Look, I’m not gonna deny it: I started out as a writer, editor, and publisher in the mid 80s with xeroxed science-fiction fanzines, with a primary focus on Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, though I also published a Starman zine called Endangered Species that won a Fan Quality Award from the MediaWest Con people in 1989... though *sob* the con’s site mysteriously credits the zine to publisher “Mary Ann Bohling.” (Maybe I’ll post my Doctor Who fan fiction someday -- it’s really quite good, if I do say so myself.)
And holy crap, look at this! This Google cache of an email newsletter about Blake’s 7 fanzines from 19-freakin’-94 has me listed... at an address I haven’t lived at since that year:
Portals ( editor )
MaryAnn Johanson --> 27 St. Mark's Place #4D New York NY 10003 USA
Wow. Portals was a multimedia zine -- meaning that it focused on more than one show -- and the first issue was produced on a typewriter, if you can believe it. (I think I had my Commodore 64 by that point, which would have been 1985, maybe, but not a printer: it was a while before I blew my babysitting money on a -- are you ready for this? -- a daisy-wheel printer.)
Anyway, I mean to point out that contemporary efforts at being a big fannish dork continue, in 20-freakin’-06, not to be recognized as free advertising that can only do a show/movie/whatever a starship-load of good:
Ever wonder where the Soup Nazi is located in Seinfeld's New York City? How about the back road where Tony Soprano nearly whacks his drugged-out second cousin Christopher?
To feed the growing hunger for more information about their favorite shows, fans are creating Web sites called mashups with details about the programs, including pinpoints of exactly where on a map key events in the shows happened and hometowns of reality show stars.
The makers of these fan sites are doing it, more than anything, because of the passion they feel for their favorite shows. Few of them expect to make much money off their projects. In fact, they run the risk of getting slapped with a lawsuit for infringing on the copyrights of the companies that have created the shows.
[via Cnet’s News.com]
However, NBC may not turn out to be such a fan of [one site devoted to The Apprentice].
"We are flattered and happy to see that fans are involved in the show," an NBC representative told CNET News.com. "However, we are looking into the use of our logos and copyrights."
Jon Fine, Businessweek’s advertising and media guy, gets it:
What would happen to pop culture if there were no rabid fans? What if no one indulged in the borderline behaviors of the adult Trekkies who assemble massive action-figure collections or sports fans who paint their bodies in team colors?
And Fine doesn’t just get that a dedicated fandom is absolutely vital to the long-term survival of any bit of pop-culture ephemera, but also that sports nuts -- who have long been culturally acceptable -- are no different than science-fiction nuts, who have long been the butt of innumerable and mean-spirited jokes.
Makes me wanna dig out my zines and do some rereading...