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Beard, David and Kate Vo Thi-Beard. "Comic Fans and Convergence Culture: Community of Readers in The Master of Kung Fu." Harlot 2 2009. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023. <https://harlotofthearts ... rlot/article/view/26/17>. 
Added by: joachim (11/13/23, 4:58 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (11/14/23, 11:24 AM)
Resource type: Web Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
BibTeX citation key: Beard2009
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Master of Kung Fu", Fandom, Superhero, USA
Creators: Beard, Thi-Beard
Collection: Harlot
Views: 11/221
Attachments   URLs   https://harlotofth ... article/view/26/17
Abstract
At one point in time, a comic book was as ubiquitous a piece of Americana as a can of Coke, and a comic was available for sale in as many places. Comics fans, in those days, weren't necessarily like comics fans today.
It is the goal of this essay to reconstruct the comic fan of yesterday. What follows is not an exercise in fannishness (entirely, at least), but an exercise in reconstructing the communities of readers around a popular text. The study of the reader in this historical case (from thirty years ago) can tell us something interesting about the complexities of being a member of a community of readers today. As fan websites for comics (and tv, and teen fiction) proliferate, we aren't yet thinking through what it means to be a fan in an era of contemporary convergence culture. We're leaping into flamewars over the best artists and arguing over the quality of film adaptations and the declining quality of NBC's Heroes, without time to reflect on the broader implications of what we are up to.
To make our argument about communities of readers in contemporary culture, we survey the study of readers as a field of inquiry, we assess Master of Kung Fu (MoKF) comic books as an ideal object of inquiry, and we analyze the community of readers visible in that comic. The community of fans of MoKF was both [a] a real and genuine community, based on models from social psychology, and at once [b] a community created to advance the goals of the corporation (Marvel Comics). As such, a closer look at this historical community offers some insight for today's comics fandom as they "arrive" in popular culture—and perhaps for the broader communities of fans of other media texts.
  
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