Supernatural guest star turned series regular, Misha Collins, has used twitter to mobilize a vocal and expressive fan base. While his position on the show has remained somewhat marginal through the series’ fourth and fifth seasons, Collins’ twitter followers (currently topping 60,000) proactively celebrate his centrality to their appreciation of Supernatural and his accessibility on twitter. Together, Collins and his fans author a narrative of celebrity/fan co-creation. Via twitter, Collins has dubbed his fans “minions,” and fans embrace and propagate this label on multiple online interfaces including Twitter, Livejournal, and YouTube, thus playfully coauthoring a cross-interface narrative of fannish world domination.
Placing Collins at the helm, fans frame him as leader of a movement of affect, transgression, and excess. Both Collins and his fans cultivate a camp or ironic deployment of military discourse and authoritarian aesthetics. This “Minions Recruitment Advert” by @Manic_Minion playfully trades in the language of propagandistic and instructional film as it constructs both Collins and his fans as knowing performers of nationalistic fannish devotion. The video envisions the call to minion-hood as the opportunity to participate in communal, renegade military organization, highlighting specific images of women engaged in military and industrial labor. The skills described in the video reference various in jokes mined from Collins’ purposefully absurdist and parodic tweets.
This play with irony and affect calls to mind the more visible, mainstream interactions between Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and his Colbert Nation, but where Colbert and fans perform a excessive libertarian masculinity, Misha Collins and his minions intertwine transgressive and stereotypical gender performances. Indeed, gender and sexuality are key in these discourses of military (dis)order and affective domination: in works such as this video, fans celebrate Collins as a renegade yet thoughtful artist who models an alternate mode of masculine authorship. In so doing, the mostly female fans perform and thus author their own fan personae as transgressive, aggressive, and overtly sexual, yet intellectual and self-aware. This fannish self-representation invokes and then implodes stereotypes of excessively emotive female fandom.