Punk AU

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Trope · Genre
Related: Body Modification, Band AU, Punks in Fanworks, 1970s
See Also: cyberpunk, steampunk
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You may be looking for Punks in Fanworks or Punk (disambiguation).

Punk AU is a broad category of Alternate Universe fanworks wherein elements of punk culture are incorporated. Unlike some more easily quantifiable AUs, like Harry Potter or Regency, Punk AUs are most often combined with another type of AU such as High School or Role Reversal rather than being the singular focus of a work. This fluidity makes an absolute definition of what makes a fanwork a "punk au" more or less up to personal interpretation.

This trope is primarily found in fanfic and fanart, although it can be present in any type of fanwork, from vids to cosplay.

Trope Conventions

There are two general categories that works referred to as "punk AUs" typically fall into: "all punk AUs", and "one punk AUs".

All Punk AU

In a "All Punk" AU, all or most of the characters appearing are part of the punk subculture where they weren't in canon. If non-punk characters appear, they're often minor or intended to show the attitude of the punk characters. These fanworks tend to focus more on the subculture itself and incorporate aspects beyond merely marking a character as counterculture and tend to be very popular in fandoms based around a group of characters, such as One Direction, where the entire group can be made into punks.[1][2]

Sometimes this type of punk au is a "punk band au."[3]

One Punk AU

A "One Punk" AU is a fanwork where a single character is changed to be punk while the rest are usually more or less as in canon. Primarily these fanworks tend to be more focused on the contrasts between the punk character and their love interest or surrounding characters rather than the punk subculture itself. It's sort of a counterculture equivalent to the "bad boy" and "girl next door" narrative that's popular in romance fiction, such as Fifty Shades of Grey or After.

This type of au tends to not be specifically tagged on sites with "punk au," but rather with a character tag such as "punk!John"[4] or "Bucky Barnes is a punk." It's frequently combined with high school au.

Pastel and Punk AU

Possibly originating from the recent trend of pastel punk[5], Pastel and Punk AU is a specific type of One Punk AU wherein one half of a ship is portrayed as soft and innocent while the other shown to be a "bad boy" type. This is most often a type of Role Reversal, where the characters usually take the role opposite from the way fanon generally portrays them.

This type of AU is extremely popular in Phandom, which most often casts Dan as the pastel and Phil as the punk, whereas general fanon characterises Dan as the more worldly of the two, and Phil as the innocent one.[6][7]

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Moodboards - Punk Mike Hanlon, Archived version by EddiesGazebosFandom: ITDate: December 14th 2017Medium: Mood BoardStatus: Complete
I haven’t really seen much for if Mike was punk.. soo here ya go.

Art Gallery



  1. ^ Punk Direction tag on AO3. Accessed March 09 2019.
  2. ^ Punk1DEdits Twitter. Accessed March 09 2019.
  3. ^ Punk Band AU tag on Tumblr. Accessed March 09 2019.
  4. ^ Punk John tag at AO3. Accessed March 09 2019.
  5. ^ Urban Dictionary: pastel punk. Accessed March 09 2019.
  6. ^ Pastel Dan and Punk Phil tag on AO3. As of March 09 2019, the tag has 124 works.
  7. ^ #punkphil and #pasteldan on Wattpad. Accessed March 09 2019.