Othered Spaces: The Place of People of Color in Comic Book Fandom

Liam Andres Espinoza-Zemlicka
California State University, Northridge

Despite traditional scholarship stating that the comic book store and comic book convention are the hubs of the comic book fandom cultural community, research into the experiences of female fans has indicated that when a marginalized group attempts to enter these spaces, they are often forced out and made to either create their own social circles of similarly marginalized fans or else conduct their fandom experience without interacting with other fans. This study seeks to find whether these same experiences hold true for People of Color in comic book fandom. A survey was conducted of 31 self-identified comic book fans over 18 years old and of all genders and ethnic identities. The primary purpose of the survey was to discover in what contexts they primarily interacted with other fans. This data was augmented by a set of 5 semi-structured interviews conducted with participants who identified as both People of Color and comic book fans. The results showed that fans who identified as People of Color are more likely to avoid interactions with other fans entirely or else only share their fan interests with close friends as opposed to seeking out other fans in stores or online. This trend appears consistent regardless of the age of the subject or the number of years they have considered themselves a comic book fan. While the data is limited, it seems to suggest that fans of color share a similar, if not identical experience with female fans.

2019 National Conference
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