Interview with Lakida, one of the creators of the Tentaspy concept:
interview conducted March 29th, 2020.
s: About Tentaspy. I was on TF2chan in the pre-2009 days, and I recall it being part of a little mermaid AU? With Scout as the little mermaid and Spy as Ursula? Is my recollection true?
l: Ah yes. Yes! I was Engineer [on TF2chan]. It was because we were on a kick of watching Disney movie songs in their native language & Beauty And The Beast is a French story.
s: So Tentaspy started as a SpyScout thing, then it got into Teufort monster territory.
s: When you say 'we were on a kick of watching disney', you mean you and other people on the chan?
l: Yes! There was a steam chat we hung out in.
s: Do you remember who else was there on the disney movie thing?
l: Uhhh me? Jones. Khorosho, the mod who was an Aussie, Dr.Tanner, oh! Yeah uhh Kilomonster. Idk the exacts because it was 10 years ago.
s: The vagues are fine too! 10 years dang...
l: A big problem was that the mod was Aussie and kinda oblivious to racism lmao. It’s why I quit.
s: oh boy I remember a LOT of casual racism on the chan. like the 'nickname' for demoman.
l: Yyyyyeah. It’s why kilo bounced and why I eventually bounced.
s: bounced off the chan, or out the TF2 fandom in general?
l: Both? I was an actual administrator; I had full powers on the Chan itself. And I got sick of Tanner’s racism and then Mog (that was her name)’s defense of it claiming the usual ‘oh we’re not Americans we do t Do that tee hee’ defending. And it was the fandom. This was before tumblr, really. I was doing LJrp at the time.
(Turns out I’ve got ADHD and TF2 hyper focused me away from my previous fandoms so I remember this part well)
So if you weren’t posting on the chan there wasn’t really anywhere to get your fix.
s: I guess there were a lot of people sick of the racism back then, but the chan culture was too much.
l: Yeah. We hadn’t realized that it didn’t have to be that way :V
s: I think I remember that the chan was made cuz everyone else on 4chan's /v/ was sick of the 'ironic' gay porn posting?
s: So besides TF2chan , there wasn't the mass exodus to Tumblr yet.
l: Because [LiveJournal] didn’t suck enough yet.
s: Curiously I don't remember that much of a TF2 community on LiveJournal.
l: There wasn’t.
s: I remember ones for other shows like Metalocalypse and Venture Bros and so forth, but I guess TF2 never stuck on LJ.
l: I was very LJ at the time. Those shows were shows and like. I don’t think fandom had developed enough to take these characters which were, at the time, broad sketches, and do stuff with them. All the meet-the videos weren’t out by then.
s: Now we can take vague-as-hell characters, like the ones from Overwatch, and mash em into something workable. I wonder if the OW fandom could have thrived pre-tumblr.
l: I don't think so. OW itself is the descendent of TF2’s character-based shooty. I also admittedly have no fucking clue what’s up with the gator Sniper. (in reference to me asking if they knew the origins of Tentaspy's counterpart, the gator Sniper.) That was way later when I was in 40k
s: I love this stuff, and I'm trying to get together more memories of the chan and it's culture. Do you remember Teratomarty?
l: Yes! And makani! She famously did the administrator as a fan thing and got scooped by Valve.
s: Heck yeah! Makani what a legend. There were a lot of -isms and -phobias in TF2chan, as a part of the awful chan culture, but a lot of great art was made there too.
l: Oh yeah. I still have some documents too.
s: Oooh what sorts of documents? I know the chan's been like... deleted and reformatted a couple times since I was on there so a lot was lost.
l: Old fiction!
s: Do you recall who drew some of the first pieces of visual art for Tentaspy when it was created? And who did the first fics?
l: Me for fics lmao. But for art I don’t remember. There used to be a pictochat. (a site for multiple people to draw on the same canvas at once)
s: Do you still have your Tentaspy fics?
l: Maybe! I’m on phone and it’s all on the desktop lmao
s: They're important historical documents!
l: Bro I read the post on tumblr about the 70s spirk fic in A&M
s: Ye Olde Yaoiz. This stuff is honestly important!!! I know I wouldn't have developed as an artist without all the slash I was reading back in my youth.
s: Does Tentaspy predate 2010?
l: I believe so. Aha 2008 stuff. I do have some [writing] that's Tentaspy, but it's chat; I'd have to find Jones and ask them if they're down
s: 12 years... Good timeframe though, that's when I was actively browsing the chan.
l: It does have some nsfw on it which is double why I'm asking. This doesn't look like it's a chat chat tho it looks like our old DMs
s: Did Tentaspy originate as a NSFW concept from the getgo?
l: For about 10 minutes it wasn't NSFW and was just us ragging about.
s: How do you feel about fanworks of tentaspy? I'm working on a doujin of Tentaspy, and this is one of the reasons I wanted to contact whoever created the concept. If I were to print comics of this concept you and your friends created, would they feel odd to you?
l: Not really! It's perfectly fine. It's a concept that's left my hands. I'm not in TF2 anymore (Overwatch and 40k and my OCs honestly) so I'm like, 'at least someone's enjoying it'
s: Oh yeah, the fandom ghost that will never leave.
l: yes :p
s: I haven't been into TF2 since like... 2009-2010, but I got back in the last couple years and have had a blast figuring out where the fandom went post-Tumblr. I love this like..metacontextual historical stuff
l: Yeah! I'm glad someone's on it.
s: I think that's all I have to ask you for now, I'll wait and see if Jones responds!