Cult Collectors examines cultures of consumption and the fans who collect cult film and TV merchandise.
Author Lincoln Geraghty argues that there has been a change in the fan convention space, where collectible merchandise and toys, rather than just the fictional text, have become objects for trade, nostalgia, and a focal point for fans’ personal narratives. New technologies also add to this changing identity of cult fandom whereby popular websites such as eBay and ThinkGeek become cyber sites of memory and profit for cult fan communities.
The book opens with an analysis of the problematic representations of fans and fandom in film and television. Stereotypes of the fan and collector as portrayed in series such as The Big Bang Theory and films like The 40 Year Old Virgin are discussed alongside changes in consumption practices and the mainstreaming of cult media. Following this, theoretical chapters consider issues of gender, representation, nostalgia and the influence of social media. Finally, extended case study chapters examine in detail the connections between the fan community and the commodities bought and sold.
Topics discussed include:
- The San Diego Comic-Con and the cult geographies of the fan convention
- Hollywood memorabilia and collecting cinema history
- The Star Wars franchise, merchandising and the adult collector
- Online stores and the commercialisation of cult fandom
- Mattel, Hasbro and nostalgia for animated eighties children’s television
Introduction: Glorious Obsessions: Nostalgia, Fandom and Cult Consumption Part One: Stereotypes Chapter One: Contesting Comic Book Guy: Stereotypes of the Cult Collector in Film and Television Chapter Two: Movie Magic: Hollywood Memorabilia and Cinema’s Enduring Fandom Part Two: People Chapter Three – Masculine Pursuits?: Gender, Generation and the Fan Collector Chapter Four: Repackaging Generation One: Genre, Memory and Eighties Animated Series as Adult/Children’s Television Part Three: Places Chapter Five – From Convention Space to Collecting Space: Popular Fandom and Geographies of Cult Media Merchandising Chapter Six: Playing with the Force: Fan Identity, Cultural Capital and Star Wars Toy Collecting Part Four: Spaces Chapter Seven: Web Wares: New Media Memories and the Technologies of Cult Collecting Chapter Eight: Model Fans: Lord of the Rings Collectibles and the Reproduction of Fantasy Worlds Conclusion Filmography Bibliography
"Cult Collectors makes a skillful contribution to cultural and fan studies, theorizing "second-hand fandom" whilst smartly tackling "transformative nostalgia". Emphasizing places and spaces of collecting – whether San Diego Comic-Con, Collectormania or Forbidden Planet – Lincoln Geraghty forcefully argues for the individualizing vitality of collectors’ material and consumer practices. This is a valuable study of how fans commemorate, curate and create value in today’s media culture. Definitely one to add to your collection."
Matt Hills, Professor of Film & TV Studies, Aberystwyth University
"As I sat down to read Cult Collectors in an office full of licensed toys, posters, mugs, and candy, its importance was clear: film and television studies have had too little to say about collectibles and about the huge role they play in media culture. Geraghty delivers the goods in this accessible, smart, fun, and highly perceptive book. Highly recommended."
Jonathan Gray, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison