Homestuck fans prepare for webcomic release

Longest single webcomic on internet gets ready to release latest page of ongoing adventure

Justin McGown Oct 16, 2011

There are many devotees of various shows and series on this campus. Liking xkcd is practically a requirement on admissions forms; “Doctor Who?” is never a question, only a bad joke; and the magic of friendship and ponies drives some to scrawl technicolored creatures all over our sidewalks.

While most fandoms go about their daily lives, one group is waiting for next Tuesday, Oct. 25, with every last ounce of its patience. They’re not an obvious group — even when members are fully dressed in official merchandise, one would be hard pressed to name what they’re fans of. But on Oct. 25 — or “Gristmas,” as some fans have nicknamed it — it will likely be easy to pick them out by their looks of anticipation, rapturous joy, consternation, or perhaps even furious rage, and by the records, ghosts, squids, atoms, and zodiacal signs on their shirts.

What are they waiting for? Let me tell you about Homestuck.

The 6,001st page of mspaintadventures.com will be posted sometime on the 25th, bringing with it the end of Act 5 of 7 for Homestuck. Taken as a whole, the four “adventures” on the website constitute the longest single webcomic on the internet; of those pages, over 4,000 are devoted to telling one of the most wild and brilliant stories to be found anywhere.

Fans of Homestuck have been waiting a long time for this next update — over a month — of what promises to be a very exciting and plot-critical Flash animation.

Homestuck, created by Andrew Hussie, starts by telling us about John Egbert, a young man who just wants to play the beta of SBURB, the hottest new game, which arrives on his birthday. After finally starting the game, he realizes that he and his friends are able to alter each other’s houses Sims-style.

The comic is hard to define in terms of genre: Amid the end of the world and a battle between the forces of light and darkness in a pocket dimension, there are moments that are uproariously funny, ones that will warm and wrench your heart, and even one that has given some fans a renewed fear of clowns.

Equally hard to define for Homestuck is its medium. Not many panels are static; most are comprised of .gif files with a looping animation that allow the sprite art of the comic’s early days to be nearly as emotive as the slicker animations later on. The dialogue is delivered through chat logs that give each character a unique voice and cadence.

Interspersed with the standard panels are Flash animations set to music, and with interactive segments ranging from a simple jukebox to Flash games, it can take an hour to squeeze all the secrets out of each segment.

“It requires that certain kind of anime interest,” said Henry Armero, a BXA first-year and longtime fan. “Not everybody would enjoy it, but those who do will think it’s very cool.”

“I like to recommend people, but I’m always wary because it’s like promoting a dangerous addiction,” Armero said. His introduction to Homestuck is a testament to its addictive qualities: A friend sent him a link one day; “The next thing I knew it was four hours later and I was quietly giggling to myself in my room.”

While watching the update will likely mean little to those unfamiliar with the webcomic, now is a great time to get involved with this unique piece of media and catch up in time for the update. Be warned, though: While some parts may slow down the reader, when the pace picks up it can be very hard to look away.