An essay I had been planning to post for a while, I give you the State of the
Magneto Fandom. The State of the Magneto Fandom A note of introduction:
X-Men fandom is large and complex. It's one of the larger fandom's in existence, encompassing 40 years worth of comics, 2 TV shows and 3 movies. Although I love and value all of the X-Men world, I would be out of my scope to report on the entirety of it. Instead I'll focus this essay on my favorite character, Magneto, and the growing following he has attracted in his own right. Although the X-Men fandom is on a whole interactive there are corners to it, and one of the corners are the fans of Magneto. I've given us the name of "Magnetophiles"
or those that love or have a strong affinity for Magneto (Erik Lensherr). The State of the Fandom
2006 was the year Magneto brought sexyback.
In X-Men fandom, and more specifically in Magneto or Magnetophile fandom... 2006 was the best year yet. Although Magneto has been a popular character in the comics for almost 50 years, Magneto's stunning sex appeal in the X-Men movies went largely unnoticed until this year. 'How?' you ask. 'How can that be?'
Although many fans noticed Ian McKellen and his rivating portrayal of Erik Lensherr, fan support was slow to come. Instead it focused on the X-Men as a whole or on more popular characters. If you look back at the fic featuring Magneto as a main character on both LJ and FF.net
pre-X3 there was much less than is produced today. Check out the fics that have Magneto set as a main character on FF.net and you'll see there's 10 pages of fic, but only 5 were produced after X1 and X2, whereas 5 pages have been produced after X3 alone. Only 3 pages of fic ( 85 stories) predate 2006. I personally remember surfing onto FF.net after seeing X1 in 2000 and searching for Magneto fic but not finding any. I had to read Rogan fic instead. There are many popular explanations for this including higher popularity for the 3rd movie, a larger internet-using population, and a universal growing trend supporting rare pairings and characters across many fandoms.
I'm not saying there weren't Magneto fans back then. Rather the community and the output was far smaller than it is today. Many of the Magneto stories written pre-X3 are some of the best. Yet there wasn't the grassroots surge in the number of fans we see after X3. This seems rather odd considering X3 offered the least sympathetic portrayal of Erik. Yet it also inspired many fans to explore the character more for the first time.
2006 brought a surge of fan fiction relating to Magneto and it welcomed the rise of the rare pairings. Most Magneto ships count as rare pairings in X-Men fandom because ships such as Wolverine/Rogue, Jean/Logan, and Jean/Scott predominate. Charles/Erik is the closest Magneto pairing to approach a large following. oldfriends
has 140 members. Yet the community's posts total only 160. Meaning although many people are Charles/Erik fans, not much work is produced or at least has been posted there.
Whereas rare pairings flourished in 2006. demented_allure
, the community for Magneto/Rogue, was created in March of 2006. It has risen to wide popularity and a count of 380 posts making it a very active and popular community. The pairing is supported by canon in the comics, but counts as a rare pairing in movieverse, which conversely is where it's shipped strongest. (I think we all just love Ian McKellen, don't we?)like_this_one
is a new community created after the release of The Last Stand
to promote the rare pairing of Erik/Jean. This is a rare pairing indeed, but it's found strong support from the hard working imaginaryalice
. The community's existence itself is a landmark for rare pairings and the ability of LJ to allow fans of them an organized place to gather. Talk of an upcoming ficathon is in the air.
And now we come to cruellyhandsome
, a community I helped to create, that was sorely missing from the X-Men fandom presence on LJ. It focuses on the Magneto/Mystique pairing, a near canonical rare pairing. Although a new community with a small but growing member list, it has an impressive post rate frequency. No doubt relating to the controversy over the the couple's apparent breakup and loss of powers in X3. (The trailer scene *wipes her eyes*)
Those are the Magneto pairings that have a community to represent them. As to the character of Magneto himself there is the magnetic_appeal
community whose focus veers more to the comics than movieverse. The comics have been a bleak place for Magneto fans in 2006 because he has been absent from the comics: dead yet again. There have been rumors of a return but nothing is in the works yet. Comic book readers can only wait patiently and rest assured that one day his death will be retconned. In closing:
Magnetophiles have grown into their own strong corner of the X-Men fandom. The release of X3 has raised the size of Magneto fans to nearly double it's previous rate and created a fan base large enough that Marvel has begun to pay attention to us. Currently they have a Magneto prequel in the works to be released in 2009. If this movie is made it has the chance of producing great impact on the Magnetophile fandom, raising it to a separate fandom of it's own. It will introduce lots of pubilicity and new blood into the community. I believe there is the interest and the fans out there to make a young Magneto movie a viable, marketable enterprise. The character is one of great interest, complexity, and sympathy. And Ian McKellen's protrayal of the character has been a joy to watch. His impeccable acting skills have raised the X-Men trilogy far beyond the level of a typical summer action film.
Magnetophile's comprise some of the best, smartest, and friendliest fans on all LJ. Our community has grown greatly this year. But I have nothing but hope for the future that lots of fic, icons, and vids will continue to be produced this year. The promise of a Magneto movie and possible return in the comic books speaks towards the continuing the strength of Magneto fans and X-Men fans as a whole. In 2007 I hope to see a Magneto-centric ficathon take place for the first time ever. Author's Note:
If you've noticed any mistakes I've said in this I would love to know about them, so I may correct them. I don't mean to step on anyone's toes with this essay, only instead to give us fans something fun to read about our history. Comments and opinions are love.