Fannish form and content

TWC Editor

[0.1] Abstract—This issue showcases a variety of investigations into a myriad of platforms, featuring several essays that switch the focus from content to form and illustrate the importance of a range of different fan engagements.

[0.2] Keywords—Analysis; Fan fiction

TWC Editor. 2014. "Fannish Form and Content" [editorial]. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 17. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2014.0646.

1. Introduction

[1.1] If there are any trends in current fan studies, it clearly has to be the shift toward industry focus and the myriad ways to monetize fan labor. Both industry and academic events concentrate on the intersections and collaborations, sometimes at the expense of independent, intrafannish engagements. Although TWC remains committed to include all aspects of the fannish mediascape, our affiliation with the nonprofit OTW and our strong belief in Open Access texts testify to our dedication to let fans speak and be heard. In fact, it is the fannish infrastructures that often have modeled later for profit models. Fanfiction.net, eFiction, Automated Archive, and the Archive of Our Own flourished long before Wattpad became popular, and more and more media departments turn toward fans themselves to successfully create transmedia properties and run outlets such as Tumblr and Twitter feeds. Indeed, it is the minutiae of form and organization, of style and infrastructure, that deserve more academic attention.

[1.2] This general issue of TWC, No. 17, showcases a variety of investigations into a myriad of platforms. Even the essays most dedicated to studying and analyzing the structural components of fan interfaces nevertheless illustrate how form and function always intersect and interact, how formal features mirror and construe content and ideas. This issue features several essays that switch the focus from content to form and illustrate the importance of a range of different fan engagements. Whether fan works, such as fan fiction and fan films, or fannish infrastructure, such as fan subs or fan archives, fans contribute to all aspects of creating, shaping, organizing, and enjoying fannish engagements.

2. Theory and Praxis

[2.1] Several essays look at the way fan fiction engages with its source texts as well as its surrounding fannish cultures. Ann McClellan's "Redefining Genderswap Fan Fiction: A Sherlock Case Study" uses a transgender theory framework to look at genderswap fiction and the way it addresses issues of gender and identity. Vera Cuntz-Leng's "Twinship, Incest, and Twincest in the Harry Potter Universe" also looks at an individual fandom and its fan creations, but her essay does so in order to investigate how the doubling motif gets repeated throughout Rowling's books and the fan fiction. Finally, John Wei looks at Chinese Iron Man fan fiction in "Iron Man in Chinese Boys' Love Fandom: A Story Untold." His study traces the influences of Chinese BL culture and Western Iron Man movie fandom within this transcultural fandom.

[2.2] In "How To Do Things with Fan Subs: Media Engagement as Subcultural Capital in Anime Fan Subbing," Douglas Schules reads the practice of fan subbing as part of a complex system of subcultural capital as the subbers negotiate knowledge and meanings in their textual interpretations. Shannon Fay Johnson looks at fannish infrastructures in "Fan Fiction Metadata Creation and Utilization within Fan Fiction Archives: Three Primary Models." By looking at searchability and ease of access, she discusses different taxonomic approaches for fiction archives and studies their respective traits. Both essays address the structural and pragmatic aspects of fannish infrastructure that are nevertheless shaped by and affect fannish content and its reception in important ways.

[2.3] As fan studies has become more established as a field and no longer needs to justify its existence, scholars can focus on particular texts in depth. Joshua Wille's "Fan Edits and the Legacy of The Phantom Edit" looks at fan remixes of one particular film—and more specifically at one influential fan edit—to illustrate the artistic and creative importance of digital remixing. Meanwhile, as fan culture mainstreams, the clear boundaries between fan and industry discourses are disappearing. In "Bull in a China Shop: Alternate Reality Games and Transgressive Fan Play in Social Media Franchises," Burcu S. Bakioglu analyzes how the supposedly amateur video blogs of Lonelygirl15 constructed a narrative to invite maximum fan engagement. At the same time, Bakioglu suggests that even within the careful boundaries of the alternate reality games, fans succeed in creating their own meaningful spaces.

3. Symposium

[3.1] TWC's Symposium section allows media and fan scholars, academics in other fields, and nonacademic scholar-fans to explore ideas and share their passions. From religion to politics, Austen to Disney, preservation and communication, these essays demonstrate a wealth of varied voices and expertise. Rachel Barenblat draws from her rabbinical experience in a discussion of "Fan Fiction and Midrash: Making Meaning." Veerle Van Steenhuyse uses a narratological approach to consider Jane Austen fan fiction in "Wordplay, Mindplay: Fan Fiction and Postclassical Narratology." Woody Evans offers a provocative thesis in "Why They Won't Save Us: Political Dispositions in the Conflicts of Superheroes" when he suggests that superheroes often represent fundamentally conservative values.

[3.2] Again exhibiting the dual focus on content and form of this issue, the remaining three Symposium essays illustrate the important roles of fan activities, technologies, and interfaces. Rebecca Fraimow's "Preserving Digital Remix Video" discusses the ephemerality of online archives, especially for audiovisual materials, and how this affects remix videos in particular. Maria Patrice Amon analyzes the complicated relationship of Disney cosplayers within Disney fandom and the cosplay community in "Performances of Innocence and Deviance in Disney Cosplaying." The Symposium section starts with the book, but it ends with online interaction in Jenna Kathryn Ballinger's "Fandom and the Fourth Wall." The essay looks at the way changes in culture and technology have allowed closer interaction between fans and producers, and how these changes have affected both sides.

4. Interviews and Reviews

[4.1] Just like Ballinger's essay, the two interviews illustrate the current dissolution of producer/audience boundaries in very different ways. In their conversation with Sleepy Hollow actor Orlando Jones, Lucy Bennett and Bertha Chin discuss his past year of "Exploring Fandom, Social Media, and Producer/Fan Interactions." Their conversation focuses on one individual's experiences. In contrast, Louisa Stein hosts a roundtable of various media scholars reviewing Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green. Parts of this roundtable were originally published in Cinema Journal; this constitutes the extended, unabridged version.

[4.2] The three book reviews demonstrate the increased importance of fan studies. Anne Gilbert reviews Fanged Fan Fiction: Variations on Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, by Maria Lindgren Leavenworth and Malin Isaksson; Nicolle Lamerichs discusses Manga's Cultural Crossroads, edited by Jaqueline Berndt and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer; and Lucy Bennett assesses Popular Music Fandom: Identities, Roles, and Practices, edited by Mark Duffett. All three books provide important contributions to their respective fields and to fan studies in general.

5. Coming up

[5.1] The next two issues of TWC, Nos. 18 and 19, will appear in the first half of 2015 as guest-edited special issues: Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett coedit a special issue on performance and performativity, and Anne Kustritz's special issue focuses on European fandom.

[5.2] TWC No. 20 will be an open, unthemed issue, and we welcome general submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. We encourage all potential authors to read the submission guidelines (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions). The close date for receipt of copy for No. 20 is March 15, 2015.

6. Acknowledgments

[6.1] It is not possible to properly acknowledge the depth of appreciation we feel toward everyone who has helped make this issue of TWC possible. They have suffered hard deadlines, late nights, and short due dates. As always, we thank the authors in this issue, whose original work makes TWC possible; the peer reviewers, who freely provide their time and expertise; the editorial team members, whose engagement with and solicitation of material is so valuable; and the production team members, who transform rough manuscripts into publishable documents.

[6.2] The following people worked on TWC No. 17 in an editorial capacity: Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson (editors); Cameron Salisbury (Symposium); and Louisa Stein (Review).

[6.3] The following people worked on TWC No. 17 in a production capacity: Rrain Prior (production editor); Beth Friedman, Shoshanna Green, and Christine Mains (copyeditors); Karen Hellekson and Rrain Prior (layout); and Amanda Georgeanne Retartha and Vickie West (proofreaders).

[6.4] TWC thanks the journal project's Organization for Transformative Works board liaison, Andrea Horbinski. OTW provides financial support and server space to TWC but is not involved in any way in the content of the journal, which is editorially independent.

[6.5] TWC thanks all its board members, whose names appear on TWC's masthead, as well as the additional peer reviewers and Symposium reviewers who provided service for TWC No. 17: Tonje Andersen, Stephanie Betz, Kirstie Blair, Ceilyn Boyd, Bertha Chin, Lauren Collister, Anna Craft, Shannon Farley, Conseula Francis, Erica Halverson, Mikhail Koulikov, Nicolle Lamerichs, Hye-Kyung Lee, Linda Levitt, Hattie Liew, Nele Noppe, Forrest Phillips, Claudia Rebaza, Amanda Retartha, Emily Roach, Brian Ruh, and Tisha Turk.