I’m not sure where I first stumbled upon the Are They Gay? web series, but I’m sure glad I did. This series provides a funny, inclusive, and informative analysis of various slash ships that starts and ends with asking the titular question: are these two people gay? It features a wide variety of pairings including mlm and wlw slash ships, and is a great primer to the history and background of certain ships in addition to ultimately offering an answer to that pressing question.
Last week, I purchased the trade paperback collection of the Marceline Gone Adrift comic series. In the vein of previous Adventure Time Presents series like Fionna and Cake and Marceline and the Scream Queens, Gone Adrift is a six-issue story with a finite beginning and end. I missed the first few issues of it when it was coming out, so when I saw it was finally out as a trade I immediately snatched it up. And while part of me enjoyed it, I was left in the long run wondering why I’m still so invested in a relationship that’s constantly hinted at and doesn’t look, at this point, like it will ever be canon.
Spoilers below the jump.
For much the same reasons as Moe explained earlier this summer, I have kind of grown away from Adventure Time. While an eleven minute episode once a week isn’t a huge time commitment, I felt that the show had lost its idea of who its audience was and had abandoned the latter half of its “here’s a weird premise with a good message” mentality for utter absurdism and often unpleasant conclusions. Also, I’m still pissed that Finn’s arm grew back.
Because of this, I didn’t know about the Stakes miniseries, which comprises several episodes out of the still-ongoing Season 7, until after it had finished airing. Thankfully, a Bubbline blog that I still follow on Tumblr reblogged a rash of posts about it, or I’d still be in the dark. I began watching it out of loyalty to Marceline more than anything—she’s always been my favorite character—but I finished it unexpectedly excited to see what will happen next in the Land of Ooo.
Recently, there has been some fantastic news for Bubbline (Princess Bubblegum/Marceline) shippers everywhere! Olivia Olsen, the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen and a contributing author for the The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia, said at a book signing that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum totally used to date.
In case you are unable to listen or can’t hear the video, this is the full text of what Olsen said:
I was at the studio on Tuesday and Pen was actually there because he was recording for Lumpy Space Princess [crowd goes wild!] and I wanted to ask him a lot of questions, because he’s trying to write the book and stuff, so I wanted to pick Pen’s brain a little bit. And he says, “Oh, you know they (Marceline and PB) dated, right?” And I said, “Wellll, that’s what I figured from all the creepy fan art.” [crowd goes wild again!] And I said, “Are they going to do it on the show at all, or can we say anything about it in the book?” And he’s like, “I don’t know about the book, but in some countries where the show airs, it’s sort of illegal.” So that’s why they’re not putting it in the show.
After hearing this statement I, along with many other fans, rejoiced that Bubbline was now canon, but I was also feeling disappointed. My disappointment stems from the fact that still more queer characters in children’s shows and movies are still basically being forced into the closet. While Adventure Time is not without its issues, for the most part it has been a pretty progressive show, especially in its portrayal of female characters and various feminist issues. I had hoped beyond hope that maybe, just maybe Bubbline would soon be canon and that Adventure Time would go down in history as the first children’s cartoon to predominantly feature a queer relationship.
The Bubbline-shipping side of the internet dissolved into hoopla two weeks ago when Marceline’s voice actress appeared to confirm the fan-favorite pairing’s canonicity at a Q&A session. “Bubbline is canon!”, everyone from shipping blogs to geek journalists declared joyfully. However, to paraphrase one of The Mary Sue‘s commenters, everyone seemed to be playing fast and loose with the idea of ‘canon’. It’s nice if the creator has an extensive backstory for a character, and nicer if that backstory includes queerness, but canon means it happens in the show. Like, where cute little LGBTQ+ kids can see that not all romantic love has to be between a girl and a boy.
Anyway, frustrated with all the shenanigans, I decided to turn to fanfic, where I knew I would find people with the guts to actually include queer characters in their narratives. And in honor of the source of the drama, I’ve got a lovely Bubbline fic for you this week. Continue reading
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been making an effort recently to spotlight femslash fanfics. It’s a tricky business, if only because we have tremendous difficulty finding good fics of the quantity and quality that exists in m/m slash fics. As just one example, Archive of Our Own has over 7.5k fics in the Tony Stark/Steve Rogers section, the most popular of which has over 230,000 hits. If you look at the same stats for the Carol Danvers/Jessica Drew ship, a pairing with a similar dynamic (military blonde Avenger and snarky brunette Avenger with a troubled past), there are only 83 fanfics, with the most popular receiving just under 30k hits. It’s a damn shame and so we’ve set out to bring attention to the notable lady-lovin’ fanfics we’ve found.
This week’s is an Adventure Time story, entitled There’s No Spark On A Dampened Floor, by shoutoutout. It’s set after the season six episode “Sky Witch”, in which the Princess Bubblegum/Marceline relationship was so clearly romantic that it could barely be called subtext, and I was delighted to find a followup to the story.
Spoilers for “Sky Witch” ahead.