We at ZNN have noticed there is a lot of divisive commentary and opinions that are swirling around currently. You can go to just about any fandom and there are usually a bunch of hot topic items that when mentioned can set aflame a huge inferno that may be hard to quench. So, in light of recent creative developments within the Zootopia community, I figured it would be good to go back to the basics and reestablish what we do at ZNN and why we do it.
On March 4, 2016, Zootopia was released in theaters and set ablaze the creative inspirations within thousands of people. Countless fanfics, art, comics and more were generated by the fan base. Some rose to prominence while others wallowed in obscurity. ZNN was founded by Andy Lagopus (stage name, I assure you) on March 31, 2016. Its primary goal was to report on any and all news regarding this particular fandom. It didn’t matter what the content or medium was, if it was Zootopia, it would be featured.
However, Andy decided to do something a bit different than most other sites. He wanted to establish a set of standards for featuring things on ZNN. A set of rules and guidelines that would help differentiate between content that was either inappropriate or lacking a certain level of quality and feature that which was truly noteworthy according to those set of standards. As laid out in his ethos that is publicly readable to all the ZNN staff when they join.
Made public today, you can see Andy decided to set ZNN apart by putting these guidelines on everything we do at ZNN. Now they are not hard and fast rules and are still guidelines, thus can be bent depending on the situation. ZNN is split up into several sections and each section has their own, more defined and precise set of guidelines and standards that delve deeper into what is or isn’t okay to feature. Those are left up to the individual team leads to craft and then get approved by Andy himself and that’s what they follow when judging a work to feature.
Working within the structure that was laid down above, if a work passes all standards it will get featured. Now, there have been several controversial works that have been featured such as A Different Kind of Predator by Lucario389 (which I prompted him to submit to ZNN) and the infamous comic I Will Survive by Borba (which also now has an equally controversial sequel: Born to Be Alive). With these sorts of posts, we debated long and hard, because they passed all the guidelines in terms of quality, style, content, etc. However, each addressed some hot topic issues that could spark a very lively debate, to put it mildly.
With these difficult decisions, we have to go back to the primary tenets of ZNN that Andy laid down. Is it newsworthy? Yes, they surely are. Is it judged on its own merits for quality regardless of content therein? Yes, it passes ZNN’s quality standard for sure. Does it uphold decency standards? Debatable and highly contested, so much so that sometimes we’d need almost the entire leadership to weigh in on certain posts. If majority votes borderline to yes, it gets featured. Skipping down to the last tenet, featuring a certain fanfic, comic or piece of art does continue to help promote creativity and freedom of personal expression for each individual creator.
So in the end, if it meets all the above criteria, as an objective news site, we will feature anything that exists in the Zootopia fandom. Individual reviewers or post writers may offer their own personal opinion or take on a feature, but overall, the entire ZNN remains neutral in all things it posts. That is, at least, what we strive for. Every creator is different, every piece of art unique. Not all things ZNN features is indicative of the entire Zootopia fandom as a whole – only a small piece.
I’d love to point out a few other pieces from the past we’ve featured that are just as deserving of time and just as outside the box as the examples pointed out above. Zoorangers by Bionichute is a fantastic, ridiculous and off-the-wall crossover fic that really has to be read to be believed. Inside Nick and Judy is a creative crossover comic where we get to see what Inside Out would be if it was in the world of Zootopia involving our favorite duo! Try Everything A Capella! is a ingenious rendition of our favorite song from Gazelle and well worth a listen.
That’s the beauty of this fandom. There is such a wide variety of content from a huge swath of creators that makes being in this community such a rewarding experience. At ZNN, we do our best to bring to light all these talented creators and what their brilliant minds have created, regardless of the medium it’s presented in. So, for anyone new to the fandom and reading this, I strongly urge you to dig deeper and explore all that this community has to offer. You might find yourself loving Zootopia just as much if not more than we do here at ZNN!
And remember, as always,
It is disappointing how divisive some of these things have become. I can’t say I don’t also have some very, very strong opinions about some of the mentioned features or related things (Borba’s comics first in line come to mind, love the artistic skill but I cannot say I have any fondness for the topics and direction of either of his most controversial two), but why is there any reason to shout to the world thoughts that will do nothing but raise ire, especially over and over? News is news, good or bad certainly, and art should be appreciated for what it is, and what one likes one can focus on, what one doesn’t one has perfect capability to just scroll on by. The guidelines you’ve set for this site are as they should be for its purpose (on a detail or two we all may have our own opinions but they do not have to be a source of conflict), and I think ought to be an example in general for how to approach anything in the fandom. Keep the bias personal, don’t fan flames.
Very, very well said!
I like Born to be alive it’s a good one and I hope you keep carring it on and I like to see the outcome of it.
This what happen the hereafter story, i think. Not counting the religious foundation- one chapter is M+ in this great story, that scandalize some people. But the next chapters are even impressive (somewhat strong, but not AS M+). I understand, you did not share it further, because of a chapter because it crossed the border at a point. Even before or afterwards.
To this day, I Will Survive remains the most viewed piece we have ever featured on Zootopia News Network.Com. Some folks may hate it but no one’s IGNORING it.
I cannot say that I enjoyed Borba’s “I Will Survive.” I had to stop following him when he began posting “Born To Be Alive”. The artist remains one of the best out there, but I think the thing that strikes so much controversy is how much the his fanworks grind against the fundamental characters that everyone fell in love with in the Movie. Both stories have literally taken a dump on one Character to the point of cruelty. The way both Nick and Judy’s character deviate from characters built on friendship, acceptance, love, and forgiveness of shortcomings and mistakes is so radical that they are only recognizable by the artists unquestionable talent for creating art. I would never suggest not to showcase it just because it is a different opinion, but expect the fan base to express theirs.
I for one despise both works. The fact that I do not follow the artist but still somehow end up seeing the next page sickens me. Just because it sparks controversy and gets page views doesn’t mean that it is good. The art is undeniably amazing! But you can dress up anything repulsive, to entice people to swallow it. I know that there are many who have things to say about what I write, but I feel like I need to vent why I am so disgusted. Nick, a character who is redeemed and so is finally allowed to feel that he is worth something, is in a sense being muzzled again. The comics suggest that his desires, wants, and dreams don’t matter because they are no longer important to the “star” of the show… or in this case the relationship. His story, Borba’s version, suggests that he was right all along about the world around him. It’s not worth letting someone in because they will just hurt you. His reformation was only acceptable when it was convenient or allowed by the characters that controlled his world and set the terms. And he has to watch the world around him burn, and he tried, but it doesn’t matter because that is just the way it is. Nobody (should) expect life to be fair. It’s not. But I have a hard time believing that anyone having been through what these two have gone through would allow things to get as bad as these ridiculous comics get. That kind of relationship, romantic or not, would not be given up or tossed aside so frivolously or without a fight.
I am kicking myself for writing this only because it will stir the hive and draw more moths to the flame that is Borba’s comics. They are horrible, they are cruel, and portray sonet of pain that I do not understand why anyone would want to take part of. In the freedom of expression, showcase the work. But if you love the characters and love Zootopia, do yourself a favor and avoid Borba’s work at all costs.