Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing! Original post/list of topics. Feel free to add more: LJ | DW — anon and openID welcome!
squeemu: What was your first fandom/what got you into it in the first place? (here)
Depends on what you mean by fandom! In a way, I was in fandom before I knew what fandom was. First, I will mention Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario Brothers, and come back to them later. Hold onto that thought. Probably The Dark Is Rising and His Dark Materials, both book series blending our world and fantasy that I found in my school library, were the first things I was fannish about in the sense of SO wanting to share with other people and making up stories in my head (especially Dark is Rising). But I encountered both in 4th grade; I was 9 years old at that point. I had friends, but none who shared my interest in books, and though I was already an internet user by this time (which is not impressive now, but that was back in 1995), it had never occurred to me to try to find like-minded souls there.
But here's something more interesting: I was connected to a huge part of Xena fandom history before I knew what fandom was, too.
So I had been watching Xena: Warrior Princess for a while; I don't recall how I got into it, though I think I caught it on TV at someone else's house and checked it out (remember when those TV Guide books were relevant?). My mom was herself a longtime Trekkie (not that I knew what that was, either; just assume I knew absolutely nothing about fandom throughout this story), and eventually joined me in watching Xena after complaining a few times about how campy it was (whatever, mom). Now, I don't think my mom had any connection to Star Trek fandom in terms of interacting with other fans; I'm pretty sure she didn't know what fandom was, either. But once she started watching Xena, that was it. SHE WAS A FAN. She taped every episode and had a catalogued list of them; they filled up half our video case. And she, being an adult and more adept at internet use, DID find fandom online.
And fell in with Melissa Good.
Missy's fics are now popularly available in audiofic format, and you know what? My mom helped make that happen. She was there when Missy's fics were first being recorded; in fact she became great friends with the lady who read them, whose name was I believe Joanna? (I wish the audiofic listings credited who read them, so I could be sure!) I spoke with her on the phone a few times; her voice was lovely and I asked her for life advice once or twice. Missy wrote the stories, Joanna read them, and my mom received the tapes and made many, many duplicates (dubs) for distribution among fans. It was actually a business for her for a while; she bought a good tape dubber and made masses of tapes, sending them out all over the place to (sometimes) receive payment (some fans flaked out). By check (Paypal? what?)
And I? I helped. My role was pretty peripheral: I helped my mom put together some website related to this (maybe an early version of the Merpup's Den or similar?) and also I folded lots and lots and lots of tape covers. All those covers you see as you scroll through the audiofic link? MY FINGERS HOLD THEIR MEMORY. You have no idea how many of those buggers I cut out and folded so they'd fit in an audiocasette case all pretty-like.
So my mom was a fan — a pretty big fan? — and I didn't know it. In fact, I had been YEARS AND YEARS in fandom myself before I looked back and went "... huh!" I've been meaning to interview her about it for a long time, actually; relations with her are like, not awesome, as has been intimated in previous posts, but I am sitting on a big chunk of fandom history over here and I think it would be an interesting project! If I ever do, I will slather the gleanings all over Fanlore and probably make a note here =d (For the record, Xena/Gabrielle was all well and good, but I shipped Xena/Ares hardcore. Maybe a little Xena/Autolycus and Xena/Calisto >.>)
But that's all fandom before I really knew what it was. What I've always thought of my first real fandoms — or my first real fandoms — were Pokemon and Dragonball Z, which I paid tribute to in the last of my daily doodles. One fandom that didn't make it into the doodle but definitely deserves a mention is Sailor Moon. Yes: I came into fandom through the Grossly Popular Anime Trifecta.
The story is not fancy: I ran into all three on the teevee. This was before either series exploded in huge popularity in the U.S. (I tend to have a trend in my life of catching on to things either just before they hit big, or waaaay late); Pokemon was on at ass-o'clock in the morning. I think I caught it one time and was like WOW YES. I loved the relationship between Ash and Pikachu SO much; I have such a soft spot for this sort of thing and basically the show had adorable animals and close bonds between people and animals and I mean, I didn't even need to be sold on it. DONE.
DBZ and Sailor Moon were on in the afternoons, in those blocks of anime they used to have on then (Samurai Troooppperrsss). I realized as I watched Sailor Moon particularly that I had seen it before, waaaay back, when I lived in LA. That must have been like freaking 1992-1993: EARLY days. How was it even ON in the U.S.? But regardless, I watched the girliest show ever back-to-back with the manliest show ever, and I adored both. The reason I tend to habitually drop SM from "first fandom" status, though, is that it didn't really grow on me as a fandom until I was already in other fandoms. At first, it was mostly an "okay, that was awesome NOW WHAT'S UP IN DBZ!!!" thing.
So DBZ: HOW I DISCOVERED SLASH. Don't laugh: the first slash I read was Goku/Vegeta. HELL YEAH! My first slash ship was probably Will/Bran from Dark is Rising, but I didn't even know what the hell a slash ship was then and did not really understand this yearning in my soul for them to make out already.
With Goku and Vegeta, I stumbled onto porn. Immediately.
It. Was. Great.
I. Was. 11.
... so yeah.
I loved Pokemon and DBZ so much that I went to the internet to look for MORE THINGS and I found them. I drew art in both, and posted it on the internet; I even wrote a little bit of fic and thankfully did NOT post much of it. My Pokemon fannishness was, at first not very fanwork-centric aside from the drawing; I instead got REALLY into collecting the cards and I even had a REAL LIVE FRIEND, N, who was also into it! I played the games, I collected the cards; I rolled and squeed with her and had THE BEST TIME.
And this same friend? LIKED SONIC THE HEDGEHOG! omfg! I drew SO much Sonic shit in those days. I SHARED MULTIPLE FANDOMS WITH SOMEONE.
Now, I told you to keep Sonic and Mario in mind. Here is the deal: THAT was probably my actual first fandom. I was never allowed to own video games as a kid; my parents very grudgingly allowed me a gameboy and ONE (Pokemon) game in middle school. But I had always ADORED video games, and from when I was 6-7 onwards, newly in the U.S. and discovering that other people owned these VIDEO GAME things, oh my gosh I WANTED one. I had a friend with an SNES and we played together a LOT; we would have PRETEND TEA PARTIES with Mario; I made these big dumb cutouts of Yoshi, made big enough out of several sheets of paper so he could share a table with us? OH THE TIMES. I even dragged my grandpa to see that horrible live-action movie in theatres and demanded it on VHS.
Sonic I came to NOT through video games but through the saturday morning cartoon, which is still much beloved by me. I watched it faithfully, but my friend had moved away by then, no one to share with :(
And then, half a decade later: Pokemon and my friend N, and my love for Sonic was resurrected. I started reading the Sonic comic books — I actually had an exceedingly decent collection, including mint or near-mint copies of the zero issue all the way, missing no numbers, through the 70s.
... and then eventually I discovered Ash/Gary slash (through a DBZ writer, actually) and, haha. Yeah. Through Ash/Gary and the Shi2 Brigade (anyone remember them? Satoshi/Shigeru!) I discovered the various flavours of Pokemon manga, and eventually found Pokemon Evolution, an epic fanfic (that I uh, have totally swiped copies off the WayBack Machine, yeah). And began plotting my own Pokemon epic. And you know what? This last year, I do believe I decided to resurrect it. It's really canon-non-specific; bits and pieces of anime and various manga and even TCG canons all fused together and haters gonna hate, but I am going to ROLL.
DBZ fandom was a different experience. I didn't interact online that much in Pokemon fandom, aside from reading fic. In DBZ, I tried, only to find that it was like a freaking No Girls Allowed sign. What? I eventually found corners of the internet with fellow female fans (and, I think, a few of the less hostile male fans) in them, but I gotta say it was a really weird experience, so I encountered some of the gender problems in shounen fandom especially pretty early. But even once I found other people to hang with, my experience there was... darker. I mean, look, this is where I found out about dubcon and incest, okay? Okay. My first incest ship was Vegeta/Trunks. Don't judge =d
But I was also massively into het, ESPECIALLY the ships in Dragon Ball Super Z, another massive epic fic widely known for its Mirai Trunks/Android 18 ship. (I've found it archived at ff.net and have found the art section of the original site — definitely worth checking out! — but I can't seem to get at the awesome fic section of the original 90's-awesome site ._.) I LOVED it and actually started drawing a comic version at one point (I still have those pages and should scan them; they were actually quite good!). Another epic I super enjoyed was Vejiitasei Ascendant, the first book of which I actually printed out (I am now horrified at how much paper that took) and put in a binder to read forever and ever. I also adored the work of Celine (The Madhouse); she was a huge Bulma/Vegeta fan and one of my first fannish art influences. But my OTPs for DBZ eventually settled DEEPLY into Goku/Vegeta (FOREVER, man, I will love them FOREVER and if you have recs then freaking POINT ME), and secondarily into Trunks/Goten. Too bad it never occured to me to ship the ladies, dang!
I drew a LOT of DBZ art; I should totally find and upload it. I actually have one such squirrelled away in my DA account right now, haha >.>
Also just as a note, I did also get into the original Dragonball series, and um, much less so but I was aware at least of Dragonball GT, but DBZ will forever own my heart.
I did enjoy watching Sailor Moon, but I never really got as much into it as I did DBZ and Pokemon. At least, until I discovered Sailor Moon fandom. Where the good stuff was. I loved the manga SO much more, and the dub hadn't advanced much past the very episodic first season. To whit, I had not watched Chibiusa meet Helios. AND THEN I WAS LOST. This is my Sailor Moon OTP forever and ever, sorry. There are many other awesome ships, and Artemis/Luna runs a close second, but SORRY, CHIBIUSA/HELIOS FOREVER. I actually somehow didn't participate much in terms of fanwork here, in either creation or consumption; I think I was too busy rolling in Takeuchi's gorgeous, gorgeous artspreads through grep Sailor Moon*.
Altogether, though, it was kind of interesting being into all three series at the same time? Pokemon fans were kinda looked down on for being into a kiddie show (yeah, same to you, jerks); DBZ fans were looked down on for being into dumb dudes thunking on each other and DBZ fans in turn kinda were really misogynist, geez. Especially in the SM direction, which was obviously girly and dumb! Overall it was a pretty strange feeling sharing all three spaces.
And finally, a special mention: Harry Potter. HP was another one of those things I caught early and then suddenly it exploded around me. I read the first book from my middle school library and then I had to wait for the second book to come out. Okay guys? DO YOU HEAR ME? I have had to wait for EVERY BOOK. And this was BEFORE synchronized release dates, so I had to wait a whole excruciating YEAR after it had come out in Britain to get my hands on it over here in the U.S. By this time I was a seasoned fan, though, and this fandom I caught from its inception. This was my first non-anime/manga fandom, and I've been lurking (quietly) around it since 1998. I drew and posted some art, wrote and didn't-post some fic, and actually have a comic I'm working on: it's inks and wordless, and I'm actually really proud of it?
My first video game fandom (not counting Mario) was not Final Fantasy X, through which circuitous route I met many of you! It was actually The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I made a website for it in middle school, okay? I REALLY LIKED SHEIK. I also shipped Link and Sheik withouth realizing. But Final Fantasy X was the first video game fandom where I actually de-lurked and interacted with other fans. HI GUYS.
My first LJ fandom? Trigun, actually! And then, much more actively, One Piece.
And that is my fandom history of firsts! Which, looking back through it, covers books, tv series, anime, manga, comics, and video games. Not bad!