It’s easy to tell when a movie, show, or game has truly found a passionate following, because fan art suddenly starts trending on social media. It’s quite common for media to go viral and spark lots of trending pieces, online reviews and TikTok gags without also inspiring artists to recontextualize and take ownership of a thing, but whenever art becomes the one of the main ways fans engage with something they love is almost always a sign of full engagement. Whether it be The Simpsons fans recontextualizing the show and continuing it in their own way or Kirby fans celebrating all the dramatic possibilities of a new game mode, fan artists are turning to some of their favorite things to help grow their voices and audiences – and just to express their enthusiasm about whatever they love the most.
The HBO Max Pirate Show Our flag means death, featuring Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi as real-life pirates Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard, is the new fan-art trend on social media, and the quality of the art produced is particularly stunning. The #OFMDfanart hashtag has exploded in the past 48 hours as more and more artists contribute.
After a difficult beginning which does not reveal all the intentions of the series, Our flag means deathThe 10-episode first season turned into a slow-burning bromance story that left fans worried about whether they were queerbaited. In the Season 1 finale episodes, however, creator and writer David Jenkins explicitly turns the story into the romance fans have been asking for. The latest episode left viewers with big questions and raw emotions – the kind that lend themselves to expression through intense colors and dramatic styles.
Some of the most striking fan art creates moments that didn’t happen on the show, but look evocative and arresting as works of art in their own right:
Others explore the moods around individual characters, from playful or quiet moments between the central couple to various portrayals of Blackbeard’s alternating rage and anguish:
“Under the thunders of the upper abyss,
Far, far under the abyssal sea,
Its ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleeps: the faintest rays of the sun flee”
✨ kofi link in bio if you’re feeling generous ✨ pic.twitter.com/69dQbQZvcY
— erotic self-expression of demonic possession (@Rabdoidal) March 28, 2022
Some artists focus on their favorite more minor characters, from evocative portrayals to celebrations of the series’ other romantic elements:
“Cats are terrifying, everyone knows that! Because they are witches! And they have knives in their feet. Frenchie is my favorite adorable pirate in #OurFlagMeansDeath and there is not enough art of it. I’m here to fix that! #ofmd pic.twitter.com/gsg7CpvZyR
— Alex Miller (@smudgeandfrank) March 25, 2022
Finally, some artists live out their hopes for the future of the show. It remains to be seen what Our flag means death creator David Jenkins wants to go with the show’s planned second and third seasons, but with season 2 still awaiting a green light, for now the story is in the hands of the fans.