Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Buffy the Anarcho Syndicalist

I am somewhat embarassed to admit that, in the past, I have occasionally been known to decompress by indulging in reading fanfiction -- that is, creative writing in which ordinary people seize characters, imagery, and narratives originating in mass-produced cultural "franchises" and use them for their own purposes. In principle, I see a productive tension there between the origins of the characters and stories in dominant media and the inevitable impact on storytelling possibilities that such a hegemony-infused inheritance will bring, on the one hand, with the potential for mass recognizeability and following to be used by ordinary people telling stories in subversive ways, on the other hand. In practice, it is often a bit disappointing because the vast majority of fanfiction is not only of dubious quality in terms of writing, it is also usually not subversive in the least, and the only consistently norm-challenging area that I've encountered (and, admittedly, I'm not claiming that my past explorations have been at all exhaustive) is around dissenting sexual and relationship practices and occasionally in limited ways around gender.

However, there do seem to be occasional exceptions. The good people at AK Press have published this delightfully silly-looking yet dominant-narrative-bending comic, which I have ordered but not yet received. Their web site describes it as follows:

Buffy the Anarcho Syndicalist

A wonderful situ-inspired detourned comic, featuring our young anarcho-syndicalist hero; Giles, a hardened revolutionary who is one of Buffy's closest comrades; Carlos, an old wobbly who has't forgotten his passion for social justice; Jim Orwell, a black activist who has been stirring up trouble amongst Sunnydale's minority workforce, and Maria, the evil CEO of Blood Red Enterprises.

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