My Chemical Romance
|Name(s):||My Chemical Romance (MCR, My Chem)|
|Scope/Focus:||Core band in Bandom|
|See also:||Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Cobra Starship, Mindless Self Indulgence, The Used|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The band was created in 2001 and broke up on March 22, 2013. In its 12 years, MCR released four studio albums – I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, The Black Parade, and Danger Days – and Conventional Weapons, a compilation album released as a series of singles shortly before their breakup. See Wikipedia for more detail.
Band members Gerard Way (vocals), Mikey Way (bass), Frank Iero (rhythm guitar), and Ray Toro (lead guitar) are all featured prominently in fanfiction and other fanworks, as is ex-drummer Bob Bryar, who left the band in 2010, and Brian Schechter, the band's old tour manager.
Additionally, Matt Cortez, the band's guitar tech; Matt Pelissier, the band's original drummer from 2001 to 2004; and Alicia Simmons, Lyn-Z Ballato, and Jamia Nestor, wives of Mikey, Gerard, and Frank respectively, are also often featured, as are a variety of members of other Bandom bands. Matt Cortez has also filled in for Mikey Way, during part of their touring schedule after the release of The Black Parade, and for Frank Iero. Other touring band members included Mike Pedicone (drums, 2010-2011), Jarrod Alexander (drums, 2011-2013) and James Dewees (keyboards). Ray's wife is mentioned less often, probably because she has less of a public profile.
MCR fanfiction often features members of other bands that MCR has gone on tour with or is known to have personal connections with. These bands include Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, The Used, and Mindless Self Indulgence. The bassists of Fall Out Boy and MCR famously hung out a lot during The Summer of Like (Warped Tour 2005). Gabe Saporta of Midtown and Cobra Starship is mentioned in the liner notes of MCR's first album, and MCR and Midtown toured together in 2003. As a result of MCR and Mindless Self Indulgence both being part of the lineup in the 2007 Projekt Revolution tour, MCR's singer and MSI's bassist (LynZ) got married. The two bands toured together again later, and a different member of MSI also provided a voice-over on MCR's fourth album. (Disgruntled old-school fans complained in 2007 that MSI and MCR had already known each other for years before Projekt Revolution, but that this was not common knowledge due to the majority entering the fandom in 2004 or later.)
There are several connections between MCR and The Used: the bands went on tour together in 2005, The Used and MCR's singers were briefly friends, MCR's manager Brian Schechter was The Used's tour manager, and MCR drummer Bob Bryar was The Used's sound guy.
In terms of sustained popularity within Bandom, MCR had the advantage of having formed long before Panic! At the Disco and not having broken up in 2009 like Fall Out Boy. PATD may have been considerably more popular during its brief heyday before the 2009 split, but even though MCR had a four-year gap between albums, they were on tour until mid 2008 and had told fans to expect an album in 2009. The 2009 album fell through, and MCR didn't get a new wave of fans until the 2010 release of Danger Days, at which point it was the only major Bandom band left standing. (Reportedly a lot of the existing fanbase did not like Danger Days, so the composition of the active fandom in 2011 was probably very different from the fandom in 2006-2009.) As of 2015 MCR has twice as many fanworks on AO3 as Fall Out Boy, despite Fall Out Boy having gotten back together in 2013. AO3 went into open beta in 2009, and was increasingly adopted by fandom circa 2012-2013.
However, for the majority of its existence, MCR fandom was on livejournal, where popularity is harder to track (especially since many posts and accounts have since been deleted). As of 2016, slash rec lists still online tend to include fic posted 2007-2012, but the RPF fandom existed earlier, with some fic written before the advent of Bandom. mychemicalslash was created in September 2004, and the more exclusive (and locked) comm yeahchemical was created in June 2005. (The first LJ comm for MCR was chemicalromance, created in 2002, but it didn't allow fanfic.) After mychemicalslash, but before yeahchemical and the Summer of Like, people were already complaining about worn-out fic trends:
To fanfic writers - There's nothing wrong with a little fanfic since it's just another form of expression and escapism IMHO. But please stop using "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and "I'm Not Okay" as titles. Also, a few different cross-overs wouldn't hurt either. Maybe some really off-the-wall people like the Hanson guys or something that could result in equal hilarity. Hell, Tori Amos or Billy Corgan cross-overs would be pretty cool to read as well.
In 2007 a damnyouwentz mod recalled that MCR already had an active fandom and that other Bandom bands came later:
When DYW first started, there were maybe...two people writing really good fic in the Fall Out Boy fandom. (Three? Maybe three?) Nobody was writing good Panic! fic. Nobody was writing good The Academy Is... fic. Cobra Starship didn't yet exist as a band (dark days, kids, dark days). MCR, however, had a very active fandom. It had good writers. It had a community for good writers (yeahchemical). If you wanted good MCR fic, you could find it. People were talking about them. The fandom existed, and it included people who had been in fandoms before, who had fandom experience, who wrote decent fic, and were good people.
Where the Fic Was
In the mid 2000s, MCR fanfic was posted in many places, not just LiveJournal. In answer to a 2006 chemicalromance post asking where the good fic was, fans offered links to a variety of places: LJ reccers and communities like mychemicalslash, Quizilla, fandomination.net, and a message board (www.mychemicalromanceforum.com). In 2007, another fan in the same community mentioned reading badfic on mibba and LJ. Unfortunately, some of these platforms, such as Quizilla and the message board, have since been taken offline.
Wank and Controversy
Personally? I think that the fact that middle schoolers will look at a picture of two boys kissing and say "hot!" instead of "eww!" is fucking amazing. That is awesome. And MCR and FOB didn't come around to take advantage of that – they created that.
Even with all those screaming fans, though, our band boys constantly get shit for acting "gay." Constantly! Magazines, TV shows, smug radio hosts, guys in bars, people on the street, bloggers, all of them smirk and call these guys big queers. There are many, many men and boys who will not get into their music because those bands are so fucking gay. Recently, at Download, MCR were getting heavily bottled by angry metal fans, and someone up front yelled, "Faggots!" In response to which Frank Iero stalked up to Gerard Way, grabbed his hair, and stuck his tongue down his throat while he was trying to sing. (This is not an exaggeration.) Consistently, over and over again, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy have responded to "fags!" with "hell yeah, motherfucker, now deal with it." They don't say, "No, but we're really straight!"
- Fourth wall issues: people sending fanfic to them, writing about non-famous Wives (Alicia, Lyn-Z and Jamia are all somewhat famous in their own right, but Christa isn't), the fanfic interview where Ray praises the fans' creativity and Mikey objects to the incest fic. See: Bandom and the Fourth Wall.
On March 22, 2013, MCR announced that they were breaking up. MCR fandom was extremely upset by the news, and that event, combined with the Mikey Way cheating scandal a month earlier, caused many in the RPF side of fandom to leave, abandoning their WIPs. MCR's last tour ended in 2011, so the fandom may already have been at a low ebb. However, although some fans migrated to other fandoms such as One Direction or Hockey RPF, not everyone left, and in the meantime a new wave of younger fans appears to have discovered the band and started posting fanworks on Deviantart, Tumblr, AO3, and Wattpad. In the post-band era, there is interest in bandmembers' solo projects, but also still plenty of interest in the history of the band.
MCR fandom has produced a fair amount of fanworks, including fanfic, fanart, podfic, dolls, nail art, and art drawn on shoes. In the LiveJournal era, some low-resolution gifs of MCR video footage were available; as of 2015 tumblr fans are creating much higher resolution gifs, but some of the older video footage they have to work with is low quality. Many gif makers have tried their hand at transforming certain popular video clips, like Gerard and Frank making out during Projekt Revolution.
In a 2011 MCR primer, livejournal fan anoneknewmoose compiled a list of "classic" MCR fanfics from 2008, noting that the 2006 video diary Life on the Murder Scene was the primary canon for "[even] fics that were written in 2008-2010" and that "LOTMS is old."
The band's dramatic albums and music videos offer fans richly detailed universes in which to play, giving birth to distinctive genres such as:
- "Ghost of You" Historical AUs set in the video's WWII universe,
- High School AUs based on the "I'm Not Okay" video,
- The Black Parade AUs set in the universe of the third album,
- Killjoys AUs set in the dystopian, apocalyptic universe of fourth album "Danger Days."
Other common tropes originating in canon include:
- Mental health issues, as several band members discussed battling depression and other conditions,
- Alcohol and substance abuse as well as working towards sobriety, often linked to the previous trope,
- Hurt/Comfort stories, often with Frank as the hurt character due to his canon fragile health and frequent injuries,
- Crossdressing, either as a one-off or as a lifestyle choice, based on Gerard mentionning dressing in drag for a day at college and an interview where the band discusses putting on makeup,
- Artist!Gerard (based on his background in visual arts and release of his Umbrella Academy comic).
Common fanon tropes include:
- Mundane AUs where the band doesn't exist and the members have various jobs,
- Genderswap where one or more members are or turn into women,
- Bodyswap where two or more band members exchange bodies,
- Barista AUs and Bakery AUs, where one or more members works in a coffee shop or as a baker,
- A variety of supernatural or magic AUs, such as wingfic, werewolf fic, vampire fic and ghost stories. Horror elements, especially vampires, are technically also canon-based, as MCR lyrics contain several references to vampires and band members are known to be horror fans.
The video and album-based AUs listed above are common in fanart as well. Vampires, genderswap, wings, and anything else that can be rendered visually also occur in fanart. A lot of fanart is directly inspired by the distinct visual design of the band, from the album art to the videos to the tour costumes. Many pieces on deviantart reflect a blood-spattered morbid aesthetic reminiscent of several early photoshoots of the band covered in blood, not to mention the album art for Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. However, many cute and cartoonified depictions of MCR can also be found.
Mainly group portraits; see character and relationship pages for more.
- MCR Scrapbook, created by several fans to give to the band, February 2005
- series of MCR as Sims by blinkcarouseltd (July-October 2005)
- MCR - The Umbrella Academy by bunnyluz on deviantart, combining the band's Revenge!Era tour clothes with The Umbrella Academy (August 22, 2008)
- untitled art by theopteryx, reposted to tumblr from livejournal. Fem!MCR from the I'm Not Okay video (circa 2009)
- Killjoys are here by MiiBT on deviantart. The band in character from the Danger Days videos rescues the deceased from the "Helena" video. (June 14, 2011)
- Keep running, Killjoys!_colored by mmrated. Cartoon-style digital art reminiscent of Adventure Time (February 5, 2012)
- TOURING IS A TOTAL PAIN WHEN YOU'RE A VAMPIRE NEST. by nuggetinator (October 22, 2012)
- I'm A Total Wreck And Almost Every Day by mychelromance (August 28, 2013)
- So Long and Good Night by the-next-victim on tumblr, featuring Gerard outfitted with costume and design elements from as many albums and videos as possible (November 10, 2013)
- Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge by mychemicaldoodle on tumblr. Based on a photoshoot where the band had blood tastefully dripping from their hands (2014)
- untitled art fill by lamebxy on tumblr of happy Revenge!Era Fem!MCR. (August 25, 2015)
Several lyrics inspired memes that circulated in many fannish spaces (tumblr, twitter, livejournal, even pinterest):
- Gravity don't mean too much to me is a line from the song "Bulletproof Heart" on the album Danger Days, released on November 22, 2010. Image macros of Gerard in the air, captioned with the lyric, were in use as early as November 17, 2010. Not everyone thought this was lolarious: "if you weren’t on tumblr for danger days era when ppl would make memes out of the line 'gravity don’t mean too much to me' i hope you say your prayers every day and realize how lucky you are"
- To a lesser extent, These pigs are after me from the same song also proved inspirational.
- More evidence remains for the When I Was A Young Boy meme, based on a lyric from "Welcome to the Black Parade" on MCR's 2006 album The Black Parade. Most likely the meme itself does not date to 2006.
MCR's breakup is itself a tumblr meme, as it is frequently brought up as the punchline to many jokes:
- twinkle twinkle little star where the fuck are mcr by melancholy-ghoul (July 13, 2013)
- knock-knock who's there? not mcr by cxptain-katie (July 2014)
- when i was a young boy my chEMICAL ROMANCE WAS STILL A BAND by joedeadman
- my chemical romance can do anything... except stay together, unrelated reblogged comments on the popular punk/laundry post (January 8, 2014)
- Frank/Gerard is the most popular pairing of MCR fandom. There was on-stage making out and mutual groping (stage gay), causing people to tinhat them despite their being married to women,
- Ray/Bob and Ray/Mikey often appear as side-pairings in Frank/Gerard stories,
- Frank/Bob and Frank/Mikey are relatively common,
- Waycest, a.k.a. Gerard/Mikey (incest pairing) is fairly popular, sometimes under the form of OT3 fics including another member (often Frank),
- Wives are also featured in canon het pairings, threesomes or moresomes (OT4),
- GSF also exists.
In addition to the intra-band ships, frequent crossover pairings occur:
- Pete/Mikey, where Mikey is shipped with Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz after an intense friendship made when touring in the 2005 Vans Warped Tour, now dubbed The Summer of Like,
- Bert/Gerard: in a number of early MCR fics, Gerard is shipped with Bert McCracken of The Used, or Bert features as a vilain due to their falling out,
- Mikey/Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship, due to their canon acquaintance and some pictures of them hanging out,
- Bob/Patrick Stump due to their brief time as roommates,
- Frank and Gerard (+ wives) have also been shipped with Grant Morrison in various permutations, due to his friendship with Gerard and appearance in the Danger Days videos as the villain character Korse.
News and Discussion
- MCR Daily Flail LJ community.
- MCR Rumor Control LJ community.
- mcr_unofficial LJ community.
- Dotcoms Refresh LJ fandom newsletter.
- General fic: my_chemical_fic
- Slash: mychemicalslash, slashbucks, mcrslashfics, my_slashromance, better_mcrslash
- Frank/Gerard: gerardxfrankie, frankxgerard
- good_mcricons - MCR icons LJ community.
- MCR Fic Finder Community - help finding specific MCR-related fics
- My Chemical Slash Love - for general fic rec requests
- Frerard_Finder - finding Frank/Gerard fics
- My Chemical Collective fansite/zine and Tumblr
- My Chemical Romance Fanfiction
- Frerad hub Stories, fanfic info and prompts
- A Tribute to MCR Bandslash primer by shipless (2008)
- My Chemical Romance primer at crack_van's Bandom Overview (last updated July 8, 2009)
- Bandom at newbieguide (2007)
- "Summer of Like" Primer/Manifesto by blushandrecover - Mikey/Pete from Warped Tour 2005 (2008)
- Projekt Gaymolution Picspam/Primer by shrift - Frank/Gerard from the 2007 Projekt Revolution tour (2007)
- mcr primer by moose - A more recent MCR Primer (November 2011)
- Bandom Podfic Masterlist 1—My Chemical Romance by klb (last edited 2012)
- Podfics tagged 'My Chemical Romance' at the audiofic archive
- My Chemical Romance AO3 tag
- Bandom Core Curricula: A Study Guide for Newbies by alpheratz: themed fic recs (2012)
- Beginners Bandom Podfic List and Bandom Podfic Stage TWO by knight-tracer: themed podfic recs
- tearsandporn Tumblr: an mcr reclist
- Bandom tag at fanart_recs dreamwidth community
- Mindless Self Indulgence To Support MCR in October: chemicalromance, Archived version, comment by indecisean, 29 August 2007.
- As of 18 September 2015, MCR has 9887 fanworks, and FOB has 5078.
- prettygolucky. Ways To Stop Looking Like A Teenybopper (And Other Such Rants), posted to chemicalromance, 2005-05-28. archived.
- DYW FAQ!, Archived version, posted by cyclogenesis 2007-04-11.
- As of July 17, 2007, the Musicians category listed 1892 MCR fics, one of the more popular bands. For comparison, the largest subcategory was Good Charlotte, with 4529 fics.
- batmanboxers. Fanfic, Archived version, posted in chemicalromance, 2006-11-23.
- jordanlover. untitled post in chemicalromance, Archived version, 29 March 2007.
- kalpurna, On the subject of stagegay, posted to LJ Sept 5, 2007. archived.
- For example, the night the news broke, MCR fans at Muskrat Jamboree could be seen weeping in corners and hugging each other. In the following days, eulogies in text, gif and art form were posted. As of 2015, people are still making posts lamenting the end of MCR on tumblr. Some people cope by telling bad jokes.
- For a random recent example, see this fanart by suckingd4cocaine on tumblr, archived, posted 27 November 2016 and inspired by a 2007 interview (on youtube).
- moose_spam. mcr primer (2/2), posted to livejournal 2011-11-24. archived.
- in sickness and in health by mwestbelle: WWII AU in which Bob married his fallen comrade's wife out of duty, but Frank is not so fallen.
- Nightswimming by waxjism actually includes a reference to a character breaking his foot "by jumping out the second floor," as per the song lyrics.
- The Holly Golightly Club by fluffontop: High School AU based on the "I'm Not OK" video
- The Rise and Fall of the Black Parade by wordslinging, podfic by argentumlupine
- Party and Fun Cosplay by Maru_Light
- And the Embers Never Fade by turps: A story set in the Killjoys universe. About love, trust, and finding the people you need.
- Tints of Rainbow Hue by turps: Mikey deals with his brother's depression.
- Skin of the Canvas by sinsense includes several scenes touching on Gerard's addictions (discussion of his alcoholism & being in the AA program, scenes with his sponsor) and vividly depicts social anxiety.
- The Year of Living Safely by Stele3: Post-sobriety MCR.
- yobrothatssick, a 2011 Livejournal-based challenge dedicated entirely to sick!Frank stories
- Hang On To Yourself by brooklinegirl, based on Gerard's quote in a Rolling Stone interview: Glam became about the kid in the room, the poster on the wall, putting on a women's short fur coat and eyeliner, with no shirt on, just listening to this music.
- Conclusions by Bexless: In this universe, MCR never existed. Gerard threw himself into art instead of music after 9/11, Frank owns an indie record label, and Ray is a studio musician.
- Absence Sort of Does Make the Heart by cimorene: Bob is a sound engineer, Ray is a guitar teacher
- I Am a Patient Boy by onelittlesleep: So this is an AU about Gerard being a girl named Helen (after her...grandmother?) and Frank being sort of, head over heels.
- Away With The Boys In The Band by inlovewithnight: Behind the Music: My Chemical Romance, in the world where Mikey has always been a girl.
- You Can Find Out First Hand by 7iris, Podfic by falter: This isn't the first time Mikey's woken up in a different bunk than he fell asleep in. This isn't even the first time he's woken up in a different body. It's the first time he's woken up with tits, though.
- Buy Handmade by jjtaylor, where Gerard sells his art on Etsy.
- Gerard Way's (Vampire) Detective Agency by jjtaylor where Frank is a vampire and Dewees a zombie
- An Inexplicable Occurrence of Angels by Stele3 where Frank is a fallen Angel
- The Anatomy of a Fall by novembersmith in which Frank is a ghost
- The Scene is Dead by Synchronik: horror/dark fic where the band tries to survive a zombie apocalypse
- Gravity, don’t mean too much to me, tumblr post by makebelieveescapades
- comment by pterick, reblogged of course with an example of the meme by tweez, July 11th 2015
- These Pigs are after me! After you!, direct link, posted by ddevrell, reblogged by mcrlolz. This gif was reposted on tumblr several times, so the original date and creator are unknown. Also, the base gif of someone in a plastic crate being chased in the rain is a popular source for transformation.
- archived, with 3090 notes as of 21 March 2016
- archived (reblog)
- archived, with 31,445 notes as of 21 March 2016.
- archived, with 673,612 notes as of 21 March 2016. The main thread is here.
- AO3 Frank/Gerard tag
- AO3 Bob/Ray tag
- AO3 Ray/Mikey tag
- AO3 Frank/Bob tag
- AO3 Frank/Mikey tag
- AO3 Frank/Gerard tag
- AO3 OT4 tag
- AO3 Pete/Mikey tag
- AO3 Bert/Gerard tag
- AO3 Gabe/Mikey tag
- AO3 Bob/Patrick tag
- Grant Morrison AO3 tag