So, we’ve apparently received some bad word on our fan girl shirt, with accusations of sexism being thrown at us from a certain few bloggers… …who have completely ignored our other variant shirt on display or didn’t even bother to ask our take on it. Apparently it’s only sexism if it is insulting to one gender. Woo double standards. Anyways, the fangirl/fanboy shirts can best be explained like this: fangirls/boys =/= fans. Fans are people who like and genuinely respect a fandom, and it’s creators. Fangirls/boys are like those creepy fedora wearing neckbearded bronies, or hetalia fanfiction shippers, who make us all collectively cringe in pain at what they do to the things we love. No one should ever defend these kinds of people. Seriously, they make the rest of us look bad. oh and fyi: the ones who bought the shirt design, the fangirl one in particular, half were girls who bought it. — Yesterday we brought you Greg Rucka’s thoughts on a certain t-shirt for sale at WonderCon (a much more accurate version of which is above) that rightfully got a lot of people ticked off because of the way it perpetuates the toxic there’s only one right way to be a fan of something attitude that’s long infected geek culture and often manifests specifically in a way that’s intended to push girls out of geek spaces. Tankhead Custom Tees, which made the shirt, responded to the controversy with a grammatically-challenged message on their Facebook page, pointing out that they make a version of the shirt for fanboys too and completely ignoring the whole thing about how no one should be shamed for the way they choose to express their interest. Hetalia fanfic shippers, oh noes!
Wow. And it got worse.
Immortality and the origin of death is one of the most popular topics of stories from around the world, actually. Often immortality is or can be conferred on average humans by eating or drinking a rare and special kind of food or beverage.
In the Islamic world you have the four immortals, including Khidir, the Green Man, who drank from the water of life and became immortal. Khidir’s tale shares some factors in common with the story of The Wandering Jew. You can read more about him and the other immortals here.
In China you have the Covert Eight Immortals:
- Immortal Woman He (He Xiangu),
- Royal Uncle Cao (Cao Guojiu),
- Iron-Crutch Li (Tieguai Li),
- Lan Caihe,
- Lü Dongbin, leader;
- Philosopher Han Xiang (Han Xiang Zi),
- Elder Zhang Guo (Zhang Guo Lao), and
- Han Zhongli (Zhongli Quan).
whose power can be transferred to tools an used to destroy evil ro bestow life; as well as the Eight Immortal Scholars of Huainan, or the Eight Gentlemen, who aren’t deified or made supernatural in any way, as their “immortality” is a metaphor but I think that’s a fun play for fiction. As well as Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who famously spent much of his life searching for an elixir of immortality.
There are a fair amount of Native American tales that deal with this topic, too. The Boy Who Would Be Immortal is a Hočąk story, with analogues in Macmac, Menominee, and Potawotami, with their theme of fasting. If you plan to include immortals that blend with supernatural tales, Wendigo are certainly immortal (humans become Wendigo by breaking taboos or committing terrible crimes), as are Skin Walkers in Navajo legend.
In Vietnam, Hang Nga and Hau Nghe are made immortal by eating a special type of grass. Separate from this, you have the Vietnamese Four Immortals: the giant boy Thánh Gióng, mountain god Tản Viên Sơn Thánh,Chử Đồng Tử the marsh boy, and the princess Liễu Hạnh.
In both Hindu and Buddhist tales, the elixir of immortality is guarded jealously by the gods and Garuda, the mythological bird person, plays a very important role in these kind of stories in Southeast Asia.
There’s a Yoruban tale about Oba Koso or Shango, who was forced to commit suicide by political intrigue but did not hang; The demigod Maui has many stories his quests involving immortality for himself and others in Tonga, New Zealand, Samoa, and many other Pacific Islands.
Also keep in mind, even if you’re going to allow Greek or Roman immortals to dominate your story-not all Greek or Roman immortals were white people. A notable exception is Memnon, an African (Ethiopian and/or Sudanese) king, who was killed by Achilles and mourned so deeply by Eos, his mother, that Zeus was moved to grant him immortality.
I highly encourage anyone else to add their favorite stories about immortality to this post!!!
I’m not sure if someone’s already mentioned it, but there’s a Japanese folktale about how if you eat the flesh of a mermaid (person-fish, 人魚), you’ll become immortal.
There’s a brief passage about the original story here (which started showing up in the Edo/Tokugawa period [~1600-1868]) and a general entry from the Obakemono Project which now, sadly, can only be accessed by the WayBack Machine, but sports a very nice citations list.
Yeah! The Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi got all up into that, created a very popular manga and then there was a very short anime that was only partially shown on tv because it was too disturbing.