No, I'm not talking about the Hallmark variety with their sickly sweet sentimentality, or the packs of cartoon characters we used to bring into Middle School, jumbo-sized so that everyone was sure to get one. Honestly, it's 2018 and the only cards I care about are the kind written in Comic Sans and posted online.
This annual tradition is a masterclass in creative meming. I mean yeah, some of the cards just take the generic sentiments and chuck them into a fandom-specific context, like this nice little Star Wars Valentine.
But others take things further with a good, old-fashioned pun. And who doesn't love a pun? It's the ultimate joke thanks to its versatility, capable of making you groan or moan----depending on its success.
(However, we could do without the image of a 14yo Tom Felton. Seriously, the fact that most of the Harry Potter Valentines include them as kids says a lot about fandom's continued obsession with pedophilia...)
That's a rant for another day. For now we're here to talk puns; puns that turn the terrifying into the hilarious.
Or that keep you questioning about whether you should be turned on now or keep being scared. Well played on this one, considering just how many double entendres Hannibal gave us over the course of three seasons.
Still other Valentines demand a level of engagement that goes beyond mere innuendo. The joy of fandom-specific cards is taking a well known element of the canon and turning it on its head, often in a way that will be lost on anyone not a part of the community. Though this isn't always the case.
You needn't have watched Breaking Bad to understand why "having chemistry" is funny here, or seen Game of Thrones to note that the heart Dany covets is right there in her hands. Sometimes the lack of context is well worth a moment of disgusted confusion. And of course, you'd need to have lived under a rock to have missed Boromir's best line. The "one does not simply" meme is nearly fifteen years old now and it's still kicking strong. Want to create one of your own? This generator has you covered.
The fandom cards that are near and dear to my heart though are the ones that truly embrace canon and fanon knowledge, to the extent that they make very little sense to outsiders. Or rather, they do make sense...but only on one level. Take these Good Place cards for example.
Context will help you understand that "hot diggity dog" isn't just a funny phrase to express sexual interest, but the first thing Elenor blurted when Chidi kissed her in their latest timeline, a phrase she was initially embarrassed of but then decided to embrace because it fully captures the wonderfully surprised confusion she experienced at having him unexpectedly return her love. It's meaningful.
Meanwhile Mindy just really wants someone to do cocaine off her butt. It's that kind of show.
Or, for something slightly less crass, how about a Supernatural Valentine? Is it creepy like Hannibal's? No. Sam isn't some psychotic killer planning to mince you up for his next soiree, he just has a very long history of dating women who....well, end up dead. Not intentionally dead. He's just unlucky that way, but you wouldn't know as much unless you've been hanging out in the #meta tag of the SPN fandom.
In contrast this RWBY Valentine isn't upsetting at all... nope... not one bit...
And sometimes you get Valentines that somehow get more crude with that little bit of context.
Variety. It's the spice of life, and these levels have resulted in the creation of what is by far my favorite Valentine in existence:
Understood by the masses, meaningful and hilarious to the fandom. The perfect combination of crass humor and true love---with some queer content thrown into the mix. If this card means nothing to you beyond the obvious than I implore you to treat yo' self this Valentine's Day and start Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Star Wars: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mlew15/35-fabulous-fandom-valentines-day-cards-h0se?
Paula Deen: http://amandaxgrace.tumblr.com/post/42883591384
Harry Potter #1: https://deadpools-girlfriend.tumblr.com/post/170771031743
Harry Potter #2: https://imgur.com/gallery/uuPom
Harry Potter #3: https://78.media.tumblr.com/2d5ef015197befa557
Harry Potter #4: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mlew15/35-fabulous-fandom-valentines-day-cards-h0se?
Breaking Bad: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mlew15/35-fabulous-fandom-valentines-day-cards-h0se?
Game of Thrones: https://www.hypable.com/doctor-who-sherlock-scandal-valentines-day-cards/
Lord of the Rings: http://sassyvalentines.tumblr.com/post/74900803358/follow-for-more-sassy-valentines
The Good Place #1: https://eleanorshellstr0p.tumblr.com/post/170798584223/have-some-tgp-valentines
The Good Place #2: https://eleanorshellstr0p.tumblr.com/post/170798584223/have-some-tgp-valentines
Undertale #1: https://wakeuplena.deviantart.com/art/Undertale-Valentine-s-Day-Card-Sans-589523107
Undertale #2: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=582231331
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: http://pirategrandpa.tumblr.com/post/170780048249/rhydenx-this-is-the-only-valentine-