Nicolle Lamerichs, in a 2013 essay titled The Cultural Dynamic of Doujinshi and Cosplay: Local Anime Fandom in Japan, USA and Europe, writes:
I argue that anime fandom is not easily understood as a global phenomenon but rather is composed of different, heterogeneous values and communities. The local iterations of cosplay and doujinshi, which may seem homogeneous activities, are read as manifestations that are firmly anchored in particular traditions. (156)
Essentially, the fan practices and productions on display in anime conventions are different in different countries. Lamerichs readily points out that this has less to do with any sort of “national character” and more to do with the fact that “these fan cultures are individual events with their own ecologies” (158). Nevertheless, Lamerichs argues that, in comparison with Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands, American anime conventions exhibit “a very different tendency towards prints and hand-made drawings rather than full-fledged comics” (161).
Lamerichs is absolutely not wrong, but I would like to respond by positing that online communities primarily used for fannish artistic production and consumption, such as Tumblr, DeviantART, and Pixiv (along with many mirrors, offshoots, webcomic serialization platforms, and independently run artistic collectives), have put not just individuals but fannish cultural norms into closer contact with one another during the past several years. Among other things, this trend has led to an explosion of anime-inspired comics and fan comics at anime conventions in the United States.
I picked up a suitcase full of these comics at the Los Angeles Anime Expo this past 4th of July weekend, and I’d like to share some of them here in order to document this change. Independent artists had tables in the main Exhibition Hall and in the smaller Artist Alley section, but both areas are huge, and I’m not entirely certain I was able to cover the entire floor. Also, as much as I would have liked to buy everything I saw, my financial resources were limited. What I am posting here should therefore not be considered a representative sample. Furthermore, while I am focusing on fan comics based on well-known existing media properties, the reader should keep in mind that there was a great deal of original work available as well.
Without further ado, here are the scans I made of self-printed fan comics from Anime Expo 2015. Click on any of the thumbnails to see a larger image.
The 100% True and #Confirmed Ending to Naruto by Kelly (on Tumblr)
based on the shōnen franchise Naruto
…And☆Steven! by Mike Luckas (on Tumblr)
based on the Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe
Tomoyo’s Secret Diary, edited by Yuj Lee (on Tumblr)
based on the shōjo manga and anime Cardcaptor Sakura
Pokémon Cross Breeds, by Nathan Nguyen (on Tumblr)
based on the Pokémon series of video games
Artisan Ordinance, edited by MERODii (on DeviantART)
based on the video game Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Bubbline, edited by Schnekk (on Tumblr)
based on the Cartoon Network animated series Adventure Time
Shimotsuma Zine, edited by FANGRRLZ (on Tumblr)
based on the novel and film Kamikaze Girls
I Will Always Be Here, by Karen and Britney (on Tumblr)
based on the animated Disney film Big Hero 6
In addition, there were several cool fan comics and comic anthologies based on the Marvel cinematic universe drawn or edited by Krusca (on Tumblr), and I also came across a cool book based on the manga of CLAMP put together by Lärienne (on DeviantART), GYRHS (on DeviantART), and Samantha Gorel (on DeviantART).
All of these books are *amazing.*
If I have misidentified an artist or editor, or if you are an artist or editor and would like me to remove or update any links or images, please let me know! I have nothing but admiration and respect for people who self-publish their art and comics, and I don’t want to misrepresent or appropriate anyone’s work. Stay awesome!