EDIT: We got the pictures posted and everything, y'all. I did something productive before 10 AM!
Without further ado, here's this week's Fandom Friday, with our new contributor, Sebastian!
Hi everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Nan here. Or Z. Zeller. Sebastian. Seb. I go by a lot of names. Kind of a side effect from being on the internet so long; you get a lot of nicknames. And I’ve been here a long, long time.
I wasn’t always involved in fandom but I’ve always been a fanatic. Anything I like, I love, whether it’s movies, tv shows, comics, video games, what have you. I’ve always been like this, even in my earliest years. I think the first thing I really sold my soul to was CatDog. I couldn’t get enough of that show. I collected and hoarded everything that show sold from pajamas to video games and it was all I could talk about for a long time. But that’s how it goes with me; long periods of obsession and then moving on to the next thing. I remember friends in fandom calling me fickle for it but I like to think of it as expanding my interests.
The first real fandom I got into was Pirates of the Caribbean, about 4 years too late. Let’s face it, 10 year old me could not handle CGI ghost pirates. The thought terrified me and I remember protesting to the point of tears when a friend proposed we watch it on DVD. No fuckin way. But boy did that change in middle school, when I watched it on a school trip to DC.
Before you say anything, I was not a Depp or Bloom fangirl. I liked them okay (obviously I prefered Captain Jack to Will Turner) but my main interests were Barbossa’s crew; specifically Pintel and Ragetti. You’ll know them better as the bald one and the one with the wooden eye. They really grabbed me for whatever reason so off I went on an internet hunt for anything pertaining to the two. Then I saw it.
An artist on DeviantART had drawn them… kissing.
My little 14 year old brain could barely comprehend what it was seeing. All I remember thinking was, “...Boys can kiss??”
And down the rabbit hole I fell.
As is my way, I became consumed with the desire to see more of this sort of thing. Fanfiction, fan art, fan videos; anything. Being the earlier days of the Millennium, this led me to LiveJournal, where I found communities and blogs dedicated to this exact thing. And so much more.
Never undervalue the education you can glean from LiveJournal.
From there, I followed Mackenzie Crook’s career to The Office (UK) where I discovered Martin Freeman, who led me to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; probably the most Dead fandom you could join in 2008, which taught me to calm the hell down and enjoy the media presented to me. But then again I seem to have a habit of joining dead or inactive fandoms. I was born out of my time.
And so, fandoms came and went with long intervals of obsession, cosplay, fanart and fanfiction. My creative history is a melange of the most random movies, tv shows, and video games that you could ever stumble upon, but these periods help define phases of my life. I’ll always look back on my Dark Knight and Watchmen days with a fond cringe at how “Edgy” I thought I was. God damn you, DC. God damn you.
I didn’t join Tumblr until 2011, when a long time fandom friend had joined and I was eager to follow. I at first only found and cared about meme-producing tumblrs, then slowly branched out into following actual people. The people I met in my early days on Tumblr are still some of the closest people in my life and I cherish them, though our interests may not always be shared. But I value their opinions and know a recommendation from them is as good as a guarantee. This got me interested in BBC Sherlock.
Well, having Martin Freeman in it helped. I loved that man so completely that I watched a lot of his filmography (thankfully it’s largely good stuff… excusing Ali G Indahouse) so I was excited to see him in a new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. And a modern au to boot!
Of course, I loved the show. I thought it was outstanding, groundbreaking, et cetera, and I was back into another fandom, head first. But my life didn’t radically change until the next year, 2013, at the first 221b Con in Atlanta. I was mostly over the fandom at this point, having been jaded by the massive amounts of drama and wank, as you do. So my intention was to troll the con for an hour dressed as Tony Stark and get back home.
Boy was I fucking wrong.
At that tiny con, I made some of the best friends I will ever have; people who actually understand me and support me without hesitation or judgment, who want me to succeed and want to be with me when I do. That con changed my life in so many ways, not least of which being the way they treated me as soon as I walked in the door, dressed as Iron Man.
They called me Tony. They called me He, and Him, and Himself.
No one had ever done that before.
All my years cosplaying men, I was never referred to as one. I was never treated like the character, just a girl in a costume. But this?
I could get into this.
So I had a lot of thinking to do. I won’t get all the way into my transition story but let’s just say that Tony helped me realize I wasn’t as happy as I could be and Brian Zeller got me to take that first step.
Hannibal was my next big fandom, following shortly after 221b Con’s inception. Again, my good friends on Tumblr were into it and I figured I’d give it a go. Another obsession, this time one dark and grotesque. All aboard the sin train.
But as it goes, I struggled to find the character I could relate to in the show. I adored Will and feared/lusted after Hannibal, but they weren’t really me. I tried projecting onto Frederick Chilton but found that a sad mess. Then one day, a friend from 221b Con told me I’d look like Brian Zeller if I transitioned.
And that settled that. I got on hormone replacement therapy a few months later and I’m still harping on the greatness of both Brian Zeller and Aaron Abrams.