Santino Hassell’s newest M/M romance novel, Down By Contact, is being released January 16. But first, he’s stopping by here to share his favorite non-canon queer fandom ships.

Related: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell book review: The Barons return better than ever

For decades, queer fans of popular movies and television shows have had to make do with little to no representation in their favorite fandoms. If there were queer characters, they were in the background or their identity was left to subtext.

That left us queer fans to take matters into our own hands by slashing characters to create our own ships, then celebrating them with our friends. And what do you know? Even with more representation, we still find ourselves doing that now.

Here are my top non-canon queer ships in fandom or, as I like to call them, the queer ships that could totally sail if:

Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes in the Captain America franchise:

This ship has everything. Friends tragically separated, only for one to have been brainwashed and turned into a super soldier who regains his memories and says he came back only because of his “close friend?”

C’mon guys. I know the director has said he sees Steve and Bucky as brothers, but this is an epic love story. If these characters weren’t written as two men, I have little doubt that a romantic storyline would have been included.

Darlene Alderson and Dominique ‘Dom’ Dipierro in ‘Mr. Robot’:

If you’re not a Mr. Robot fan, this is the scene: An embattled young hacker glaring defiantly up at a badass FBI agent in a dark room with tension crackling around them. They’re both complicated, brilliant, and on a dangerous mission with a similar goal. These two first share scenes in season 2 of the show, but they have the type of chemistry that is intense and somewhat nerve-wracking since they both have so much to lose.

Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge on ‘Riverdale’:

Although I have little to no hope of Riverdale ever having one of the main characters come out as queer (or they would have left Jughead ace since he was in the comics), there is a small part of me that still hopes the Beronica ship will someday sail.

I used to read Archie comics as a kid, and there was definite queer subtext written into Betty and Veronica’s relationship. Even as they appeared to vie for Archie’s attention (why tho?), there was more than one nod to them preferring each other to the boys around them. It’d be awesome if the showrunners explored their relationship instead of just leaving it to vague subtext or a random kiss.

Frank Castle, David ‘Micro’ Lieberman, and Sarah Lieberman in ‘The Punisher’:

Yeah, you heard me. My ship for The Punisher is a polyamorous throuple in all of its bisexual glory. Frank is a dangerous vigilante who reluctantly ends up working with Micro — a brilliant hacker who faked his own death to protect his family. Although they had a, uh, rather rocky start… Frank and Micro quickly have scenes that are comic gold and show the type of petty bickering usually found in long-time partners (see: the sandwich scene in the truck).

At some point, Frank checks in on Micro’s family, and a bond forms between him and Sarah (Micro’s wife, who thinks he is dead). Although Micro is visibly distraught at first, he accepts her potential attraction to Frank. Since everyone is cool with people having feelings outside of the traditional heteronormative monogamous relationship, there’s no reason why they can’t make a throuple work. The fact that they’re all totally cool with Frank’s vigilante pastime just makes the whole thing more workable!

I can’t end this without mentioning my favorite canon queer ships on TV right… Ever (we will ignore that some of these shows are cancelled or over):

Lukas and Philip – Eyewitness
Magnus and Alec – Shadowhunters
Nomi and Amanita – Sense8
Lito and Hernando – Sense8
Connor and Oliver – How to Get Away With Murder
Yuri and Victor – Yuri!!! On Ice
Alex and Maggie – Supergirl
Xena and Gabriel – Xena: Warrior Princess (This is canon, damn it! I will die on this hill.)

About ‘Down by Contact’ (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell:

Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact.

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least —except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…

Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell will be released on January 16! Pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads!

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