Hi, my lovely Lotties! This is Aja, back for an exciting double-shift at the slash column this week and next! And, wow, is this an epic week for you guys.
The biggest news for fandom today is also the biggest news for the whole Internet, it seems:
SETH AND STEFON IS CANON!!!!!
What, did you think it was going to be Yahoo buying Tumblr? Hell, no. LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL SNL WEDDING:
Bill Hader’s last night on Saturday Night Live came complete with a Graduate parody and Ben Affleck shrieking “FOLLOW YOUR HEART, BRO!” as Seth Meyers eloped with Stefon into SNL history. “We are Seth and Stefon Meyers,” he announced. That’s right. One of comedy’s slashiest OTPs is now canonically married.
To celebrate, we’re jumping straight to this week’s art rec: the stunning webcomic that’s been delighting fans of gorgeous artwork, epic sci-fi plots, and scorching hot porn for years: HamletMachine’s Starfighter.
Meet Cain and Abel, the (unrelated) pairing at the center of Starfighter. Set in a futuristic fighter pilot unit in space, Starfighter unfolds like classic Japanese yaoi, with smoldering erotic scenarios phatopping up like, uh, weeds, and potential ships proliferating faster than you can say “angsty love/hate threesome.” If you think naming the OTP after Christendom’s first siblings is cheekiness bordering on blasphemy, then just wait til you’ve gotten a taste of HamletMachine’s artwork. Utterly, shamelessly pornographic, this is one webcomic (also available in all its glossy-paged glory) that delivers with every panel. No black bars or blurred out phalluses for this series. Just be careful how you transport your hard copy, lest you wind up having to explain to the Canadian border patrol that you’re just reading Starfighter for the plot.
(The best part? You won’t even be lying.)
And now, from the less jubilant corner of the interwebs, we interrupt this Shipping News for Oh, God, Not Yahoo, Say it Isn’t So, How Could You, David Karp, I’m Deleting My Account Yesterday, This is the Beginning of the End, Fandom Is Ruined, And the Purple Horse You Rode In On, DEATHSTAR ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Otherwise known as:
Yahoo! is buying Tumblr for the reported price of $1.1 billion. Tumblr is not taking the news well, judging from the sheer decibel level of its collective, weekend-long “NOOOOOOO!” which started well before Friday’s rumor was confirmed on Sunday, and has only increased.
TUMBLR, CALM YO TITS. First off, in case you’ve missed it, what with places like Backlot devoting entire columns to the subject, fandom is kinda super-mainstream anymore. It’s kind of hard to hide the fact that Tumblr culture is pretty much synonymous with fandom culture these days. Yahoo! has probably figured out that it can’t exactly buy Tumblr without getting fandom into the bargain.
And honestly, Yahoo! wants Tumblr as much for fandom as it does for the other parts of Tumblr’s mammoth free-for-all subculture. It may not know what to do with it yet, but it’s probably looking at higher-level ways to interact with Tumblr users. For now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Yahoo plans to allow Mr. Karp to continue to run the site and operate largely separately from the rest of Yahoo.” That means that your doomsday scenarios of purple dashboards choked with ads, your fandom blogs deleted and banned, are almost certainly not going to come to pass, at least while Karp is at the reigns.
However, it also means that Tumblr’s ongoing problems with transparency may not be getting better, either.
Elsewhere, in the non-panicky parts of slash fandom, it was a good week. Take a look:
Vulture reported that at ABC’s fall preview, Joss introduced the cast of the Clark Gregg-led Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as “people I’ve fallen in love with who are soon going to have extraordinarily inappropriate fan fiction written about them.” What are you waiting for, Avengers fans? He’s practically giving you permission! (Not that you needed it.) #coulsonlives…tobeshipped
In other comics news, this week’s issue of Deadpool contains some delicious fanservice for fans of “Spideypool.” Spiderman and Deadpool are two characters with not a lot of alone time but lots of chemistry and a decent-sized slash fanbase. This week sees their annual teamup issue, and in it, the writers shout-out directly to the slashers by making Spideypool a part of the actual comics canon. To quote fuckyesdeadpool, “Deadpool ships Spideypool, it’s more canon now than ever.”
Simon Pegg continues to fly his geek flag–and his slash flag–higher and higher. “Let the Sulu and Scotty slash fiction begin!” he tweeted on Monday, along with this delectable picture.
This isn’t the first time Pegg has hopped aboard the slash train: in addition to co-writing the brilliant Hot Fuzz, which contains the most self-aware homoerotic buddy cup relationship since Point Break, Pegg and his cohort Edgar Wright first recced Hot Fuzz slash fic on Twitter, then started writing it themselves.
Me and @simonpegg once wrote some Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman slash fiction. It was called HOT FUZZ…(applause)
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 19, 2009
After the slashcolumn reblogged this, erm, thought-provoking .gif–
–the fabulous trio of angelheadedhipster, FlameBlownWhiter, and nitpickyabouttrains set about exploring this idea in more detail. And they gave the world their first fic, too!
…it was the sheer elation he had felt, lying broken on the ground, Hulk-smashed.
And, oh, what he would give to return to that moment. The spark of power that had coursed through the firm grip of Hulk’s hand on his own body.
sign us up for more of this! Oh, and this tag–”blame the shipping news”–can we make that an actual thing? I speak for my fellow columnists when I say we’ll be delighted to give you guys so much more to blame us for! ;)
Slashy Summer Blockbusters: Why The Fast and the Furious franchise is a must-see.
Last week we brought you our epic roundup of slashy summer movies. But as one of our readers pointed out to us, we left out one of the most quietly successful franchises in all of Hollywood–with one of the most loyal fanbases, and one of the most ridiculously, notably homoerotic OTPs.
Ladies and gentlemen, rev your slash motors, because Fast and the Furious 6 is out this week.
No, seriously. Vin Diesel has carefully built the Fast and the Furious franchise over the years, treating the 6 movies mainly as two separate overlapping trilogies. In the process, he’s not only given his fans the most impressively, consistently diverse casts of any action movie franchise in history, but he’s given them one of the most blatantly, pulsatingly homoerotic.
Seriously, when’s the last time you saw an action movie whose main cast looked like this? Never, that’s when.
And then there’s the homoeroticism. All the blatant, parodied, in-your-face homoeroticism. You’d have to go as far back as Top Gun to find an action movie with as much acknowledged homoerotic subtext as any one of the F&F films. Barring that, you’d have to try Hitchcock for something as mainstream and still as sexually rife. Next Projection’s April rundown of the homoerotic tension between Dominic (Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) is a must-read for all Backlot readers. How can you resist this, seriously?
[P]retty people, macho posturing and CGI-amplified speed-racing just won’t cut it. Whether people cared or noticed or not, what they loved about The Fast and the Furious was how secretly gay it all was. …
The chemistry between the two is electric from the get-go; like all relationships it begins with gentle teasing, but it ends with the pair coming to more than your usual level of mutual respect. … Even when they talk about cars an aura of homoeroticism hangs in the air. …. Will we ever see the Brian/Dom love scene these films cry out for?
Next Projection goes on to break down the sublimated love scenes between these two in erotic detail for every film in the franchise. It’s a paroxysm of excitement over the inherent homoeroticism of the phrase “muscle car.” ( “Nine-hundred horse of Detroit muscle,” he says. “It’s a beast.” TELL US MORE.)
The Fast and the Furious is a woefully underwritten fandom, like every other incredibly slashy pairing with at least one character of color. (Yeah, I went there.) Still, the Archive of Our Own has some really meaty (erm) offerings for Brian/Dominic, with about 300 fics to choose from.
And I have it on excellent authority that “Unfinished Business” by Maygra is THE F&F must-read. It’s set after the first movie, so you only need to watch it to dive right in. Enjoy!
And for those of you looking to get into the series, there’s still plenty of time to get your hands on movies 1-5 before the film enters wide release in the U.S. on Friday.
Season Finales: Your Slashy Roundup!
Wondering what’s up in the world of your favorite slashy shows, but haven’t had a chance to get caught up with the season finale roundups and how they may have affected your shipping preferences? Not to worry! We’ve got you covered below! Note: season finale spoilers abound for all shows mentioned below, so proceed with caution!
Supernatural: One of the biggest pieces of shippy news this week was the finale of Supernatural Season 8. This season has wreaked havoc with the show’s moral lines, never that solid to begin with, and the finale included a shocker that literally came straight out of fanfiction: a host of angels falling, and Castiel becoming mortal–at least for the time being.
So what does that mean for Dean/Cas shippers? Maybe nothing, but maybe a lot. If you’re one of the people who doesn’t think Destiel is ever going to happen on the show, then you’re still going to get lots of Castiel angst next season, as he deals with the loss of his grace and the myriad new conflicts brought about by that little thing known as free will.
If you’re one of the people who’s still holding out hope for a Dean/Cas resolution on the show, then we like this video by Tumblr user iamsuchaleo. The Destiel talk starts here, but the whole video is worth watching for awesome commentary on Cas’s character and how it fits into SPN’s overall plot framework.
As a longtime slasher, longtime cynic, though, I do have to take issue with this part of Allison N’s commentary: “you simply can’t have that much buildup and not follow through.”
Sigh. Say it with me, everyone: queerbaiting. A.K.A. decades of not following through. A.K.A. StarskyandHutchStarTrekDueSouthXFilesStargate:SG1andAtlantisSmallvilleHouseMerlinWhiteCollarSherlockeveryshounenmangaever. (I’m sure you can insert plenty more of your own examples here.)
Ship your hearts out, but don’t pin all your hopes on SPN to give you Destiel as endgame. The history of non-canonical slash ships on television and mainstream media points strongly to the possibility of ultimate disappointment. Proceed with caution, shippers.
Doctor Who: So last night’s much-anticipated season finale dropped a total bombshell on us, in addition to leaving Whovians on a total cliffhanger ending in preparation for the November 50th anniversary special. (Like we weren’t pining for that enough already!) It’s not enough that we were already accidentally shipping the Doctor with himself: now we have a version of the Doctor that the Doctor rejects, to provide us with all kinds of angsty love/hate existential tension. And by tension, we mean subtext. Have we mentioned that the new non-Doctor is none other than British demigod John Hurt?
I’m not even in this fandom, and I’m already eagerly looking forward to all the angsty Eleven/Nine
Squared slash. Or is it Nine Prime? Eight and a Half? Moffat, you infuriating madman.
Community: Say what you will about a Dan Harmon-less truncated Season 4, Community’s love for Troy and Abed and their eternal love for each other is stronger than ever this season. I mean, come on, we got an episode that’s literally straight out of slash fandom with the epic Troy/Abed bodyswap episode earlier this season. And there’s more for Trobed fans to celebrate than just the miraculous renewal of the show for another season: the convivial breakup of Troy/Britta means that canonically there’s one less obstacle in the way to a TroyAbed happy ending. Not that Troy and Britta weren’t totally adorable together, but let’s be real: few things in our lives are as perfect as Troy and Abed in the morning. And the evening. And late at night. Really all the time, forever.
The Vampire Diaries: This season’s finale gave Damon/Elena shippers their long-awaited OTP turned canon; but for fans of the dishy Alaric, there was plenty to celebrate, especially if you ship Dalaric (Damon and Alaric) together. Vulture’s finale recap awards points to the duo for plenty of slashy Damon/Alaric moments, and it sounds like there’s a LOT still left unsaid that the two can still work out, either with Elena or without her.
Chicago Fire: Here at the Shipping News, we’ve been longtime fans of Casey/Severide in the hunky Chicago Fire, and to our endless delight, the slashy moments just keep coming. Just check out this soulful eye gazing in the season finale, right after Severide‘s invited Casey to embark on the bromantic quest of hanging out in manly fashion, “or whatever.” Right. We can fill in that gap for you.
Have we mentioned that Casey is played by the utterly delicious Jesse Spencer, aka Chase from House? And that these guys apparently just look at each other like this ALL THE TIME?
Clearly we need to be watching this show RIGHT NOW.
Nostalgic moment: Prince of Tennis
Recently Prince of Tennis has been circulating on my Tumblr dash, and wow, I’m not really prepared for the nostalgia that evokes. The animated series of Takeshi Konomi’s second series–continuing the nebulous timeline of the original Prince of Tennis series–is airing now on Crunchyroll, and I thought I was over this fandom, but I guess you don’t ever really leave fandoms, not deep down. And for those of you uninitiated, with its endless cast of quirky memorable characters, tearjerkingly sentimental moments of team bonding, and hilariously campy epic tennis matches, Prince of Tennis is one of the most addictive fandoms you can imagine.
Oh, and have I mentioned this series is teeming with slash in skimpy tennis shorts?
Fic Recs: The best thing about Prince of Tennis is that the pairings are endless. My OTP will always be Tezuka/Ryoma, but a little bit of digging will unearth endless amounts of fic for just about any of the hundreds of possible couplings that might interest you.
(I apologize for the lack of Fuji on this list; many of my favorite Fuji fics in this fandom are all sadly locked away. Fortunately, Tezuka/Fuji can be had aplenty at AO3.)
Not the Triumph, by Prillalar. Tezuka and Ryoma meet again in the 2008 Olympics. Warning for angst. Beautiful angst.
Playing Grownups by Soundczech. Tezuka and Ryoma face the future. Hopefully together.
Pieces of a Dream by Tongari. Inui/Yanagi: the Data Pair face each other on the court and off.
Revolving Doors by two_if_by_sea. Tezuka/Ryoma/Fuji.
Almost, by Kishmet. Momo/Kaidoh. A bit of Valentine’s Day fluff.
Live Tour in USA by Cimness. Because every fandom needs a band AU.
A note on Diversity and Fandom — and a request for Large Cast Manga/Anime Recs!
For each of my columns here at the Shipping News, I try to focus on diversity. When we get notes like this one, from the lovely derekplaysviola on Tumblr, it reminds me that I’m not alone in feeling like my corners of fandom are often underrepresented, even when I’m the one writing the column!
Hello lovely ladies! I’m really enjoying the Shipping news and look forward to it every time, but I noticed that there is a hole in your reporting: Nearly no manga/anime slash pairings have really been included up till now (except in the top 5 lists which I appreciated). I know that the readership for the backlot mostly comes from Western Fandoms, but this would be an even greater reason to introduce them to some fandoms from across the pond. I for one would be extremely happy about that ;)
Dear derekplaysviola, thank you for reading, and especially for reminding us that we still have so much further to go in making sure the Shipping News really reflects how big and diverse fandom actually is.
Just for you, we’re doing a special anime/manga guide on next week’s Shipping News, focusing on series with large, eminently shippable casts. I’m thinking: Prince of Tennis, Hetalia, One Piece, Naruto–the really big storylines with lots and lots of ships to choose from.
Do you guys have suggestions and recs? What fits your idea of a really large, many-ship manga/anime series? Let us know!
Thank you for joining me for what has to be the longest column I’ve written here at the Shipping News. Tune in next week for a look at two of my favorite fandom things: gay serial killers, and ridiculously slashy anime series!