Aesthetics Wiki

Mythpunk (also known as Urban Fantasy) refers to a subgenre of mythic fiction in which classical folklore and faerie tales get hyper poetic postmodern makeovers. Coined by author Catherynne M. Valente, the term describes a brand of speculative fiction which starts in folklore and myth and adds elements of postmodern fantastic techniques: urban fantasy, confessional poetry, non-linear storytelling, linguistic calisthenics, worldbuilding, and academic fantasy.

Characterized by baroque multicultural fashion, alternative/queer sexuality, bizarre retellings of familiar faerie tales, pervasive anxiety, fear of inevitable change, elaborate symbolism and radical reinterpretation, Mythpunk is a cross-media movement.


Mythpunk visual aesthetics feature a strong connection to subverting the various tropes often found in fairy tales (often with a very dark twist), such as what's found in American McGee's Alice in Wonderland games, but can also draw directly from some already-dark fairy tales that exist (such as Hansel and Gretel).

Written and other works

Mythpunk was largely defined through literary works like Andrea Jones's Hook & Jill, Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat series and Catherynne Valente's The Orphan's Tales.

The Mythpunk aesthetic occasionally manifests in music (The Decemberists), film (Pan's Labyrinth), cartoons (Over the Garden Wall and The Owl House), jewelry, and other media forms. Although this subgenre shares many elements with Urban Fantasy and more or less dark fantasy, Mythpunk stories tend to avoid linear or obvious story structures, simple prose, and easily-discernible character archetypes.



Elfpunk is sub-genre of urban fantasy in which traditional mythological creatures such as faeries and/or elves are put into modern urban settings. This aesthetic has been seen in record since the 1980s. It's noted as a subgenre because Elfpunk tends to be far lighter in tone compared to most Mythpunk works.