Thursday, February 19, 2009

Missed Opportunity Of Fandom

It doesn't seem like it to me, but I made my published writing debut almost 15 years ago. It was 1994, the year I more or less joined the Japanese sci-fi fandom. Time has sort of rendered the chronology of certain events meaningless to me, but I do know that Antarctic Press' Sentai #1 was the launching pad for everything else. Interestingly, it was also the (probable) beginning of a separate but related fandom - namely, Power Rangers fandom.

In retrospect, I almost helped found Power Rangers fandom.

I wasn't the first person to say that the Power Rangers shows deserved to be considered as something worth discussing, and not just dismissed outright. I didn't even write the first published feature on Power Rangers that was more than just hype or a trashing. But I wrote a lot of letters defending the series, and some actually saw print. I corresponded with David Crowe, who I think was the first writer to apply a semi-serious eye to the show. And yes, my earliest published articles (in Kaiju Review) were on Power Rangers and its rip-offs.

There's more. Oh God, I can't verify it, but I think I may be the first person to write Power Rangers fanfiction to be read by a wide audience (in the pages of G-Fan). My first serious flirtation with publishing a fanzine was in 1993-94, when I hit upon the idea of doing a Power Rangers 'zine. It was to be called Ranger Report (yes, really) and I had even worked up the covers for what would have been the first two issues. Though I had always intended to "branch out" beyond PR, my knowledge was too limited so the project ended up being abandoned. The logo I created survives (and the name was recycled for a column in Xenorama), but the covers disappeared and the material I had written is tucked away in a box somewhere.

So, what happened? Well, a common thing in fandoms of all types - I lost interest. Power Rangers was and is a kid's show first and foremost, and the limitations and strains of that finally made me decide that I would be better off pursuing other things. That was probably about 1996 or so, and I haven't looked back.

While I don't have any regrets, it's odd to realize that I was part of a fandom that didn't really exist at the time. I don't know when everything "came together" for PR fandom, but it certainly came after my time. As a result, I don't think the things I did had any influence, and likely aren't even remembered as footnotes. It's like being the Pete Best of a fandom, only moreso.

So, do you have any stories of "almosts" in your fannish life?


  1. It's funny how these things work out. I sometimes see someone mention how they got interested in Ryuki after reading an article about in on Henshin! Online (which I wrote! Not very well, I might add.)

    And a typical me story: I was in an Animate in Osaka once looking for the Kamen Rider J soundtrack, and these dudes walked by with an escort for some meet & greet. I only later learned that they were Psychic Lover, who have done a couple recent Sentai themes. So I guess I almost "met" them.

  2. I remember that RYUKI article! That was what, 10 years ago? ;)

  3. and here i thought "The Ranger Report" was conceived just for Xenorama! i remember writing to you about writing a column for Xeno, and getting a call from you when you got the letter, the first time (of many) that we talked for several hours.

    i missed meeting Mach Fumiake by several minutes. not as bad as Damon Foster who was IN THE FREAKING ELEVATOR with her and didn't recognize her.

  4. David : Well, I am all about recycling old ideas, as this blog itself will readily attest!