When you think of the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan in the world, who do you think of?
"Superfans" are usually people we think of who go overboard in their home decor, their clothing, all the superficial accoutrements of displaying their love of a sports team or TV show, like the Chicago Bears or Star Trek. With Star Wars preparing for another resurgence, I expect we'll be seeing that sort of superfan all over the media push that's already begun.
And Sherlock Holmes has his share of that level of superfan. Those who convert one room of their house into a replica of 221B Baker Street. Those who costume and podcast and arrange events-within-events whenever fans gather.
The thing about Sherlock Holmes fandom that one finds a little different from many a fandom is that some of the biggest Sherlockian superfans take things to a whole 'nother level. Like the guy who got a very big hill renamed "Holmes peak." Or those folk who establish university archives centering on not only just Sherlock, but on a group of fans of Sherlock. Or bigger yet, those fans of Sherlock Holmes whose conflicting interests spawn a court battle that very nearly is argued in front of the Supreme Court.
How does one even wrap one's head around that level of fandom?
Every now and then I get reminded it's out there, when an article like this one from a local Santa Fe paper pops up.
Sherlockians just aren't the sort to sit in their basement wearing Sherlock t-shirts, surrounded by their memorabilia, and watching old videos . . . well, partly because we all know books don't do well in damp and keep our stuff out of basements where possible . . . but still. Something about Sherlock Holmes moves people to bigger things.
I'm not going to claim that Sherlockians have the exclusive claim to that level of superfandom. I'm sure one of the "Star" franchises is well on its way there, especially with "Jedi knight" listed as a religion on some nations' census surveys. Sherlockiana has been around a lot longer, so it's had a head start in building such fans, some of whom were Sherlock Holmes fans before Star Trek was even created, much less Star Wars. Those fandoms will get there, if they're not on the verge already.
And as they do, maybe we'll come up with a scale of measurement that can tell us who the biggest fan of a given mythic universe might be at any point in time. People magazine hardly does a "Sherlockiest person alive" issue every year.
But they're out there. Boy, are they ever.