The 5 Most Insane Acts of Fan Dedication Ever
As the Internet seems to have been created solely to remind us, people really love the things they love to a degree that can safely be called "teeth-gnashingly defensive." But as the timeless Robert De Niro/Wesley Snipes fable The Fan has taught us, sometimes people love things too much and it crosses the line from unchecked enthusiasm into unsettling, or even terrifying, obsession. So please heed the following cautionary tales ...
Man Gets Decades of Plastic Surgery to Look Like Superman
Here's what sucks about being so into Superman that you want to dress up as him: He doesn't wear a mask. Any dude can be, say, Batman, as long as he doesn't have any facial hair or a deformed mouth or something. But when you put on the Superman tights, you're still stuck with your regular ol' head, which by the way looks nothing like Superman's. For a Philippines native named Herbert Chavez, there was only one answer: surgery.
Yes, Chavez decided that he loved Superman so much that he would dedicate years of his life to expensive plastic surgeries designed to make him look more like his favorite alien vigilante, because he apparently only watched the first half of Single White Female and thought it was a buddy comedy. Here's what he looked like back in 1995, before he embarked on his epic face-butchering crusade:
Well, he seems like a decent enough looking dude, surely it won't take that much to-
And here's what he looks like now. Cue the music!
AHHHHHH! UNCANNY FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE!
What you are looking at is the result of nearly two decades of cosmetic surgery, including nose resculpting, silicone lip injections, carving a butt crack into his chin with an angle grinder (we assume), and thigh implants. There are almost certainly more ingredients to this batshit cocktail, but those are the only ones Chavez will admit to.
The fruit of his labors looks more like a life-size action figure than Superman, although we admit that that might have been what he was going for.
Thank God his parents didn't get him the Ninja Turtles pajamas he originally asked for.
Source articles indicate that he is a pageant trainer, which we assume is some kind of beauty pageant coach. If that's the case, it's entirely appropriate, considering that Chavez obviously inhabits a world of crippling insecurity. It's good to stick to what you know.
Fans Lined Up Seven Weeks in Advance to See Revenge of the Sith ... at a Theater That Wasn't Playing It
It probably won't surprise you much to learn that eager Star Wars fans began lining up outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre to see Episode III: Revenge of the Sith seven weeks prior to the film's opening night, because Star Wars is a series that demands optimistic dedication bordering on self-endangerment. Heck, Star Wars fans practically invented waiting in line for movies weeks ahead of time. The problem was, Grauman's Chinese Theatre wasn't scheduled to show Revenge of the Sith and had absolutely no intention of doing so, regardless of how many people in XXL Darth Vader costumes lined up in front of their box office.
We find your lack of hygiene disturbing.
Employees of Grauman's explained this helpful bit of news to the gathering crowd several times, but the stubborn fans simply refused to believe it. Since every previous Star Wars film had opened at Grauman's, they reasoned that the final film in the series would do the same and that the theater's employees were merely trying to shoo them away with the misinformation (because a throng of people in homemade Jedi costumes leaning against the side of your building for two months just kind of looks like an army of homeless people).
Even though 20th Century Fox executives released a statement officially declaring that the film would be playing a mile across town at the ArcLight and not at Grauman's, the suspicious Star Wars fans refused to back up their banthas and move on, presumably because by this point in the prequel trilogy they expected to feel the sting of betrayal at every turn.
This is also known as the Walter Fielding strategy.
Finally, on the day of the film's release, a group of volunteers from ArcLight put on Stormtrooper costumes and literally herded the poor Grauman's refugees over to the correct theater so they could actually watch the movie.
Woman Goes into Labor During Playoff Hockey Game and Refuses to Leave
Earlier this year, the very-pregnant-and-due-any-day-now Donna Lebano was attending Game 5 of an NHL playoff series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild when she began to have contractions during the game's second period, as if the baby was so bored by the sport that he wanted to get the hell out of the arena.
They've used the same gate re-entry stamp since 1976.
However, rather than alert her three sisters to the impending miracle about to tiger uppercut its way out of her lady parts and allow them to take her to the hospital, she decided to ignore the child-bearing rumblings in her abdomen and finish watching the game, because her dedication and responsibility to the Chicago Blackhawks was infinitely more important to her than her dedication and responsibility to her unborn child.
Keep in mind that each period in the NHL lasts 20 minutes, and intermissions between periods are 17 minutes long, meaning that Lebano sat in her seat surrounded by screaming, drunken Chicagoans and pretended she wasn't giving birth for about an hour. Only when the game finally ended and the Blackhawks were victorious did she allow herself to be taken to the hospital and grant life to the infant frantically trying to crawl its way out of her womb before it drowned and/or suffocated.
Dragon Quest Is a Cultural Touchstone in Japan
Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior in America) is a series of video games that are so insanely popular, they're legitimate cultural phenomena, having sold enough copies for 25 percent of the population of Japan to own at least one game. But so what? Americans have bought shitloads of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto games, right?
"Well, we know you wanted insulin, but we got you this instead! Happy birthday, Sister Mary Daniel!"
But it's so, so much more: Dragon Quest has a theme bar/restaurant in Tokyo, a ballet interpretation performed by the Star Dancers Ballet of Japan, and annual orchestral performances of its original score that have been held since 1987. That's more dedicated fanfare than most religions get in the United States, let alone video games -- America tends to convert popular games into one or two shitty movies starring people in leather pants, which incidentally is the exact same treatment afforded to classic works of literature.
The national love for Dragon Quest is so strong in Japan that the game's publisher, Square Enix, supposedly made an official policy to only release new Dragon Quest games on weekends, because evidently they're worried that the productivity of the nation would grind to a halt as a result of all the rabid Dragon Quest fans ditching school and work to pick up their copies. The story goes that when Dragon Quest III was released back in 1988, lines at game stores stretched along for blocks, filled with truant teenagers and adults who had called in sick to work (supposedly people were even getting mugged for their copies).
Three to five years was a small price to pay for some of that sweet 8-bit goodness.
So, Square Enix decided from that point on that they would only release Dragon Quest games on weekends, because both professionals and students would already be off for the day, and Japanese muggers apparently only operate on business days. A cynical person might say that the move was just a ploy to bolster the legend of the game, but they stuck to that schedule for the next two and a half decades. So basically, if you're thinking about invading Japan, do it on Dragon Quest day.
People Lined Up at Shipping Docks (and Charles Dickens' House) to Learn the Fate of a Character
Do you remember when the whole Internet was going nuts waiting for the Breaking Bad finale? Trading fan theories, speculating about character fates, hunting for spoilers? Well, imagine for a minute that the Internet (and broadcast media in general) doesn't exist and you're hearing this article as an internal monologue echoing against the four walls of your own mind. Imagine that, instead of sitting down to see the final episode pop up on your screen on Sunday night, you instead have to wait for it to be physically shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, arrive in some major shipping port, and then slowly be doled out to your local store via horse cart.
This was the exact situation faced by fans of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shoppe, a weekly serial written by the author a few years after he'd made it his sovereign duty to earn every shred of his income by writing about adorable starving orphans.
They were the Johnny Depp to Dickens' Tim Burton.
Charles Dickens was a hugely popular author in his day, especially in the United States, sort of like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King riding a tandem bicycle. As any fan of serialized drama knows, people become very attached to the characters and almost ravenously desperate to find out what fate, cruel or otherwise, is going to befall them. The Old Curiosity Shoppe was no exception, and fans of the story urgently wanted to know what happened to a character known as Little Nell, so much so that thousands of Old Curiosity Shoppe fans lined the wharf where the book was being delivered and yelled at the sailors unpacking it, demanding to know Nell's fate, as if every single one of the barely literate crewmen had read the damn thing.
Meanwhile, in Dickens' home country of England, crowds of Old Curiosity Shoppe fans (we'll call them Shoppers) were so concerned for Little Nell that they actually gathered outside Dickens' house while he was writing the story and screamed desperate, commanding pleas at him not to kill her off. Amazingly, despite the wishes of all the obnoxious people yelling at him from outside his house, Dickens killed off Nell anyway, almost as if he'd already had a story in mind that he wanted to tell. Either that or he was just a cruel, bearded literary troll gleefully murdering characters for his own grotesque amusement.
If anything happens to Tyrion Lannister, we can't be held responsible for our actions.
Robert is a columnist for Freakin' Awesome Network and would like for you to follow him on Twitter. Karl wants you to check out his friends' YouTube channel full of gaming-related goodness. Catch more of Sam's writing at the Hilltop Views, or visit him on Facebook and Twitter.
Related Reading: Fan dedication is one thing, solving a riddle three movies before it's answered is something far more insane. And all that isn't nearly as impressive as the complete statistical analysis of all 900 Lord of the Rings characters. Those fans may have been crazy, but at least they weren't as obnoxious as these guys.