I've been meaning to take part in The Nerdy Girlie's 'Five Fandom Friday' for ages now, so when I read today's topic I thought I'd jump right in! I've been in love with fandom ever since I got online a hundred years ago. It gets a lot of flack sometimes, and it causes a lot of drama and heartache, but when a community is created out of sheer passion for a subject matter, of course emotions run high. Fandom is home to some of the greatest creativity I've known, and full of the most interesting, intelligent, strong willed and dynamic people I've ever met.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Or... specifically, I suppose, Sonic the Comic, the comic that ran in the UK from 1993 to 2002. As a kid, I was obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog. I had all the consoles, all the games, and my room was decorated in about every piece of merchandise you could imagine. I collected everything, from cans and crisp packets featuring Sonic and his buddies, to books, posters, ornaments and bubble bath. I actually still have it all in various boxes up in the attic, because I can't bear to part with any of it.
My favourite of the whole bunch, though, was Sonic the Comic. For a time, it was one of the best selling comics in the UK and I was obsessed. STC made me realise how badly I wanted to draw for a living. I wrote to the artists and the writers behind the comic, asking for advice on how to get into the industry. When we finally got the internet, Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the first things I looked up, and I eventually discovered a whole mailing list dedicated to other fans of Sonic the Comic, and so many of them were around my age, with similar dreams of creating comics for a living. The most awesome thing is that I'm still pretty good friends with a whole bunch of people I met there! And what's even more crazy is that almost every one of us has a job in the video game or creative industry now. STC was the first thing that made me sit down and decide what I wanted to do for a living, and even though I took a very long time to get there (and, heck, I'm still working on it!), I'm so, so thankful for that initial spark. Sonic the Hedgehog as a fandom and a franchise has kind of gone down the drain a whole bunch since its height in the 1990s, but I'll always be thankful to the blue guy for giving me a kick-ass childhood, an amazing set of friends, and a dream I knew could very much be a reality.
Starsky & Hutch
These guys! While I'd been involved in several fandoms over the years, S&H was pretty much the fandom that really exploded for me. When the (pretty awful!) movie came out starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, my Mum and I went to see it because she'd been a fan of the cop duo in her younger days. She then suggested that I should give the original series a try and boy was I hooked! The buddycop dynamic was at its very best, the guys were, let's face it, pretty darn cute, and it was cheesy as heck. It was great fun!
Starsky & Hutch had a large, old fandom, full of people older than me, who had been in love with it since its original run in the 1970s. I should have felt intimidated, jumping into such an established fandom, but they were all so welcoming and sweet. I actually got so involved with this fandom that I flew out to America twice to attend two different S&H-centric conventions (SHarecon and Zebracon), and I had an absolute blast! It was also the very first time I sold art at a convention, winning an award for one of my silly fanart pieces, which made me realise that, hey, maybe selling at conventions could very much be a thing and, well, you guys know where that went. Thanks, S&H Fandom!
Ah, the RTD days of Doctor Who. I never thought I'd miss it, but as the series goes on, I really do miss the harmless, stupid, emotional days of David Tennant and Billie Piper.
I never watched Who as a kid, and when the series got its reboot in 2005 I came in completely fresh. I enjoyed the show a lot, but it was only when Tennant took over as the Doctor that it really kicked into gear, for me. I absolutely adore the Doctor/Rose relationship, it's still my ultimate ship, haha. I got involved in the fandom, writing fanfic and drawing some fanart, until my buddy Luke and I came up with the idea of making an intentionally dumb, silly webcomic poking fun at the oft-emotional state of Tennant's Doctor (I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.) Working on 'Worst of the Time Lords' was one of my favourite times. It got very popular and we had tremendous support from so many fabulous people. It was the first time I felt like my artistic endeavours were actually really, truly, valued, by a community that enjoyed and cared about our creation. I dropped the ball on it at the end, something I deeply regret now, and I'm very keen to actively get involved in something like it again, because it was incredible being a part of something like that.
Doomsday still makes me cry like a baby.
My Little Pony
My first 'fandom', this is the 'lifer'. My Little Pony was my childhood toy, my kiddy obsession, my first favourite anything. I was a child of the 1980s and My Little Pony was everywhere. My parents bought me hundreds throughout my childhood, and I was spoilt with the larger playsets every Christmas. As a kid, I wrote my own stories about the ponies and drew so much pony art (funny how these things go in circles, huh?)
When our school got the internet installed (before it was a regular household thing, crikey I'm old), My Little Pony was one of the first things I looked up, in a spark of nostalgia. There, I found a whole community of collectors who were now grown up, like me, and who still loved their childhood ponies. I discovered forums and places to chat to other like-minded people. I'd thought I was a little weird for still hanging onto my ponies like a collection (not that I'd ever once had the thought of selling them, mind), but the sheer amount of other adults who had done just that was so inspiring. I joined forums and chatrooms and made a bunch of friends, many of whom I'm still good friends with now! When UK Ponycon took wing, I went along and found a whole community of new friends. Obviously, the fandom has exploded again with the new 'Friendship is Magic' series and I've met some wonderful people through this new, younger community, but I'll always be super thankful to the original pony fandom that gave me so many friends (and so many ponies!)
The Furry Fandom
I actually had a hard time trying to decide which final fandom I was most thankful for, but as I wrote up above about signing online for the very first time and finding other Sonic fans or other My Little Pony collectors, it immediately came to me. Every fandom here has been linked by one thing, really, and that's its impact on me as an artist, and where I am now as a person. As a child, I drew all the time (far more than I draw now, sadly!), but I only ever, ever drew animals, or animal people. If it wasn't The Lion King, the Animals of Farthing Wood or Balto, it was my own creations, my own animal characters doing their own crazy things. I didn't really think anything of it, I just far preferred drawing and worldbuilding around animals to people. Heck, all the books I read were animal stories (Redwall, Duncton Wood, Farthing Wood), and all the movies and shows I loved featured animals as the main protagonists, too. It was only natural that my own stories and art would be all animals, all the time.
I remember very, very clearly, the moment I found 'furry' art online. I found Yerf, which was a gallery dedicated to quality and clean furry artwork, and I found other artists who draw animal people, and I was blown away. I was actually so excited to find other people who drew animals all the danged time, I ran home and told Mum all about it. I was just so excited - I could carry on drawing animal people, and enter competitions and take commissions and join galleries and it was just so so inspiring. Some of the art and technical skill of the artists in the fandom was outstanding, and I don't think anything has pushed me so hard as an artist as that community has over the years. I'm incredibly thankful for that.
I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a blog dedicated to travel, art, geeky adventures, vintage style and a little bit of Disney Dreaming! If you'd like to know a bit more about me, click here!
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