Works in progress

TWC Editor

[0.1] Abstract—This issue showcases the depth and breadth of fan studies and promises the continuation of an already thriving interdisciplinary subfield. It is so much more than we ever could have hoped a decade ago.

[0.2] Keywords—Analysis; Fan fiction

TWC Editor. 2015. "Works in Progress" [editorial]. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2015.0707.

1. Introduction

[1.1] This 20th issue offers us a moment to reflect on where we've come and where we want to go. Perhaps more important for us personally is the fact that it's been 10 years since we, Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, submitted our first collaboration. The project, which was conceived in early 2004 and began soliciting contributions in September 2004, moved quickly: essays were submitted and peer reviewed, and we received a publishing contract with an estimated print date of September 2005. Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet (http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?isbn=0-7864-2640-3) would not be published for another few months, but we had accomplished what we had set out to do: give voice to the many scholars we had met at conferences and online; create a volume that would start with the premise that academics were often fans and fans often academics and that that was okay; and permit conversations that did not always begin with introductory definitions but instead would assume a knowledgeable audience, thus raising the level of discourse. During this project, it was clear to us that, by definition, we could never create a truly finished product—a fact that we acknowledged in the title of our introduction, which we shamelessly reuse for this editorial.

[1.2] We appropriated the fannish term "work in progress," which refers to posting or publication of a part of a story that is not yet completed, because it best illustrated the continuing flourishing of academic work on fan fiction and fan communities while paralleling the endless expansion of story worlds created by the myriad of fan fiction writers. The term captures the multiplicity and diversity of fictions and fiction writers as well as of academic works and academic writers. More than that, it captures the ephemeral and mercurial nature of the works, the constant need for expansion, and the inherent inability to ever finish or conclude. The TV shows and book series used as starting points must necessarily end eventually, but fan fictional expansions, alternatives, and supplements cannot and will not end. Nor should our academic work. Although the essays in our first edited volume, published a decade ago, are no longer "new essays," as the book's subtitle promised, the contributing authors have continued to think, write, and publish, joined by the many others who were already working in the field or who have discovered fan studies since. This general issue of TWC, No. 20, showcases the depth and breadth of fan studies and promises the continuation of an already thriving interdisciplinary subfield. It is so much more than we ever could have hoped a decade—and 20 issues—ago.

2. Theory and Praxis

[2.1] Various forms of criticism have arisen around some of fan studies' inherent biases; several essays in this issue face those concerns directly. Rebecca Wanzo's "African American Acafandom and Other Strangers: New Genealogies of Fan Studies" calls fan studies to task for ignoring race on all levels and offers a corrective that includes black fan voices and that uses African American cultural criticism to illuminate fan studies more critically. A different criticism often leveled against fan studies is its focus on celebratory and positive fan representations and artifacts—a failure easily understood given the often pervasively negative fan portrayal within popular media. Andrew Ryan Rico's "Fans of Columbine Shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold" ventures into what he calls the dark fandom of fans of the shooters to show how all fan communities contribute to our understanding of fan cultures; these dark fandoms must be analyzed and included in scholarship.

[2.2] Real people fiction often finds itself in an uncomfortable gap between media and celebrity studies; neither discipline has fully studied or comprehensively theorized RPF. In "Real Body, Fake Person: Recontextualizing Celebrity Bodies in Fandom and Film," Melanie Piper bridges that gap by studying The Social Network fan fiction, which is and isn't RPF. These fics tell the stories of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, yet they use the 2010 film rather than journalistic accounts as their basis. Finally, Misty Krueger addresses the important but often overlooked relationship between fan studies and pedagogy. Her case study, "The Products of Intertextuality: The Value of Student Adaptations in a Literature Course," showcases the usefulness of encouraging students to fashion their own creative responses even, or especially, if the source text is canonical British literature such as Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740).

[2.3] Gender and sexuality have been at the center of media fan studies from its inception, yet many aspects and areas could still bear examination. In "Queering the Media Mix: The Female Gaze in Japanese Fan Comics," Kathryn Hemmann expands the female revisions of male-targeted texts to include the entire media franchise, the media mix. Similarly, looking at female/feminist appropriations of male central characters, Mary Ingram-Waters's "Writing the Pregnant Man" analyzes the tensions between the fan fiction genre of mpreg (male pregnancy) and popular discourses surrounding trans identities and men bearing children. Anne Gilbert looks at the unusual but highly popularized fan community of bronies, adult male fans of My Little Pony (2010–), in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Bronies." By studying the media discourses surrounding the community, Gilbert suggests that the overwrought media presentations lack the subtlety to address both the dangers and pleasures inherent in this fan community. Finally, Lise Dilling-Hansen's "Affective Fan Experiences of Lady Gaga" looks at the role of online social media and Lady Gaga's fan engagements to explain her fan's intense affective attachment.

[2.4] Bob Rehak's special issue in June 2014 on Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom was a crucial reminder to not limit ourselves to textual and digital fannish engagements only. Fandom used to be primarily material, after all, and collecting remains a central part of many fans' experiences. Two essays in this issue focus on the materiality of fan objects, addressing its changing forms and fan production, respectively. In "(Re)examining the Attitudes of Comic Book Store Patrons," J. Richard Stevens and Christopher E. Bell address the effects of digitization on comic book culture by surveying comic book store patrons and their relationship to material and digital comic books. Victoria Godwin's "Mimetic Fandom and One-Sixth-Scale Action Figures" uses Matt Hills's contribution to Rehak's materiality issue, which introduces the term "mimetic fandom." Focusing on one-sixth-scale action figures and their production and material presentation in living spaces, Godwin argues that "material fan practices reproduce items in order to create transformative narratives" (¶0.1).

3. Symposium

[3.1] The mid-2000s were a time of meta. These fannish academic commentaries on episodes, characters, fan works, and fandom in general were often smart, insightful, and thought provoking. They would often invite discussion, both with and without the author, through comment threads with remarks numbering in the hundreds. Meta still exists, of course, but the persistent presence of fannish debate inspired us to create a sort of sequel to meta: the Symposium section, with its focused and often personal essays. In this issue, personal experience plays into Maud Lavin's mediation on her changing but always passionate relationship with vocal artist Patti Smith in "Patti Smith: Aging, Fandom, and Libido" and Jasmin Aurora Stoffer's account of the creative works and artists she has encountered while living in an Inuit village in Northern Quebec in "The Transformative World of Winter Fashion in a Nunavik Village." Finally, Joshua Wille discusses the ephemerality of online fan edits and the discourses surrounding them in "Dead Links, Vaporcuts, and Creativity in Fan Edit Replication."

4. Reviews

[4.1] The three book reviews that appear in this issue illustrate the increasing range of the field of fan studies. Suzanne Scott reviews Mark Duffett's introductory overview Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture (2013); Kate Marie Wilson discusses the collection Fan Studies: Researching Popular Audiences (2014), edited by Alice Chauvel, Nicolle Lamerichs, and Jessica Seymour; and Katherine E. Morrissey assesses Transmedia Storytelling and the New Era of Media Convergence in Higher Education (2014), by Stavroula Kalogeras. All three books provide important contributions to their respective fields and to fan studies in general.

5. Coming up

[5.1] The next issue of TWC, No. 21, will appear in March 2016 as a special issue guest edited by Ika Willis on the Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work.

[5.2] TWC No. 22 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. 22 is March 15, 2016.

[5.3] There will be two special issues in early 2017. Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/announcement/view/27) is coedited by Betsy Rosenbaum and Roberta Pearson, and Queer Female Fandom (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/announcement/view/28) is coedited by Julie Levin Russo and Eve Ng. The close date for receipt of copy for No. 23 and No. 24 is March 15, 2016.

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. 20 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. 20 in a production capacity: Rrain Prior (production editor); Beth Friedman, Shoshanna Green, and Christine Mains (copyeditors); Rrain Prior and Gabriel Simm (layout); and Amanda Georgeanne Retartha (proofreader).

[6.4] TWC thanks the Organization for Transformative Works, which 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. 20: Tonje Andersen, Lucy Bennett, Kirstie Blair, Lyndsay Brown, Caitlin Casiello, Cathy Cupitt, Alexandra Edwards, Judith Fathallah, Laura Felschow, Kathryn Hemman, Andrea Horbinski, Anne Jamison, Bethan Jones, Linda Levitt, Matthew Ogonoski, Rukmindi Pande, Will Proctor, Sudha Rajagopalan, Venetia Robertson, Marc Steinberg, and Benjamin Woo.