Interesting and Amusing Look at the Fan Culture

  • Sep 20, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+5
San Diego Comic-Con International is one of the largest and most famous of all fan conventions and/or conferences. Since 1970 when it was first held it has only increased in popularity and recognition. In recent years it has become completely mainstream and equally likely to showcase small-scale independent productions as it is to host big-time Hollywood producers and moguls. It has also evolved from the comic book centered convention to the one that includes all the media. In the eyes of the old-timers though, this is certainly not a welcome development. Nevertheless, San Diego Comic-Con has become the mecca of the comics, movie, and video game fan culture.

This single is an interesting snapshot of the fan culture in all its idiosyncratic glory. The most visible manifestation of the utmost fandom is dressing up in a costume of your favorite character. Comic-Con is full of these adorable geeks, and Douglas Wolk treats them with a healthy dose of amusement and appreciation. Wolk has a keen eye for the unusual aspects of this remarkable conference. He too has been upset with the overcrowding in recent years, and is at best nonplussed with all the celebrities who attend these days. Nonetheless he hasn't become cynical and still has a lot of fond feeling for this unique event.

This Kindle single embodies everything best about this format. It is short, informative, incredibly well-written, and it showcases a topic or a theme that is a bit too big for an article, and yet it could potentially become incredibly boring if turned into a full-length book. I am looking forward to more titles like this one.

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About the reviewer
Bojan Tunguz ()
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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Each July the city of San Diego fills to the brim with science-fiction, fantasy, and comic-book nerds. Batman andStar Warsfanatics roam the streets in costume, D&D gamers spend hours in huddles, and die-hard fans of certain movies, comics, and books revel in fandom. Douglas Wolk, a journalist and critic who writes on comic books, expresses it this way: "Comic-Con is a bacchanalian 100-hour orgy of fandom, and fandom is all about cathexis: investing one's energy and identity in a particular idea or person or thing." In this Kindle Single, Wolk explores both the culture of enthusiasts and the big business of extending a comic book into a novel, and then into a movie, and then into merchandise, and then into a massive branded franchise with an endless array of things for fans to buy. Wolk expertly guides readers through the alien terrain of the convention floor and back-room industry discussions. His writing is fluid and elegant, his observations are acute, and his explanations of what drives both the enthusiast and business end of this subculture will lead readers to one "aha" moment after another. If Yoda were a writer, he might be Douglas Wolk, initiating readers in the Force that drives American entertainment. Highly, highly recommended for Comic-Con fans, and for people like me, who have never understood Comic-Con, its devotees, and people who wrap their identities in fictional others. --Paul Diamond
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