Worst. Post. Ever.

Matt Hill uses Fan Cultures to examine the differences between the “scholar-fan” and the “fan-scholar” who uses academic theory in their fan writing. Through his analysis, Hill manages to align fans and academics through the concept of the elite fan. As the elite fan becomes more knowledgeable and encounters opportunities to defend and analyze the popularity of their interest, they become “scholars of their idols”. Though they are not academics, these scholars still exhibit “flashes” of theorization.

Comic Book Guy is the cartoon fan-scholar.In Part I, Hill adds the important role of consumerism into this analysis. “For, as well as constructing themselves against ‘bad’ academics, fans also construct themselves against ‘bad’ (mindless or undiscriminating) consumers”. With this statement I was reminded of a popular character in pop culture who is the cartoon embodiment of the “fan-scholar”, The Comic Book Guy (also known as Jeff Albertson).

As the audience, we notice that Comic Book Guy (the owner of The Android’s Dungeon) possesses a great amount of knowledge about his work and spends a lot of time discussing it on online forums. He also attempts to establish his greater authority and knowledge with his overused catchphrase, “worst episode ever”, which is used to justify his opinions of many nerd related topics against mere consumers of nerd culture like Bart Simpson and Milhouse Van Houten. According to the Simpsons Wikia, Comic Book Guy is a “very obese, socially incompetent, unshaven, cruel man who is perhaps best known for his sarcastic quips. He holds a master’s degree in folklore mythology (he translated The Lord of the Rings into Klingon as part of his thesis)”. Clearly, Comic Book Guy is an academic, but his fandom comes first despite his all encompassing knowledge of every one of the most cultish topics. Comic Book Guy’s fandom is not merely implied in his academic work, he lives it.

So we know that Comic Book Guy is meant to represent the stereotypical “nerd who lives in his parents’ basement”, but does he also represent the stereotypical fan-scholar?


One response

  1. jamalawwad

    I thought I was the only one who had the picture of that fat comic book guy from the Simpsons in their head when they read about fan-scholars. I love that stereotype because that whole outlook of what is portrayed in media is of the overbearing, arrogant, geek (usually male), who is seemingly oblivious of their own oddness and proclivity to be a creepy jerk. But I, along with (I’m sure) other people in this class, find no problem in considering themselves into this “fan-scholar” archetype. The reason? The stereotype of being a geeky know-it-all is not true. I personally cannot remember most of what I did the previous day, but I have every single line from the film “Spaceballs” memorized and can name off not only the main cast, but also the producers, executive producers, directors, screen writers, and lead animators from the entire Star Wars series.
    Now, I read that previous line over again and it seems a little pretentious and, dare I say it, arrogant to the people who are not privy to this information, though I did not at all mean it that way. But there is a certain accomplishment to be had when knowing that if anyone had a question about, say… what that book in “Army of Darkness” was called, I would slam down my hands, stand up and in a haughty voice, proudly say “The Necronomicon.”
    I do consider myself as fan-scholar and imagine that this is not at all a negative connotation, as I believe Matt Hills was trying to convey. We do have a hierarchy among the fans and tend to do the “my series is better than your series” squabbles, but isn’t that what fan culture is about- The fans taking pride in something they related to and are identifying to it in their own way?

    December 3, 2011 at 3:53 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s