Writing Through Media: Tensions in Fandom
Instructor: Mandy Moore
These fanzines were created for my Fall 2021 Writing Through Media class, which focused on “Tensions in Fandom.” One of the course goals was learning to communicate through non-academic genres, including traditional fannish genres like the fanzine. The students were each asked to create their own fanzine that used both verbal and non-verbal modes of communication to advance a loose argument or message, which could relate to fandom as a community or to a specific media text of which the student is a fan. They were advised to consider not only content but also design and organization as rhetorical choices that could help convey their ideas. The assignment did require 500 words of writing that could be included in the zine itself or in an accompanying artist’s statement; all three of the examples included here chose the former. All three also elected to make digital zines, although students had the option between digital and hardcopy. Students worked on their zines during the second half of the semester and presented their work to the class during our last screening period before exams.
The three zines I’ve chosen to submit are very different in style and subject matter, but each does an excellent job conveying a loose argument through not only the written sections but also the inclusion of images, the design choices, the organization, and the overall aesthetic. The first addresses the Amy and Laurie “ship” from Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of Little Women, using character and scene analysis to show why this couple works (and works better than the more popular pairing of Laurie with Amy’s older sister and protagonist Jo). The second intentionally deploys a middle school vibe to emphasize how fan experiences with K-pop groups like BTS have the potential to profoundly shape young people’s development, despite the stereotypes of such fans as “cringey” or superficial. Finally, the last zine uses the songs from Cartoon Network’s animated hit Adventure Time to show the hidden depths of what may appear to simply be a “kid’s show,” pairing analysis with the student’s own artistic rendering of the characters and landscapes.
Megan Cowan: I am a freshman here at the University of Florida. I am also involved in Greek Life on campus and enjoy the amazing opportunities that my sorority provides me. I love to write, and I love analyzing different aspects of media, therefore this fanzine project was incredibly fun to complete.