15 Types of Fans Who Take Their Obsession To New Levels1
By Skipper Martin
15 Types of Fans Who Take Their Obsession To New Levels
Everyone knows “fan” is short for “fanatic,” but the real meaning is usually lost when the short version is tossed around in casual conversation. This can lead to silly and misleading labels such as “casual fan.” An animal like that could only exist along side “part-time drug addict” or “semi-serious neo-Nazi.” Most would probably agree you either ARE or ARE NOT most things.
Sure, there are degrees of interest. I own all five seasons of Quantum Leap on DVD. That doesn’t necessarily make me a fanatic, does it? I don’t use Ziggy handlink-colored condoms or rest my noggin on a Sam Beckett pillow at night. Ok, I did fill out the order form to purchase the Empire Strikes Back Tauntaun Sleeping Bag with a Lightsaber zipper, but responsibly decided at the last minute to spend that $99 elsewhere. I think you’ll agree the Star Wars Jedi Bath Robe was a far more practical choice considering I only camp a few times a year, yet shower bi-weekly.
Popular trends can infect us all. Maybe right this second you’re sporting a Justin Bieber-inspired haircut. And you shouldn’t be embarrassed to have worn Saved By The Bell-inspired fashions, danced like Milli Vanilli, or rapped to Will Smith’s “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand.” We’re all fans of something. But there are those of us that choose to take our passions a little too far.
If you had the chance, would you follow around the object of your fandom all day, every day? This wouldn’t always be practical of course. Loitering near the gravesite of Lucille Ball around the clock isn’t just creepy, it’s probably actionable. This, however, is not a problem for Franklin and Teddy. These lovable schlubs are the titular fans that help their obsession, Kate Maxwell, live every moment of her life in the series My Two Fans. Sound far-fetched? Decide for yourself after you check out these 15 types of fans that take their obsession to the extreme.
My Two Fans – Trailer
My Two Fans – Episode 1, New Beginnings
1. Fans That Take on Character Names
It’s common to give someone a nickname. It’s also common for nicknames to come from famous celebrities or fictional characters. What isn’t so common is for someone to decide to LEGALLY take on the name of a fictional character. Dedicated fans have been known to do some pretty outrageous things for their favorite pastime of choice, but getting new credit cards, changing your bills, and actually braving the DMV voluntarily is a whole new kind of devotion! Certainly a box of Kudos or two needs to be given to those who give their offspring a famous handle. Comic book artist Jon Bogdanove and actor Nicholas Cage both named their sons Kal-El after a certain red-caped Kryptonian, but it’s not like the children had any say in it. People like Scott Nall of Ohio is a whole other story though. He legally changed his name to Optimus Prime! Not to be outdone, Seattle’s Jason Burrows changed his middle name to Megatron. Name changing isn’t only for the lover’s of robots and alien crime fighters however. According to Legalzoom.com, vegan Karlin Robertson changed her name to “Goveg.com” in honor of her favorite website, and Jose Luis of New York switched his to the oh-so-subtle Jesus Christ. I never said fans were modest.
2. Fans That Kill
What could possibly be more pointless than killing a human being in the name of your favorite celebrity? Probably nothing really. Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon. Robert John Bardo shot Rebecca Shaeffer. John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan, to gain the attention of Jodie Foster, and luckily failed.
3. ‘I’m Loving It’ Fans
McDonald’s serves over 47 million customers worldwide every day – a small fry there, a soft serve cone here, a value meal. In order to consume that much food, there have to be lots of fans of this burger joint. But no one assumes that any one person is eating the bulk of this food – but how about twice a day every day and then some? That’s what Don Gorske of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin eats. He ate his 23,000th Big Mac back in 2008, and it’s a safe bet he’s had a few more since. You may recognize him from the not-to-be-missed Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me.
4. Sports Hooligans
Nothing on this list can even remotely compare to the unfortunate and wholly unforgivable consequence of serious injury and, in extreme cases, loss of lives that comes with sports fanatics that go too far. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly a “whole new level,” but a trend that’s been around too long and still happens today. The reigning sports champs of violence in the modern age appear to be soccer fans. Fires, smoke bombs, arrests, deaths – sadly, some fans have no limits.
5. Fans who search for religion in Harry Potter
Sound like a joke? There are a whole slew of books dedicated to finding spiritual connections to Harry Potter’s world. Harry Potter Power by Dr. Julie-Anna Sykley, The Seekers Guide to Harry Potter by Geo Trevarthen, Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger, and Harry Potter and Torah by Dov Krulwich are just the beginning. Once you’ve whet your appetite you can pick up What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? by Connie Neal and Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life by Philip Plyming. Want to get a taste to see if it’s for you? Check out the beginning of the Harry Potter Prayer on the home page of the Harry Potter For Seekers website: “Holy Potter of the universe, who are in Heaven, Hallowed be your Patronus.”
Costume Players or “Cosplayers” take the idea of dressing up to the extreme. Doing it seriously means immersing yourself and ‘becoming’ the character as close as possible. The hard cores can spend some copious cash making their role-playing authentic. One such enthusiast spent thousands to replicate just the helmet from the popular electronic music duo Daft Punk. Others have gone the extra mile to construct Transformers that can actually transform! With sophisticated clothing, makeup and effects, the results can be quite stunning. The practice isn’t just limited to big events or popular mainstream characters. You may or may not have heard of Tessa Stone’s Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name, but there’s a group of passionate cosplayers that regularly get together to strut their best Hanna garb just because they love the book. From its anime roots (where the practice really got its start) to the infamously ridiculed Tron Guy, cosplay has been a favorite pastime of fans.
7. Elvis Impersonators
When you’re The King, you’re bound to have a few followers. The phenomenon of impersonating the “King of Rock & Roll” Elvis Presley can, at times, simply be considered cosplaying. Then there are those that walk the walk and make careers out of emulating the man. Like flavors of ice cream, there are many different types of this unique species of fan. There are look-alikes, sound-alikes, professionasl, amateurs, comedians, and yes (as the film Honeymoon in Vegas taught us) there are some that even fly in the form of The Flying ELVI.
8. World Champion Chess Players
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement.” You should listen to the man. He was one of the cool geeks.
You may love to play Monopoly or Clue when the family gets together, but there is something special about Chess. That’s probably because it’s a game that became an international hit way back in the 9th century. With world championship matches that pit country against country, and humans against computers, the game’s allure doesn’t seem to be abating. The very best players don’t just become fans of the game, they dedicate the rest of their living years to it. Pretty cool for something you can pick up new for a measly 6 bones.
Still think Chess is for wimps and nerds? Let Laurence Fishburne show you how it’s done.
9. Gamer Fans
Gamers have come a long way from their humble quarter-munching Pong days, or have they? Videogames of all shapes and sizes have infiltrated our culture, but who REALLY takes it to the next level? Games like World of Warcraft and Halo seem to have become some people’s very reason for existence. Many may disagree, but it’s a hard to compare these to video game’s early obsession, Donkey Kong. Sure Pac-Man launched an international frenzy. That can’t be denied. But the yellow one’s time has sadly passed. Yes, Mario himself has gone on take over the globe in his own way, but every time the world record score for Kong is broken, it makes headlines. The race for the top of the girders was even chronicled in the thoroughly enjoyable documentary “King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters.” In the film, Steve Wiebe faces off against legendary gamer and hot sauce extraordinaire Billy Mitchell for the crown of glory, but the ending became moot earlier this year when Guinness World Records honored Hank Chien as the new champ. According to the authority of world scores Twin Galaxies, Steve Wiebe has once again proven who the real King of Kong is – for now!
10. Famous Car Replica Builders
Did you ever want to actually own a tricked out Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T. if you prefer) supercar of your very own? Maybe you’ve got the chutzpah to actually save up the scratch for a 1982 Pontiac Firebird and paint it black? But do you honestly have the testicular fortitude to buy a custom dashboard, modified front nose, all the lights, buttons, television screens, and other gizmos to the tune of over $30,000 just so you can drive a glorified prop from an 80’s television show? Would you believe there are companies (yes, plural) that can help you not only do such a thing but will also build it for you? Maybe the General Lee is more your speed? Or how about something a bit less pedestrian like a time machine with some style? From the famous Doc Brown DeLorean to Batman’s groovy Lincoln Futura Batmobile, people are emptying their bank accounts and spending long hours and years making their supercar wishes come true. You think that band tattoo on your arm shows devotion? Maybe… but you ain’t got a flux capacitor in your ride!
11. The Collectors
Collecting deserves to be in its own class. You may have collected stamps, Garbage Pail Kids cards, or comic books, but did you go the extra mile? Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters famously collected “spores, molds, and fungi,” but he wasn’t the only one with a peculiar hoarding fetish. I personally saw a collection of ceramic bedpans and handheld urinals in my local pharmacy. The owner couldn’t have been nicer, but I wasn’t exactly tempted to shake his hand. Pez dispenser lovers, Jay Leno’s legendary garage, classic movie poster enthusiasts, the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, aren’t they really all just dedicated fans? Collections can take up a wall, a room or a city block – sometimes it can live in cyberspace. I could send you to thousands of places all over the web, but since we are talking about dedicated fans, I’m going to showcase a great one. For lovers of the Superman films starring the late, great Christopher Reeve, you should do yourself a favor and check out the killer assemblage of uber-fan Jim Bowers. You won’t find a more passionate authority on the subject.
12. Star Trek: Phase II
Trekkers, in some circles, are the very definition of fandom. There are those who cosplay, own tons of merchandise, can quote every episode, and even take the time to learn Klingon. There are also plenty of people who choose to drop tens of thousands of dollars to make high quality fan-film productions. Then there are the makers behind Star Trek: Phase II. They loved the original series so much they continued it themselves once it was off the air. Six episodes have already been produced with more on the way.
13. Life-sized Gundam
Law & Order ran for twenty seasons. They must have a dedicated fan base, eh? Tell that to the followers of anime series Gundam. For its 30th anniversary, its production company, Sunrise, Inc., announced they were going to build a 1:1 full scale Gundam statue! They indeed built the sucker, and standing at 60 awesome feet, the results speak for themselves. Maybe someday we’ll get a rumpled Lenny Briscoe monument staring out over New York. But honestly, could it ever look this cool?
14. Fans Who Make a Living Making Lightsabers
How many would-be Jedi & Sith out there can make a living manufacturing a fictional movie prop? Lots. Unlike collectors, these companies take their love of the coolest fictional weapon and craft a replica made-to-order. Parks Sabers, Ultra Sabers, and XsaberX offer a selection of custom models to choose from with a variety of features. Maybe you want something a little more personalized? Look no further than Robert Iannaccone of Advanced Light Weaponry. This guy makes some of the most exquisite sabers around and strives to never make the same weapon twice. Purchasing one of these ultra cool weapons may never make you a Luke or Darth, but there’s nothing stopping you from becoming a Ryan or Dorkman – with a little practice that is. (Don’t forget to check out their sequel too!)
15. Celebrity Look-a-Like Surgery Adopters
Being a cosplayer is one thing. Actually going under the knife to permanently alter your appearance requires a splash of insanity. We’ve seen Michael Jackson fan, Navi, take the surgical plunge to emulate his favorite superstar, but he’s certainly not the only one. The practice became popular enough to spawn a show about it – MTV’s I Want A Famous Face. If you want to be someone else that bad, than fanatic is definitively the word for you.
My Two Fans – Episode 2, Back In The Saddle Again
My Two Fans – Episode 3, Better Than Therapy
Skipper Martin is a colorist at Universal Studios, writes a comic book called “Bizarre New World,” and has a name no one ever forgets.