What was your first fandom?

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Title: What was your first fandom?
Creator: lellowyellow
Date(s): August 27, 2016
Medium: online
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What was your first fandom? is a post at Imzy by lellowyellow at Cranky Old Fangirls.

The post has 110 comments, including one very, very long one that is a recap of a fan's "keeper" print zines.

We're all old and cranky, but just how old and cranky are you? Let's talk about our first days stumbling through fandom, discovering fanfiction, fanart, and fan communities. What are your roots? What was your first real fandom, and what were your main ways of accessing content? Did you serve your time on Usenet, or maybe have your FFN Purge|stories deleted off of FFN after that one mom bitched about NC-17 content and had it removed from the site? Did you make a geocities site for your stuff, or participate in yahoo groups? Sound off on your origin stories!

Excerpts from the Many Responses

[kslangley]:

I started as a science fiction fan, but I wasn't hooked into organized fandom. Being an SF fan, naturally I was front and center when Star Trek came on the air 50 years ago. And that is what led me into organized fandom. I purchased my first zines 44 years ago and attended my first con in 1975. As Star Trek fandom expanded into (what came to be called) Media fandom, I went right along with it. Over the decades I have read across some 3-4 dozen fandoms. I added online fandom to the mix almost 20 years ago. My zine library is . . . possibly over 2000 at this time (haven't counted recently)--and that does not take into account zines I have read over the years but not kept. I also have several gigabytes of online fiction in the collection as well.

I would consider my major fandoms to be . . .let's see . . . Star Trek, Star Wars, Starsky and Hutch, Doctor Who (primarily earlier incarnations like Tom Baker), Blake's 7, The Professionals, The Sentinel, Stargate: SG-1. Other fannish interests include Inspector Lewis, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Man From UNCLE, Beauty and the Beast (Ron Perlman television series version), Highlander (television series version), War of the Worlds (television series version ) Shadow Chasers, various types of Anime, Robin of Sherwood, Magnificent 7 (television series version), Quantum Leap, Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Real Ghostbusters, and, well, many other lesser lights and also fannish interests that I consider "fringe" fandoms. What degree I accord to each fandom usually is based on the amount of fannish material I have collected (zines, fan fiction, DVDs, fannish memorabilia, etc.)

Also, I am a proud Curmudgeon-American!
[Elspethdixon]:
Harry Potter, back in 2002. I lurked in Highlander and Mag7 fandom a and a bunch of anime fandoms at that time as well, but HP fandom on Fiction Alley was the first fandom I was truly active in, both in fic writing and FictionAlleyPark forum discussions.
[Magess]:

My first real fandom was Highlander: The Series, while it was new on TV. The Internet existed, so there were fan site archives and USENET. I think I used both equally.

XFiles pretty soon after that, but by then it was more fan site archives.

(And lo, recently I combined the two into a Methos/Krycek fic series that is very dear to me but no one knows who either of them are because kids these days.)

Never had anything deleted off FFN! But I did read a lot there once it became a thing. And then mostly to LJ for a long time, until that died.

[taichara]:

If I had to try and think back on it -- my take on what constitutes "fandom" or "fannish" gets kind of fuzzy -- I'd say my first fannish forays as a fan of one in absolutely nowhere were things like Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, Pern, Final Fantasy, Mega Man (X), the Legion of Super-Heroes, and stuff that didn't last at all, like Mighty Orbots or Wildfire. I'm not sure if I was fannish exactly over the Elric books but they were definitely a thing.

Actual fandom-fandom had to wait til 1995 when I discovered the internet (oh gawd, unraveling Usenet and finding boards and spelunking through websites ... and the rise of Geocities and all things eye-searing, lol), and that was ... kind of still the same sort of thing? A lot of Robotech and Pern, LoSH and Final Fantasy, especially when FFVII kicked off the boom. I discovered more anime and manga than just the zillion-generation Ranma 1/2 fansubs that circulated my home town and was off to the races.
[violetskythe]:

Gundam Wing was my first anime and dip into fanfiction. Though I didn't get to read anyone else's stories because we only had one computer in the house and I wasn't allowed on it! I still remember typing the 'disclaimer' posts on FFN, though. I'm still into Fanfiction because writing is awesome, but I've moved onto Batman. I still dip my toes into GW every now and again....

GW spoke to me on a level that others hadn't hit before, they were 3 years older than me the first time I saw them on TV, so I was around 12? My home life wasn't that great (I'll skip the drama) and these boys, kids really, were so fucking badass it was amazing. I gained a lot of strength from it.

I never flat out HATED Relena, but just her constant wining and asking for Heero to save/find/kill her drove me crazy. Yeah, she had some killer parts, but the pacifism part turned me off...her lack of character development, too.

I was, like most first-time writers, writing to put myself in the story with my favorite character. After I semi outgrew that I turned to the m/m pairings because I didn't think just smashing the girls and boys together just because they were girls and boys did the characters any service. And it helped that a lot of the m/m fanfiction was a lot better. I have to say though it never occurred to me to write, much less read m/m before I found the GW ones.
[lellowmellow]:

I was in the minority who actually liked Relena...? I guess I could relate to her in some ways, because in my 12 year old mind she passionately stood up for things, and didn't back down from strong badass men. Stared down the barrel of a gun while looking in the eyes of a scary dude, being like, "Pull the trigger. Betcha can't." I'm also quick to defend her because I think people forget just how damn YOUNG the main characters are. I certainly wouldn't have held my shit together that well at 15! In some ways I understood the hate train on her, but I had no concept of wank and just figured people liked what they liked. And at that age I was very ??? about m/m. I was like... What? But why? So in my GW days I read mostly het pairings. I think it'd be interesting to go back and watch GW again at 27 as a slash fan and see what I see. I might have to watch it subbed though, I remember I tried to watch the dub a few years back and it was so comically bad that I couldn't take any of it seriously!

This is kind of an aside, but I actually didn't hope on the slash train until I was around 18, after lurking in fandom for around 6 years. I'd taken a break from fanfiction/fandom for a bit, but when I watched The Mighty Boosh, of all things, something shifted. I was like, "Those guys are gay, and the dynamic is amazing," and being who I am, I ended up reading fanfiction for them. Soon thereafter I played Kingdom Hearts and SoRiku invaded my heart, and I've pretty much exclusively read m/m fanfic ever since, lol.
[Scarlet]:
X-Files too! I was on Usenet, I navigated between uk.media.tv.sf.x-files, alt.tv.x-files and alt.tv.x-files.creative. Those were crazy times!
[ahbuggrit]:

I guess my first real fandom was Naruto - I'd found fics for Petshop of Horrors on ff.net before, and then strayed into Naruto. I read a SHITTON of Naruto fic, and left a bajillion reviews.

Funnily enough, I don't think I wrote Naruto fanfics, though I had a load of plot bunnies.

It was the era of the disclaimers (before each chapter!), with the author conversing with the characters before one of the featured characters proclaimed the disclaimer, or they'd say 'if you think i own X then I have some islands to sell you might be interested in'. The era where unnecessary and kinda cringy use of romanized Japanese was so utterly prevalent (and yet, I never found it off-putting).
[MinimCalibre]:

My first thing I wrote fanfic for was the Burt Ward Batman series. Batman/Robin. I was 14, it was the late 1980s, and I had no idea that media fandom was a thing that existed. I started going to conventions in 1990 but didn't start being active in this side of fandom until 2001. I know full well that, had my college not blocked Usenet, I would have stumbled into X-Files fandom and been wanky, annoying, and young, so it's probably for the best that they blocked it. (I knew there was Usenet activity around Kirk/Spock, I wanted to see it, I had no way to get to Usenet, but if I had, that would have been the gateway to so much else.)

My first actual fandom was Buffy. Honestly, I only started writing because the people on my Salon-started Buffy discussion board included a lot of fic writers and I felt guilty that I wasn't producing content for them to read, too. This meant my introduction to fic writing was cheerfully workshopping and discussing it with people like Herself, FayJay, Shrift, Nestra, Cofax, Jonquil, and a lot of other old schoolers, as well as some writers who were mostly pro writers but occasionally wrote fic.

It was cool because it gave me a sense of community from the start and meant I had people to talk to from the moment fandom started to shift from mailing lists to LJ. My socially-awkward self also got lucky in that my first fandom people were people with a lot of connections in fandom. I don't think I'd have lasted more than a year without having a built-in network. (When I was in Sherlock fandom, it was the most isolating, miserable fandom experience of my life because I didn't KNOW people already and was constantly second-guessing myself. Also, fandom shifted over to Tumblr right about then, so actually getting to know people was next to impossible....

My first year, it didn't even have the Internet. You could get access to the main state university's Internet if you had a legitimate use case, and you accessed that by going through the state Department of Fisheries. The modems in the computer lab were 1200 baud. Opportunistic little shits that we were and knowing that we were getting our own .edu the next year, we did an independent contract to write a guide to the Internet so that we could get access that year. I kind of wish I'd been the one to have the Usenet part of the guide, but I focused mostly on BBSes I'd access through telnet.)
[tptigger]:
As others have said: define fandom. I dictated my first fanfic-- about Simon and the Land of Chalk Drawings-- to my babysitter at age four. We will not talk about the Kids Incorporated and Star Wars Mary Sues in Junior High. I actively joined fandom, alt.tv.sliders in college, shortly after the show started. (I occasionally lurked in alt.tv.babylon5 and rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 before then, but Sliders was where I first posted.) This lead to my first email subscription list: slfic. Which lead to ladyslvr posting a Tomorrow People (1992)/Highlander/Sliders crossover which lead to the creation of Tomorrow People fandom--which I was active in for 20 years, though I don't think the lists currently exist anymore.
[Raspberry]:

Blake's 7 for me. My, was that a toxic fandom. Someone gave me all her zines when she left the fandom for good, and I later did the same.

I had a Geocities 'Allo 'Allo fansite. And I was early into Xena and star Trek: DS9. Usenet and mailing lists and The Professionals electronic library (on actual disks!)
[cloudsinvenice]:

The first thing I was fannishly obsessed with was Thundercats, when I was five.

The first thing that gave me a community was X-Men, in my tweens/early teens - I got into the Fox cartoon, then the Marvel UK reprint comics, in which someone wrote to the letter column about starting a penpal exchange.

My first internet fandom must've been The Police. I haunted Sting.com and experienced my first taste of fandom drama via the forums and IMing people I got talking to there.
[Aoife]:
Harry Potter in a publically way; there are still orphaned badfic of mine from my early teens out there that i'm never ever linking to. Also Sylum, which was my intro to role-playing and insane AU universes.
[kslangley]:

I have to say, there is nothing I like better than a day spent "rummaging through the zine shelves."

Now, I have moved with the times (as much as I am willing and able to do). I read 'net fiction with the best (and worst) of them. I have e-zines and CD-zines in my library. But my preference has been, and always will be, for printed fanzines.

I love fanzines. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. Reading online, or from a sheaf of printed-out computer pages printed off the 'net, will never compare with a lovingly-produced, well-crafted fanzine.

Speaking of the Days of Yore, whenever I got a new zine, the first thing I did was just . . . hold it. I love the physical feel of a zine—the heft and weight of it in my hand, the texture of the paper (both interior and cover stock.) I like to page through it slowly to enjoy the visual appeal of it—layout, design, graphics, binding. And of course, the artwork—the plentiful hand-drawn illustrations by an array of amazing artists with distinctive styles, whose work could, at the highest level, positively illuminate a zine. (Heck, I've gotten into entirely new fandoms simply because of the look of a fanzine.) I like to read a snippet or two along the way in anticipation of later delights. I loved (past tense, because you don't see these any more) chatty editorial pages and meaty LoC columns, and humorous "You are Receiving This Because" pages.

Zines today are very different. In my opinion, it is a rare zine these days that achieves anything near the quality of the best of yesteryear and, as I have mentioned in other forums, even just from a visual perspective, most zines today look as if they were produced with the same cookie-cutters and on the same assembly line. It's so boring that I have been known to get rid of many a modern zine once the contents had "timed out" and gone online, because there is nothing about it in its fanzine form that merits my appreciation. (And if I take it off the 'net instead, I can at least reformat it to my personal reading and space-saving preferences—always a plus when you have as many zines as I do).

But I still have my library of zines, assembled over the decades, to see me through.
[godots]:

i think mines was Buffy in terms of stumbling into forums/chat rooms/fic etc, but p much as soon as i realised fic was out there on the internet i just jumped from mailing list to password protected archive to authors geocities to wherever i could get my fill. i read in a ton of fandoms i didn't really know the cannon for haha.

eventually livejournal (bandom) became the center for fannish things for me for years, it was such a sociable space whereas tumblr makes you feel so distanced from everyone i think. i miss the infrastructure of communities and flists!
[IngridMatthews]:

X-Files, 1995. You can't get much older and crankier than that, I think.

I accessed content through stone tablets that were chiseled out and delivered by pterodactyls, ala the Flintstones. Okay, no, I was on the newsgroups alt.tv.x-files on USENET and what a wanky time that was. (I mostly lurked but it was scary even that way.) There were mailing lists -- there was one on AOL that used to deliver the fics via an attachment every day, geez, I can't believe I forgot the name of it -- AOL message boards, Geocities sites (remember the Ring of Sites) and yeah, Yahoo groups, which worked really well, until something happened to them. I then took a haitus for a while and came back refreshed, branched out to more fandoms and never left, more or less.

[snipped]

The wank on USENET was insane. Not in X-Files but in some other fandom (Knightrider, maybe?) there were death threats and someone tried to burn someone else house down? Doxxing was a big thing, but with people then coming for you. It's not even funny now.
[Franzeska]:

I have this vague traumatic memory labeled "Shanna--Laura--BOOKS".

a.k.a. I too hail from the 1st/2nd season of the X-Files on alt.tv.x-files. (That thread ran for like a year, didn't it?)

I remember being clued in to the existence of new stories written by fans, OMG, and I insisted on downloading everything on the FTP site, which took many floppy discs. (This was immediately prior to Gossamer, I think, but I was 13 and clueless, so my memories are pretty blurry since I didn't really understand what fic was or what I was looking at.)
[lopipastarling]:
Hanson fanfic, 1998? Ish? I'm not sure, honestly. I read fanfic on geocities and other sites because FFN didn't exist yet and found new sites through webrings. I never used usenet, but once I found mailing lists, I used them. I think YSML was the first one I ever joined, followed by RPS list, FFN-Slashers-Unite, LOTR-RPS (though I never did join CTB), and I think right around then was the time mailing lists were beginning to dwindle and LJ was beginning to come into heavier use. Everyone knows the rest from there!
[lassarina]:

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, if we count the first thing I wrote for; Roar and Final Fantasy, if we count what I found other people's fic for (the Dragonriders stuff was lost at least five hard drives ago and that's just as well.) I did Geocities and Angelfire and I remember FFNet before The Great Purge, but my real blossoming was with LiveJournal and these days my primary fannishness is Dreamwidth.

I never could deal with Tumblr.

I'm still heavy on Final Fantasy, and some Shin Megami Tensei, too.
[linzeestyle]:

X Files, 1998. I used to get onto Haven (shivers as if someone stepped on my grave) and Ephemeral via my family computer, in the living room, thereby ensuring no one could use the internet for hours on end. It made my parents' lives as small business owners a lot harder but it got me cable internet much earlier than everyone else! Oops. I think I was everywhere at some point or other: the AOL message boards, Yahoo Groups... In retrospect, how did any of us ever find each other?!

Once XF ended I floated for a while, then got swept over to LJ and Smallville pretty simultaneously. It's funny thinking back now because my fandom experience never started multifandom, or community-focused per se...but having spent a couple years on Tumblr (was it really that long?) I realize now just how much of the experience really is fandom. Which I suppose is where you get places like crack_van and ship_manifesto, or just fandom hopping in general. The community is the best part of fandom regardless of my current chosen source material.
[SomeoneElsesDream]:
First fandom I ever wrote fic for is Labyrinth. It was terrible, horrible, orphaned self insert fic. It was 2004, I was 20. First fandom I ever remember reading fic for was LOTR back in 2001. That also lead me to RPS/F. It was a slippery slope of fun fun sinning
[kurushi]:
My parents raised me in a Star Trek fannish home, and we got into a lot of SFF, but my first non-family fandom was probably Xena: Warrior Princess. The things I wrote back then were... so bad, but I had so much fun! I can't even remember the pseudonym I used. Star Trek]] was mostly fanzines and imported VHS tapes of episodes (we had a huge broadcast lag here), and big group viewings. Xena was ffnet and old geocities sites, once I finally got dial-up internet.
[VRTrakowski]:

First define "fandom". :P I wrote my first fanfic long before I knew what the stuff was, but I didn't get into fandom as a participatory thing until later, in which case it would probably be classic Trek. If you're counting "personal enthusiasm" I'd have to go with Frances Hodgson Burnett...

I started attending cons in the mid-1980s, but the first time I became aware of fanzines was looking at a list of B7 slash titles, and my poor naive self ran away screaming. Wrote a bunch of half-formed silly stuff in college to keep myself awake in class, but it was strictly for my own entertainment.

I didn't come back to fanfic as a reader until the late 1990s when I started searching for Space: Above and Beyond stuff online. Then I hit FF.net and never looked back. I didn't lose any stories in the purge, but one of my buddies lost her account that way.
[Pebblerocker]:

Harry Potter, on Livejournal. I was fascinated by the idea of telling stories about the minor characters like Hannah Abbott!

I had what I recognise as fannish feelings about Due South before we ever got the internet. I wasn't allowed to stay up late enough to watch it, so I asked my mother to tell me the story of the week's episode the next day and I would do my best to imagine.
[illudio]:
Doctor Who was my first fandom, though I sort of inherited that one as mum used to take me to fanclub meetings if she couldn't get a sitter. My first proper fandom was Blake's 7, though just as a reader. I picked up a zine and was hooked from then on. Through Voyager, X-files, Buffy, SG1, Smallville and onto Supernatural, with dozens of smaller fandoms along the way. I didn't really write much online until I'd lurked for a long time, first was some X-files slash for a list, then Buffy fic on ff.net, and that was indeed lost in the purge. Though it lived on for a while on a spectacularly hideous geocities site. I'm still a member of a few active yahoo groups , though the list gets shorter every year. LJ was home for a long time, but I sort of drifted away a bit when tumblr took off, as I never found tumblr all that intuitive but it seemed to be where most of the action was.
[lelloyellow]:

You gotta love those old geocities sites, lol. I made one for Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, complete with MIDI music background and all. Ugh.

It's strange being at my age, kind of in-between the time of zines to USENET and then the advent of modern internet fandom founded in FFN and, i suppose yahoo groups. I'm kind of familiar with the way zines work, and it's awesome to me that things like that were mobilized even back then, but I can't imagine what that was like!

It's funny, but using Imzy has made me realize just how much I miss the interaction that LJ had to offer. I love tumblr for a lot of reasons and it did bring me to meet several really awesome people, but for someone who has hundreds of followers and follows hundreds of people, I can't say I know even more than a handful of them, and even really only talk to that handful. LJ was great for interaction, but I didn't quite realized how much I'd lost that. I've spent a lot of today actively discussing things I really love with people who also really love them rather than just kind of spewing feelings into a void, and it's been amazing.
[mhalachai]:
for me, it was Profiler back in 1996 - the show did some really neat online community/forum stuff after the end of the first season, and since we'd just gotten our very first modem, I used up a lot of our dial-up time that summer on the forums (as Zarah back then). I also made a Geocities site for the show (the HTML came in handy when I got my first web programming job in 1998)
[lellowyellow]:
I was a wee one, watching all those weird ding-dang Japanese cartoons on Toonami, totally enraptured with Gundam Wing. We hadn't actually had the internet for all that long, but you can bet that me, desperate as I was for more to the story, took to the internet like a hound on the scent to find out more about these teens and their giant robots. And then, there it was - fan communities, websites with archives of stories written by fans!!! WHAT IS THIS NEW SHINE???? Haven't looked back, lol. I joined FFN in 2001 at the tender age of 12, and though I published fic (pardon while I bleach my brain thinking of that stuff), I didn't really talk to folks, even in yahoo groups. It wasn't until LJ when I was around 18 or 19 that I started really participating in fandom, but I've been into it ever since!
[still-lost]:

X-Files for me, too, but on the official forum. Shippers vs Noromos!

Also SG-1, I posted poorly written porn to the Yahoo Sam and Jack NC-17 mailing list OH MY GOD SO OLD.
[IngridMatthews]:
OMG, I had NoRomo friends and I started there, but had secretly turned into a Romo. When I finally came "out of the closet", they wouldn't talk to me anymore, LOL!
[still_lost]:

I think all my friends were Noromo at that time! I was a Shipper to the core, though, but I kept it low-key so my Noromo friends would still think I was cool.

I also hung with Walter's Wenches although I was not one of those myself. omg I am flashing back.
[froggydarren]:

I missed out on the very early days of fandom due to lack of English and lack of western ... well, anything. :(

First online fandom I was in was Dawson's Creek (and to a degree Roswell) back on Fanforum. But before that I was fangirling (& writing sort of fic that's hopefully by now only a faint memory in my mind with no record anywhere LOL) with bands, and my first fanfic was a short thing based on My Little Prince, so... that probably also counts.
[Raine Wynd]:
My first fandom was Mack Bolan. Starting in 1998, I used to host a info website for it until I quit reading the books, and for years that site was one of only two that was constantly updated with info on the series, which has been ghost-written since the 80's and is printed by an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises. One of the fans of that site got me into watching Highlander, and the rest is history.
[MountainPixie]:
My first fandom was Star Trek. I read fanfic my friends wrote. I wrote fanfic. (Mainly about the crew beaming down to a planet and finding a beautiful princess/fairy/pixie because I was a kid.) I got together with other kids in my neighborhood and discussed episodes. This was long before the days of internet when you actually had to get up and change the channel on the TV by turning a knob. Good times, good times.
[Pameluke]:

I'm a bit hazy on the timeline, but the first fanfic type stories I wrote were probably for either Neopets or Horseland.

My first actual fandom activity was for Queer as Folk (US), on a random message board I'd stumbled into, and practiced my English by writing huge arguments in "Is Brian Kinney An Asshole Or The Hero" wank. I definitely pretended to be an adult, when it must have been so obvious that I wasn't. Later I spent a lot of time on Television Without Pity. So many arguments :)

The first fanfic I read was Rogue/Gambit stories, when I went looking for what happened after the 90s animated series. I searched for them on the internet at school, and then saved them on my floppy disk to read at home.

I never realized these were fandom things though, I think I only got to know fandom as a thing with Twilight fanfiction (much fond memories of Alice/Jasper on FFnet), and really got sucked into it with Glee (which I later ragequit).

I managed to skip LJ altogether, and am actually kind of fond of tumblr. But I'm looking forward to this fancy commenting business.

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