Fanfiction: Do you love it or hate it, or are you totally indifferent? Why?
Intellectually, I respect the concept of transformative art.
As a gamer, well, even if you're not playing in a licensed setting, that's all about pillaging pop culture and repurposing it.
As a creative impulse, though ... I just don't get it.
Let me clarify.
I grew up as a comics fan in the late '60s and early '70s, at the dawn of what the fandom calls The Bronze Age. In addition to everything going on at Marvel and DC at the time, it was also a period when a lot of books were coming out about the history of comics.
I didn't just grow up reading about Superman and Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk -- I grew up reading about Siegel and Schuster, and Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and Stan and Jack and Ditko and Steranko, all these scrappy, struggling guys, exploding with new ideas as they struggled to create a whole new art form.
And I didn't want to write about their creations.
I wanted to create my own characters.
Am I saying that's somehow "better" than fanfic?
I've got characters by the score. A lot of you know a few of them: I've roleplayed them, online and on the tabletop. Some of you have heard me kick around ideas and concepts for others. There's a passel of them that even I've forgotten about, or recycled into other characters.
What I don't have is stories, and that, arguably, is a lot more important if you actually want to write. scarfman has shown that it's not hard to take stories originally written as fanfic for licensed properties and turn it into something new and different by substituting different charaqcters.* If you don't have any stories, though, all you have is a bunch of people standing around, doing nothing, with no way to show how cool and exotic they are.
There's a connection to this line of thinking and the irritation that I feel about DC dragging its old Silver Age characters back into the limelight, but I have a beer in me, so that's going to have to wait.
... possibly until I have more than one beer in me.
*If you don't like that example, remember that Douglas Adams recycled a couple of his mostly-unproduced Doctor Who scripts into one of the Hitchhiker's books and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
... and who the heck are Sheldon and Penny?