First, I feel I have to say a tiny disclaimer as to show that I am not just bashing a particular type of fan. Recently, I went and saw Deadpool, which was awesome. It is a different type of comic movie as it is over the top in almost every aspect imaginable, and knows it is over the top, which is really interesting. It is also funny and I laughed quite a bit, however, regardless of what kind of movie I am watching it irks me to no end the people that laugh out loud, over the top at every joke in the movie. Yes the movie is funny, BUT it is not that funny. As I already said, even if I am watching a comedy in theaters and a person there is doing this it still drives me crazy. My point is that I do not have a prejudice against comic fans, as I am one myself. What I wanted to talk about is fandom in general.
There are all types of fandom, but what I think is fascinating is how an outside third party will view that particular fandom. Let’s start with sports. This is obviously the most recognizable and I would argue acceptable (at least socially) among the types of fandom. I am a big sports fan and follow my teams near religiously, except my soccer team. I refuse to watch them until they fire the coach, but that is a whole other post. Out with LVG!! Still on any given night at any given bar there will be any number of fans there drinking and watching their team play. Then there is the jubilation or the agony of a win or loss. What is fascinating, and I am not above this, is how a win or loss will affect an individual emotionally. When my team lost last year in the NCAA tournament I was near distraught for weeks, months even. It sucked, and still does, but again this sort of mourning after a loss is socially acceptable. Most people understand this and get it as it is socially acceptable behavior among most crowds. Although there is a small sentiment that do not like sports and think they are quite silly in every way. They are a giant time suck, which I would totally agree with, and for some people they just cannot understand how a person could get so ingrained into the team of their liking. It does seem a little strange that I would think on average most sports fans have never met their so called “heroes” or seen them live. Still there are the very die hard fans that go to evey game home or away and following the team has become a near obsession, again this is for the most part acceptable.
Now let’s take a look at die hard comic fans as this is another type of fandom. I would not classify myself as die hard, but I do like comics and many of the characters in the books. It does bother me some times how they are portrayed in the movies. What is the deal with Colossus always getting his ass kicked. Can’t he just once be the badass he is in the comics and beat the crap out of everyone, is that too much to ask? Anyways, I would argue that this group is possibly the largest type of fandom in the world. (I am excluding European soccer team fans.) I think the movie sales numbers speak for themselves. Sports are one thing, but it is hard to make a kid enjoy a sport or team that you grew up cheering for, but sit them down in front of a movie, or read them a comic and you just may have created a fan for life. What is interesting here is that certain sports teams have a larger following (the Yankees, Celtics, Lakers, Green Bay Packers) but for the most part there is also a very large fan base that hates them. So for that reason you are automatically limited in your maximum fan base for any particular fan base. There are few if any Mets and Yankees fans, Green Bay and Minnesota fans, you get the idea. However, when it comes to comics and characters I hardly ever hear of someone genuinely disliking a certain character. Yes, there are always arguments of who would win in a fight, but how many people dislike Deadpool, almost no one, same goes for Batman, Spiderman, you name it those characters almost every comic fan loves them. Now they may not like how they are portrayed in a certain movie, i.e. Colossus, but I still went and saw the movie anyways. I left out Superman because I am not a fan of him at all, but I have read that they keep changing his powers so he is not as all powerful as he used to be, so maybe if I read some of the new stories I might be a fan.
My point of these two types of fandom is that one is socially acceptable, yet the one that is not far surpasses the other in terms sheer numbers. Think of how many fans attend cons every year, throw in movies, and coimc sales, and you have a massive fanbase. However I think it could be quite close when you look at total sports fans vs comic fans. So if that is the case, why then, is one so much more socially acceptable? Why are comic fans labeled as nerds that live in their parents basement? And also, why do others make fun of an individual that is genuinely excited about seeing a character they have loved from the comics appear on the silver screen? Isn’t that the equivalent of a sports fan jumping up and down and high fiving a friend after a score? But again one is acceptable the other is not. Why do we judge those that are passionate about these characters? It is near impossible to explain your sports fandom to somone, I think it is similarly difficult to explain your comic fandom.
I am not above this thinking as well, and I don’t pretend to be on my soap box. I think I am a rare hybrid of comic and sports fan, which may seem odd as I do not know many that share my same likes. And like is said to start, I was not judging the comic fans in the Deadpool movie, I was judging them because people that laugh excessively out loud at jokes drives me insane when I am trying to watch a movie. I also forgot to mention that some couple brought their baby (maybe a year old) into the movie, now that is some dedication.
But again the point and or idea I was trying to portray was that there are different types of fandom, so why is one more socially acceptable than the other. I would argue that despite liking and following these comic characters, buying every issue and toy that comes out, they are not real. Sorry everyone. But to those on the outside (non-comic fans) looking in it may seem silly to them to get all upset over something that is make-believe. But I can totally see where someone who is passionate about this would get upset when something big happens to their favorite character. Much like when your team loses a big game, that is equally depressing. The kicker here is, believe it or not sports are real, which may be why it is more socially acceptable to be a sports fan. At least that is my expert analysis.
I will say that I was pretty excited when the Marvel teased the Infinity Gauntlet/War and X-Men Apocalypse movies. I am genuinely pumped for when those movies come out, however I was not high fiving my friends as I would while watching a basketball game. For me it is a different type of excitement. I guess my point is, judge ye not! As to an independent third party both types of fans might look equally silly. And try to keep it down when watching a movie in a theater, you don’t want to be that guy or gal.