A scene from Adam Waito’s X-Files zine Special Agents.
by Sara Black McCulloch
Last year, at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, during the 20th anniversary reunion panel for the much-adored ‘90s sci-fi series The X-Files, someone asked its stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson whether their characters Mulder and Scully had ever had sex. “We shot it [a sex scene], we shot it. It’s somewhere,” Anderson replied.
Adam Waito is one fan who isn’t surprised that such a scene exists somewhere on the cutting room floor. “There are a number of episodes that really flirt with the line, and I think producers of the show knew how powerful that stuff was for their audience,” he explains. Waito’s gorgeous risograph romance zine Special Agents takes the Mulder/Scully dynamic to the next level. You better believe there are handcuffs, a Netflix date, a sexy bath and maybe even a proposal.
Waito is a Montreal-based musician who works part time as a concert promoter, and he says he fell into the world of illustration by accident. “One day someone needed a [gig] poster and I offered to do it. A lot of my friends didn’t know I could draw,” he says. Soon he was doing several posters a week, including a series of well-received X-Files-themed posters.
The response helped Waito realize that there was still a great demand for stories about the two FBI agents, and a zine tribute was the next logical step. “I thought it could be half a sincere scratching of some kind of perverse itch I that had to place Mulder and Scully in romantic scenarios and half sort of tongue-in-cheek homage to the sexy X-Files fanfic that had its heyday in the 90s,” he says.
The fandom culture term “’shipping” – short for “relationshipping” – fixates on wanting fictional characters to be in a romantic relationship. For years, X-Files had been dangling the “will-they-won’t-they” relationship, taunting Mulder/Scully ‘shippers like Adam. (In the second X-Files feature film, Mulder and Scully are depicted in a romantic relationship, but the film disappointed many fans and is widely considered separate from the rest of the X-Files universe.)
The truth is out there, and so are many more X-Files zines. Waito cites the minicomic Slime and Bus by Josephin Ritschel as one of his favorites. But it’s clear that Special Agents is not solely a product of passionate fandom: it’s a reverent creation paying tribute to two intriguing characters and their stories. “I found their relationship riveting…I think I learned how to flirt from the X-Files,” Waito says. “Now, as an adult, I really appreciate the fact that a man and woman had this really close relationship for so many years without it needing to cross that line into romance.” (Sara Black McCulloch)
Buy Special Agents here.