Contesting Comic Book Guy, or Get a Life Paul: Representations of Fans and Fandom in Film and Television.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description of Activity

In this lecture I aim to analyse the varying representations and stereotypes of fans presented in media and popular culture. It sets out to deconstruct the images we have of the cult fan (the “get a life” geek, loner, introvert, socially inept etc.) and assesses to what extent these representations have been created and perpetuated by the media franchises fans choose to follow and the fans themselves. In discussing selected examples ranging from Free Enterprise (1998), Clerks (1994), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), The Simpsons (1989-Present), Spaced (1999-2001), and The Big Bang Theory (2007-Present) I address notions of genre, subcultural capital, nostalgia and identity. Fans are not merely consumers; they are active producers of new texts that assume greater value in fan communities. Therefore, it will be important to not only highlight the motivations of individual fans but also discuss their relationship with media texts, the institutions of media and other fans as depicted in film and television. This lecture will consider important questions that underline the study of popular media culture: How do fans relate to an ever growing and diversifying media landscape? How important are representations of fans and fandom to fans and their notion of identity? What role does nostalgia play in the media in attracting fans to watch new, mainstream, old and cult texts? To what extent are fans still stereotyped in contemporary media and how far do those stereotypes go in perpetuating myths surrounding fandom and the affective relationship with media texts?
Period2 Feb 2012
Held atUniversity of Glasgow, United Kingdom


  • Fandom
  • FIlm Studies
  • Television Studies