Wings in Fanworks

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Trope · Genre
Related: crack, AU
See Also:
Winged!Krycek (ca. 2001). Old button from The Theban Band website.

Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Fans like to add wings to human characters in many types of fanworks. Fanfic in which a human character sprouts wings is called wingfic.

Characters who already have wings in canon are also popular subjects of fanworks. Fanfic written for a fandom in which the character canonically has wings (e.g. Good Omens) is usually not considered wingfic. However, as a response to a surge of wingfic, a Good Omens writer came up with wingless fic, wherein canonically winged characters suddenly and inexplicably lose them.[1] Wingfic can be whimsical, but it can also be much darker in tone.

Backstory for the presence of wings varies:

  • The winged character is an angel.
  • The winged character was experimented upon, exposed to radiation, etc.
  • No explanation is given.
  • The wings may appear suddenly.
  • The character may have had the wings all along.
  • Other characters may or may not be surprised that the character has wings.

History of the Wingfic Genre

illustration of Spock in Styx and Stones (1987)

The exact date of the emergence of wingfic as a genre is uncertain. It might have already existed in Professionals fandom[2] and existed in Star Trek fandom in the 1980s. For example, Marilyn Cole drew a winged Spock for Naked Times #12 in 1986 and the story Styx and Stones from 1987 by Alexis Fegan Black is wingfic that had an illustration of a winged Spock.

The wings, Spock recalled, had mysteriously grown from his back when he had felt a need for aeriel surveying of his new world. It had begun with what he’d thought a skin irritation of some sort; and, unable to see himself in any type of reflective surface, he had not understood what was happening until the transformation was complete.
And yet… Jim was lost.
Even the wings of a guardian could not shielded him from whatever dreams he was living in the darkest regions of his unconscious mind.
There was one other Spock had learned to do and, dropping his head into his hands, the pale soft wings trembling as his shoulders heaved, he began to weep.[3]

The popularization of wingfic most likely originated in anime fandom, where canon characters are more likely to have wings or to simply be depicted with wings in advertising promos. One of the earliest and better known examples of wingfic would be Natalie Baan's appropriately titled "Wings" (1998).[4]

The Theban Band's art suggests that wingfic existed in the X-Files fandom as well. They had a winged Krycek on their manip site as early as 1999, and other winged Mulder and Krycek manips soon followed. In 2000, these images were part of the fantasy section of the site,[5] together with other hybrids. By 2001, winged characters had their own subpage[6], and in 2002, there was a subsection on the fantasy page that was called wings.[7] The Theban Band's website has a disclaimer on every page stating that "these images are manipulated to illustrate these characters as portrayed in slash fanfiction and are in no way intended to represent the actors who play these characters."

Wingfic was definitely visible in popslash by 2001.[8] Since popslash was a mixing fandom, many media fans met anime fans for the first time (and vice versa). From popslash, wingfic spread to Lotrips,[9] where it became wildly popular. Its popularity in Lotrips even inspired a few horn!fic and tail!fic stories in which horns and/or tails were either a surprise or, in AU fics, normal. Once a rare bird, wingfic is now observed quite regularly in most fandoms. See also fannish osmosis.

The pan-fandom popularity of this genre may simply come down to the appealing imagery. Or possibly to the fact that it is hilarious, and distills the crackfic impulse of fanfic into its purest form.

Wings in Fanart

Wings in Cosplay

Other Wings

Shared Universes

Featherbent is a notable example of wingfic in the Homestuck fandom. It is a series of fan-made games with original art, music, and voice acting. The series creates an entire society for the characters to function in, all based around their wings, and is an especially in-depth example of wingfic. During the height of its popularity, it amassed a large group of fans, who created art, fanfiction, and cosplays for the AU. Examples of the fanworks of this fanwork can be seen on the Featherbent fanwork blog.




Resources & Related Links


  1. Flights of Angels by Daegaer.
  2. See Talk:Wingfic.
  3. Collected Short Stories by Alex Fegan Black, Styx & Stones - summary. (Accessed 12 January 2010)
  4. "Wings" was originally posted to Aestheticism in 1998.
  5. The Theban Band - Fantasy, via Wayback, archived 2000. Mulder and Krycek are sometimes depicted as angels, sometimes as demons with horns and tails. (Accessed 08 November 2008)
  6. The Theban Band - Angels, via Wayback, archived 2001. The subpage was called Angels, but it already had TBwings.html in its URL, and there were examples of winged Methos and Scully too. (Accessed 08 November 2008)
  7. The Theban Band - Fantasy, via Wayback, archived 2002. (Accessed 08 November 2008)
  8. comment posted by wax_jism
  9. See the story header for Alulae by Megolas.