Thanks for the replies, folks. I guess the point both of you have brought up is that of different ‘levels’
of fandom. As Bill said, maybe to be a ‘true’ fan you need to have an appreciation of a character’s
history, however simply being a ‘fan’ means you just read whatever and enjoy it for what it is.
Ben, I should clarify that I don’t EXPECT today’s audience to be familiar with 1930s Phantom/ 1960s
Doctor Who UNLESS they are claiming to be ‘totally, like, the biggest fan ever.’ If you claim that I
would expect to be able to discus with you how The Last Phantom is a metaphor for rebirth and
how that echoes Falk’s original – albeit shorter – first Phantom origin. If, however, you said “I’m a
Phantom fan/ reader’ and you didn’t know the above, well that’s OK. I guess it’s kind of similar to
the ‘casual/ hardcore’ gamer argument. To be a ‘true’ or ‘hardcore’ fan, IMO, you need to have that
knowledge base. I don’t think you need to know everything, but you need to be able to talk about
various aspects of a thing’s history, I think. However, I also think that you’ve the right to call yourself
a ‘true’ fan if you don’t yet know all the history but are actively researching it (be it over whatever
time period). And that knowledge really helps your enjoyment of a thing, too.
To go back to the Doctor Who example, my girlfriend loved the new series but had never seen any of
the original series before we started dating. I showed her a few of the original episodes and now she
can see things in the new series that echo or refer to the old and she has said to me that she gets
more excited about stuff now because she knows what it means within the show’s history. I think
that’s really important.
Again, though, the distinctions between levels of fandom need to be discerned as well, and that is
probably a whole other discussion on its own.
And yes, those videos are horrid.