Fanzines & Collectors

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Title: Fanzines & Collectors
Creator: Ming Wathne
Date(s): 1995
Medium: print
Fandom: focus on Star Wars
External Links:
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Fanzines & Collectors is a 1995 one-page essay by Ming Wathne.

It was printed in Alliance #2. This zine was created by male fans and it had a distinctly male fan-focus of action/adventure military fiction, as well as articles about the pro books, the computer games, and the professionally-created Lucasfilm items.

While article attempts to explain why some fans like to collect things, this "hook" appears to be a lead-in to an explanation of fan-fiction, specifically of that by females.

For more on this topic see Affirmational Fandom, Curative Fandom, and Transformative Fandom.

From the Essay

Full truth to tell, I fell in love with the Universe, and was deeply upset when Lucas took his toys from his sand box and went home. No more Star Wars...

Only wait! There is a group of people still playing in the sand box! The Star Wars fanzine writers and artists. "I'll buy a 'zine or two just to see how they continue the SW story. Mind you this was before the trilogy, so many of the stories developed differently from the final three movie version, but what great stories and ideas.

Did you ever think what would have happened if Luke and Leia became the love interest? Or were there other Force sensitives that survived? What happened if Luke was captured and did turn to the Dark side? Was Han really a mercenary or was he an Imperial deep cover spy, a lost prince, perhaps an earlier student of Obi Wan, or - Luke's father? (OK it was a time distortion.) Fascinating.

Then there were all those other people in Star Wars. Was Vader the terrible villain who really got joy out of torturing others, or was he simply a very powerful man who had a goal and would do anything to reach it? The Admirals and the Captains; Rieeldn in the Alliance, Needa the Imperial? Did Vader really kill Needa, or just almost? What happened to the arm bands that Han was wearing when he went into hibernation? He did not have them on when he came out. Questions, questions. My favourite is: why was Han bound up like a holiday turkey on the way to the freezing chamber, while Chewbacca, who was the most dangerous physically, was left completely unbound? We needed answers (of course movie-wise this is apparent for how could Han have had that very moving line "The Princess you have to take care of her.") and in many of the stories many of the questions were answered.

My one or two zine [collection] went to 25, then 50, then 100. When I reached that amount I really thought I had a large collection. At this time I have about 1000 SW 'zines or multi-zines with Star Wars stories. If you want to combine that with those in the Library, I am now the custodian of over 3000 'zines, most containing Star Wars stories.

Over the years my fascination with this diverse fan-generated Universe has grown. Authors have added many of their own concepts and language to fan 'zine writing; we now use Shimmer Silk, Down Port, Little One, shiver trees, and Gank Killers without realizing these are fan generated words.

Individual authors have developed other characters that inhabit their own stories and these we have also come to accept as part of the Star Wars Universe. Most all dedicated 'zine readers would recognize Marie 7 Stars (created by Chris Jeffords) and The Dark Lord Emil Arundu (Martha Wells' creation).

We sometimes hear that these stories are not canon, but when Mr. Lucas left the sand box he went away for over ten years. Star Wars was a dying commercial product. The fans had no idea he would ever come back, but as they loved the Universe he had given us they wanted to keep it alive. They started to populate it with their own ideas, and these ideas are fun, intelligent, mystifying and

just a great deal of fun.

Today any fanzine Star Wars story or art piece is eligible to be entered in the Star-a-Wards program established to encourage writing, art work and publishing of Star Wars material. A medal and a certificate go to the winners in several different categories of Star Wars fiction. Gerald Grotty won the Art award this year. Gerald lives in England and is not only prolific, but exceptionally good.

There is a new Bibliography out now that is about ninety pages long and lists Star Wars stories, the 'zines they appeared in and how many pages is in each story.
In American 'zines you will find stories and art from Star Wars authors and artists from all over the world. Star Wars interest is international and the 'zines are finally starting to reflect that. Many of us who started out just reading about Star Wars went on to writing and finally to editing Star Wars 'zines. The reason is, well, "We like it!"