The Fickle Face of Fandom

The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art b...

The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nerd culture is on the rise and has been for a few years now. I would probably be happier about having my favorite hobbies (Dungeons and Dragons, comic books, computers, etc.)  being socially acceptable if it came along with learning and the scientific method being so as well, but baby steps.  I don’t know if society is ready for that yet. In the middle of all this there is the culture of fandom, people shouting to the internet their devotion to this sci-fi/fantasy show or movie, the other, or several all at once.

Passion is often a good thing. It is one of the things that separates us from living and merely existing. The zeal with which folks dive into their favorite fictional universes is fun to watch and even take part in. I am a Whovian through and through, with a dash of Star Wars fan that dabbles in other fandoms for good measure. I love seeing people dive into cosplay, writing fanfic, and getting into debates about which show, or which episode of a shared show, is the best.

Folks can get just a little weird about it sometimes. I’m not talking about the people who go shopping dressed as Star Fleet Cadet, or name their kid Adama. I am talking about people who nit pick over the strangest things, or people who actually take their preference for a show as evidence of their own intellectual or moral superiority. Many folks are just playing around when they do this, others get very upset when you imply they are doing so.

They demand absolute purity in their fandom and there is no room for change in their show that they do not approve of. There are Whovians who demand that the rebooted series is destroying canon and should be reviled. Some get upset when a new actor plays an old character, or even stranger, get upset when an actor plays more than one beloved super hero. Honestly, you should have heard some of the arguments about Chris Evans playing Captain America after playing the Human Torch.

Strangest of all is how quickly their love turns to hate if something new and flashier comes along. The first Hulk movie was pretty darn good, which one can expect from Ang Lee. When it came out, people were pretty happy with it, save the Nick Nolte turning into a mylar balloon part. Then came The Incredible Hulk. We get a new actor, a rebooted story, somewhat better special effects and all of a sudden this movie is a masterpiece (it was pretty darn good as well) and the old one was junk. Finally we get the Avengers, another new actor playing the Hulk, a new look for the Hulk and now the second movie is junk. These fans, most of them adults, are like little kids who always need a shinier toy. The Star Wars franchise, by the way, is the exception that proves the rule.

Hey, I get it, I love these shows and movies too, but a little perspective is in order. Actors can play more than one part, and more than one actor can play the same role. That’s what acting is all about: being able to step into different roles. Also, you can love something new, even like it better than the old, without needing to hate the old. Hey, it’s great, be excited about the new stuff, but you come off insincere, and more than a little weird (in a not good way) when you so drastically change your mind about something you loved just a year or two ago. I say love it all, and appreciate the varied talents and imaginations it requires to bring us our favorite characters and stories to the screen, both big and small.

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4 thoughts on “The Fickle Face of Fandom

  1. What I really want to see is fans going nuts over voice-casting. For instance: Steve Blum. The man has been Wolverine, Dead Pool, Red Skull, Killer Crock, Green Goblin, The Chameleon, Count Vertigo, Starscream, Shockwave, and Barricade.

    • Absolutely! I also love that Mark Hamill has found a second (in my opinion better) career doing the same. Given Andrea Romano’s style of having all the voice actors together to read their parts like they were performing in front of a camera it had to be fun watching him do Joke and Solomon Grundy interacting in the “Injustice for All” episode of Justice League.

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