their early fandom as being Harry Potter. Though, I wondered if that was a true first fandom or the first fandom that they consciously felt part of. Some friends stated an early love of Power Rangers but didn’t consider it a fandom because they were so young when viewing it. Is there an age requirement for fandoms? The recent fan-made update on Power Rangers (starring the brilliant Katee Sackhoff) shows an argument for their certainly being a fandom based around the show.
So, while I’m not sure that I’ve answered my original question, I may have raised some interesting questions for further exploration. I will leave this month with another question: what was your first fandom? And how has it shaped your ideas about fandoms? Let us know @lunaquarterly or let me know @pintsncupcakes. Until next time, keep fanning on!