Smallville

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Fandom
Name: Smallville
Abbreviation(s): SV
Creator: Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Date(s): October 16, 2001 – May 13, 2011
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: TWoP: Smallville IMDB Wikipedia page
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Contents

Smallville is a television show about Clark Kent in his pre-Superman teen years and later early adult.

Smallville was one of the major slash fandoms of the early 2000s. Although the show continued for a decade, the major fannish activity was in the show's first four seasons (2001 - 2005).

The Canon

Smallville is an American science fiction/fantasy television series that debuted on the WB Network in October of 2001, focusing on the adventures of Clark Kent as a teenager in Smallville, Kansas. Creators Gough and Millar emphasized that the show wasn't going to be about Superboy, and often repeated its motto of "No flights, no tights." Instead, Smallville departed from much of DC Comics canon, kept Clark firmly on the ground (mostly) and introduced him to Lex Luthor, the son of a ruthless businessman. As Clark gained more powers, Lex would become his best friend and biggest problem. Clark's other friends include Lana Lang, Chloe Sullivan, Pete Ross, and later Lois Lane and Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.

Unlike most teen dramas, and in keeping with Superman canon, Clark's parents Jonathan and Martha Kent play a big role in his life and on screen.

Critical Reactions

One interesting note about Smallville is that the perception of homoerotic subtext was not limited to slashers, but was fairly widely perceived. Given that the series began with Clark, the male lead, giving mouth-to-mouth to his eventual enemy, Lex Luthor, this is perhaps not to be wondered at.

Fan Reactions

Smallville was a lot of people's first slash fandom. SVMadelyn remembers: "Smallville was my first slash fandom. I'd actually never - uh, thought about slash? Ever? I wrote wrestling and soap opera fanfiction up to that point. Until that one fateful summer night when I was flipping through channels, and it was a ridic hoyay moment of legend during Hourglass. And I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I literally googled 'are clark kent and lex luthor gay!?'? A link came up to Jenn's A Handful of Dust, and it was the first slash story I ever read and I was all: WHAT IS HAPPENING WHAT IS - WHAT IS GOING ON. I remember I kept having to get up and take dancing breaks because I was feeling too many EMOTIONS about Superman and Lex Luthor. Then I think I lurked for a year on TWoP. and finally mustered up my courage enough to get a LJ." [1]

Smallville Fandom

As the show and fandom started in 2001, Smallville was one of the fandoms that transitioned between the dominance of the mailing list culture and the move to livejournal and various other blog and journal-based communities. SV fandom is also active on message boards.

One of the original primary SV communities was TWoP. Omar's HoYay-heavy recaps were one of the main channels for pimping the show to new fans, and several elements of fanon and other recurring themes arose on the active TWoP message boards.

Smallville started airing in October 2001. The Smallville Slash Archive went live four days after the pilot. (And the ClarkLex mailing list was founded on four days after that.) The archive was immediately popular, and more so than most fandoms, most SV fic was published to the archive. Having important fannish infrastructure very early strengthened the fandom from the beginning.

Fandom & TPTB

Smallville was often known as a show fans loved to hate,[1] and many fans have an uneasy relationship with the showrunners, feeling that their vision for the show was inherently flawed and got worse over time. The show creators, Gough and Millar, are often (usually disparagingly) referred to as "Goughlar"[2] or "AlMiles" and are the subject of bitter fan mocking, particularly accused of loving Lana Lang to the detriment of the rest of the cast. One of the more entertaining examples of the trend was the webcomic Lanarama. Some fans also theorized that the meteor rock necklace Lana had worn constantly since childhood had given her the mutant power of making everyone love her, since all the other characters were constantly praising her and falling for her.

Pairings

A predominant pairing in Smallville is Clark/Lex, or "Clex". Lex is also paired with pretty much everyone, as it was often joked that he had chemistry with everyone and everything on the show, including his piano, cars, pool cues, and expensive Tynant water bottles. Some Lex pairings, like Lex/Lionel, Lex/Lucas, and Lex/Martha, challenged traditional thinking.

Clark has also been paired with other males, such as Whitney Fordman early on and Oliver Queen in later seasons.

Popular het pairings include Clark/Lana, Clark/Chloe, Clark/Lois, Chloe/Pete, Lex/Lana, Lex/Chloe, Chloe/Oliver, Lois/Oliver, Tess/Oliver, Jonathan/Martha, and Martha/Lionel. The largest femslash pairings are probably Chloe/Lana and Tess/Lois.

See also: List of popular Smallville pairings

Common Themes and Elements in Smallville fandom

Futurefic and The Rift

Futurefic is one of the most common types of SV fanfiction, extrapolating the more famous Superman canon from the backstory presented in Smallville. Some fan writers will use specific Superman canon elements from DC Comics, the JLU cartoon, or (less commonly) the movies. Others create their own pastiche futures, based on the basic Superman mythology but eschewing the particulars from any one canon. Later events in the show rendered many of these fanfiction futures uncanonical, but as most of these events are also contradictory to the other Superman canons, most fans don't particularly care.

As Superman and Lex Luthor are traditionally arch-nemeses, much of the futurefic portrayed them as such even before there was much conflict between them in Smallville canon, with the Clark/Lex pairing as a type of tragic enemyslash. The separation is generally referred to as The Rift, and stories that feature it are known as Rift-fic. Some are dark; others strive to reconcile the characters.

The polar opposite were "Rift, What Rift?" fanfic (riffing on PWP), in which the traditional canon was totally denied, with Lex never becoming a supervillain and instead living happily ever after with Clark. In some stories the supervillain figure of Luthor would be a part Lex and Clark deliberately created and played with together to aid Clark's career as Superman. In other stories Lex and Clark would take totally different paths in life from anything presented in the comics or other Superman mythos. There are many stories with Clark pursuing various careers other than journalism, stories where Clark does not become Superman, and stories where Lex also becomes a superhero.

There are also stories that flip the mythos entirely and posit Clark or Kryptonians as a dark force (insinuated in canon by the legend of Namaan and by Jor-El's early portrayal as a conqueror) and Lex as the hero who has to stop him and save the world (Lex's theory of Segeeth). Alternately there are stories in varying degrees of darkness where Lex and Clark work together to conquer the world.

Another common theme in early futurefic was the Chlois theory. Despite the common use of pairing smush names in the fandom this has nothing to do with a pairing. Instead, it is the idea that Chloe Sullivan of the show grows up to become Lois Lane of the comics. In early seasons the first mention of Lois was as Chloe's ostensible cousin whose name Chloe used for a journalism story. Before Lois herself was introduced on the show as an actual character this led some fans to write fic about Chloe becoming known as Lois Lane in her later journalism career, and for a while, especially after the season three finale when Chloe went into hiding to escape Lionel's assassination attempts, some fans believed Chlois would even come to pass on the show.

Relation to DC Comics

As Smallville's roots are in DC Comics, DC crossovers are very common, both in futurefic and in stories set in canon. Crossovers have been written with The Justice League, Flash, Batman, and more. Some SV fic authors are DC fans first and write mostly comics canon with backstory elements from Smallville; other authors have little direct experience with the comic canon, but pick and choose comic elements (often gleaned from Scans Daily) to add spice to their Smallville stories.

Bruce Wayne is a frequent visitor to Smallville and Metropolis, and a popular sex partner for both Lex and Clark.[3] This is probably in protest against due to Batman's restarted film franchise, Bruce Wayne did not appear on Smallville because the film division of Warner Bros and was working with the character. Although allusions of Batman appeared throughout the seasons. For example Blüdhaven and Gotham City exist in Smallville, Andrea Rojas (aka Angel of Vengeance) was similar to Bruce/Batman in backstory and personality, Zatanna Zatara (who is a friend of Bruce's in the comics and part of the JL) appears in several episodes, Chloe's Watchtower is similar to Birds of Prey's Clocktower as well as Chloe's initial role for the team is similar to Oracle's role, and Chloe hints at meeting Batman while traveling.[4] It isn't until Season 11 of Smallville, Batman/Bruce Wayne is finally introduced into the series. Alfred Pennyworth, James Gordon, Victor Fries, and Barbara Gordon (as Nightwing instead of Batgirl) also make their debut into the Smallville universe in Season 11.

In 2003 it was revealed in DC Comics that the current Superboy, Kon-El aka Conner Kent, was a genetic hybrid of Superman and Lex Luthor rather than a pure clone. This knowledge filtered into Smallville fandom and resulted in a new genre of fic featuring Kon as the son of Lex and Clark. One of the first such was Conflicts Of Interest by rageprufrock, wherein Conner Clark Luthor, age 8, defies his father Lex and sets out to find his mother. Of course it turns out that his mother is Clark, and that he was created in an experiment by Lionel Luthor. This fic used basically no comics elements and the Conner in it is an OMC and not the Kon of the DCU. Some other fics featuring a more comics-based characterization of Kon set within the Smallville backstory of Clark and Lex are Reconcilable Differences by astolat and the Not A Villain series by tallihensia. In fic Conner is sometimes created through deliberate scientific means and sometimes is the result of mpreg allowed by alien biology. Conner was introduced into SV canon in the season ten episode "Scion", giving a whole other version of the character to write about.

Some fics have also used the character of Lena Luthor as a daughter for Lex or for Clex. In season ten Tess Mercer was revealed to be Lionel Luthor's daughter and Lena was used as part of her birth name.

Alternate Universe

AUs are very popular in the fandom. As Smallville is itself an AU version of the Superman comics, yet set as a prequel to them, even much futurefic for the show (as discussed above) was conscious of being an AU version of where everyone knew the show was going to end up. There are also many other forms of AU that either take events in the show a different way or that do not allow anything from the show's storyline to occur. Some fics will have it that Lex never came to Smallville to work and that he and Clark meet later on when Clark goes to college in Metropolis. These stories allow Lex and Clark to have a relationship that can start and progress in a different and more positive fashion than the one on the show, and they also allow authors and readers a way to enjoy Clex that does not involve Clark being underage. Other stories involve a Kryptonian invasion of Earth, allowing authors to construct an alien society and play with a more aggressive version of Clark. Other authors, such as danceswithgary, commonly take the plots of romantic comedy movies and create fusions with the SV characters.

The season two episode "Lineage" showed more flashbacks to the meteor shower and revealed that Lionel Luthor had helped the Kents fake Clark's adoption papers. This led Rachel Dunleavy, a woman who had had an affair with Lionel, to claim that Clark was her son and Lex's half-brother. Though Lex's brother instead turned out to be Lucas in the episode "Prodigal", Lex's reaction to the thought of Clark as his brother and the scenes of a young Lex and Clark together immediately after the meteor shower spurred a subset of AUs involving Clark being found by Lionel and raised as a Luthor. (This was later made canon in a season ten AU episode, "Luthor", where Clark Luthor had killed his brother Lex and was sleeping with his sister Tess.) In many of these fics it is Clark, rather than a later baby, who is given the name Julian Luthor (since in SV he is called after Martha's maiden name) and frequently nicknamed Lian. There are also a few fics where Lionel is killed in the meteor shower and Lex ends up raised by the Kents, but for Clex purposes a Luthor upbringing is generally more incestuous than a Kent one.

Other Characters

SV is not a fandom with many shared fanon OCs. One of the few is Enrique, Lex's butler. In a season one episode (Cool?) there was a servant onscreen for a few seconds as he opened a door to visitors at Luthor Castle. Omar, in his TWOP recap, named this man Enrique, and he later spread through fanfic. Though sometimes used as a serious character and confidant for Lex he more often makes appearances in crackfic.

Early on Lex's mother's name was unknown (when was she first named in canon?), and so in early fic she was given a variety of names by authors, before canon revealed her to be Lillian.

In always-female AUs it is easy to turn Alexander into Alexandra and sometimes use slightly more feminine variations on Lex such as Lexa. Female Clark is often called Claire or Clara but it's nowhere near as consistent. In one AU by aelora she is named Hudson.

Warrior Angel

Introduced in the first season episode "Stray," Warrior Angel was a fictional comic book series that Lex collected.[5] It featured a bald hero and his nemesis, Devilicus, who used to be best friends. Some fan writers embraced the fictional comic book and used it in their Smallville fanfic, while others started to write fic for Warrior Angel itself. Zahra was possibly the most prolific of these authors, writing fics that featured Warrior Angel as well as fics based on what little canon there was for it.[6]

Notable Fanworks

Fanfiction

See Clark/Lex page for more fics.

Arts

Fanvids

Online Resources

Fan Fiction Archives

Livejournal Communities

(For a more complete list, see the Newbieguide post.)

DreamWidth Communities

Forums/Message Boards

Mailing Lists

Fanzines

Ender Wiggin is maintaining a Smallville fanzine listing here.

Printed fanzines

Online eZines/PDF Zines

External Links

References

  1. One of the popular forums on the TWoP boards is the The Smallville Bottomless, Deep Bitterness Society (Accessed 28 February 2009)
  2. For example, "I do want Lexana to have sex but I suspect the Goughlar will chicken out so Lana can remain pure and chaste." --DarkPriestess in Spoiler discussion: "They're gonna WHAT?!" 29 Aug 2006 (Accessed 28 February 2009)
  3. No Darker Than Yours, by RivkaT (Last accessed November 17, 2008.)
  4. Allusions to Batman: Smallville Wikia
  5. Warrior Angel entry at Smallville Wiki (Last accessed November 17, 2008.)
  6. Smallville fics featuring Warrior Angel, by Zahra (Last accessed November 17, 2008.)
  7. Vid downloadable from astolat's website, announcement post at astolat's LJ (Accessed 3 Dec 2011)
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