the hardcopy fandom
Even though fanzine publication has, for the
most part, given way to fan fiction being posted online, much of fandom’s
very best fan fiction is in those hardcopy fanzines and unavailable
online. Have you ever held a fanzine in your hand? Then you know what a
special experience it is to share The Dream between its pages, knowing as
you do that you are part of a decades-long fandom tradition. You feel the
spirit of the fans who have been there before you shining through its
pages, part of the rich history of a fandom that pre-dates the Internet.
While online fan fiction is absolutely wonderful to read, it’s undeniably
a thrill to read a fanzine, one that gives you an entirely different
experience than reading fan fiction using a screen and a mouse.
While we may know many fans through online
activities, there are other fans – fans who, for whatever reason, do not
participate in online fandom. Some fan clubs still exist, and fans gather
monthly or for special occasions in Michigan, Tulsa, Los Angeles, San
Diego, the Chesapeake area, and other places in the U.S.
Have you taken a look at the
Batbland Conventions History
pages? There’s a wonderful display of convention history there, put
together by Deb Fowler, con chair for two fantastic conventions. While
you’re there, take a look at Annik’s essay on conventions to get an
overview of what you are missing by not coming to one!
Conventions are nothing new to fandoms. They
have been around for decades. And in the beginning, Beauty and the Beast
was included in multi-fandom conventions held around the country by
professional convention hosts such as Creation as well as by small local
science fiction clubs. Their guests might include one or two of the stars
of Beauty and the Beast, but the focus of these conventions generally was
not our show. Slowly, organizations like Creation, as well as local fan
clubs, organized Beauty and the Beast-only conventions. But these did not
have a national reach, instead looking for local or regional participation
Conventions were, of course, held elsewhere
– professional conventions continued to include Beauty and the Beast, and
fans in various countries (England, Germany, etc.) held fan-run Beauty and
the Beast conventions as well. It’s a testament to the fans’ longstanding
love of Beauty and the Beast that conventions continue to be held around
the world – most recently in England in 2008, and one for which there is
great excitement in Australia in 2013.