Hey there guys! So, it’s October, which is the month of spooky and ‘spooky’ things-and all sorts of things that go bump in the night. And when October rolls around I’m always fondly reminded of a milestone in a webcomic I read pretty religiously. Homestuck’s Third Act started on October 14th in 2009-and Act Three is one of my favorites. Keep in mind, this comic has been running since April 13th 2009. It’s 2014 now. That’s five years. And what the heck is Homestuck?
Well, I think the better question to ask would be, what ISN’T Homestuck?
Okay, but for real, what is Homestuck?
Well, to put it simply, it’s a webcomic about the internet. There are a few 13 year old kids who play an online co-op game that ends up accidentally destroying Earth and catapulting them into a new universe (oops). Sadly, they’re all still sort of…stuck in their homes? They bring their houses with them into the game. So in a way, they’re Home…Stuck! (Get it? Get it? THE TITLE IS LITERAL HAHAHA)
That wasn’t a funny joke at all. Is that all there is to this comic? It seems sort of dumb.
On the surface? You’re absolutely right! Homestuck is silly as heck. It is, in fact-one of the silliest things I have ever read. It’s not easy to get into. Trust me. It took me a while to get past the crazy vocab, and the bizarre scenario-but it was worth it once I got into it. The way the comic was designed was to allow readers to help shape the story. The Author and Artist-Andrew Hussie allowed people to suggest the next page of the comic in a forum page-allowing for the audience to tell them what they want. This of course leads to such nonsense like this:
On the other hand though-it’s a brilliant look at the the way the internet worked in 2009. The whole of dialogue is exchanged through pesterlogs-good old fashioned chat logs. Remember when AIM and MSN Messenger was the way you kept in touch with friends? I do. Fond memories that. The stuff that these kids are doing and referencing are great. John, the main character is a fan of awful B-Movies-including Con Air-which becomes a recurring theme in the comic. Dave is all about being ironic and being a hipster riiiight as that movement was coming out. Rose was the stereotypical girl who knew too much for her own good from the internet and had gone full blown teenager gothic rebellion. Jade was the innocent girl who despite being exceedingly clever, knew very little about the internet culture and how it affected her.
the kids meet these alien trolls who are LITERALLY the embodiment of the horrible internet trolls in 2009. They were based off of awful stereotypes and grew into amazing characters. Then, in 2013 we got even MORE trolls with updated awful trolling types. It was a great peek into the internet culture without having to touch the nasty bits of the internet.
And Homestuck-It grew out of Hussie asking for suggestions and turned into a craaaaazy long narrative of these kids and all the people they meet as they deal with the fact that the future of humanity rests of their relatively incapable shoulders. It’s good fun! (Also there is a literal fourth wall mentioned in the story all time. It’s self aware. They literally BREAK THE FOURTH WALL. It’s perfect)
Wow. So it gets deep and stuff?
Deeper than I was reckoning, let me tell you! The kids grow up. They face their own deaths, they face the fact that their parents or their guardians are humans just like them. They deal with the fact that adults don’t have all the answers and that they die too. Figuring out that you don’t have to follow in your parent’s footsteps. They deal with the stupid angst of teenager romance-and the awkwardness of being in friendships and romances.
It’s just a really great look into teens and the way they would react to all these different influences. Not to mention that these kids deal with really heavy stuff. Like, doomed timelines and generally awful situations.
Remember that death thing I talked about? These kids are put in awfully compromising positions. They have to do things they would never imagine doing otherwise. In this world, in this game, to gain the level you need to succeed-you must die. And death is scary. And painful.
And parental death. Which is hard for teens-because this is the age where they attempt to distance themselves the most from their parents. Especially Rose.
But you claim it’s funny?!
Hell yeah! Remember at the beginning how I said that this was the month that Act Three premiered? Remember that character Dave? Well, the first page of Act Three is one of the weaker trolls (trolling wise) is him trying to troll Dave. This does not end well for him.
In the middle of a bunch of serious plot stuff happening elsewhere in the comic-this silly flash comes out of no where to announce possibly the coolest darn weapon EVER
I wish I were telling the truth in saying I totally thought this was stupid. I didn’t. I still crack up over it. It’s hilarious. And remember how I talked about the whole recurring Con Air thing? Yeah. That’s another-pulled out of no where in the middle of serious important plot stuff-thing that just sort of…exists.
Not to mention a bunch of just funny quotes and randomness in the middle of all the heavy stuff?
Teenagers, right? Hussie is a fabulous writer and he has weaved a world of amazing characters, settings and plot twists that just put anything else to shame. It’s a longer work of fiction than Ulysses by James Joyce. (Not as long as that Super Smash Brothers Fanfic which is currently the longest work of fiction in the English language but whatever!) If that gives you a scope of how developed the story and plot and characters are. It’s insane.
If it’s so insane and hard to follow-why read it?
Cause it’s insane in the best way! The art grows with each panel, and the flashes only get cooler. There are interacted 8 bit game sections. The characters and their development keep me up at night! Fans help create music and art for the comic now-it’s spawned ANOTHER webcomic based on the over arching world (It’s called Paradox Space) AAAAAND we’re getting a video game sometime at the end of this year! (We’re the crazy people who raised almost 3 million dollars on Kickstarter before the Veronica Mars Movie Project did it too. Copycats.) Homestuck is an crazy entity. A lot of the internet didn’t know what to think or do with Homestuck and it’s fans for a long time. So we were considered immature and crazy and belittled by a good portion of the internet.
That time has past though-and Homestuck, despite being on a hiatus so the author can catch up on the game development and other such things, is as strong as ever.
Plus! It’s super progressive. There are gay kids, interspecies relationships, bi kids, hell-there’s a couple of a half dog sprite ghost and a half bird man sprite ghost. ANYTHING CAN AND WILL HAPPEN. And it’s great. The romance in the comic isn’t shoehorned in-it evolves and it’s really fun to watch. Particularly in the case of the trolls who have a bunch of different types of romance that confused the hell out of everyone.
Not to mention all the rad people I’ve met through Homestuck. A lot of my great internet friends are Homestucks. I met my roommate through us being Homestuck fans. Homestuck helped me through a rough patch of my life when it seemed like being a teenager was the worst thing in the world. It made things a little better with it’s humor and it’s wit and the story. It was a great distraction. Not to mention it helped me come out of my shell-and helped my writing and drawing to boot!
So…any other cool things?
Well, I could show you some of my favorite Homestuck flashes! There are a bunch of them in the web comic-but a few stick out as my favorite.
For instance-rememebr that whole, die to gain the power to succeed? Well, John’s the first one in the comic to do so-and here’s how it happens. It was crazy watching this as it came out, let me tell you.
and then there’s the this flash-which shows one of my personal favorite characters getting to be the badass he is. You go Dirk bby. You go. Also-you miiiight need a bandaide for yourself after all this.
And the music! There are around 15 albums of music out online of songs that appear in the webcomic or are based on things that have happened in the webcomic. Including an completely fan mad album with music created by the fans for each main character in the series. Which was incredible. The music is thoughtful, amazing, and really seals the deal on how cool Homestuck is.
On one album you can go from poppy Chiptunes:
(Source: AlterniaBound Album)
To soft and thoughtful themes:
(Source: AlterniaBound Album)
Then you can have strong story/flash music like this:
(Source: Homestuck Soundtrack Volume 5)
And killer rock music for action scenes like this!
(Source: Homestuck Soundtrack Volume 7)
And the fandom? It’s a big family! We run canned food drives whenever there’s a huge meet up and donate them to local food shelters (Operation Can Town) in homage to one of the characters in the series who builds little towns out of empty cans. Also, since there are so many characters and SOOOOO many ways to to have all these different relationship pairings, we have the Homestuck Shipping Olympics. This is where all the different pairings make teams and write, draw, and animate all sorts of things around themes given to every pairing! The result? A huge outpouring of love for all the different ships and everyone having a great time supporting each other’s opinions and fun.
And aren’t above making fun of ourselves. We know we’re a silly and huge fandom. And sometimes the comic is strange, but we embrace it. It’s a part of who we are.
Like this? This is basically Homestuck. Not really, but it’s funny as hell.
And this? HAND ANIMATED BY A FAN. Like-that is awesome! It’s so good! It’s amazing really. So amazing.
There’s so much more to Homestuck that I wish I could show you-but there’s almost too much. I’ve got too many irons in the fire to really bunker down and explain Homestuck. So why not give it a chance? I swear it’s good. Just don’t skip the intermissions and for the love of god read all the pesterlogs-even when the typing quirks get strange.
In any case, I think I’ve told you enough about Homestuck.