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Hammonds, Kyle A. and Garrett Hammonds. "The Flash and His Fantastic Fear of Ferocious Fans." The Phoenix Papers 3. 1 2017. Accessed 21Jul. 2021. <>. 
Added by: joachim (7/21/21, 11:17 AM)   
Resource type: Web Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
BibTeX citation key: Hammonds2017a
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Categories: General
Keywords: "The Flash", Adaptation, Authorship, Fandom, Superhero, TV, USA
Creators: Hammonds, Hammonds
Collection: The Phoenix Papers
Views: 22/615
Attachments   URLs, https://fansconfer ... Ferocious-Fans.pdf
Comics conferences indicate a friendly relationship between popular culture creators and their fans. These author/audience relationships are often fun and productive. Superhero fans, specifically, have acquired a reputation for being passionate about their feedback to comics creators. Reynolds (1992) aptly observed that “adult superhero readership (a subsection of the adult comic readership as a whole) has come to identify itself as a small and very cohesive subculture” with organizations such as “specialist comic-book retailers, ‘marts’ and full-scale conventions as the outward signs of this cohesion” (p. 7). Despite this cohesion among superhero fans themselves, though, there has also historically been a bit of uneasiness between authors and audiences. While this uneasiness has not been limited to comics creators/consumers, it has certainly included them. The author/audience tension might be essentially summed up in this way: authors rely on audiences to consume their content, while audiences want authors to generate content that they enjoy. When author and audience objectives have clashed in the past, each side has navigated the tension in different ways. One way comics authors have navigated tensions with their audience was to use their work to communicate their feelings to their consumers. McCloud (1993) supported the notion of authors using work to convey information to audiences when he wrote that comics are an effective means of communication because “comics [act] as intermediary between storyteller and audience” (p. 172). McCloud also concluded that this communicative function of comics remained intact regardless of an author’s present standing with an audience. He clarified that “all aspects of comics have the potential for self-expression, even when economic survival is the artist’s main concern” (p. 182). A particular set of comics characters who may be particularly representative of creator/consumer tensions have made a flashy recent re-appearance in the public eye. In 2014, the CW released their first episodes of a TV adaptation of superhero The Flash. The first season of The Flash – a story about a young forensic investigator named Barry Allen who accidentally receives a super ability of incredible speed – also features a character who functions as a narrative foil: Barry Allen’s arch nemesis, the Reverse-Flash. Reverse-Flash, also known as Eobard Thawne, was a super fan of the Flash who gained his power by stealing from his idol. The resurgence of these characters in the contemporary limelight hail audiences back to comics storylines from the 1960s – stories which utilize allegory to express authors’ feelings of tension with their increasingly powerful consumers. This essay seeks to review examples of comics creator/consumer conflict by examining the Reverse-Flash’s origin story for simple allegorical qualities, provide historical context for the topic of authorial power in literary criticism, excavate rhetorical representations of author/audience tensions from the Flash/Reverse-Flash allegory, and, finally, argue for the potential heuristic value of the uncovered allegorical lessons from the Flash and Reverse-Flash. In short: theories of active stakeholdership and relational dialectics will be applied to the Flash/Reverse-Flash origin story and mined for lessons. In this analysis, we will focus our scope on ideological trends in literary criticism as an explanation of comics creator/consumer relationships. While we may not cover all factors that may result in creator/consumer tensions with our selected scope (e.g., market trends and increased consumerist aspects of fandom), we aim to provide a productive historical snapshot with potential applicability to contemporary relationships between consumers and fans.
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