Great Daria Fandom Implosion of 2007

From DariaWiki

The Great Daria Fandom Implosion of 2007 was a combination of events, many of them unrelated and previously announced as far back as the fall of 2006, that led to the loss of a number of long-time Daria fans and writers, and the loss or dormancy of various major websites supporting the fandom. (Dormancy here means the website was no longer updated.) Some of these events were benign; some were not. The only actual relationship that most shared was in their timing, through the spring and summer of 2007. Curiously, the Implosion took place slightly over ten years after Daria first aired.

Among the website casualties were:

The Daria Shrine, The Green Sink, and The Sh33p's Fluff had not been updated in many months by this period, further limiting the options for posting new fanworks or reading new fandom-related material. Sick, Sad World was the lone exception to the trend, updating for the first time since February 2006 on July 17, 2007, but then going dormant. Lawndale Sun-Herald went dormant as well soon after.

The lack of website updates provoked a movement to create a new Daria fandom supersite, Lawndale Online, now offline. The Daria Fandom Blog II was also created as a consequence.

Many long-time fans, writers, and website moderators announced during this period that they were leaving the fandom or significantly cutting back their time in fan-related activities. They included, in no particular order: Kara Wild, Kemical Reaxion, Martin J. Pollard, James Bowman (in his guises as CINCGREEN and Roentgen), Greybird, and E. A. Smith.

An unintentional irony is that, because of the perception held by many in Daria fandom that the Implosion signaled a potential collapse of the fandom itself, the implosion actually signaled a rebirth of the fandom. New authors such as Doggieboy, cyde and Legendeld appeared with new signature works such as Apocalyptic Daria and An Overlooked Flaw; introducing new and popular characters to the Daria Expanded Universe such as Odell Jones (destined to become a member of the 'Rogue's Gallery' in Daria fandom) and Danielle Todds (perhaps the first female character created to act as a serious examination of Quinn's sexuality). Also, new artists such as DJPotatoe arrived on the scene. Established authors such as Kristen Bealer and Brother Grimace re-established themselves with a flurry of new works or by the continuation of popular series (in the latter case, taking over the authorship of Legion of Lawndale Heroes); while known artists like S.C. brought forth new and exciting works.

In direct response to the closing down of so many fan sites where written works could be archived, Lawndale Online was established; several months later, Outpost Daria returned to full operation and began once again accepting fanworks. It is possible that other Daria fans who left at this time later returned, as well.

Another sign of resurgence in the fandom was the incredible diversity in the fanfiction nominations in the 2007 Daria Fanworks Awards; usually dominated by a small number of known fanfic writers, the nominations were a diverse representation of popular writers, established authors, and newcomers with an impressive display of talent. In effect, the Great Daria Fandom Implosion of 2007 may have been the jump-start Daria fandom required.

At the same time, some question whether the "implosion" was really an event to begin with. Many of the websites that closed down, such as the Contrarian's Corner, had already slowly begun to move away from accepting outside contributions. Outpost Daria's full closure never happened, and now it is back as though it were never gone in the first place. Popular continuums associated with the latter half of the first decade of 2000, like Richard Lobinske's Falling Into College, actually began before the so-called implosion. Authors and websites heralded as "the next big thing," such as Lawndale Online, have since petered out.

Finally, this was one of many tumultuous fandom periods. Two of the earliest occurred between 1998 and 2000. In 1998, the then-mega site, Planet Daria, closed down and everyone panicked until Outpost Daria opened. In late 1999, popular fanfic author C.E. Forman announced that he would stop writing and Michelle Klein-Hass chose to end Lawndale Commons, the then-most popular fandom message board. Again, fans panicked until the Outpost Daria Message Board and the Paperpusher's Message Board were established. Then there was the "foxing" of Outpost Daria, when the website was temporarily blocked out because someone at MTV accidentally concluded that Martin J. Pollard was up to illegal activity. Outpost Daria was restored, but Pollard decided to discontinue the message board. Fandom has always had periods of transition and change and tumult; to many fans, 2007 only seems like a big deal because they were not around for earlier "implosions."