Fanfiction is fan labour in which fans of an original work write about the characters and settings they love so much in that work. It is a fan based force, meaning all the works in fanfiction are written by fans, rather than any external influence from the writer of the original work. Fanfiction is rarely permitted by the authors of the works that get used, so the fans are essentially stealing, or appropriating, the works they wish to write on. It is also rarely ever published, and is simply meant as an outlet for the fans to present their ideas, and is used as a kind of social network for fans of specific works. Fanfiction exists for almost every notable work from Spiderman, as we saw on our midterm, to Harry Potter, to Don Quixote; if you are a fan or any book, movie, TV show, comic, graphic novel, game, cartoon, and basically anything else, almost guaranteed there will be someone writing fanfiction on it. What is interesting about fanfiction is that it offered a new, refreshing take on the original text, one that is often outside the box, but can help in understanding the original work.
The 2 Spiderman fanfiction pieces that we looked at on our second midterm were analyses of Spiderman during his teenage years. They helped to shed light on a side of Spiderman adolescence that was not illuminated in the comics. Fanfiction works much in this way: although the content typically seems humorous and a bit out to left field, it is typically meant to help the reader further comprehend the work. And, as I have stated, fanfiction can be found on nearly any medium, so long as it engages with an audience. This makes fanfiction an broad community of “nerds”, in their own fields, and brings different art forms together. It can spark interest in mediums that would otherwise not have been browsed by some due to the interconnectivity of the genre. For example, if someone goes to find fanfiction on Twilight, perhaps they will be lead to fanfiction on “30 Days of Night” and from there “The Walking Dead”; soon they will be a graphic novel junkie!
Believe it or not, there is a fanfiction website – www.fanfiction.net – where one can search through an encyclopedia of fanfiction on nearly any work. The most popular work on the website, meaning it has the most fanfiction written on it, it Harry Potter. The books, not the movies. Harry Potter has 640, 073 fanfiction pieces written about it, which is about twice as many as “Naruto” (a Manga series; also the runner up), 3 times as many as Twilight and 20 times the amount written for Star Wars, the most popular movie. It is also about 60 times more popular than the most popular comic, being X-Men. Why is Harry Potter so popular? Well, because he’s awesome. But the point of saying all this is to establish the idea that being a nerd is not designated only for comic book lovers: being a nerd is a cross-medium title. This is actually a really good thing, because, as I have said, it means there can be an overlap in people’s interests. This can lead to, and I believe has lead to, an increase in interest in comics and graphic novels and a renewed success in the industry. Fanfiction can help pave a way for comics and graphic novels into the future, helping sustain it, ensuring that comics and graphic novels will continue to me a medium well into the future.