​What to do when you fall out of fandomS

You know what I just remembered? Mailboxes. Real postmen in the olden times used to have to get mail out of and put mail into mailboxes. Nowadays, people just send their kids out to hold letters for me to snatch out of their hands while riding by on my horse. These kids have to stand there for hours. Sometimes in the rain. It's hilarious. Man, I hope someone doesn't reinvent the mailbox.


Who Knew?

Laura G.:

Dear Postman:

I think I'm falling out of love with Doctor Who and I hate it. I used to live and breathe the show — the amount of TARDIS merchandise I have is preposterous — but over the last couple of years I feel like I've been losing interest in the show, and it makes me really sad. I managed to get excited for Day of the Doctor but even after I watched it I felt kind of let-down.

So my question is this: What do you do when you begin to lose your love for the things you once obsessed over? Can you do anything about it? And is it Doctor Who's fault, or am I just growing up? Please don't say I'm growing up.

That's more than one question, but since they're all good questions, I'll forgive you.

I certainly know what you're talking about; I had the same sad, sobering transformation when I lost my fan obsession with Star Wars after The Phantom Menace (I know it's clichéd to hate on the prequels at this point, but as a guy who went from watching the original movies constantly and spending most of his paychecks on Star Wars toys to a guy who stopped doing both of those things, it happens to be true).

There are two issues here, and let me address the big one first: It's perfectly natural to fall out of love with things. There's probably plenty of things you used to obsess over that you don't any more. I used to read all the Dungeons & Dragons novels voraciously and think Drizzt Do'Urden was the greatest character in all of literature, but now I know that's not exactly true. Like I said, I used to live, eat and breathe Star Wars, but I haven't watched one of the movies for at least a year and a half. Often it's just a part of growing up — you're not the same person you were when you were younger, and as your change, your tastes often do as well. It's perfectly natural.

The problem comes when you fall out of love with something you came to as an adult, which I'm guessing is true with you and Doctor Who (if you're an old school fan, my first point still applies). When you're older and something attracts you like nu-Who has done to so many people, it can be jarring when that attraction goes away. It makes you sad, because while you haven't changed, your feelings have.

This can happen for a variety of reasons. I remember back in my Anime Insider magazine days, when so many people would write in asking why modern anime sucked. Oh, how I would laugh and laugh, because the problem wasn't that anime had changed, but that people had been fans so long that they were seeing how the anime industry repeats itself. That is to say that when you first encounter something, it all feels fresh and new and exciting, but as time goes on you get used to what you originally fell in love with, and you begin to see those same qualities repeated and repeated and so on and so forth. For example, all giant robot anime are pretty alike, but every one of them is going to be someone's first encounter with the genre, and thus every one of them is going to seem like the newest, freshest, most creative thing they've ever scene. That's the same with all anime. Same with Doctor Who. Same with anything.

All that said, I think Steven Moffat's Doctor Who has gotten really repetitive really fast. It seems like every episode is either him saving the entire universe, or the Doctor examining some personal darkness, or both, and it's getting old. I think Moffat's episode's are empirically better than Davies' episodes — better written, better plotting, better ideas, etc. — but Davies' episodes had more variety, more varied stakes, and frankly, more fun.

So to sum up all this nonsense: yes, Doctor Who may be in a bit of a rut, but it's still an unfortunate but perfectly natural occurrence to lose your fandom. It's sad to no longer be able to get that same level of excitement and enjoyment out of something you loved so dearly, but that's how it goes. You're best bet is to find a new something to obsess over. It's like when heroin no longer provides the high you want, so you move to cocaine. Except, you know, nerdy.


​What to do when you fall out of fandom

Hero to Zero

Matthew:

Dear Mr Postman of our pending apocalypse.

While you're snatching letters from the outstretched hands of young boys while riding at a full gallop, I would like to to consider this. Who do you believe is the most over-hyped (but ultimately disappointing) hero? Allow me to give an example.

In the original Heavy Metal movie, the Taarakians are supposed to be this warrior race without equal, and when called upon, will defend or avenge those who cannot do so for themselves. First of all, the last Taarakian shows up to the party way to late save anybody. Granted by the time they called it might have been to late to make a difference, but does that excuse her from taking a leisurely lap in a mile long pool (something that her giant plucked chicken could have flown her across) and somehow spending a half an hour putting on armor that only covers 15% of her body? So, defending the innocent is no longer an option, alright then, moving on to vengeance. While on her quest for justice she manages to do the following: 1) Shiv a handful of drunken Bros at a bar. 2) Blindly fly her plucked chicken straight into a trap, get captured, get tortured, and maybe some even less pleasant things as well. 3) Only gets away because her plucked chicken is better at escapes then she is. Which doesn't say much because they're almost immediately shot down. 4) Initially get her ass handed to her by a fanatical cult leader, who by all rights shouldn't have nearly the combat training she does. 5) Is about to lose when her plucked chicken intervenes giving her the edge she needs. 6) Kamikazes her plucked chicken into a gigantic glowing gobstopper, which somehow enables her to defeat evil throughout all time and space.

So, she morons her way through the whole thing and manages to eek out a win. A victory? Yes. A satisfying one? Not really.

Anyway, what hero gave you a similar feeling of "meh" before the apocalypse caused you to take up your horse and satchel?

While I find it exceptionally weird that a character from the Heavy Metal movie is your default example of this, I do know what you're talking about. My primary example would be Green Lantern, who has always bored me to tears. I'm a bit more interested in Kyle Rayner, John Stewart and Guy Gardner — I also liked Simon Baz, although it seems DC has already forgotten he exists — but Hal Jordan is such a big blob of nothing to me that I have never been able to care about him or anything he does, and I actually like Geoff Johns' whole Skittles Lanterns idea. Actually, I have this same problem with a lot of DC's second-tier square-jawed legacy heroes like the Flash and Hawkman and the like — they seem like ideas for heroes to me more than characters who happen to be heroes.

I don't really want to knock DC here (I do enough of that already) — as I told Laura above, I'm sure DC was many people's first experience with comics, so that's what they fell in love with; mine just happened to be Marvel. I have no doubt that plenty of people are as equally unenthused with Marvel's super heroes as I am with DC's secondary characters. That's just the way it goes.


​What to do when you fall out of fandom

Mechamania

W.B.S.:

Simple question:

Why haven't we seen a real Battletech/Mechwarrior franchise movie? Huge fiction to draw from, obvious place for Angelina Jolie to keep playing the same heroine she always plays, and room for endless sequels. Have Blomkamp direct it and mainstream fans show arrive in droves.

Seriously, what gives?

Because Hollywood generally hates science fiction that takes place on other worlds. Scifi movies generally need huge budgets to effectively transport people to another time or place, so they're risks in the first place, and Hollywood needs as many people to see them as possible, and they think that setting them at least partially on Earth — or starring earthlings — or giving mass audiences some kind of frame of reference is integral to getting Joe Midwest and his family to see the film. They may not be wrong.

Oh, there are exceptions; James Cameron made Avatar, because James Cameron gets to do whatever he wants, Star Wars has obviously done fine for itself, and then there are the Lord of the Rings movies, although they did take an insanely long time to be made into movies given that they're some of the most popular books in the entire world.

Anyways, Battletech has giant robots, but it's far too scifi for most Hollywood studios to take a chance on. It doesn't help that neither the Battletech game nor the MechWarrior videogames are particularly major franchises, either.


​What to do when you fall out of fandomS

Web Sights

Utsav:

Dear Rob,

Marvel Studios has been doing great since the release of its first movie half a decade ago. What's interesting though is it has achieved all this success in the absence of it's 2 major flagship characters Spider-Man and Wolverine! Now Sony makes decent Spider-Man movies but it hasn't yet reached the character's true potential. How do you think Marvel Studios would handle the Spider-Man franchise if the rights revert to them somewhere in the next five years. How soon would a reboot be safe, would they use the ultimate universe Spidey, would Spidey be a part of the Avengers straight away, what would be the challenges Marvel would face, etc.?

My personal belief is that Spider-Man is the biggest character marvel has got and if the studios get a hold on this character then I don't think DC is ever gonna catch up on the buck Marvel is gonna make.

Even if Marvel never gets Spider-Man back, DC has a long, long way to catch up. Seriously, Marvel has turned Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Avengers into major movie franchises, with plenty more potential movies on the way. DC has Batman and Superman at the moment, who are arguably bigger, but they can't match Marvel's volume. And while DC tries to figure out who else should get a movie, Marvel's going to put out like eight more superhero movies and see what sticks.

I would love to see a Marvel Studios Spider-Man, because I know Marvel would be truer to the original character, because Marvel has confidence in 50 years of Spider-Man comics to know what works. Spider-Man would be funnier, his pathos would be greater, and of course he'd be in New York City so the Avengers could make cameos and delight everyone. Most importantly, Marvel would do Spider-Man's villains right, which is one of the main reasons Spider-Man is so damn popular.


​What to do when you fall out of fandom

Eat and Greet

Joey H.:

After seeing the second episode of The Walking Dead, I started thinking about the nerd zombie. How he went into some guys cell and in a creepy way rape ate him. It was kind of a rapey scene, but that's not my question. My question is how easily it was for him to just tear out the guy's throat. Like it was cotton candy. Then I started thinking just how often when someone gets bit, they really lose a huge chunk very easily as biting into us was like jello instead of a taffy.

I'm not a doctor, but I would figure that it would take a considerable amount of strength in a person's jaw to tear out someone, but also probably a little longer if they were digging straight through to the muscle. And since someone's dead, whether it's a fresh nerd zombie, or a 2 year rotting moss corpse, I'd figure that they're muscles, their tendons, their ability to apply such force with their jaw would be significantly reduced. Even a live person couldn't tear someone's throat out from ear to ear with such ease in one bite and so fast.

But I'm no doctor, and I know it's entertainment, and I'm sure you could write any explanation. You could say the virus has a natural taurine solution in it that is 100 times stronger than any redbull allowing someone to get that extra kick when they're about to munch on someone. But I was just wondering the science involved in both the human flesh and it's natural ability to stay tough against bites, and just how weak a decaying corpse becomes.

The human jaw is pretty goddamned strong; sure, many animals have stronger bites, but we can still exert 680 psi (pounds per square inch) every time we close our mouths. My very quick post-apocalyptic research (basically, I just asked a guy named Dave) indicates that it takes only 100 psi to pierce human skin, which is only 2-3 millimeters thick. Think about how easily you bite into a chicken leg; if you really wanted to eat a bite of someone's bicep, you could.

Of course, this assumes that you have all your jaw muscles, which many zombies clearly don't. Of course, once you worry about zombies' jaw strength, then you immediately start wondering how fast their decomposing bodies would decay and render them motionless and harmless, which would be well less than a year. But for some reason Hollywood frowns on zombies that stop being threats after a few months and can only gum their victims. To be fair, if all people had to do in zombie movies was wait for half a year, they wouldn't be nearly as exciting.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!