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C09P07 – The Greatest Adventurer

C09P07 – The Greatest Adventurer published on 17 Comments on C09P07 – The Greatest Adventurer

I confess it…I have fangirl tendencies. When I find something I like, I tend to really, really, REALLY like it. And, before I learned better, I’d obsess about the people creating the work as much as the work itself. I often felt that we were friends, even if they had no idea who I was. I put a lot of my role models on pedestals, and then was shocked when they might do something, or say something, that I didn’t like. Discovering that they were human felt like a betrayal. I had viewed them as perfect — how could they be so…so…HUMAN? Looking back, I think I felt this way because I expected myself to be perfect too. And any time I failed to be perfect (which is all the time because – hey – not a robot!) I would judge myself as unfit to be part of the human race. So naturally, I held my heroes to the same impossible standard. Now that I’ve started to have more healthy expectations for myself (although I often forget them) I’ve been able to regard the people I admire as imperfect people, with flaws and strengths. Which makes talking to people a lot easier…as I’m able to remember little things like breathing, speaking in complete sentences, and making eye contact. Tama…has not yet reached this point. 🙂

In other news…THANK YOU for your votes in Round Two of the TGT tournament! We’ve made it to ROUND THREE!! Can we make it to the SEMI-FINALS?? It’s in your hands! Votes can be made once a day, and will run until August 24th! With everything that’s been going on, it would be great to have another chance to get on Kurt’s fantastic show to talk about all the changes. Click here to cast your votes!
TGT_Tournament5_Round3

And in other OTHER news, SpiderForest Collective is accepting webcomic applications. Also until the 24th! (Apparently this is a pretty exciting Friday coming up!) For more information, click here!

17 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Talk about School Boy excited! 😛

I think a lot of us obsess over things we really get into – and the people behind them. And yes it is a bit disappointing when they break our rose colored glasses time and again….

Heh….but like you said, we’re human!

Yeah, in Los Angeles, there’s a very real possibility you might meet or interact with or be in the same restaurant as a famous person. If you’ve lived here long enough, you definitely have your celebrity stories (my husband fixed Greg Kinear’s computer once (he has an action figure of his character from Mystery Men, BTW)), but it taught me that hey, they eat at the same restaurants like the normal schlubs, and this “hero worship” actually does them a lot more harm than good.

However, for some reason that’s not very fair, it’s been hard for me to apply this logic to creators that make stories I love. I’ve been going to at least one huge convention a year for 10 years, which surrounds you with popular people you love and people who are as obsessed as you are. I’d argue that online communities like Tumblr do something similar, and I’ve come to dislike that aspect of fandom.

But it really changed when I started my own webcomic, because even if I wasn’t as good, it felt like I could start talking to them on common ground and that stopping by their booth and chatting for a while wasn’t a waste of their time.

Also, getting into newer/less popular stories by authors who actually DO benefit from knowing they have physical, flesh-and-blood fans rooting for them out there is not only wonderful for everyone, but it teaches you what your huge popular heroes looked like before their big breaks, and really helped me in particular treat them as humans, not gods.

True. As with everything, there’s a healthy balance. The compromise I’ve come to, personally, is that it’s fine for me to obsess over a PRODUCT as much as I want. As long as I don’t feel any sense of entitlement towards how that product is created. Obsession is a-okay with non-living things. If I want to buy Sherlock art, Sherlock mugs, Sherlock coats, and Sherlock iPhone cases, I’m not going to hurt anybody. However, if I start obsessing over PEOPLE, that’s where the danger comes in. Because, unless we’re friends, I don’t really know them. And if we ARE friends, then I should know that they’re human like everybody else. At most, I can love the BRAND of a person that I don’t know. I can admire the work they do, how they present themselves, etc. As long as I keep in mind that I don’t really know them, they have no idea who I am, and are under no obligations to me or anyone else. I’ve found that keeping these things in mind has helped me bring more balance to my fangirl tendencies. And make interactions with people easier, because I know that while I might know OF them, I do not really know them at all.

Hey, but look at that smile on Tama. He so needs this. The trip has been such a burden so far. A role model?–imaginative vision?–possibilities of achievement? and he was there when his hero overcame yet another obstacle, even though there was no way he could know what was going on around him.

Disappointment? How about this: To find out that my college adviser, who stepped in to cover some serious parental administrative duties for me when my dad died, had been, ten years earlier, an awful bigot who had cruelly bullied a colleague, who happened to be the dad of my friend?

Before some people persecuted blacks on campus they found it necessary to make Jews unwelcome . . . my friend’s dad was one of the many brilliant intellectual refugees of WWII and my adviser had a very brutal arrogant side. We’ll leave it at that.

The young can have blinders on, especially in times of emotional stress. But taking them off doesn’t have to be sad and awful either–we grow, we have larger visions.

So our role models are complex, partition their lives, deceive themselves, are flat wrong. Condone? Never, you believe it. Feel the same? One learns what questions to ask before putting faith in a person. Patience–you wait, you ask questions.

And the older you get, the more likely it is that you DO meet people who are worth the Aha! moment–wow, what an achievement! You really did it, over and over, in the face of those odds! They don’t disappoint because they can’t, and you won’t be disappointed because you know enough and you can’t.

I think that obsessive tendency is why I’ve never quite fit into fandom in general – I don’t have it. It’s not that I don’t like things strongly but there’s some threshhold I just don’t go past. I’ve always known the people I admire are human, and that they might well do things I don’t like even while they do things I think are great. The rabid fans at conventions and such actually kind of frighten me, so I appreciate hearing about your perspective because now I can understand them a bit better. I can relate to Tama in a different way, because that poncho is like a talisman or a religious relic for a fanboy. It must be similar to feeling like he can draw some bit of his hero’s courage and wisdom by making use of something that Ravazhi used.

Obsession is an interesting thing. I think that talisman concept is actually linked to why some people get obsessive about things. For me, particularly when I was younger, a lot of why I got so invested in an IDEA of a person or story is that it was what I wanted for myself. It may be that is a common experience for other people too. So if a hero or story deviates from the fan’s ideal track, there’s a feeling of…betrayal? Abandonment? They can’t live vicariously through that person or character or plot anymore and have everything turn out the way they want. It’s a cold dump back to reality. I know the times when I’ve been the worst about obsessing were when I was in bad situations, and the most vulnerable to a bad fan-crash. I had moved to a city I hated, had no friends, despised the job I was at, and the long-distance relationship thing put Cory and I on very shaky ground. So I clung to the things I perceived as “constants” as a way to survive. Unfortunately, that was my perception of creators who were doing the things I wished I was doing with my own life. Their success became my success. I bought their work, followed their projects, and then, when they did something I didn’t like, got crushed. It was a very difficult, but ultimately valuable, lesson. I think sometimes fans cling to something because they perceive it as a way to survive. Try to change it, and it can seem psychologically like a life-or-death struggle. In some ways, it might be. For much of my life, I kept going because stories and characters showed me ways to live. Ways to survive. They were my role models, because in my life I didn’t have anybody to look to. As I’ve grown, and gotten into less toxic places, the need to obsess has faded. Now, it mostly manifests as an enjoyment and celebration of the thing I like. Something I can let myself indulge in. (Sherlock-themed tea in a Sherlock mug while I sit in my Sherlock coat? Excellent!) I’m more aware of what role the story serves and what I can pull from it to improve my life. It’s become a talisman. A reminder of certain traits that I have within me. Rather than thinking that it provides those things from the outside.

Interacting with the amazing Liz Staley has really helped me grow and understand creators on a better level,to the point that a lot of my anxiety about meeting people that I’ve put on a pedestal has disappeared. I used to be terrified of talking to people who create the things that I like, because I used to feel that they were worth a million times more than me and if I said too much or the wrong thing they would ‘hate’ me and I wouldn’t be worthy of reading/watching/buying their stuff ever again.

Then I got an e-mail from Liz telling me that she was really happy for all the times I’d left comments, calling me her first and (at the time, I think) only fangirl and I think I just about had a heart attack and keeled over on the spot. but we kind of started talking after that and now we’re really good friends. It’s given me a lot of perspective on things.

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