Wings in Fanworks
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. 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, had a spell cast upon them, 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.
- An AU setting where it is normal for humans to have wings.
Wing Kink is a related trope which often appears in wingfic (or in fanworks where a canonical character has wings), in which the character's wings are an erogenous zone and caressing them produces pleasurable feelings.
History of the Wingfic Genre
The exact date of the emergence of wingfic as a genre is uncertain. It might have already existed in Professionals fandom 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.
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).
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, together with other hybrids. By 2001, winged characters had their own subpage, and in 2002, there was a subsection on the fantasy page that was called wings. 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. 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, 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.
Wings in Fanart
Ray Doyle from The Professionals (1991)
Avon from Blake's 7 (???)
Interior art from A Life Without Limits by Rita Terrell (1993)
Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap (1996)
cover of Angelfood, a Blake's 7 zine (2002)
Starsky from Starsky & Hutch (2002)
Sam Winchester from Supernatural (2007)
Sherlock from Sherlock (2010)
Wings in Cosplay
Wings are popular additions to cosplay, although these tend to be confined to cosplays which depict a character who already has wings in canon. Due to the popularity and technical difficulty of making cosplay wings, the internet abounds with tutorials, examples and how-to guides on making cosplay wings: from mechanical, to feathered, to articulated, to stained glass or butterfly wings. Some guides are general, whilst others focus on how to make cosplay wings for a particular character.
Some examples of character-specific cosplay tutorials:
- Hawkgirl Cosplay Tutorial - Articulating Wings
- Building Mercy's Wings from Overwatch
- Guest post: Kurai stained glass wings
- Light-Up Butterfly Wing Tutorial, Part 1 (designed for a cosplay of Marianne from Strange Magic)
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.
"I love wing fic, and wing kink. Discovered it with Reveled in Supernatural. My main 'draw' to it was how they kinda 'talk' movement giving away emotion or feeling that the character wanted to keep hidden. It was a nice way to explain why Cas didn't really emote much, cause Angels emote with their wings, which humans normally dont see."
Rhast, 2018 comment
On Suspension of Disbelief
"I love wingfics. I'm one of the folks affected by the suspension of disbelief problem though. Wingfics in Good Omens, Supernatural, X-Men, etc - perfect. The worlds have magic/gods/supernatural/sci-fi happenings, so it is entirely within the realm of possibility that wings might be a thing that exist on a person. But in worlds where such circumstances simply don't exist, such as Sherlock, I never read wingfics. There's no in-universe fantasy or sci-fi explanation for the wings to exist, so my mind just can't make the leap. Now, I'm off to find me a good wingfic... :)" Fuzzy Murder Mittens, 2019 comment
"I don't particularly like Wingfics because throughout the whole fic I just think about how their clothes work and it just takes me out of the story.
Do they have slits in the back that they button up? But that would be really hard for someone to button themselves. Do they have Velcro instead? But that would be too cheap looking."
Toothie Tooth, 2018
- The Avengers Movieverse: Alula (Vertical and Forward Force) by micketysplit: Because Loki is a contrary asshole, he gifts Clint Barton with wings, of all things, during battle. The wings in and of themselves are one thing, but the way they react to Phil is another. (2012)
- The Avengers Movieverse, Agents of SHIELD: Match Made in Heaven by Selenay: Phil Coulson, angel of SHIELD, has a perfect track record at finding matches for mortals. Over his long life, he's never failed a case. He's just been assigned to Clint Barton's file. (2013)
- The Avengers Movieverse:Wings by astolat: Sam Wilson is given wings by Hydra. (2014)
- The Avengers Movieverse: Meet me where the sky touches the sea by fyrefly: A young prince of the northern merfolk finds himself at odds with his people over his strange magical talents. Meanwhile, an outcast of the aerfolk has dreams of his own. The two might have stayed in their own solitary spheres forever, had not fate intervened... Loki/Tony Stark (2017)
- The Avengers Movieverse: Tidings of Great Joy by RenneMichaels: The Loki who shows up at Tony's tower is not quite the Loki he's known in the past. Chapter 2 contains art for the fic by the author. Loki/Tony Stark (2017)
- Bandom (Fall Out Boy): Marabou. by provetheworst. Pete/Patrick slash. Pete's wings appear without explanation. (2006)
- Bandom (My Chemical Romance): An Inexplicable Occurrence of Angels by stele3. Frank/Gerard. Frank is an angel. (2007)
- Gokusen: Wing!Crackfic by anenko. Sawada Shin/Yamaguchi Kumiko, het. Kumiko's wings are an inherited trait. (2008).
- Hanson: Babylonverse, which also features Scott Moffatt and Jared Leto.
- Harry Potter: Chains of Earth by dysonrules. Harry/Draco slash. Draco is forced to drink a potion that gives him wings. (2010)
- Inception: Technically a Virtue by mirabella. Arthur/Eames slash. Eames forges himself wings for a job. (2010).
- K-pop (Dong Bang Shin Ki): Touched By an Angel by Rana Eros. Jaejoong/Yunho, Junsu/Yoochun. Yunho is an angel. (2008)
- Merlin: I Could’ve Been One Of Those Things First by hackfirst. Merlin accidentally gives Arthur wings. Arthur/Merlin (2009)
- Merlin: The Dragon Within by gfeather. In the aftermath of the Great Dragon’s attack on Camelot, the city is left with the enormous task of recovering from all it has lost. Left a broken man by the loss of Morgana and Kigharrah’s fiery rampage, Uther’s rule begins to fail. Arthur finds himself struggling to hold the kingdom together while Merlin slowly begins to discover all that becoming a Dragonlord entails. Arthur/Merlin. (2012)
- Naruto: Wings! by emmykay. Kakashi/Iruka, yaoi. Modern AU. Kakashi is an angel. (2012)
- Prince of Tennis: Flight by kishmet. Tezuka/Ryouma, yaoi, AU. Ryouma has always had wings. (2006)
- Sherlock BBC: A City In The Head Of A Pin by mad_maudlin. John wakes up from the explosion by the pool to discover that he can see wings on the backs of people who were previously without them. These wings are apparently magical enough to not be bothered by clothing and chairs, and real enough to block the telly. (2010). No pairings.
- The Social Network: .on the wings of complete and utter inconvenience by thisissirius. Mark Zuckerberg/Eduardo Saverin, slash. Mark's wings appear without explanation. (2011)
- Stargate Atlantis: And You Loathe the Ground by sardonicsmiley. McShep slash. 100,000+ words of Rodney-gets-wings whump. (2009)
- Starsky and Hutch: Starsky's Wings by Allie. Gen. Starsky starts to grow wings. Because. Inspired fanart by Nicol Tyler.
- Supernatural: Every Me and Every You by runedgirl. Sam/Dean slash. For a year, Dean is cursed to have wings and Sam a tail. It makes hunting kind of tricky. (2010)
- Tsubasa Chronicle: Haibane by Mikkeneko. Gen. The characters take on the physical characteristics of the worlds they travel to; they travel to one where people have wings. (2010)
- X: Wings by Natalie Baan. Kamui/Subaru, yaoi. ? (1998)
- X-Men: First Class: Peregrine, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr. AU: How would XMFC play out if Erik had wings? Abandoned. (2011)
- A Song of Ice and Fire: all we have of wings by Honey_Wheeler. Sansa Stark Wingfic.
- Beauty and the Beast: Winged Vincent by Rita Terrell, possibly from the zine A Life Without Limits. (1990s)
- Harry Potter: Anakim by Stella Moon, from Chains of Earth by dysonrules (Draco Malfoy, digital painting, 2010).
- Merlin: Winged Merlin by Itzcoatl (Acrylic on canvas board, 2010).
- The Avengers Movieverse, Norse Mythology: Loki by MuBai07 (2013)
- The Avengers Movieverse: Their First Meeting by Sealcat. (Loki/Tony Stark, 2016)
Resources & Related Links
- Some Blind Hand - listing of popslash wingfic
- unruffled - Lotrips wingfic Livejournal community
- Mergatrude's WINGFIC Master List for due South and C6D
- Ratcreature's SGA thematic list: Wingfic
- Thematic list: Canon characters with wings in Harry Potter fic
- Wingfic themed list of J2 fic at J2-recs
Archives & Social Media
- Fanworks tagged with "wingfic" on Archive of Our Own.
- Stories tagged Wingfic on Wattpad
- Wingfic tag on Pinboard.
- Posts tagged wingfic on tumblr
Meta & Commentary
- Everyday Life With Wings thread by I-know-write on Writing Forums
- Little Tips for Writing Winged Characters by enlee writes!
- Special Feature: Hakuchou's Guide To Writing Winged People by books of a feather on dreamwidth
- Tips On How to Write Characters with Wings by by she-who-fights-and-writes on tumblr and wattpad
- Winged Humanoids by Limyaael's Rants on Curiosity Quills Press
- Flights of Angels by Daegaer.
- See Talk:Wingfic.
- Collected Short Stories by Alex Fegan Black, Styx & Stones - summary. (Accessed 12 January 2010)
- "Wings" was originally posted to Aestheticism in 1998.
- 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)
- 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)
- The Theban Band - Fantasy, via Wayback, archived 2002. (Accessed 08 November 2008)
- comment posted by wax_jism
- See the story header for Alulae by Megolas.
- Highlighted comment by Rhast on What Is Wingfic?. Comment was archived here on November 20, 2020.
- Highlighted comment by Fuzzy Murder Mittens on What Is Wingfic
- Highlighted comment by Toothie Tooth on What Is Wingfic