5 Fandom Friday (1)

5 Fandom Friday is a geek-blogger community building project started and hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick. Every Friday, post a top 5 list based on a predetermined topic that can be found on this master post - you can also find more info on the project there. Participate as frequently or infrequently as you like, and if a topic doesn't especially appeal to you, feel free to put your own twist on it.

Today's topic is: Gateway Fandoms That Made Me Who I Am Today

1. The Black Stallion books: these books were the thing that my friends and I shared and talked about. We even played games involving characters from the books or set in the world, and it got us interested in the world of horse-racing.

They were one of the earliest things I was obsessed with, that I couldn't get enough of. Good thing this was a little before the internet-as-we-know-it and the fanfiction and fandom that engendered!

2. Boy Bands - specifically the Backstreet Boys: I don't think anything quite prepares you for fandom like being part of a boy-band phenomenon. I was just the right age during the 2nd Golden Age of Boy Bands during the late 90s to the early millennium to be swept up in all of that. It was probably my first true taste of fandom as we know it today - the obsession, the community, the rivalry (were you in the BSB camp or the NSYNC camp?), the overwhelming feels, the fanfiction!

Classic! Also, I'm not posting actual pics of me from this era because it's kind of embarrassing.
I also gained these valuable fangirl skills:

  • dealing with crowds / loud masses of people
  • defending your fandom from critics and skeptics
  • ability to wake up early / be sleep deprived for subject of affection
  • navigating forums, online communities, fanfiction archives
  • collecting merch
  • patience for waiting in long lines
  • rote memorization (play me a BSB song, and I can 99.9% guarantee I still know most-if-not-all of the words)

3. Anime: my co-blogger Alz got me into anime in high school, and that took my geekery to new levels. I had grown up with a fair share of Miyazaki and Sailor Moon, of course, but this was a whole new level. I binge-watched so many series, the big ones being: Escaflowne, Fushigi Yuugi, Rurouni Kenshin.
Okay, seriously, this was like my first real OTP. Like I will fight people over their OTP-ness.
I loved the stories, the different art styles, the music. And then there was the other fan-culture: merchandise, conventions, fanfiction, cosplay. I didn't get into all of that, but Anime Expo was the first convention I ever went to (not that I go to lots of conventions now).

4. Star Wars: I'd seen bits and pieces of the original trilogy on TV as a kid, but it wasn't until high school when my friends and I started obsessing over Ewan McGregor that we really got into Star Wars. For all its faults, The Phantom Menace did manage to hook us with its flashy CGI, gorgeous Ewan McGregor, and crash-course intro to that galaxy far, far away. From there, we watched the original trilogy (which, obviously, was amazeballs) and started reading fanfic and buying lightsabers, and it's been a thing from then on. When Episode III was released when I was in college, I dragged my roommate to the midnight screening post-finals. I had literally written a 2-hour Classics final before meeting up with my roomie and walking to the theater downtown.

Friends and I even made a Star Wars video (not quite as epic as the infamous original youtube Star Wars kid), and my friend had lightsabers and a Vader mask as part of her wedding photobooth.

By the by, I am way excited for the new animated show Star Wars: Rebels!

5. Harry Potter: Last but not least, this list wouldn't be complete without HARRY POTTER. This book series was and in many ways still is such a big part of my life. I love the compelling characters, the magic, the adventure, and world of these books. It was the geeky thing that even non-geeks were in to, and its massive success was the precursor to the YA and kidlit boom we've had recently. It changed the pop culture landscape, and I will forever be grateful for the wonder it instills and the doors it opened.

Books are a great love of mine and one of my first great loves, so it's so awesome that a book series about a bunch of kids and magic school has spawned movies, theme parks, pop culture memes, and clothing lines. I love it all. I was lucky enough to go to the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour in the UK this year, and I was so excited that all my first pictures inside were blurry because my hands were shaking so much.

Harry Potter always! FYI, I'm a Ravenclaw and the Sister is Slytherin through and through. What House are you in?

Bonus: Disney. I grew up with Disney movies and soundtracks, and I went to Disneyland every year for most of my childhood. I know that place like the back of my hand, and I used to memorize entire soundtracks before the animated movies were released. So this needs a mention. (And uh, Disney owns like two huge geek properties now, so there's that too.)

What were your gateway/earliest fandoms?



Ok I had to stop at the boy bands and comment! I'll go back :) YES YES YES! I remember vividly that entire part of my life. I was 1st team BSB then also joined team NSYNC...trader I know! IM SORRY!!!

I remember getting the Millennium album and I remember waiting for POP to come out and buying at Disneyworld :)

Usagi said...

I was on team NSYNC but I do like me some BSB! I never did get to see them in concert.

Erini CS said...

My boy band phase was a weird one, because it was also simultaneous with my Metallica phase. I would go from non-stop BSB or Hanson to blasting Metallica from my room... Not sure what my mom thought of me!

odannigirl said...

Loving boy bands growing up definitely gave a ton of transferable skills. Love your list!

Yahong Chi said...

Ahhh, this is a fab post idea & I love all your picks!! I totally remember the Black Stallion books, but somehow I'd forgotten they were about horse racing -- I have this weird image that they're about a boy running away with a horse on a deserted island??? IDK LOL. Of COURSE BSB & NSYNC are on here :D And anime, I very much relate to this right now! Haha. And Harry Potter forever <333 I relate to the idea of a book series spawning this whole world with its own fanbase and culture. Truly what fangirling is all about!

Kristin Hackett said...

I love that you included boy bands <3 And Harry Potter is basically the ultimate life changer!!