One of the things I've been watching of late is Netflix' Daredevil. Just to give some context to this, as a comic-fan, Spider-Man is my go-to. I'm still the proud owner of several hundred original issues, which include the likes of Harry Osborn on drugs, the origin of the Human Fly, the death of Kraven, and Venom's first appearance. That said, I've yet to see a Spidey film that's truly wowed me. Poor, yes. Okay to good, yes. Great, no. (FYI, my favourite screen appearances of Spidey are still the MCU debut in Civil War, and both seasons of the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. Let's not forget the first Maguire/Raimi film, e.g. for the final swing). Probably my favourite superhero film to date is the theatrical cut of Daredevil.
But as much as I love that film (for the bar fight alone), it's not a patch on the Netflix show. Again, I'm a Spidey fan, if anything, so what I know of Daredevil is largely through the wall-crawler. But the Netflix show has blown me away. Charlie Cox plays a relaxed, charmingly nuanced and articulate Murdock, with a pitch-perfect sense of a thin veneer to the ruthless brutality of his alter-ego. The stories are solid, dialogue is sharp, the photography is inspired, gritty and beautiful - man, I could go on. It's made a fan of me.
Which made me think on how I've made fans of people.
I've not made fans of everyone though. Mama, as much as she's on board with me writing, doesn't particularly want to read it - no matter how much she protests otherwise. For her, it's like reading a foreign language - she can read the words, but what they convey simply have no interest or meaning for her. But I'm okay with that. The same way I'm okay with negative reviews and reactions to the likes of Semen. Thankfully, it's got some favourable reaction too, so, again, I'm humbled it's wowed people.
For those I've made fans of, it's heady stuff. I maintain that it's humbling and cool that people gravitate to your work, let alone like it. But, they do. I've had people rave about But Worse Will Come, and perhaps even more so about Forfeit Tissue and its antagonist (which still surprises me, given it's a short standalone work). About how I put London on the map and bring it to life in my work. Humbling, indeed. As I've said more than once, I'm born and raised in the capital and proud of. The city is a character; from the cultural diversity to the physical landscape. Red buses and black cabs that crawl in heavy traffic. London Underground stations and the distinctive red and blue circle-bar logo. From the terraced houses of residential areas to the glass and steel structures in and around Central London; the London Eye, the Shard, et al. From the distinctive smell of a Subway sandwich shop to the sheer breadth of restaurants throughout the capital; cuisines that span Nigerian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Lebanese, etc. From the theatre district of Soho to the more modern vibe of the O2 out in East London - again, I could go on. I've only lived outside of London when in uni all those years ago, but the capital has made a fan of me.
I remember having this conversation with Paul Feeney some years back at Edge-Lit, about wowing fans. Developing and expanding on a mythos - in this case, the Sunset mythos. Dropping teasers and Easter eggs into your work. Cliffhangers. Making fans out of your readers; give them more than they bargained for. If it's good enough to wow, I've done a good job.
Having anyone be a fan of my work, whether they're an author or not, is just cool. To see them amped for when you do a cover reveal and announce release dates. It's just humbling and cool, along with being asked to sign copies of the book. As a horror writer, to have your work (or at least aspects of it) labelled as 'made my skin crawl', 'shudders', '...truly kickass and terrifying...', 'chilling', or 'some of you motherfuckers need Jesus', etc. is gratifying. And from an author point of view, I want to make fans of people. Give them those characters and narratives that they can lose themselves in and invest in. Debate about. Dialogue they can quote, and scenes they can re-read. Just like the O'Jays said, 'Got to give the people. Give the people what they want.'
To bring this narrative full circle, one thing I do remember of recent times is V. Castro sharing a Tweet on what properties would 'you' write for. For the longest time, as a horror author, I never figured on writing for other properties - but over more recent times, it's become more of a consideration (even if it's not a major consideration). Spider-Man is the first one that comes to mind, having been a lifelong fan of the character. In addition to the comics, I still wear the t-shirts - proudly. Making Spidey hands too - 'thwip, thwip'. Villains like Electro, the Lizard and the Human Fly would be my top picks,. The last one I read was No Turning Back, a violent but very clever story which has the web-slinger face off against the Lizard, with help/hindrance from Morbius. A nod to Amazing Spider-Man #100, for the connoisseurs, and the kind of story I'm still re-reading. So, still a fan.
Maybe I'll end up creating a property that other authors would want to create for, or adapt to to other media . That'd be a whole other level of fandom.