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The History Fandom refers to an Internet subculture of writers and artists who create, share and collect works of fan-fiction and fan art based on, or inspired by, the records of notable events, landmarks and people throughout history. The fandom has an especially devoted following on DeviantART and Tumblr, where those who participate often refer to themselves as “The History Peeps.”
The earliest known example of history slash can be found in an anonymous sketch of Tsar Alexander and Napolean Bonaparte kissing, which is believed to have been drawn sometime after the two leaders signed the Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807.
In his 1869 novel War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy spends a considerable amount of time writing about their relationship, saying,
“In spite of the trampling of the French gendarmes’ horses, which were pushing back the crowd, Rostov kept his eyes on every movement of Alexander and Bonaparte. It struck him as a surprise that Alexander treated Bonaparte as an equal and that the latter was quite at ease with the Tsar, as if such relations with an Emperor were an everyday matter to him.”
Hark! A Vagrant
Hark! A Vagrant is a web comic written and illustrated by Kate Beaton. While the comic subtimes highlights pop culture or classic literature, it often focuses on reimagining historic events and people. She began uploading her comics onto her Livejournal account in 2007, eventially moving to Harkavagrant.com on March 12th, 2009.
Drunk History is a YouTube series in which a person gets drunk and retells a significant event in American history. Their retelling is then acted out, often by a cast of well-known Hollywood actors. The first drunk history was uploaded to YouTube on December 23th, 2007. It featured the story of Alexander Hamilton and starred Michael Cera. As of February 2014, the video has over 5.6 million views. The web series was turned into a comedy series for Comedy Central which premiered on July 9th, 2013.
Badass Presidents is an art series created by DeviantArt user SharpWriter (Jason Heuser). The series features United States Presidents drawn as if they were action heros. They are often featured holding large guns or fighting large wild animals. Heuser and his art were profiled in posts by The Daily Dot and Buzzfeed.
The section of the fandom focusing on the founding fathers and the American Revolution is the largest subset of History Peeps. Popular ships include Hamburrgers (Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr) and Jamilton. (Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton). As of February 2014, DeviantArt has over 116,000 submissions under the Founding Fathers tag and Tumblr blogs dedicated to Founding Fathers fan art and fiction include sexyfoundingfathers and fuckyeafoundingfathers. Fan art surrounding the founding fathers fandom have been rounded up in mulitple Buzzfeed articles such as “Pinup Founding Fathers Make Independence A Whole Lot Sexier” and “21 Examples Of Founding Fathers Slash Fiction.”
American Civil War
World War II
As of February 2014, DeviantArt has over 33,000 submission for World War II. This sub-fandom has drawn large amounts of criticism from both the History Fandom and outsiders for trivializing, and at times, even glorifying the atrocities and crimes committed by the Third Reich.
J. M. Flagg’s 1917 poster, based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster of three years earlier, was used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, and veteran Walter Botts provided the pose. The face also bears resemblance to the real Samuel Wilson. The brilliantly exploitable picture then became the target for widespread forum and imageboard discussions, often to elaborate people to either “Stop whining” or “Shut the f*ck up”
One of the first World War II posters to achieve fame on the internet as an exploitable image is the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, printed by England’s short-lived Ministry of Information in 1939. It was created to boost the morale of British civilians under the constant threat of a Nazi invasion. Its simple design and message have allowed it to be re-imagined countless times.
Colorized History are historical black and white images that have been colorized using image manipulation software. On July 25th, 2002, the earliest known photo colorization tutorial was posted on the photo manipulation blog Worth 1000. After gaining popularity on the subreddit /r/pics, its own subreddit, /r/colorization was launched by Reddit user Hulde on December 27th, 2011. On December 2nd, the subreddit /r/ColorizedHistory was launched by Reddit user zuzahin.
Twitter Reenactments are text-based simulations of a factual event or a fictional story on the microblogging platform. Each project typically involves employing one or more novelty Twitter accounts to publish a series of “real-time” status updates that correspond to the chronological timeline of the original event. Examples of historical events that have had their own Twitter Reenactments include the American Revolution, the 1847 Trek of the Mormon Pioneers, and the American Civil War.
#EmojiArtHistory is a Twitter hashtag associated with various strings of emoji characters that are supposed to be reinterpretations of famous artworks throughout history. The idea for the hashtag came from a Tumblr post submitted by ladiesupfront on the evening of January 24th, 2013, which featured four iPhone screenshots of text messages sent from a friend who tried to recreate artistic masterpieces with emoji characters.
On February 11th, Brooklyn-based artist Man Bartlett reblogged the photoset, leading him to use the hashtag #EmojiArtHistory for the first time on Twitter with an emoji of a man and a gun to represent Chris Burden’s 1971 conceptual performance piece, Shoot.
The hashtag continued to spread through Twitter.
History Through Facebook
History Through Facebook is a image meme that imagines a Facebook feed created and operated by various historical figures and factions. College Humor first posted a Facebook history thread on April 22nd, 2011. They published another post titled “Facebook Bragging Through History” on October 23rd, 2013. The concept was also covered by Smosh.
Histagrams is a Tumblr that features famous historical photos then captions them with modern phrases as if they first appeared on modern a Instagram feed. The blog was created on November 7th, 2013, and was reported on several sites such as Mashable and The Laughing Squid.
Alternate History is a genre of fiction where the plot is set in a world where one or more historical events unfolded differently than they did in reality. Examples of this includes games like Assassin’s Creed and Fallout, as well as shows like Code Geass and The King 2 Hearts. There have been many sites dedicated to creating and documenting writngs for this type of genre. Many on people Deviantart have created and uploaded maps and flags based on their own works.
The Laughing Squid- Histagrams, Major Historical Events Depicted as Instagram Posts
Tumblr – “mrsmarytoddlincoln”: http://mrsmarytoddlincoln.tumblr.com
Uchronia, The Alternate History List –