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Fans vs. critics: Challenging critical authority through memes

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This article explores how fans of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film franchise challenge the authority of film critics regarding their negative appraisal of comic book film Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Snyder, 2016). Observing memes shared in Facebook fan pages, I argue that fans construct their own authority by defining themselves against critics via questioning critics’ taste, constructing critics as villains, and enacting their own sophisticated cultural capital. My research shows how fans use Internet memes to control the discussion and validation of their object of fandom amongst fans on social media. Observing the year following the film’s release, this study analyses memes via a visual rhetoric and modal analysis. While comic-book movie fandom has previously been academically explored, this subset of fans remains under-analysed. What is at stake for DCEU fans is the respect of popular culture, social media and fandom at large, their status impacted by the film’s critical failure.
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Keywords: comic book movies; critical authority; cultural capital; fandom; film critics; hegemony; memes; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121585405Macquarie University

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The multi – disciplinary nature of fan studies makes the development of a community of scholars sometimes difficult to achieve. The Journal of Fandom Studies seeks to offer scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship into the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media. It focuses on the critical exploration, within a wide range of disciplines and fan cultures, of issues surrounding production and consumption of popular media (including film, music, television, sports and gaming), The journal aims to address key issues in fans studies itself, while also fostering new areas of enquiry that take us beyond the bounds of current scholarship.
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