Fandoms are more prevalent than ever, with a seemingly endless list of fan bases for comic books, movies, and even singers. Mariah Carey has her Lambs, Beyoncé has her BeyHive, and whether he wants it or not, Chris Pine has his Pine Nuts.
Connected by the internet, people have found an online community that helps them celebrate "details that don't fucking matter," quips After After Party host Sonia Denis. Joined by comedians Justin Tyler, Matteo Lane, and Rebecca O’Neal, the group's discussion turned to comic book and sci-fi fans.
"The internet is bringing people together in a way that is super awesome. You couldn't find the people that are into the specific, super niche thing that you like before [the internet], so that is beautiful," O'Neal says, adding that the fandoms are "driving people a little nuts. Each little community of people...with its own rules, gets more absurd and more absurd."
The panel brings up fans who resorted to bullying Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran, forcing her to delete her Instagram to avoid the harassment. "You're blaming the actress, who is playing a role that a writer has written. These things should appeal to more than just the white dudes who were in there forever," Tyler says. The fandom turned toxic and aggressive with an intensity that bordered on the obsessive. They were no longer fans, they were Stans.
Those same Stans were behind Comicsgate. As Tyler explained, the fandoms blame declining sales of comic books "on writers that are putting women, minorities, any diversity in these main character roles and that's why the sales are down," he said. Lane jumped in to show just how, err, comical the whole situation was: "Comic fandoms can believe that Wolverine came back from death with a magic rock that lets him travel through space but they can't believe that a black woman can be Iron Man for a few weeks."
Watch the full video, below.