The Darcy Lewis Party Barge: a Flotilla of Ships
This whole process was prompted by seeing a claim that someone’s favorite Darcy ship was in fact the first. While that is relatively debatable (I don’t have access to every fan site, possible tumblr or livejournal post, etc.) I could get those numbers from Ao3. I had been wondering for a time if the little corner of Darcy fans was ‘slower’ than usual, due to Infinity War and Endgame coming out, so exploring the ebb and flow of the Darcy Lewis tag was a natural progression for me.
I will preface this with the information that I am not a professional, nor have had any schooling regarding data interpretation or statistics. I’m barely an amateur. The data I’ve gathered was a process with a friend helping me use scripts (that I wasn’t sure how to run) and hoping that what I would find would correlate. A lot of the runs I did, unfortunately, were not once 100% accurate to what I could search for on Ao3. I was told that with web scrubbing that there’s a margin of error, so that this was the best one could do since Ao3 does not seem to have an API. All of this data was from Ao3 as best I could manage.
So, with that disclosure that I am new to this and very very inexperienced, let’s dive in.
Top Four Darcy Ships*
Here is the progression of how we got those numbers:
Let’s break that down a bit, shall we? Starting with the first fic ever posted with Darcy Lewis used as a tag.
May 13, 2011 - Taserhawk (Clint Barton/Darcy Lewis)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Swing Set in December (swing_set13)
As you can see, the first fic ever posted for Darcy Lewis on Ao3 was a Clint/Darcy fic. A few hops in the beginning, but seems to truly take off come the release of Avengers 1. This pair has 1044* fics.
Jun 8, 2011 - Tasertricks (Loki/Darcy Lewis)
Start Spreading the News by paynesgrey
Loki/Darcy was the next ship to sail soon after. Again, many hops but a huge spike after Avengers 1 and shows a marked spike after Thor 2. This pair has 1479* fics.
November 3, 2011 - Shieldshock (Steve Rogers/Darcy Lewis)
you and your high top sneakers and your sailor tattoos by victoria_p
This ship saw almost no activity until Avengers 1 released, which makes sense. While it's not usually a deterrent in fandom, it’s interesting to see how popular Shieldshock is considering the two have never met in the canon. This pair has 2903* fics.
Dec 20, 2011 - Wintershock (James “Bucky” Barnes/Darcy Lewis)
A little bit of your taste (in my mouth) by ellievolia & sirona
This is the first work with the pair that also makes use of the multishipping function of Ao3 to showcase Shieldshock as well. It’s not until February 24, 2012 with I break the law once every week to feel your touch by sirona that the Bucky/Darcy pair are introduced with their own standalone fic. However, it seems to be catching up steadily with Shieldshock after the release of CA:TWS. This pair has 2458* fics.
One of the interesting things to find when looking at this data is that while currently the top ships for Darcy are currently* Bucky/Darcy, Steve/Darcy, Loki/Darcy, and Clint/Darcy, there are ones that were very popular for a time in the past. For instance, if I take the above ‘Main Ship Progression’ graph and add Bruce/Darcy to it:
[Top Ships with Bruce/Darcy added, bold line]
Apr 10, 2012 - Electric Green (Bruce Banner/Darcy Lewis)
Radio by killhimwithyourawesome
You can clearly see that Bruce/Darcy was a very popular ship for a time, with its main spike coming around the Avengers 1 release in May 2012. The second spike is a bit more befuddling as it’s in July of 2014, between CA:TWS release and GotG1 in August. Also interesting is there wasn’t a big surge of popularity after Thor 3 which Bruce was in. This pair has 619* fics.
Finally, here is a graph with popular ships altogether. It’s a lot of data all at once so it’s a bit hard to read. It has Electric Green, Widowshock, Ironshock, and Quicktaser added to the top four.
One thing I did learn through this process was that there was a bit of a lull in my most frequented tags due to Infinity War/Endgame, but not nearly the amount I expected. Another thing to note is that Darcy was probably the most inclusive during 2014 with a boost of activity to all ships.
With that said, it was a lot of fun finding this information. Other first fics include:
October 5, 2011 - Astroshock (Jane Foster/Darcy Lewis) and Sif/Darcy Lewis
sparks fly when we touch by aphrodite_mine
This fic holds both the firsts for Jane/Darcy and Sif/Darcy. Astroshock holds 204* fics while Sif/Darcy 129* fics.
Sep 23, 2011 - Ironshock (Tony Stark/Darcy Lewis)
The Deal by mixomixo
Ironshock has been around a very long time, predating Shield and Winter -shocks, and has 334* fics. A corner of the Darcy fandom that is still rather active.
Nov 11, 2011 - Agenttaser (Phil Coulson/Darcy Lewis)
whenever i'm alone with you by tosca1390
This ship arrived right after Shieldshock and has 250* fics.
Dec 21, 2011 - Widowshock (Natasha Romanoff/Darcy Lewis)
Widowshock was not far behind Wintershock, only a day off for first posting, and has 436* fics.
Jul 23, 2012 - Thor/Darcy Lewis
Some People Juggle Geese by sara47q
Now, with the explosion of so many characters and movies, it’s interesting to note that while Darcy Lewis is from the Thor franchise, the amount of fics with her actually being shipped with Thor is low. There are only 154* fics in that particular tag.
Aug 22, 2012 - Tasertorch (Johnny Storm/Darcy Lewis)
I Didn't Know What I Wanted (Until I Wanted You) by sarcastic_fina
An interesting addition as Fantastic Four released in 2005 with a sequel in 2007 if you use the Chris Evans Johnny Storm. I suppose there was a reminder of his character with the 2015 reboot. There are 102* fics and still sees activity.
May 3, 2014 - Taserbones (Brock Rumlow/Darcy Lewis)
Trouble Uses A French Press by simplesonnets
Following the release of CA:TWS, this new ship was launched almost immediately. This ship has quite a bit of activity to this day and boasts 195* fics. [Since I’ve collected the data it has shown a whopping 25 fic increase!]
July 5, 2014 - Taserwings (Sam Wilson/Darcy Lewis)
Never Forget by thedemonkingawakes
Took a couple months for another CA:TWS character to make it into Darcy's realm and this ship has 177* fics.
March 31, 2015 - Quicktaser (Pietro Maximoff/Darcy Lewis)
He Moves Slow and Steady by mutesilence
Quicktaser was a great surprise to see, considering that Pietro left the franchise almost as soon as he entered. This pair has managed 205* fics and continues to grow.
Now there are many ships I have not delved into, many new ones on the horizon with Wandavision releasing and the possibility of Darcy Lewis being in Thor 4. The sheer amount of crossover ships with other fandoms is intense as well. A lot of them are under 100 fics and there are too many ships to find, so I have omitted them.
Many ships have either no names or unpredictable ship names. For instance, I found Taserwidow and Widowshock for Natasha Romanoff/Darcy Lewis. I went with Widowshock for consistency. If I’ve misnamed a ship, I apologize.
Another glaring frustration in my findings is that I have no accurate way to untangle poly ships from the pairing ships due to the nature of tagging. So I’ve mostly chosen to omit them except to mention that Wintershieldshock is possibly pushing both Winter and Shield -shocks a bit higher than is accurate with it’s 628* fics.
With all this information, it’s lovely to see that the Darcy Fandom is thriving despite the fact that Darcy has not been seen since 2013. A lot of the peaks of data are before my time, so if you want to let me know of possible challenges that could have happened to prompt elevations in the graphs, I’d really enjoy the information!
Hope you enjoyed the jaunt into a bit of fandom history.
*at time of gathering data, September 4, 2019.