Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Webcomic Wednesday Review #7: Homestuck

Homestuck review

It has been too long since I wrote one of these. I wanted to keep up a schedule of one every 3 weeks at least when I started. That sure didn't pan out.
Regardless, I want to share my most recent read with you; one that, chances are, you're already familiar with as it has a MUCH larger fanbase than Our World. I daresay it is the largest and most popular comic on the web right now, and is my new favourite. It's called Homestuck, and I don't have a goddamned clue where to start
Warning: This review will contain harsh language and very minor spoilers.


Is not really a comic at all. It is sequential art, but not arranged in pages or strips as is the norm. Every page consists of a single static image, or several animated frames, with accompanying text located below the image. This text can be in the form of narrative commentary, or delivered via Pesterlogs, Pesterchum being the Instant Messaging program that the main cast uses to communicate. Nearly all communication is done through typing and chatlogs, thus each individual's typing quirks become associated with and are an expression of, one's personality. It's very clever and I cannot say whether it was intentional or not (it may have originally been just another way to differentiate characters, due to lacking speech balloons), but the effect is there and it is great. Even when just talking to each other.

DAVE: gimme the pen
DAVE: yes
DAVE: yes
DAVE: no
DAVE: were still drawing
DAVE: are you kidding this is a fucking masterpiece we have to see this through
DAVE: we are in the shit now
DAVE: we are motherfuckin entrenched in this bitch
DAVE: were running out of room rose can you turn the page for us

So the plot of the comic is basically that there is a game to be played. This game draws its players in, literally, while Earth gets destroyed by meteorites coming from the game world. There's just an obscene amount of smaller details that I can't even begin to detail here, but the point of the game is essentially to create new universes through the breeding of frogs. Plus enemies, minions, and bosses and levels to be gained, all that good stuff. What's great about it is that everything in every universe is linked up in so many coils of paradox time travel that none of it starts to make sense after a while.

And YOU DO NOT CARE. It's all introduced bit by bit at a time, with the kind of silly randomness humor that hooks you immediately, that even when you get confused it doesn't matter, you assume it'll all come in due time and keep on keeping on anyways. Eventually the craziest parts do start to make sense.

Every now and again there will be a short flash animation to stand in for a page. These are typically done with no words or dialogue at all, and it was during one of these animations that I realized this comic is more than just awesome, it is an incredible and unique experience. Nothing else on the net is like this. The internet seems to agree with me: this one broke newgrounds when it was originally hosted there through the sheer volume of his fans' traffic to see it. These short animations have given me a kind of pause to stop and think about what I just saw - the same kind of pause I tend to get after a very emotionally charged film, such as Schindler's List. How Andrew Hussie manages to pull this off, I have no fucking clue, but I imagine it has something to do with the legion of fans he has to contribute original art and originally composed music to these animations. (Yes, original music - to date, 24 albums exist with the Homestuck logo on them. TWENTY-FOUR.)

I even paid for this one. Seriously. I PAID for music, it's so good.

The art of the main comic is itself not all that impressive, but the simple graphics lend themselves well to the .GIF loops often used to hilarious effect.

All that said, there are qualms to be had. I did have to drag myself through a few sections of the archives as I was reading, before the comic had me truly hooked. There are a lot of character introductions - an almost absurd amount as you enter into act 5 and the trolls begin taking the stages. 12 trolls exist, and are all introduced with the same formula within one act's opening. Additionally, some of the trolls' typing quirks can get in the way of legibility - one iin particular liike2 two do thii2 thiing whiich 2lowed me down two almo2t a crawl, aNd ThEn ThErE wAs ThIs GuY wHo WaS eVeN wOrSe, SoMeHoW.

Oddly enough it seems almost all of my qualms are with the trolls, which could just be because I think there are too many of them. There are 4 main kids, but 12 trolls, and the kids are the main characters. Making everybody unique in their own way is bound to create some stretching of the limits, but every character has their fans. None of them seem haphazardly cobbled together, which is a good sign.

Final words: you need to check this comic out. I'm not just suggesting it, I am commanding it. (admittedly I have no way of enforcing this command, but you can't prove that I DON'T know where you sleep!) Homestuck is one of the few truly unique experiences out there, and the fact that it has gained such a following in 2 1/2 short years is only more evidence to its gripping power. I shared this comic with CV with the words

"You should read Homestuck."

He responded the next day with

"Dude, what did you do to me? This has eaten up so much of my time that I haven't written you that script. Which I have to work on. Right now."

You should read Homestuck.
Right now.


  1. hehe, it is rather awesome/addicting.
    I read it because i was seeing it pop up every where, tvtropes, fanfic websites, anywhere I frequented, sooner or later, I'd see at least one reference to this tale, and after my second try reading the darned thing, I got hooked, read it a couple of weeks, decided to look for reviews so I could write my own.
    This is not a bad review by the way.

  2. Gah! I didn't th ink I'd ever find a comment left in one of these! my apologies for teh very late reply, and thank you for the compliment!!