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For the literary and media genre, see Supernatural (genre).
Name: Supernatural
Abbreviation(s): SPN, occasionally SN
Creator: Eric Kripke, Robert Singer, Sera Gamble
Date(s): 2005 - 2020
Medium: Television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Supernatural on imdb
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Supernatural is an American television drama that follows the nomadic lives of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel around the United States in their black 1967 Chevy Impala. They hunt down and vanquish supernatural foes like ghosts, demons, and other mythical creatures.


The Winchesters were raised in the hunting lifestyle by their father, who spent years seeking revenge against the demon responsible for his wife's death in 1983.

Each episode of Supernatural has a monster of the week theme with a self-contained plot, as well as a season-long narrative arc that deals with the repercussions of the Winchesters' hunting lifestyle. In later seasons (5-9) the seasons have evolved to be more about angels and demons than other creatures.

Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke, who wanted to cross American Folk Tales with traditional horror. [1]

The show is known for its tendency to break the fourth wall and include tongue-in-cheek references to its production and nods to its fandom in various episodes.[2] Examples include:

  • Having Sam and Dean solve a case on the set of a B-movie, 2x18 "Hollywood Babylon"
  • The show acknowledging fanfic writers and the existence of Wincest, 5x01 "Sympathy for the Devil"
  • Featuring LARPing, 5x09 "The Real Ghostbusters" and 8x11 "LARP and the Real Girl"
  • A Supernatural convention, 5x09 "The Real Ghostbusters"
  • Having Sam and Dean get stuck inside TV land versions of their own and other shows, 5x08 "Changing Channels", 13x16 "Scoobynatural" (Scooby-Doo crossover)
  • The brothers being temporarily transported to an alternate reality where people think they are actors named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki who star on a television show named 'Supernatural', 6x15 "The French Mistake"
Supernatural: the fandom where RPS *is* the moral high ground."[3]

The Supernatural Fandom

See also Timeline of Supernatural Fandom
Cover of the gen zine A Hunting We Will Go (2008), artwork by Suzan Lovett. Supernatural is an online fandom that in some ways is still deeply rooted in the traditions of what came before. As typical with Lovett's art, the background details contain a hidden narrative - each image square references a key scene from episodes during the first season. The t-shirt Sam is wearing reads: "Sometimes he *is* heavy" referring to lyrics from a 1960s song "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." In the case of Supernatural the sibling obligation between Sam and Dean results in much angst. To see the details click for a larger version.

In December 2010, Supernatural won TV Guide's first ever Fan Favorite cover contest[4], for which there is a video of the cast thanking the fans.

On LiveJournal

The Supernatural fandom has a large and active presence on LiveJournal, including a daily newsletter [5] and many communities [6] dedicated to discussing the show or celebrating certain characters, pairings, or other aspects. A newbie guide, created in February 2006, gives you an idea of the depth of the fandom's presence on LiveJournal even within just the first season. While there are very active discussion groups at TWOP and thousands of stories archived off LJ (with a particularly large number at, Livejournal has always been the major hub of fanworks-focused fandom for Supernatural. Fic festivals like the various big bangs have hundreds of stories a year and a look at links tagged with Supernatural on Delicious will return thousands of hits, mostly on LJ. The fandom also hosts multiple separate LiveJournal kink memes: the monthly Supernatural Kink Community (spnkink-meme), the twice-a-year Supernatural Anonymous Kink Meme (Blindfold SPN), spn-hardcore, and knotting-focused take-the-knot.

When fandom began splintering away from LJ as clone sites were built and things like Strikethrough made many fans nervous, Supernatural fandom stayed unmoved for the most part. Strikethrough had very little effect on the fandom, and Supernatural remains notable for having a culture of not flocking the sort of content that often is in other fandoms (SPN mainstays like incest, kink, and RPS). In the early years of the SPN J2 Big Bang, nearly every story was hosted on Livejournal exclusively.

The fandom migration to Dreamwidth has been very small given the relative size of the fandom, and the communities there get very little traffic.

As noted below, the Archive of Our Own had just over 2,000 Supernatural fanworks on March 2010. By August 2011, the AO3 had over 10,000 works in the Supernatural category[7]. By December 2012, the AO3 had over 27,500 works in the Supernatural category[8]. As of February 2014 Archive Of Our Own has over 60,000 Supernatural fanworks; and a year later in January 2015, it has over 92,000 Supernatural fanworks.

The evolution began in 2011. Partly due to the The Great LJ DDOS of 2011, the second of which occurred during the posting period for the 2011 edition of the SPN J2 Big Bang and a round of Blindfold SPN, and partly due to a few BNFs putting their back catalogue of fic on the AO3, the willingness to move fic out of the LJ bubble grew very quickly. In April 2011, during the first DDoS attack on LJ, killabeez wrote If you love us, you'll archive your fic., a plea to the fandom to backup their fic somewhere off LJ.

During the first half of 2011, leonidaslion, a popular and prolific author, moved all her stories to the AO3 and deleted her Livejournals. candle_beck cross-posted all of her work there as well, and other authors followed. Interest among readers in using the archive soared during the summer of 2011 as fans in many fandoms were discovering the pleasures of reading big bang-length fic on e-readers and using the AO3 feature that allows downloads in multiple formats to get them in a couple of clicks.

On Tumblr

There are thriving Wincest and Destiel shipping communities on tumblr, producing fic, meta, gifs and fanart. While some shippers coexist peacefully, the tumblr community is notorious for ship wars and fan-on-fan hate. In addition to the main ships, there are quite a few unusual and uncommon pairings represented on tumblr. Examples include Micifer (Michael/Lucifer), Adamandriel (Adam/Samandriel), Sevin (Sam/Kevin), Crobby (Crowley/Bobby), Drowley (Dean/Crowley) and many more. Supernatural also gained popularity on Tumblr due to the fandom's enormous range of gifs, often tacked on to both fandom-related and non-fandom-related posts as reactions. The fandom's gifs have become so well known that actor Misha Collins referenced them at 2014 DC Con, saying "We have a gif for that."

In 2016, Supernatural was ranked number fifteen in the Top 20 "most reblogged" live-action television show on Tumblr, one of five CW fandoms[9].

On Reddit

The two primary subreddits (communities) for Supernatural are /r/Supernatural, the main subreddit with 118k subscribers and a general or mainstream appeal re: desired submitted content, and /r/fandomnatural, the second most active subreddit with 8k subscribers that places equal focus upon Supernatural fanworks, shipping, fandom meta, etc. There are many more subreddits dedicated to Supernatural, its ships, and/or its stars: /r/FunnySupernatural, /r/Supernaturalgifs, /r/Destiel, /r/Sastiel, /r/MoreThanBrothers, Cockles, /r/jensenackles, /r/jaredpadalecki, /r/mishacollins. Further related subreddits include /r/GISHWHES and /r/WaywardSisters.


Supernatural also has an active presence on, with a large number of stories archived as well as many story community listings for organizing and reccing stories, and SPN discussion forums.[10]

Mailing Lists

A few Supernatural mailing lists offered episode discussion. While fan fiction is discussed, and on occasion even offered, it usually was gen and het.

Supernatural Wiki

Many members of fandom contribute to the comprehensive Supernatural Wiki.


See also: List of Supernatural Relationship Names

Three slash ships have dominated Supernatural fandom: Sam/Dean, Dean/Castiel, and Jared/Jensen. However, Supernatural fans have shipped a wide variety of ships over the course of the show's run, and the show also has a large gen fandom.

Slash, RPF, "Destiel", and "Wincest"

Due in part to the show's tight focus on the Winchester brothers, the fandom's initial main pairing was the brothers themselves. This incestuous pairing is commonly known as Wincest, and has occasioned some controversy both within and without the fandom. Some stories and writers portray the relationship dynamic as fundamentally unhealthy and explore the dysfunctional aspects, while others portray their relationship as a more traditional romance, or as some combination of the two.

The actors who play Sam and Dean are also the fandom's main RPF pairing. The ship is called J2 and less commonly Padackles (the smooshname for Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles). CWRPS featured actors from Supernatural interacting with those from other CW Network shows such as Smallville, One Tree Hill and Veronica Mars.

The focus on Wincest and J2 as almost the only slash pairings shifted during the run of the fourth season (2008-2009); the introduction of the angel Castiel (played by Misha Collins) led to the meteoric rise of Destiel aka Dean/Castiel. Ship wars and other wank over Castiel's popularity ensued. Many Destiel fans were adamant that Destiel would become canon. Meanwhile, RPS fans started writing stories about Jared/Misha (Mishalecki), Jensen/Misha (Cockles) and "J2M" threesome fics.

Although Destiel and Wincest are the fandom's most predominant pairings, smaller slash pairings also generated a fair amount of fanworks, including Gabriel/Sam, Castiel/Sam, Lucifer/Sam, as well as the poly pairing of Castiel/Dean/Sam.

Het and femslash pairings

There is also a medium sized het community, focusing mainly on canon pairings, OFCs, and crossover pairings. Het pairings seen in fanworks include Dean/Jo (semi-canon), John/Mary (canon), Sam/Jess (canon), Sam/Ruby (canon), Dean/Lisa (canon), Sam/Eileen (semi-canon) and Castiel/Meg (semi-canon). Briefer canon relationships, such as Sam/Madison, Sam/Amelia, Dean/Cassie and Dean/Anna also appear in some fics, as do rarer non-canon pairings such as Sam/Rowena, Dean/Donna and Ellen/Bobby. Sam/Jess/Dean, although rare, may be the most popular FPF M/F/M threesome pairing.

Fanworks focusing on femslash pairings are much more rare than slash, gen, and even het fanworks, but they do exist and thrive in a subset of the fandom. Popular pairings include Anna/Ruby, Charlie/Gilda, Charlie/Jo, Charlie/Dorothy, Anna/Jo, Meg/Abaddon, Jody/Donna and Claire/Kaia, as well as polyamory ships. The femslash community on tumblr organizes periodic fanwork projects like exchanges and bangs, with considerable crossover to feminist projects and campaigns, like those by women4spn. [11]

Gen fandom

Perhaps because there were comparatively few other pairings to choose from and the choice between a main pairing based on incest or RPF is one that many people prefer not to make, Supernatural has a large gen community. A lot of the gen fic (or sometimes Bob fic, stories with a background pairing where the relationship isn't foregrounded) is casefic. Some writers who often write shipfic may also write gen fics.

An average of about 40% of the fanfiction listed in the spnnewsletter every day is gen[12], and in the 2011 SPN J2 Big Bang, 21% of the stories were gen (down from a high of 33% in 2009).[11]


For a full listing of Fanlore articles on Supernatural challenges see Category:Supernatural Challenges

From the beginning Supernatural fandom has had a strong tradition of moderated fanworks challenges, with a great emphasis on big bangs. Some examples being:

There were also other challenges such as gift exchanges, fanweeks, fests and kink memes. For perspective on the depth of past, and current, challenges see the List of Supernatural Challenges.


The popularity of Supernatural resulted in several fan run conventions specifically devoted to the show. For more, see Supernatural Conventions


There is a large amount of controversy in the Supernatural fandom. Alleged sexism and racism in the source material and the fandom have inspired several imbroglios, especially during Season 3. At the start of season three, some fans felt that the show's tone had shifted, becoming disconcertingly misogynistic; the season-by-season Bitch Watch[13] was an attempt to document this assertion by citing the sudden prevalence of sexist slurs in the source.

Supernatural fans have also been known to fight over whether the actors on the show are stupid, cocaine-addicted, would look better with a few additional pounds, or are paragons of virtue, often resulting in wank, such as the aftermath of Jensenvention and PETJA.

A vid about Supernatural fandom, its joys and controversies, was made by counteragent in 2008: Still Alive.

In 2013, an incident occurred at a Jibcon panel in which a female fan appeared to be directly asking Jensen Ackles about the possibility of Dean being bisexual. (In fact, she was simply intending to ask him to lend support for the It Gets Better project.) The crowd started booing her before Ackles allegedly cut her off, telling her not to "ruin it" for everyone and to keep the panel "fun and light." The fan apparently left crying, sparking outrage and intensifying fan accusations of queerbaiting by the writers and cast. [14] [15] [16] The YA book Ship It is based directly on the incident. [17]

Supernatural Fanfiction/Fanzines

For a full listing of Supernatural fanfiction on Fanlore, see Category:Supernatural Fanfiction

A large portion of early Supernatural fan fiction was posted on and on Livejournal. The spnnewsletter maintained a set of delicious links or tags. As of Jan 2011, almost 40,000 stories had been tagged. Like many fandoms there has also been a great deal of cross-posting and migration to Archive of Our Own, as of January 2020 there were over 220,000 works tagged as Supernatural.


Popular tropes in the fandom include:

  • Pre-series: stories set during Sam's years at Stanford before Sam and Dean's reunion in the pilot episode, or when Sam and Dean were kids. Some pre-series stories focus on the lives of John Winchester and/or Mary Campbell-Winchester before the boys were born.
  • Genderswap: fics in which Sam or Dean (or both, or later, especially in human AUs, Castiel) has always been a girl or is temporarily turned into one.
  • Fuck or die: usually caused by a cursed object or a spell.
  • Raised Apart: where Sam or Dean (or both) wasn't raised by John Winchester in the hunting life, they meet as teens or adults without realizing they're brothers, and genetic sexual attraction usually takes care of the rest of the plot.
  • Amnesia: usually a curse or spell causes the brothers to forget that they're brothers, but they decide (usually based on evidence of their constant proximity and remaining feelings of affection) that they must be involved and act on it, angst follows.
  • Curtainfic: Sam and Dean or Dean and Castiel or all of them retire from hunting/stopping apocalypses, temporarily or permanently, and set up house together.
  • Highschool AU: taking place when some or many of the main characters are still young and partaking in high school. Used often to explore budding romances or to exploit the vulnerability of young minds to create scenes or situations regarding raw emotion
  • Evil!Sam: usually focused on Sam's demon-given superpowers (prophetic visions, telekinesis, seen in seasons 1 and 2) corrupting him, on antichrist!Sam or Boy King (of Hell) Sam from references during seasons 2 and 3, on (canonically) demon-fucking and blood-drinking Sam from season 4, on Lucifer!Sam (Sam said "yes" to being Lucifer's vessel) from season 5, or on soulless Sam (a.k.a. Robo!Sam) from season 6.
  • Evil!Dean or Demon!Dean: usually based on becoming evil!Sam's (corrupted) Hellish consort, or focused on Dean's time in Hell (where he became a torturer) between season 3 and 4 and Dean not coming back quite "right" from Hell, or focused on the period at the end of season 9/beginning of season 10 when Demon canonically became a demon for a short while.
  • Ghostfic: where during one of their brushes with death (usually in the early seasons) Dean or Sam doesn't remain alive or come back from the dead like in canon, but continues hunting with the remaining brother as a ghostly sidekick.
  • Wingfic: popular even before the arrival of angels on the show.
  • Angel slash: the arrival of the angel Castiel (and his relatives) in season 4 led to a second major FPF pairing for the fandom, Dean/Castiel. Sam also gets paired with angels (Sam/Gabriel, Sam/Castiel, more rarely Dean/Castiel/Sam, Sam/Lucifer all have adherents). Angel-on-angel slash such as Michael/Lucifer, Castiel/Gabriel, and Castiel/Balthazar is another subgenre, known as Angelcest.
  • Soulbonds: a canon reference to Sam and Dean being soul mates, who share the same heaven[18] and Castiel's statement that he shares a "profound bond" with Dean[19] only fueled the already existing fire for soulbonding fic.
  • Hunting or Casefic: focusing on the monster hunts the Winchesters go on, can be seen as a type of casefic because they often have to solve a mystery to discern which type of monster is involved. Fans can expand upon canon monsters, bring in monsters from other universes, or create their own. Fic of this type may be more prevalent in gen stories.
  • Alpha/Beta/Omega: originating in Supernatural fandom, and still found quite frequently in fics, it went on to become a multifandom phenomenon and an established trope
  • Everybody Lives or Resurrection: a lot of characters die on the show, and fans often ignore these deaths in fanworks, or will find ways around them, such as resurrection, which is possible canonically. Some of the more popular characters for fans to resurrect include, Bobby, Gabriel, Charlie and Crowley
  • Time Travel: time travel exists canonically, and fans use this as a tool to explore the past of the Winchesters and other characters, or as a fix-it, often to prevent the death of beloved characters
  • Crossovers: crossover fanworks are quite common, especially with other fantasy/sci-fi fandoms. Some of the more popular crossover fandoms included, Teen Wolf, known as SuperWolf, where Dean and Sam usually take the roles of hunters against the werewolves, and some combination of Doctor Who, Sherlock or Doctor Who and Sherlock, known as Superwho, SuperLock and SuperWhoLock respectively, usually with the boys meeting The Doctor or Sherlock and John Watson.
  • In-Canon Alternative Universes/Altered Realities:
    • Endverse: shown in episode 5x04, a universe where Sam accepted Lucifer, a non-angel Castiel, and Dean being part of a resistance movement. Fan creators like to explore the vastly different characterization of Cas from the one in the canon timeline, and Lucifer!Sam, as well as what life may have been like for characters not shown in the episode
    • The French Mistake: episode 6x15 where Sam and Dean visit "our world". It has great potential for crossovers between canon and Supernatural RPF, fanworks set during this universe are often humorous
    • It's a Terrible Life: an alternative reality created by the angel Zachariah, this universe can be attractive to fans because in it the Winchesters are not brothers
    • Changing Channels: an alternative reality created by the archangel Gabriel where the Winchesters are stuck in "TV Land", fans will use this setting to put the boys in various other television shows, as well as adding other characters to the mix, like Castiel, or the spell somehow backfiring on Gabriel and him being stuck within the universe of his own creation
    • Apocalypse World: shown from the end of season 12 and throughout season 13. Fanworks often expand on what was shown in canon, with a focus on Jack and his time there, and sometimes changing events so that Sam, Dean or Castiel spend a longer period of time in the alternative universe
    • The Bad Place: the dark universe, and home to Dark Kaia, the Wayward Sisters often feature heavily in these stories
    • Oz: the land featured in the Wizard of Oz exists in Supernatural canon. This universe doesn't feature much in fanworks, in those that do they often focus on Charlie and her time there, or the aftermath of her Oz visit
    • Chuck's Endings and HunterCorp: in season 15 it is revealed that Chuck has created several other universes, most of which contain their own Sam and Dean, these include Earth 2 and the HunterCorp Universe, who's Sam and Dean are pulled into the main universe. Fans like to explore these possibilities, and expand the characterization of the alternative Sams and Deans

Posts in the LiveJournal themed rec sets community sd_recs offer an indication of some popular tropes in Sam/Dean (or Sam'n'Dean gen) fic.


See also Category:Supernatural Zines

Most Supernatural fan fiction is online. However, a small quantity of fanzines continue to be produced, mainly of the gen variety. In addition to traditional fanzines, Supernatural has also created a thriving amount of doujinshi 'fan produced comics' in both English and Japanese. The bulk of these fanworks contain Wincest with a small smattering of J2 (or RPS). A complete list of Supernatural fanzines and doujinshi can be found at Supernatural/Fanzines.


Rec and Discussion Sites


See also: Category:Supernatural Art

There is a wide range of artistic styles in the fandom, ranging from hyper-realism to photo-manips and from chibi art to anime/manga styles. LiveJournal communities for art include supernaturalart and spn_fanart. On Tumblr, theroadsofararchive has collected over 30,000 pieces of fanart.

Notable Fanart

Art Gallery


See also: Category:Supernatural Vids

Vidding is very popular in Supernatural fandom. Many vids focus on the relationship between the two brothers and more often than not angst is a major element.

It was a big vidding fandom from the first. Within a few weeks of the pilot airing, a LiveJournal community dedicated to Supernatural vids was created, and two vidding archives were online by the end of season two. There were four Supernatural vids, all made by major vidders, in the 2006 premieres show at Vividcon:

Unfortunately, because there was limited footage at that time, these vids featured many of the same shots: a woman on fire on the ceiling, a car with one broken headlight, a woman in a nurse's outfit, etc. The nuances of these excellent vids were therefore missed by the baffled moderators of that year's Vid Review, Luminosity and Speranza, neither of whom had seen the show at that point and who consequently gave them short shrift. (Luminosity later went on to make some of the most famous vids in the fandom.)

Some of the more popular vids are known for their creative approach to visualize certain themes and ideas. For example, Luminosity's The Fifth Circle merges SPN with non-SPN footage to give a better impression of hell and the use of effects is quite stunning.

Other vids are meta commentary on the canon, fanon or fandom of the show. The vid Women's Work drew attention to the simultaneous sexualization of, and aggression towards, women in the source text while Still Alive by counteragent uses images of women from the show to represent fandom/fen and attempts to provide an overview of Supernatural fandom with a focus on Season Three.

Supernatural Vidding Communities


See also: Category:Supernatural Podfics

Supernatural is one of the most popular fandoms for making podfic. On the Audiofic Archive, which started in 2006, Supernatural was consistently the top fandom by number of podfics through the 2016 amplificathon challenge.[20] On AO3 it is the fourth largest fandom for podfics as of 2019 (third if you don't count Avengers separately from MCU).[21]

Several podfic-specific SPN-related communities were created on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth:

Meta/Further Reading

See also: Category:Supernatural Meta

Fanfiction Archives


A list of additional archives is being maintained by indie-archives here.


  1. ^ On the road trip from hell, Melbourne: The Age, 5 January 2006. (Accessed 31 March 2011)
  2. ^ Meta Episodes page at Supernatural Wiki (Accessed 31 March 2011)
  3. ^ quote is attributed to gothphyle and first heard at the last Zebracon in 2007. Source: stormheller Never say never - The Link Well, Archived version dated September 17, 2005.
  4. ^ Supernatural Wins TV Guide Magazine's Fan Favorite Cover Poll accessed 2010-12-18
  5. ^ SPNNewsletter[1]
  6. ^ SPN Directory[2]
  7. ^ Fandom page shows 10,978 on August 30, 2011. facetofcathy
  8. ^ Fandom page shows 27,527 on December 12, 2012. on_verra
  9. ^ 2016′s Top TV Shows - Live Action
  10. ^ As of 23 July 2010, has Over 32,000 SPN stories, 201 SPN story communities, and 112 Discussion Forums.
  11. ^ a b See Big Bang: stats and graphs post of 2 Sep 2011 by missyjack about the SPN J2 Big Bang. (Accessed 1 Jan 2012)
  12. ^ Supernatural Fic Link Archive page, showcasing black_samvara's fic tagging project.
  13. ^ Compiled by Trollprincess on May 19-19, 2008, in three posts: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3
  14. ^ How 1 question triggered a "Supernatural" fandom meltdown
  15. ^ Supernatural and Queer Love
  16. ^ An open letter to Jensen Ackles, by a Queer Teenage Girl
  17. ^ How Fanfiction Has Made TV More Diverse
  18. ^ From Episode 5.16, The Dark Side of the Moon (accessed 1 Jan 2012)
  19. ^ From Episode 6.03, The Third Man (accessed 1 Jan 2012)
  20. ^ Amplificathon 2016 Points Page, Archived version, accessed 15 April 2019.
  21. ^ In the Podfic tag, the top fandoms as of 15 April 2019 are Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2076 podfics (parent tag of Avengers), Sherlock with 1083 podfics, Avengers with 1062 podfics, Supernatural with 1006 podfics, and Teen Wolf with 985 podfics. Podfic - Works, Archived version
  22. ^ WebCite of the front page. The definition of "Dean Damage" can be read here; WebCite.
  23. ^ [WebCite of the front page.
  24. ^ WebCite for the splash page; WebCite for the main page.
  25. ^ WebCite for the main page.
  26. ^ WebCite for the main page.

Related Links
People Jared PadaleckiJensen AcklesMisha CollinsJeffrey Dean MorganRichard Speight Jr.Amanda TappingEric KripkeKim MannersRobert Singer
characters: Sam WinchesterDean WinchesterCastielCrowleyBobby SingerJohn WinchesterMary WinchesterMeg MastersRowena MacLeodCharlie BradburyGabrielLuciferBenny LafitteJody MillsDonna Hanscum
Places Metallicar
Things Wayward Sisters