Watchers of CIS Collection of Highlander Fan Materials
Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
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Acquisition and Processing Information: These materials were donated by Samantha "The Goddess" Lynn in October 2009. They were processed in the same month.A small additional accession was donated by Lynn in November 2010.
Photographs: Box 4
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of various fannish materials relating to the Highlander media franchise of films and television shows. Most of the material consists of print masters and copies of The Prize, a newsletter produced by the fan group Watchers of CIS. There is a complete run of this newsletter, from 1994-1997 [Neither an issue #13 nor #26 were ever produced.]. (Note that Prize editor Samantha Lynn whimsically assigned false dates to most issues, until winter 1996. This was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the frequent use of flashbacks on Highlander: The Series. However, the first issue can be dated to January 1994, and the subsequent issues run accordingly.)
Much of the remaining material consists of miscellaneous Highlander-related material assembled by Lynn during her time as an active fan of Highlander: The Series, including publicity materials, merchandise catalogs, news clippings, and materials from the Watchers of CIS. There are also some print items produced for Highlander fan conventions.
The fan group Watchers of CIS was initially established in 1993, the first year of the broadcast of Highlander: The Series. The "Watchers" in the group's name was a reference to the series' "Watchers", a shadowy organization that exists to observe and monitor the activities of the various Immortals living around the world. "CIS" stands for 'CompuServe Information Systems' - a proprietary online service (the first to offer Internet connectivity, starting in 1989) that provided access to e-mail and online forums before the advent of HTML-coded websites.
Samantha Lynn is the founder of Woodhull and Desmoulins Press, in Harrison Township, MI. She became a Highlander fan during the show's second season, and joined the Watchers as a way of touching base with other fans. Though the Watchers themselves existed before Lynn's membership, the existence of an organized Highlander fandom was still small and unfocused enough that Lynn can be considered one of the founding generation. Lynn grew concerned with the ephemeral nature of the various online conversations on the CIS and other boards, and she offered to begin 'clipping' the more substantive or entertaining discussions and posting them into a newsletter for the group's archives to preserve the discussions and provide new fans with background information. Lynn gave the newsletter the title The Prize.
The Watchers of CIS lasted throughout the run of the original series (1993-1998), but as proprietary services such as CIS became increasingly eclipsed by the development of independent and personal websites, group members began to scatter towards these methods of Internet communication. This, together with the series' cancellation in 1998, signaled the end of the Watchers of CIS, which broke up soon after the end of the series' run.
The Highlander media franchise is comprised of the original film, Highlander, released in 1986, together with four film sequels, two television series (the first, Highlander: The Series, forms the bulk of fannish interest in the franchise), an animated movie, an animated television series, and numerous novels and comic books. Since the franchise's inception in 1986, it has garnered an intense cult following.
The first film introduced the basic mythology of the Highlander universe. Christopher Lambert played Connor MacLeod, a 16th-century Scottish warrior who discovers that he is an Immortal. Immortals are certain individuals scattered throughout the world and history who, once killed violently, are reborn and live forever. However, Immortals can be killed by decapitation, and the Rules which bind the Immortals oblige them to confront each other and battle to the death. The beheading of an Immortal results in the release of energy called "the Quickening", which is absorbed by the victorious Immortal.
Eventually, so goes the saga's mythos, the few remaining Immortals on Earth will be irresistably drawn together into an event called "the Gathering", at which they will battle until one is left. As the film's famous tagline has it, "There can be only one." The Immortal who ultimately triumphs wins The Prize - that is, ultimate, transcendent knowledge and understanding.
Highlander dealt with Connor's gradual understanding of his Immortal nature, helped along by his teacher/mentor Ramirez, a fellow Immortal played by Sean Connery. Connor trains with Ramirez as a warrior, but his wife's death from old age (though Connor, of course, has not aged) embitters him and he wanders the world through the subsequent centuries. In 1985 Connor is drawn to the Gathering, which occurs in New York City. The first film ends with Connor's triumph over the evil Immortal The Kurgan and his attainment of the Prize. (At the time, the producers of the movie were not considering the possibility of sequels.)
Though the film did poorly in the United States, it garned enough profits abroad to inspire a sequel, Highlander II: The Quickening, released in 1991. The film was harshly received by critics and viewers alike, but nonetheless another sequel (Highlander III: The Final Dimension) was released in 1994. However, real fannish interest in the franchise began to coalesce with the introduction of a television spinoff of the movie series, Highlander: The Series, which was syndicated from 1993-1998. The series starred Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod (a fellow clansman of the movies' hero Connor), an Immortal attempting to live quietly in the present day until he is drawn back into "The Game", that is, the ongoing struggle between Immortals to destroy each other and leave one standing alone. Throughout the series' six seasons, the show varied between Duncan's present-day battles and his adventures in his previous 400 years of Immortal life across the world. The show garnered general critical acclaim, and fans were drawn to both the complex mythos of the show and to Paul's portrayal of Duncan.
The popularity of the series inspired two movie sequels (Highlander: Endgame (2000) and Highlander: The Source (2007)), a brief spinoff television series (Highlander: The Raven, 1998-1999), an Internet-only Flash animation series (The Mythos Chronicles, 2001), an anime film (Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, 2007), and numerous novels and comic books.
For other fannish collections, many of which contain materials relating to Highlander: The Series, please consult the Fandom-Related Collections subject page, at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/resources/FandomResources.html.
Box Contents List
The Gathering 1 - 2 [Denver, CO: 1994-1995]: Program Books
The Gathering 3 [Denver, CO: 1996]: Program Book, Fan Convention Report
Syndi-Con 1995 [San Francisco, CA: 1995]: Program Book, Fan Convention Report
Lynn, Samantha, 1994 - 1996, n.d.
McAsh, F. Braun (Fight Director, Highlander: The Series), 1996, n.d.
Cashiers Du Cinemart #4, #6 (n.d.)
Different Drummer (November 1993) [Quantum Leap]
The Fifth Chronicle, vol. 1 (1996)
Glenfinnan Chronicle #1 - 2 (September-December 1994)
Peace: The Adrian Paul Fan Club #1 - 3 (May-November 1994)
Peace: The Adrian Paul Fan Club #4 - 6 (February-August 1995)
Peace: The Adrian Paul Fan Club #7 - 8 (November 1995-February 1996)
The Prize #1: Collectors Edition ("February 1642") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #2: Down the Long Hard Road ("March 1970) - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #3: Paris Is Lovely in Springtime ("April 1783") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #4: A-Maying We Will Go ("May 1959") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #5: Deep Thoughts ("June 1899") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #6: 9 Thermidor ("July 1794") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #7: Surely You Can't Be Sirius ("August 1816") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #8: Blue Light Special ("September 1744") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #9: Danse Diabolique ("October 1629") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #10: Dust in the Wind ("November 1991") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #11: Another Year Over ("December 1914") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #12: Haggis Time (January 1995) - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #14: A Candle ("February 1592") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #15: Sex and Violence ("March 1957") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #16: Mayhem Is Our Business ("April 1805") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #17: Darling Buds, We Aint ("May 1592") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #18: This Issue Has No Title ("June 1909") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #19: Once More Into the Breach ("July 1968") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #20: Wonderful Things ("August 1921") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #21: I'd Like to Thank the Academy ("September 1937") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #22: Swords Against Property ("October 1872") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #23: Come Back Here You Blasted Bird ("November 1635") - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #24: The Big Finish ("December 1911") - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #25: Thanks for the Memories (Winter 1996) - Print Master and Copies
The Prize #27: Deep Cover (Summer 1996) - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #28: Viscous Rumors (Fall 1996) - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #29: Signs and Portents (Winter 1997) - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #30: The Old Song and Dance (Spring 1997) - Print Master and Copy
The Prize #31: Cheat Sheet (Summer 1997) - Print Master and Copies
The Quickening, vol. 2 #1 - 4 (1994-1995?)
The Quickening, vol. 3 #1 - 3 (Winter 1995-Indian Summer 1995); vol. 3 #4/vol. 4 #1 (Fall 1995/Winter 1996)
Advertisements for Zines and Fan Clubs, 1994, n.d.
Articles from Media Magazines re: Highlander: The Series, 1994-1996
Articles from Military/Weapons Magazines re: Highlander: The Series, 1996
Awards and Contests, 1994, 1996
Clipped Articles, Highlander-related, 1993 - 1996, n.d.
Excerpt from Novelization of Highlander (1985), 1985
Highlander 18 Month Calendar (July 1998-December 1999)
Highlander FAQ, produced by Watchers of CIS, 1994
Highlander Merchandise Catalogs, n.d.
"Immie" Awards (Watchers of CIS), 1994
Information Package on Highlander: The Series, from Davis-Panzer Productions, 1994
Interview with Adrian Paul (by Linda Knights), n.d.
Lynn, Samantha - Private Press Materials [Woodhull and Desmoulins Press], 1994, n.d.
1996 Editor's Choice Award (Watchers of CIS) - F. Braun McAsh, 1996
Online Discussions and Interviews [Transcripts], 1994-1995, n.d.
Publicity Materials for Highlander: The Series and Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), 1994, n.d.
Timeline of Highlander Events (through Highlander: The Series Episode 36, compiled by Watchers of CIS), n.d.
Assorted Publicity and other Photos, n.d.
Fan Club Photos, Adrian Paul, n.d.