Gods from Parallel Dimensions
(I’m moving some of my essays on media to Medium from Tumblr. Most of them are about Team Fortress 2)
Originally published August 20, 2012 here.
Note: I’m using TF2 as an example because it’s the fandom I’m in it now. You can apply this to any fandom.
Fandom cries and fandom umpleaseness it’s a typical thing in everything, especially from people who believes that it’s important to their lifes. Thing is, we invest feelings in the fictional work so, yes, it’s important for us. People who do not control their feelings are very propense to get mad at something which is affecting something we love and we need to get a lot of steps to understand what really is important in life and in what we should really bother to get angry at. That why the people who complain about it are normally teenagers.
I personally I had to make a lot of steps in a lot of fandoms to understand I’m not the God of the Fandom and my ideas are not the final ones.
I like to be like this gal and paste the following image in my blog like I mean it:
But I’m sorry, I can’t. I can’t ship Sniper x Spy, or Helmet Party or Trucks and Vans or anything is this fandom which is not Medic and Heavy romantically in any way (Except Scout/Miss Pauling. Only because I like to cheer up the underdog :D). But if that make you happy, GO AHEAD AND DO IT. If that make you happy and you are not making any harm with that IT’S OK. Even, if you are doing something which is really good I’ll read it and be fan of it.
For example: I love the Fics of this person. You should go and read her fics. In fact, I think her fic “Reunion” and the sequel “Afterwards” are good enough to be recomended to people which are not TF2 fans. Why she doesn’t pull a Fifty Shades of Gray and publish them is beyond my understanding. I’ll buy that books. Even if I already read it.
Since I already established how much I love her fics, there’s actually stuff I disagree with her: For example, I think Engineer is as mess up as everybody in the Team Fortress 2 lore is, he’s just too shy for demostrate it until he’s pushed to the limit. Meanwhile, Engineer in her fics is a genuinally good guy. He’s actually concerned about moral issues and he’s doing what he do because he’s forced to do it. Not because he like it. But, why should I go and correct her about it? HER Engineer is different to MY Engineer and that’s ok. That it’s HER character and I have no right to correct her because it’s different to MY character.
Now you must trying to stop my tracks and tell me Engineer is not her or my character. It’s Valve’s. You are right. And at the same time you are wrong.
Derivative works have existed since the advent of humanity. Every popular work usually is based or inspired by something. I don’t care what Miyamoto says about it, Super Mario Bros is based off Alice in Wonderland. And Alice in Wonderland is a parody of your typical children book. Every romantic story can be tracked to a Shakespeare work somehow, and Shakespeare was inspired by anecdotes and folk tales. It’s completly natural and normal to make deritative works. Don’t be ashamed of that.
Meanwhile, headcanons are derivative works. They are, really.
Do you know how many Fan Fiction was created about the Quijote that Cervantes went and feel forced to create his own second part? Those are called the Apocryphal Quijote. And those were published. And Cervantes couldn’t make anything about that because Copyright didn’t existed at the time.
Copyrights and Author Rights are a western fenomena. In most of the Asian Countries, Copyright do not exist. That’s why there’s a lot of Copycats in Asia of different video games, because those Asians do not understand the idea behind Copyright and according to them they are not doing anything wrong. And that’s ok. Because they are right.
In fact, Copyrights and Author Rights are to the printer what the SOPA law tried to be to the internet. Those things were created with the sole purpuse to protect the authors and owners of the work from the advent of piracy thanks to the printer. People was doing what they always do: Share. Of course there’s people who decided to make profit and the authors went angry because they were doing profit out of their work.
And if by chance Copyrights and Author Rights are right and the way to go, those are existed only for about 200 years. You can’t change the human nature in this short notice. And hell, make deritative works is part of the human nature.
Copycats are deritative works which the only thing they do is change the cosmetic elements and leave the important ones untouched. That’s why Copycats feel so bad, because they are not giving anything new. But Headcanons are not copycats.
Headcanons are derivative works which are trying to keep as much of the original work as they can, but they give something new by filling the holes the original work left. That why Fan Fictions about Team Fortress 2 are normally about their life out the battle: We know perfectly how they fight already, what we don’t know is how they live outside the battle. How is their relationship when they are not killing similar but colored different clones. And why they are clones by the way. Are they clones? Or just coincidence? Both Engineers are called Dell Conagher or only the Blu one?
There’s nothing wrong to create headcanons. As long you are not profiting from them (At least not without making the changes that the Copyright Law approves) nobody is going to mess up with you. Just remember your headcanon is a derivative work. It’s not, by any means, THE ORIGINAL WORK.
Not because you think something is like this it is. Nobody is basing their headcanon from your headcanon so you don’t have the right to correct them. The only person which has the right to make change to those headcanons is the creator of that original work just because we let him. And anyway there fans who go rogue and if they do not like that change, they just not acknowledged and skip it. That right: Sometimes the Author of the original work CAN NOT make changes to some of the headcanons, why do you think you have the authority to make them?
I like to think all the fans are Gods who decided to create a Dimension based on something. Since all those dimensions are downright similar because they are based on the same thing, those are Parallel Dimensions. And those dimensions can spawn different dimensions as well.
Really. I have done it. Based on my TF2 headcanon I created a complete campaign for a Fantasy World a la Dungeon and Dragons. Yes. Based on Team Fortress 2 I created a campaign with Knights, Dragons and Kingdoms. I even throw the Smurfs there for a good mesure. Yes, I did it. I created a story with elements from the Smurfs, Team Fortress 2, Magic the Gathering, Dungeon and Dragons, the original Anima campaign setting (The system I use) and the lovecraft elements from the 3rd season of Sam and Max. And without counting this was the second part of the story which I created out of Super Paper Mario, an old preschooler show called Groundling Marsh, the Backyardigans, LazyTown, Fire Emblem, an original story of my sister, I think some Zelda elements and the Arabian Nights. In a way.
If you are wondering how this mess make sense, I actually have no idea. But my players I think they had fun playing in the world so I think it made sense. That doesn’t mean they didn’t get the elements from the places they did know. I think they got half of the TF2 elements, and, of course, the Smurfs, but at the same time I don’t think they actually got the cities and the names of the cities were based on the Magic Elements and the names of the Planewalkers, or the fact there a couple of Paladins based off Tycho and Gabe from Penny Arcade, or the fact the guy they were actually chasing is based on Sam from Sam and Max. Except my sister, who knows from where I got the name Sameth.
But wait, there even more spawning. I had spawn a headcanon out of a headcanon which was spawned out of Team Fortress 2. I’ll be frank, I don’t spawn much of a headcanon from narrative medias (Unlike TF2 which is not), but I expect a way a character must react out of a situation and that is a Headcanon.
I have read fics where Medic is from a wimpy sorry thing of a man to a scary sadictic monster, and, as long as the characterization is consistant, I don’t care. I’ll stop to read if one: The Fic is genuinally bad or the characterization is broken. Or violates the rules of physics or morality or just do stuff which is just no and don’t have a plausable explanation out of it.
I respect people headcanons because I have gone a long way to understand my headcanon is not better than the one on the right or the left. I will admire other people headcanons because they realized something I don’t or because it’s just crazy awesome and I will despise other people headcanons because it’s just violating the rules of morality, logical sense or it’s obviously the creator changing something out for his convenience but never because the headcanon is different than mine.
I will celebrate though if my headcanon turn to be canon, because that what headcanons aim for: To fill the holes. If that hole is filled with I thought is going to filled, I’ll celebrate. If not, I’ll change it. I have changed my headcanon about the Medic around 3 times (In a major way. I’m not counting the times I add elements from other headcanons which I think are crazy awesome :D) and he gets loopier with every iteration. You maybe believe I get mad everytime I have to change my headcanon, but, considering I have gone around do 15 iterations of a logo at the end they didn’t use in 3 days, changes in my headcanon are meaningless.
So, stop been stupid, ship everything (And, if you can’t, respect the pairings if those aren’t breaking your sense of morality and human logic) and have fun. Because that the only reason TF2 exists (Also to bring money to Valve :D). Have fun people, have fun. And kill robots.