It’s Rhael! Thanks for being patient for my final post of my residency!
When I started the residency I was picking out my recommended books when I realized a common theme in my zine collection- I own a lot of fan comics & fan zines. At first I set them all aside because I thought they wouldn’t be really appropriate to suggest since they contain characters from other works- but as I thought about it more, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fan comics have a great play in the pipeline to and the creation of original work comics and professional comic work.
Many comic artists start off with fan comics and fan works. In order to be a good storyteller, you also have to consume stories- and maybe one or two catches your interest for long enough you start to think about how you may alter the story to something you may enjoy or want to explore more.
It’s a great way to start understanding story structure and planning without the set up of characters personalities, wants and needs.
I imagine most folks don’t realize they’re doing this when they’re creating fan comics, but I think it’s important to mention. There are many fan works out there that have been converted into original stories after adjusting the characters used- and have done quite well. Many of these stories come from a place of wanting to see a certain type of story be told- and often- there’s many people out there that are interested and/or waiting for the story to be told. In many ways, I feel like fan works are a gateway into more stories being told, and having more writers/artists seen.
There is also the aspect that as a creator, you will get more engagement in creating fan works, especially so at the beginning. It is very rare to survive on original works only from the beginning. While creators are creating fan works, they’re often building an audience and reader base interested in the same types of dynamics and stories they’re telling. Which, if the author/artist decides to release original work, they have an audience that may be more receptive and excited for the work.
Not to mention, there have been countless times where posting fan comics has resulted in paid work for the shows/books/companies they’ve been doing fan work for. Especially in the age of social media where it only takes a creator seeing a retweet or a tag, and getting connected with a fan. The companies and studios often get a lot of renewed interested in their series as well when people create fan works so these relationships can be beneficial for both parties.
While fan works are not fully original works, I think they hold great value. They can be a good pass time, a good study/trial method, a possible step towards original works or professional work, and can help build an audience of like-minded readers- interested in what you may make in the future.
I hope perhaps I made you think a little more about fan works and their importance- I’ve been having fun thinking about it this past month during residency and I’m happy I got to write a small post about it!
Thank you all and I hope to see you around!