Mythic Max: Fandom and Folklore


Today is meta day here apparently since I think I witnessed the birth of at least two egregores and that’s pretty rad, so:

I was thinking that, you know, if Max is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic mythic folk hero (I’m an adherent to that idea; no shame if you prefer the Feral Kid or Immortal Max ideas because I really love those too, but I’ve made my choice)…there’s a cool myth meta-level involved that we only sort of see.

That is: 

1.   We (you and I) are watching the movie as a movie, as a modern piece of media storytelling which is telling a fictional story and we are in our world
2.   There is the story itself as a story (real or not)

If Max is also a folk hero within that story, then there’s also a third level. That is:

3.   Someone (read: History People), somewhere is telling the story to someone else within the same imagined world in which the story itself takes place–or doesn’t take place because it could be fiction in that world as well, even if it’s considered true or mythologically true. But the story irrefutably exists within this world, even when it isn’t actively being told.

And we know this is canon because we have the History Man in the comics (even gross as they are in certain regards and to say nothing of frame narratives present in the other films).

So within Max!world, the Citadel is a real thing and the History Man is a real person, and he’s telling the story of the revolution that made the Citadel what it is at that point in time. The Fury Road story exists within its own world

So, in other words, there’s an in-between plane wherein the story exists which is both in our world (the movie we’re watching) and the imagined world (the story told within the imagined world). That’s the meta-level the History Man is standing on.

And if Max is a myth?

Max being a myth doesn’t make his story any less “true” within that third plane of the story being told within the story’s world. That story is still real within that third plane. Even if there never was a Max Rockatansky.

Or, let me put it this way: there was never a Max Rockatansky in our world, but we still know the stories.

So here comes the fun part:

By this logic (’logic”), because we’re standing on the edges of m-space, everything that we, as fans, create in terms of fic or art or speculation or jokes or anything else is, in a weird, backwards, roundabout, upside-down way also canon because it’s technically part of the mythology surrounding this character (or characters!) and place and time and world. You’re not in the world but you’re there on the edge and you’re telling its stories. Turn a little and squint. Your stories are also the stories told within the world.

Characters like Max (and Captain America and Batman and Luke Skywalker and any number of others) are contemporary folk heroes, contemporary figures of myth and legend. They figure in our new legends. Sometimes they’re even framed as such. And this is extraordinarily important: we need legends and heroes and folktales. Things like fanfiction and fanart are folktales; they are reclaiming folktales from corporations for the people. 

Make things; subvert.

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Tags: and yes, fury road, I love when meta gets extra meta, with meta on it, I think this makes a lot of sense, the fanworks are absolutely of a piece with the mythic Max concept, I haven't seen them, but I suspect there are fanworks that are explicitly in the mythic Max space, i.e., fic that treats Max as mythological, I know it's not anything like this movie, but I kind of wish some of the people I follow because of Fury Road, had been fans of Kissing in the Rain, not just because the fic would have been amazing, but because you all have thought so deeply and wonderfully, about exactly this issue, the relationship between canon and fic, and how many layers of meta is too many, a: none of them, none of the layers.

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