Note: This is somewhat of a follow-up to my essay, To True Life and Happiness.
To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of shipping. It’s just not something I’m usually interested in terms of fan-art.
With the return of Rockos Modern Life through the Static Cling special, there seems to be a renewed interest in the show. With that renewed interest comes fan-art and shipping.
Shipping is definitely not a new phenomenon. I mean people were writing fan-fiction for Kirk and Spock in zines back in the ’70s and ’80s. The term itself is more than 20 years old, popping up in old X-Files forums.
Looking on Tumblr and Twitter through the Rocko’s Modern Life and Rachel Bighead tags for fan-art, I noticed a trend of shipping Rocko and Rachel. I thought it was really sweet, heart-fluttery type of stuff and I followed a bunch of the artists.
I realized why I found myself loving the art of these creators so much and I came to a realization.
I started to think about the nature of queer narratives in fiction (especially trans ones) can be so heavily mired in trauma. Rachel’s story however, mostly sidesteps this trauma, with her transitioning showing her at happiest.
The fan-art continues this trend, allowing her as a character to be happier and develop more friendships and relationships that wouldn’t be otherwise explored. Plus the dynamic is just really cute. The fan-art focuses on the building of relationships instead of the difficulties and possible traumas that could arise from dating while queer. Both the special and the fan-art mostly side-step these traumas.
Sure, it may be a little idealized but sometimes we should create and view art that makes us happy or look for a better future. When I and so many people may have uncertain futures, it’s heartwarming to see characters I relate to so heavily being happy and in love. Plus, the art’s just really cute.
A character being accepted and loved how they are instead of how they used to be is a powerful thing.
Links to some of the wonderful artists:
- Peppy Pigeon: Wonderful style, made the art I use in this article.
- @lechepop: Really cute art. I probably saw their art first.
- Tiki-Punch– Really, really good art. I would love to see their art-style in official Rocko art. The art is funny and heartwarming.
- Em_doods: Just very cute art.
- Rocko’s Modern Wife: Artist on tumblr, really love her take on the characters! Wanted to plug this sketch in particular.
- SegaDreamCast: really cute, their shipping art for Rocko and Rachel is just precious. All of their art, good.
- HostileMuppet: Their art is very cute.
- And last but certainly not least, Shypuppershroom, who has really cute Rocko fan-art!
- Also apparently Rocko’s last name is Rama?