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24 Sep 2018

Lean and Mean

Trevor J. Blank, Lynne S. McNeill. Slender Man Is Coming: Creepypasta and Contemporary Legends on the Internet. Utah State University Press. (September 3, 2018)
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The essays in this volume explore the menacing figure of Slender Man—the blank-faced, long-limbed bogeyman born of a 2009 Photoshop contest who has appeared in countless horror stories circulated on- and offline among children and young people. Slender Man is arguably the best-known example in circulation of “creepypasta,” a genre derived from “copypasta,” which in turn derived from the phrase “copy/paste.” As narrative texts are copied across online forums, they undergo modification, annotation, and reinterpretation by new posters in a folkloric process of repetition and variation.

Though by definition legends deal largely with belief and possibility, the crowd-sourced mythos behind creepypasta and Slender Man suggests a distinct awareness of fabrication. Slender Man is therefore a new kind of creation: one intentionally created as a fiction but with the look and feel of legend. Slender Man Is Coming offers an unprecedented folkloric take on Slender Man, analyzing him within the framework of contemporary legend studies, “creepypastas,” folk belief, and children’s culture. This first folkloric examination of the phenomenon of Slender Man is a must-read for anyone interested in folklore, horror, urban legends, new media, or digital cultures.

Contributors: Timothy H. Evans, Andrea Kitta, Mikel J. Koven, Paul Manning, Andrew Peck, Jeffrey A. Tolbert, Elizabeth Tucker.