In GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, by Mike Jung and illustrated by Mike Maihack, middle-schooler Vincent Wu belongs to the best Captain Stupedous Fan Club in the world. While another, more inferior, group carries the title of Official Captain Stupendous Fan Club, Vincent and his friends are the most knowledgeable, and therefore, superior.
I was surprised to find that the “fan club” idea has been around forever. In fact, one site that hosts a bazillion fan clubs, fanpop.com, even has a Dinosaur Fan Club with 1600 members, although contrary to Flintstone reruns, people were not readily available to appreciate the object of their desire. Oh, wait, that’s not what they meant…Let’s rewind a hundred or so years ago, before the advent of social media (remember then?). According to Samantha Barbas’ book, MOVIE CRAZY, the first movie star fan club originated in 1910, almost as old as the movie star concept itself.
Boy, has idolatry changed over the years. Social media has increased interest in fan clubs, bringing together people from all over the world with similar interests. On Facebook, I searched for a Michael Jackson Fan Club and had to keep hitting See More Results until I got Carpool Syndrome. Oh wait, that’s from all those incessant trips back and forth to the kid’s gymnastics classes….sorry, Carpal Syndrome, I think it is. Anyway, I stopped counting after ninety. They came with all sorts of titles to differentiate themselves, such as the much smaller, but more serious Captain Stupedous-like fan club called The Michael Jackson Real Fan Club, boasting 39 members.
I know you really want to know what the largest fan club is at this time. Back in my day, not that I will tell you what day that was, David Cassidy held the honor of being the largest fan club in history with more members than the Beatles and Elvis Presley’s fan-base combined. No surprise there. (Yes, I did finally take down my Partridge Family poster.) Apparently, that honor may go to a Korean boy group called Dong Bang Shin Ki, with over 800,000 fans.
As Vincent Wu finds out, there are many benefits to forming a fan club. For instance, you might get to fly around, chasing gigantic robots or something. A current benefit to joining one today is that it’s the secret way to get concert tickets. While Miley Cyrus may be sold out in about negative-33 minutes after you call Ticketmaster, the members of her fan club get to buy them presale. Who knew? Also, by joining Miley’s club, you get access to over 120,000 photos. Didn’t realize there were 120,000 photos of her, so this comes as real news to me. You also receive live Twitter feeds, whereby Miley shares her philosophy, such as this gem:
To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving.
Oh, wait, upon further research, that quote’s actually credited to Woody Allen’s film Love and Death. Never mind. Anyway, at least as a fan, you know that’s how Miley truly feels about love.
As you can see, the Captain Stupendous Fan Club originates from a rich and evolving history. You don’t have to be BIG to be important, you just need to have heart. And Vincent Wu, in GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, has loads of that. Too bad it’s fiction or I’d join. Oh, wait, this just in: Mike Jung has a real Captain Stupendous Fan Club card!
Like me…Apparently, Mike thought I was worthy, after all….
This makes me wonder, is it really fiction, or is Mike Jung actually Vincent Wu in disguise? Hmmm, do I smell sequel potential? One can hope….