A few days ago I went to the book release party in Los Angeles for Lynn S. Zubernis’s new book Family Don’t End With Blood. It is a collection of essays from cast and fans on how the television show Supernatural has changed lives.
First, a little background on me…
Unlike much of the existing fan base, I am relatively new. I got sick this last February and binge-watched the first eleven seasons on Netflix through a fevered haze. I scrambled to DVR the currently running Season 12, and then scoured websites for information and YouTube for interviews and convention videos, trying to absorb every last molecule of this new, amazing obsession of mine. I was drawn in by these two handsome brothers looking for their dad and ended up riding the roller coaster of how they tried time again to save the world and each other from seemingly inevitable ruin. I was captivated by the love and loyalty and sacrifice.
Finding the magic in real life…
Imagine my shock when I discovered that the themes of the show carried over into the fandom and were fostered and nurtured by the cast themselves. For over a decade, the machine known as the SPN Family has been churning away under the mainstream radar. The motto of the Winchesters is ‘Saving people. Hunting things. The family business.’, but in reality, the fandom conducts itself in a similar vein. This isn’t just a group of people that love a show and fawn over the actors that make it. This isn’t just fans screaming on the sidelines while the celebrities smile and wave and go about their lives.
This isn’t so much a fandom as it is a family.
The cast and crew interact with fans on an almost constant basis in life and on social media, fostering relationships and interactions that have spawned movements that have saved lives and improved situations for people around the world. The SPN Family is a force for good in this world made that much stronger by the fact that it’s real. The actors love their jobs and their fans and they put themselves out there more than any others I have ever seen. The fans coordinate and support in ways that move mountains, hold Guinness World Records, and find organ donors for dying people.
Lightning in a bottle, in book form…
In an effort to capture some of that magic and memorialize it in writing, Zubernis’s book, Family Don’t End With Blood has essays from cast and fans about how the show and the fandom have changed their lives. I don’t want to spoil it or give anything away, but bring tissue. If you have ever felt like you didn’t belong, you should read this book. If you have ever felt lost or alone or like you had no idea why you should keep going, then you should read this book. Even if you have never seen the show, you should read this book, because this isn’t just about entertainment, it’s about how a simple thing, well loved, can grow to help millions of people live better lives individually and together. Read it. Seriously.
The book release was held at The Study in Los Angeles. It is an amazing venue and was perfect for this event. Covered in old books and typewriters, the architecture and high ceilings are reminiscent of the bunker where Sam and Dean Winchester currently live on the show. I wish I had pictures, but I’m terrible at remembering that kind of thing. I went with my friend Amanda and, due to my severe paranoia of being late, we showed up two hours early. We found the place and Amanda tried the door while I stood back and hissed at her not to do that. We were WAY early and there was probably no one in there. Even if there was, they weren’t going to let us in.
Luckily for us, Amanda has no fear in some circumstances, because she yanked on that locked door. Someone inside walked up, opened the door, and Amanda just walked in like she belonged there, so I followed. We were there before anyone else except the employees of The Study. When Lynn and her entourage showed for setup I feared we would be booted. We weren’t supposed to be there. I started having mental images ranging from polite requests to vacate all the way up to being forcibly removed when I inevitably froze in horror at being caught somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be and then needed to be moved like a department store mannequin.
Again, luckily for us, these ladies were incredibly kind and they welcomed us with smiles and conversation. Amanda and I got to meet some really talented ladies that night: Krista (whose last name and official affiliation totally escapes me right now, but she’s amazing and Rob Benedict is a big fan, so you can’t go wrong there), Kim Prior (who has a chapter in FDEWB and is an astonishing photographer), Laurena Aker (who has a chapter in FDEWB and is also the editor and contributor for Fan Phenomena: The Twilight Saga), Chris Griffin (the stunningly talented artist who illustrated the cover of FDEWB), and the incomparable Lynn S. Zubernis herself. There were a few others as well that I cannot fully recall because I am terrible with names and I was so excited that I forgot my own name a few times.
In no time the venue was crowded with fans and cast from the show. I even got to meet Jim Beaver face-to-face, though I lost my ability to form coherent sentences when I got in front of him. I think I told him a story, but I don’t recall. He was incredibly gracious and patient while I held his hand for what I realize now might have been an awkward amount of time. Amanda had to go up and get my book autographed by him later because I had forgotten during my bout of “vocabulary dysentery” and was too embarrassed to face him again. I am capable of being a perfectly intelligent and well spoken individual as long as I’m not meeting a celebrity for the first time. Sorry Jim, next time I’ll be less weird. Maybe.
It was great to get to see how the cast just wandered through the crowd and people greeted them with waves and hugs like they were all friends. I think it’s because they are all friends. There is no screaming and ridiculousness. It’s just people with a common love gathering to celebrate, and that is what Supernatural and the SPN Family is about: making a safe place for people to belong and grow and be amazing.
You can purchase Family Don’t End With Blood on Amazon HERE
Random pictures that managed to get taken: Me (Kearson) lounging on the couch, Rob Benedict, Ruth Connell, Gil McKinney, Jim Beaver, and me and Amanda.