The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
|Name:||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.|
|Abbreviation(s):||MFU, Man from UNCLE, MUNCLE|
|Creator:||Sam Rolfe, Norman Felton|
|Country of Origin:||USA|
|External Links:||The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on Wikipedia|
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. on Wikipedia
The Fans from U.N.C.L.E.
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was one of the big hits of the '60s, and one of the earlier and influential TV fandom series, thanks in a large part to the appeal of Illya Kuryakin, and his partner Napoleon Solo, with fangirls of all ages.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was part cold war spy thriller, part idealistic world history, and part campy escapist entertainment. U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, was a multi-national organization under United Nations control and its primary purpose was to deal with THRUSH, essentially an Illuminati-style organization that was breaking out of the whole 'power behind the throne' role and going straight for the the throne itself, frequently using convoluted 'Bond Villain' plots. An innocent bystander was always drawn into the plot somehow, while the heroes—two U.N.C.L.E. agents named Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin—dealt with the threat.
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. was a spin-off of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that lasted one season.
- Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn): lead Enforcement agent, American who served in the Korean War.
- Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum): Napoleon's partner, Russian.
- Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll): Section One, Number One of U.N.C.L.E.
- April Dancer (Stefanie Powers): the Girl from U.N.C.L.E.
- Mark Slate (Noel Harrison): April's partner
As MFU did not go into continuous reruns the way Star Trek did, the fandom ebbed and flowed depending on the syndication. There was a big resurgence in the early 1990s when TNT began broadcasting it again, and fans could once again get clean VCR copies to pass around to interested parties. In 2007 the series was released on DVD, and while this did not spark a fandom renaissance, the accessibility allows for a low but steady influx of new fans, as well as older fans revisiting their childhood crushes.
The zine fandom successfully transitioned online in the 1990s with mailing lists. As an older fandom, much of MFU online fandom started on lists. In the late 90s, there were two primary mailing lists, Channel D for general interest, and Channel L for adult and slash conversation, both co-run by Jan and Marion. These are still active as of 2009, as well as a few others.  and moved to Yahoo Groups in 1998. As of 2011 it is still active, with several hundred posts a month.
In Those Children: Case Studies from the Inner-city School (1970) by Donald Clark, Arlene Goldsmith and Clementine Pugh, school children with "mental problems" were described. Among them were two teenagers who wrote and acted out stories based on the show, but from the perspective of THRUSH. When they killed off a favorite character (based on the brother of one of the girls), they wore black mourning armbands to school and authorities became "concerned about their fantasy life". This is one of the earliest descriptions of fandom in professional literature.
Anecdotal stories give MFU the nod for first publishing fanfiction, though no copies of those early stories have been found. Nancy Kippax said in Reminisce With Me that The Man From UNCLE had been around in the U.S. and the U.K. as long as Star Trek, but without significant fan fiction. According to her, the first stand-alone Man From UNCLE zine (a novel) was published in 1975. It was called the The Blue Curtain Affair and was written by Pat Munson, the then head of UNCLE HQ, a fan club. However, the majority of Muncle fanzines were not published until 1983.
The first Man from U.N.C.L.E. zine advertised in a major publication that announced it would accept slash was by Karen F in 1983. From Datazine #28's "In the Planning Stages": "The Fanzine Affair: Napoleon Solo and Kuryakin return! This is a fanzine in the making and accepting stories, artwork, non-fiction, and poetry... All themes accepted -- the title says it all." While this zine never made it off the ground, the precedent was out in the open.
The first fanzine to actually publish MUNCLE slash was possibly Mobile Ghettos in 1985. "E.D. Productions were the first people to actually publish UNCLE slash material. There is quite an underground of N/I, some of it much better that was actually published, but this could be true to the fact that E.D. Productions simply didn't know how to get in touch with the proper sources." 
As The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was an early fandom, there are lots (and LOTS) of zines. A few of them have been kept in print all these years; others are available used at conventions. SithDragon (sithdrgn on lj) tried to set up a MFU traveling zine library, and collected zines from fans, but nothing apparently came of it.
Slash and Gen Fandoms
[coexisted? not so much?]
There is also a small trend of futurefic fusions of MFU with with NCIS and/or Hustle. The premise is usually that Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard from NCIS is actually, secretly an older Illya Kuryakin (both characters are played by David McCallum), and/or that Albert Stroller from Hustle is actually an older Napoleon Solo (both characters are played by Robert Vaughn).
In 2006 fans planned to hold a small US convention in Octover in Washington DC called The Thirty-Eight Years Later Affair. It is unclear if the event took place however a website was set up, initial programming was developed and a hotel was reserved.
- Poor, Poor Pitiful me (Illya) by Katharine Scarritt on Media Cannibals/Tape5
- Winds of Change by DeeJay
- Perestroika by Elizabeth Urich -- a beautiful Man from Uncle slash zine (with a gorgeous cover). A wonderful example of MPDJK: Napoleon goes to Russia to visit Illya's "grave", only to find Illya is very much alive, and in need of rescue.
- City of Byzantium by Eros -- an overwrought but beautiful first time novel with fantasy elements.
- The Kuryakin File -- Twenty-five issues and counting, gen and het stories that put Illya front and center.
- The Nowhere Man Affair by Paulie -- a gen novel, winner of several fannish writing awards. Illya is captured, tortured, and his memory wiped, then dumped in New Orleans during Mardi Gras where he's taken in by a group of hippies who soon realize there's more to him than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Napoleon is searching for his lost partner, refusing to believe Illya may be dead.
- The St. Crispin's Day Society by C.W. Walker. Beautifully written, but rather crisp, or even dry, set of stories. Believed by many to be a fandom-reset after an era of more floridly written MFU.
- Rose Tint My World -- the first "romantic" slash anthology zine focusing on Illya/Napoleon, from Bodacious Press.
- the list of MFU zines for listings of specific titles and publishers.
- full list
- U.N.C.L.E. File 40
- Chrome and Gunmetal archive - automated slash fic
- The Raven's Lair - slash & gen
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Fiction Archive - slash, het & gen
- Man from UNCLE Slash Fiction (slash index page)
Man From U.N.C.L.E. sections can be found in these multi-fandom archives:
- Archive of Our Own - slash, het & gen
- Wonderful World of MakeBelieve - slash & gen, and challenge fiction
MFU also has an active presence on livejournal. The slash community muncle was founded by Sithdragn in Sept 2002 and welcomes all fans and any fanning about the show, whether slash-focused or not.  It also hosts the annual Down the Chimney Affair holiday gift exchange, starting in 2004 based on other fandoms' exchanges , and becoming an anonymous exchange in 2005 in the spirit of a spy fandom. 2005 also marked the exclusion of het in the exchange due to the difficulty of finding matching recipients; since then the exchange has been limited to gen & slash.  The 8th DTC Exchange happened in Dec 2011 with 22 participants.
Other communities include mfuwss, the MFU Writers Survival School, founded in 2005 to support MFU authors; like muncle, it has a slash/gen bent. network_command, founded in Jan 2008, is explicitly open to all genres and ratings, with no preferences stated. Both artwork and stories are accepted. mfu_canteen was spun off of mfuwss in May 2009; founded by spikesgirl58, it is devoted to all variety of MFU-focused discussions, from the serious to the ridiculous. Daily questions from the mods, as well as contributions from other members, keeps the comm lively (if not always on topic!); themes include Slash Thursdays and Sunday recipe exchanges.
mfu-yumdaily, "A Daily Dose of U.N.C.L.E." was created as a site to share pictures. A wide variety of pictures is posted each day, some with a high drool factor.  The newest community, mfu-delflorias,"your single-stop shop for all your rec needs," is designed so that readers can share recommendations of their favorite stories, videos and art. 
- network_command ("the one stop UNCLE shop for all your fic and fannish needs.")
- muncle (slash community)
- thrushies (crack)
- mfuwss - MFU Writers Survival School (fanfic advice and discussion, drabble challenges)
- mfu_canteen (general discussion)
- mfuficfind (fic-finding comm)
- mfu_shortstorie (daily short fanfics to read)
- mfu_weekly (newsletter comm)
- mfu-delflorias (fiction, videos, art recs)
- The Fans from U.N.C.L.E. (canon and fandom overview)
- Partner Mine (Napoleon/Illya slanted site with ep recaps and fic)
- The Network - website for the longest running UNCLE newsletter and the annual Arundel Affair, a fan run convention held in the UK.
Other Spy Shows of Fannish Interest
For whatever reasons, spy shows seem less likely to spawn a fandom than cop shows (or spawn smaller fandoms). Perhaps this is due to the increased plotting issues with spy stories; perhaps because spy shows tend to rely on the BOTW even more than cop shows; or perhaps there are simply many many more cop shows than spy shows.
- "By far the oldest U.N.C.L.E. electronic mailing list around, Channel D made its debut in 1995 with 10 or so subscribers without the benefit of any listserv software to automate the process! By March 1999, it has grown to 150+ subscribers." -- Accessed 2 June 2011
- The Channel_D group on Yahoo has 907 members and averaged 325 posts a month in 2010. (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- from Datazine #37
- "We are a slash community, but we chat about anything MFU. If that sounds acceptable, please join us, regardless of your fiction preferences." -- from the profile (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- "Secret santas abound in several fandoms. I thought I'd see if there was interest in holding a [info]muncle secret santa." It's that most wonderful time of the year, Sithdragn, posted 21 Oct 2011 (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- "This year there will be a new twist in revealing authors and artists -- we're being even more secretive. It's a spy thing, y'know." Sithdragn, Down the Chimney Affair 2, posted 28 Aug 2005 (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- "Only gen and slash entries this year. It's nothing to do with an anti-het agenda, but last year's entries were too difficult to match up with the extremely limited het audience in this community." Sithdragn, Down the Chimney Affair 2, posted 28 Aug 2005 (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- Down the Chimney Affair 8 - The Big Reveal, posted 1 Jan 2012 (Accessed 11 January 2012)
- "One more thing: We like to think of ourselves as a slash but gen-friendly community, which means anything goes, really. We’re not exactly into het fic, though. So if that’s what floats your boat, please don’t post your story here but just ask for beta help and we’ll find you someone." from the mfuwss profile (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- "We welcome stories and artwork of all types, in all genres and of all ratings, and we particularly encourage experimental work. However, we recognise that readers often have certain preferences, so please state clearly in your header whether your story or artwork contains a pairing (or pairings); and if it is sexually explicit, please say so, so that the easily squicked (like moi) don't have a heart attack!" profile, posted by azdak (last accessed 2 June 2011)
- "After taking up way too much of mfuwss's community, it was thought that it would be nice to have a place just for silliness and discussions that aren't necessarily in line with other groups here." The Back to the Work Week silly question, spikesgirl58, posted 1 June 2009 (Accessed 2 June 2011)
- "It really is all about the pictures here, and the squee, of course! (and some drool) Post your pictures of Illya, Napoleon, David, Robert, anything Man from Uncle related or related to the fine actors who played our favourite spies." Quoted from the profile (Accessed 6 June 2011)
- "It was suggested that perhaps we needed a community just for recs. It would be a place to come to for reviews, to write them yourself, and to talk about the stories, vids and art that you love. From the profile (Accessed 6 June 2011)
- "This site is primarily dedicated to helping people look for 'Man From UNCLE' stories that they read in the past and want to read again but can't find the link. Or, for people who heard about a good MFU story and want to locate it. You can also ask for help finding movies, videos, episodes, or whatever else you can think of." profile by Periwinkle(Accessed 12 June 2011)
- "This group is meant to be a place where you can find a listing of recent postings in the other LJ Man From UNCLE communities. We try to include whatever we are aware of." from the profile, written by Periwinkle. profile (Accessed 6 June 2011)