It’s 10/25, so I’m legally obligated to post about Homestuck, sadly. However, that means I can use this obligation as an opportunity to discuss the comic in the context of one important moment for me– the last time I truly cared about it.
The way Homestuck lost my interest over time is as interesting as it is unfortunate. I started reading(/playing/watching/listening to) it on Halloween 2010, and basically never stopped until the comic kept going into mega-sized hiatuses and killed off my desire to read along serially. But in that time, there was a period where I was absolutely obsessed–Homestuck was my favorite piece of non-Star Wars media, and for a brief period, maybe my flat-out favorite. It was kinda goofy because I was already like sixteen by then, so it wasn’t the same kind of obsession you’d find in a middle schooler who is really into Mortal Kombat lore or whatever; this actually really meant something to me.
Homestuck was sort of my gateway into exploring the creative process because I got to see a story created for the most part by one dude, Andrew Hussie. He was a big internet presence that consistently engaged with readers and was transparent about what it was like to work on a popular webcomic as a full-time job, with all the pressures that entails. He even had a Formspring account for a year and answered stupid questions all the time!
And then, along with Hussie himself, almost everyone who worked with him on the art or music were hobbyists or students around college age, and they all had that same spark about them that made me so excited to watch. Being just a few years younger, I think I learned a ton about creative projects just by seeing how the Homestuck people did it (and how it went wrong, but that’s not for this post).
So Homestuck was extremely important to me throughout the latter parts of high school. I made great friends by convincing others to read it; I joined an IRC chat dedicated to discussing it; I worked on a fan comic that brought me together with several people who have joined the ranks as Quinlan Circle Team Members. I kept up with every update, bought every music album, and my Void Hoodie was my go-to chilly weather wear for almost five years.
It kinda got bad. It was such a slow process that it was hardly noticeable to me as I kept up with each update, but by the end of 2012, I had realized that I wasn’t really enjoying it that much anymore. But the comic was close to ending, as it was already at Act 6 Act 4, just shy of the Act 6 Act 6 that everyone assumed it would end with.
It was almost to the climax of the whole story, and everyone knew that Andrew Hussie would tie things up and wrap the whole story into a neat little bow… 4/13/13 was fast approaching, and for some reason, everyone just kinda assumed it was going to end then. That date passed, though, and it was starting to look like a complete mystery of when the comic was ever going to end.
And then Hussie crashed the whole party with one blow–
Homestuck had done this whole gimmick of “animated flash movie that expands the fake-panel size for weird metafictional purposes” before, notably with the showstopping flash [S] Cascade, but here, it’s taken to a whole new level. It has objects jumping between comic panels to show scene transitions, cool fade-out limited animation, and all the stuff that had been largely missing from the previous 2000 pages of Act 6. It sets the tone for everything that’s about to–
–Oh, it’s glitching out.
Reusing the same “scratched disc” meta-gimmick from thousands of pages earlier, it turns out that Homestuck the “game” is glitched up and must be fixed. And this was the joke leading up to that.
Cue another 2000 pages before the actual end of the story, and another 3 years of posts (and hiatuses).
The actual story beats in this animation were never fully resolved, being explained confusingly in some exposition a thousand pages later. We never got the actual climactic metafictional super-flash promised here, and instead the end of the story opted for a more traditional Marvel movie-esque fight scene. There would be some phenomenal hypertext fiction elements later on, one of which may even get its own post someday, but the comic would never actually get better, really; the story got more muddled and the characters turned into sitcom versions of themselves, and no cool flash animations were going to be able to fix it.
But at the time, I didn’t know any of that. I just saw this page and watched with glee on my face and excitement in my heart, my love for Homestuck rekindled anew, at least for a little while longer.