The relationship between slash fan fiction and comics fandom is problematic not only because of the shift of medium from source text to fan text but also because of the shift of fan community. Comics fandom is often viewed as consisting of heterosexual white men and comics are often explicitly marketed to them, excluding and othering the rest of the audience. Comics fandom online subverts this expectation of audience because the majority of fan authors and creators are women. While canon plots privilege action and conflict, and the problematic depiction of women characters in them is so obvious it hardly need be discussed, comics fan fiction reverses these trends: stories privilege emotional arcs, and female characters are depicted as more recognizably human even when they are secondary to the male characters.
Comics fan works thus become completely transformative because of the shift in both fan space and fan audience: texts that are homophobic become homophiliac, authors and readers who are male become female, and that which had previously been other becomes the new norm. For these reasons, the fans are not just aware but indeed hyperaware of their own identity as subaltern and subversive practitioners.
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Fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has published its thirteenth issue on comics fandom. Here are links to all the articles, on topics ranging from women in comics fandom to fans on 4chan to Captain America and various other Avengers-related things. Enjoy! As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from the articles too.
Matthew J. Costello: The super politics of comic book fandom
Symposium (short articles):
Forrest Phillips: Captain America and fans’ political activity
Amanda Odom: Professionalism: Hyperrealism and play
Rebecca Lucy Busker: Fandom and male privilege: Seven years later
Ora C. McWilliams: Who is afraid of a black Spider(-Man)?
Matthew J. Costello: Interview with comics artist Lee Weeks
Kate Roddy, Carlen Lavigne, Suzanne Scott: Toward a feminist superhero: An interview with Will Brooker, Sarah Zaidan, and Suze Shore