From fanzines to Tumblr, fans have always found outlets for their love and creativity. In the 1960s, it was fans who campaigned to keep Star Trek on the air. Some literary historians credit fans for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s resurrection of Sherlock Holmes. But with the rise of TikTok and other short form videos, It seems the next evolution of fanfiction and fan influence has arrived.
Fanfiction debatably existed as far back as Ancient Greece where philosophers like Plato debated Homer. Some scholars even argue classics such as The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost are examples of mainstream fanfictions. With such deep roots, it isn’t surprising that fanzines (fan magazines) started in the 1900s. Russ Chauvenet coined the term to describe his publication Detours in 1940, and in 1967, Spockanalia became the first media-based fanzine. Others quickly followed.
And of course the internet allowed such creativity to migrate onto websites and fan-driven platforms. If you have a Tumblr account, it isn’t hard to find other like-minded individuals who adore your favorite shows, video games, or books. One great example of hyper-specific fan creativity are Anime Music Videos (AMVs). AMVs arose in the early 2000s, often being shared on fansites until the rise of YouTube. Other fandoms followed suit. Archive of Our Own, a nonprofit fanwork site, became something of a clearinghouse for all kinds of fan creativity. It has more than 2 million accounts and a Hugo Award.
Currently, short form video content is where you’ll see the cutting edge of fan creativity. On TikTok as well as Instagram and YouTube, cosplay content creators drive their own narratives within the pop culture lore that they love. My Hero Academia cosplayer, born2burn_, often uses popular audio clips to show off their fantastic artistry, earning them over 15 million likes and over half a million followers. raineemery, a multi-fandom cosplayer with almost 3 million followers on TikTok, features design creation and live action replication of scenes using the original audio.
Then comes the lore.
Unlike other short forms, cosplay lore ties together videos, creating overarching fan stories acted out by content creators in costume. Though at times still utilizing trends, these cosplay lores build out backstories and function much more like podfics (audio fanfictions). Two popular channels, denki.darling and DinoBunny Cosplay, appear to be at the forefront. Both have over a million followers on TikTok, and their followings are only growing as they’ve moved their videos over to YouTube.
Of course, this is all in the early stages. There’s a chance cosplaying content creators will continue to favor non-serialized short form content, but with the rising popularity of DinoBunny Cosplay’s Mariolore and Denki Darling’s completed The Marble storyline, this may just be the next stage of fanfiction.
We may even see a collaboration between written fanfiction and cosplay content creators. Podfics are often collaborations between an originating fanfiction author and another creator, and it would be an easy step to have cosplayers draw from the pre-existing wealth available on sites like Archive of Our Own. Whatever trends come next, you can bet that creative fans will be at the forefront.
If you have a fandom content creator that you think should be highlighted here or in an upcoming article, let us know in the comments or over at the Boss Rush Discord!
Featured Image: Eli Celata
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The Boss Rush Podcast – The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, Stephanie, LeRon, and their friends from around the internet come together with other creators, developers, and industry veterans to talk about games they’ve been playing, discuss video game and entertainment based topics, and answer questions solicited on social media and the community Discord.
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