'Loki' is giving Tumblr a chance to relive its first Marvel obsession - MrLiambi's blog

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Friday, 25 June 2021

'Loki' is giving Tumblr a chance to relive its first Marvel obsession

10 years is a long time to be burdened with glorious purpose.

2011 was a good year for Tom Hiddleston. The British actor, who by then had already enjoyed a 10-year career in the kind of film and TV work that keeps one employed but shy of superstardom, appeared in four movies that now look tailor-made to introduce the world to his greatest strengths. In Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Tom Hiddleston played a foppish and charming F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Deep Blue Sea had him as a dashing Air Force pilot in a soapy period romance, War Horse placed him in an Oscar-bait drama bound to get attention from the inclusion of then-current British internet boyfriend Benedict Cumberbatch...and he also debuted the inimitable Loki in Marvel Studios' Thor.

Thor itself isn't one of Marvel's strongest movies. It took another six years for Taika Waititi to really nail Thor as a character in Thor: Ragnarok, but Loki emerged from the 2011 film as a fully formed and gorgeously venomous villain played to perfection by the classically trained Hiddleston. That Loki returned a year later as the main villain in The Avengers (2012) definitely helped the character's profile, but Loki, and by default Hiddleston, was already a star in the fandom's eyes.

On Tumblr, the arguable locus of internet fandom, Tom Hiddleston became a god. Gifsets, edits, fanart, fanfiction, and headcanons about Loki were massively popular and there was a time when it felt impossible to log in to Tumblr without seeing Hiddleston in or out of costume. To be fair (and rather broad), Hiddleston and Loki fit the bill for the exact kind of skinny, dark haired, antiheroic or outright villainous, looks-good-in-a-suit, usually but not always British white guy around which Tumblr and fandom in general tend to coalesce (further examples are the aforementioned Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes, Kylo Ren from Star Wars, and Severus Snape from Harry Potter).

Through his appearances in other Marvel movies, Loki has kept his grip on Tumblr for ten whole years, burdening fans with the glorious purpose of keeping his legend alive even after the character canonically died in Avengers: Infinity War. His popularity was such that it surprised literally no one when a loophole to keep Loki in the MCU appeared a year later, when the time heist plot of Avengers: Endgame gave the original 2012 version of Loki a chance to escape his fate and star in his own series on Disney+.

This brings us from Loki to Loki. To borrow a phrase from another property, Hiddleston donning his greasy black hair and green suit once more was heralded as the return of the king. The Loki fandom has never eaten so well in its entire ten years of life, and for some the resurgence of top quality Loki content is a nostalgic return to form for Tumblr and online fandom.

Cates Holderness is Tumblr's Community and Trend Curator, and she talked to Mashable about some of the hard data that emphasizes just how hype the platform was to see their boy Loki on screen again. "[Hiddleston] is constantly showing up on our weekend review fandometrics celebs list," Holdernss explained, "he's an evergreen favorite on Tumblr."

That favor is evident in the data that shows the name Tom Hiddleston only got a 76% increase in the month leading up to Loki's June premiere, compared to a 209% increase in engagements for "Loki" and 263% for "Loki Laufeysson," the character's full name. And as for that fandometrics list, Hiddleston jumped to the number one spot for two weeks straight after the premiere of Loki June 9.

Another aspect of Loki's popularity is a proximity affect that makes fandom stars out of people like Owen Wilson, who despite being an incredibly prolific actor and household name hadn't quite cracked the fandom barrier. "The Owen Wilson data is very interesting," Holderness said, referring to an 823% increase in engagements with the actor on Tumblr in June compared to May. "He's an actor that's been around for so long and has never been in kind of a niche fandom with such a rabid following." Wilson's character Mobius spends a lot of time with Loki in the show's first two episodes, and the character name Mobius' engagements increased a whopping 1682% in just the first week after Loki premiered. As Wilson himself would probably say: wow.

"I've seen tons of memes like 'it's 2012 all over again on my dashboard. I think it hits a very big nostalgia point for users who have been around for so long."

These engagements add up to Tumblr site activity, measuring the fandom's enthusiasm for creating transformative work and discussing the characters on the show. While Loki has never been out of fashion in fandom, Holderness mentioned that the intense reinvigoration of the Loki tag has led to some in-jokes on Tumblr. "I've seen tons of memes like 'it's 2012 all over again on my dashboard,'" she said, "I think it hits a very big nostalgia point for users who have been around for so long."

It helps that Loki the TV show is finally delivering on some long-held fan theories about Loki, including the character's genderfluidity (confirmed in press material) and queer sexuality (confirmed in Episode 3 of Loki, which aired after this data was collected). For fans who's been around since Loki first appeared on Asgard, a gifset of Loki saying he's bi or genderfluid can feel like stepping into a machine that takes one back ten years but crosses into to a different, arguably better timeline â€" one where Tom Hiddleston is all over your Tumblr dashboard but the queer discourse is actually canon.

Loki's longevity in fandom all but ensured that his Disney+ show would embody many aspects of his popularity at once. Loki is a TV show the fans dreamed about seeing but never thought would air. It's all new content but the ubiquity of Loki memes makes Tumblr party like it's 2012. Loki is a beloved fave who died but never left, then was resurrected so he really never left. As with most things Loki-adjacent, the contradictions are half the fun of loving the God of Mischief, and the new nostalgia of Loki on Disney+ is another huge win for online fandom on Tumblr and beyond.

Loki is streaming on Disney+



Source : http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/pVEQRvS-XEc/loki-disney-plus-tumblr-fandom

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