Homestuck: It’s Not That Great


Photo courtesy of Devin Jones

Devin Jones, Head of Media and Photography

Homestuck is one of the various online comic sensations that has generated plenty of attention the past two years. It has acquired quite a fanbase since its initial launch and has become a common sight at events like Comicon and other comic expos, with fans cosplaying as their favorite characters. But what is it about Homestuck that makes it so appealing to its fans?

Homestuck is, at its foundation, a very original idea. It follows the adventures of a group of kids who play a videogame that destroys the world and  thrusts them into various worlds based on the order that they entered the game. From there, they have to uncover how to beat the game, as well as discovering who they truly are and what their roles are as individuals, which is uncovered as the story progresses. It all sounds good, right? Well, Homestuck isn’t that simple.

As an ex-Homestuck fan, I can say that the storyline of Homestuck can get extremely confusing at times. The various plot twists, the perpetual addition of characters, the time travel aspect, and an the sheer amount of information that is up to the reader to interpret makes Homestuck a difficult read. Andrew Hussie, the creator of Homestuck, has a habit of bringing back old events into new circumstances within the story that, while it was initially cool, starts to get a bit frustrating later on. I found that I was constantly having to backtrack to understand what was going on, which isn’t an easy task due to the fact that Homestuck is a comic. The navigation is quite difficult if you do need to backtrack, like I did, because Homestuck has plenty of slides, many of which are nothing more than a quick GIF image or picture. So finding exactly what you are looking for in the plot is spent mainly sifting through the hundreds of slides until you find the one that you were looking for, then fast forwarding to where you left off.

Homestuck is also filled with massive amounts of information that feel as though they have little importance to the story. One example would be the dating system for the Trolls, a race that the initial characters meet later in the story. While it was funny to watch characters struggle with their complicated system of romance, I felt as though it played little role in the story as a whole.

If you’re like me, where you want nothing but the story to progress and care primarily about the significance of a certain goal, then you will get fed up with Homestuck rather quickly. The story, while entertaining for the most part, takes too long for anything to happen. One second, something would be happening to one set of characters, then it would be diffused with the introduction to a new group of people. Now Hussie has to go into explaining all the new characters, where they come from, their significance in the story, and their past lives. Suddenly, you are being beaten over the head with new storylines and another couple hundred slides go by before you get back to where you were before. Granted, all the developments do play into the story as a whole; they just takes their sweet time getting there.

Homestuck’s fanbase, although mainly harmless, is yet another problem. Homestuck is one of those comics that either you love it or you hate it, which causes plenty of heated debates on the home of Homestuck’s fanbase: Tumblr. Like anything, Homestuck has its group of obnoxious followers who seem like they are incapable of discussing nothing but Homestuck cosplay ideas, fan art, and the latest Homestuck drama. I’m not saying that it is bad that these people have something that they enjoy; I have no problem with people who find passion in something that they have a fondness for. But because Homestuck is such a loved and hated comic, it is difficult for a casual reader to find a middle ground. Unlike other comics, where you can find a sprinkling of people who dislike it, those who read it occasionally, and those who read it in amounts that border on a religious obsession, Homestuck is reduced, mainly, to two groups (both of which love to bicker over Tumblr). There are the hardcore Homestuck fans, who have pages dedicated to their favorite characters, cosplay them, follow up on the latest Homestuck drama, and anxiously await the next update. Then, there are the Homestuck “Haters,” who dislike everything about the comic. Of course, a medium exists between the two, but it is not nearly as large as the Homestuck lovers or haters and is difficult to find a following in. As a result, if you tell someone that you like Homestuck, you’ll either be greeted with open arms and expected to know everything there is to know about Homestuck, or shunned because of it.

Personally, I enjoyed Homestuck for the first time that I read it. It was something new that I had never experienced before and that was appealing to me. However, as time progressed, I found the story was taking longer and longer for anything of significance to happen, the abundance of character stories was weighing down my mind, and the constant fact checking caused me to rethink my dedication to Homestuck. After  my favorite character, the only reason that I continued with the story, was killed, I found that I had little motivation to keep up on the latest updates or participate in any of the character discussions. If you are similar to me, you may find Homestuck to be enjoyable at first, but your enjoyment will dwindle over time and before you know it, you’ll give up and move on to other things.