Editorial by Jamie Summers

Confessions of an Adult Homestuck

Confessions of an Adult Homestuck

Before I begin, I must preface this with a few disclaimers. I have not done Homestuck cosplay (yet!), I know many of us have a bad reputation because of the cosplayers, and let's face it, there's a lot of misinformation out there. I've been asked before why I've been drawn into the Homestuck fandom and why have been defending it, so it's time to clear the air and let out a few tidbits. 

First of all, if you have no idea what Homestuck is, "LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOMESTUCK".

Earlier this year, I went to MSPaintAdventures. This was probably the fifth or sixth time I did so, because at least five other people were telling me about a webcomic called Homestuck. This time, I got past the fifth page. "Zoosmell Pooplord" indeed, I laughed to myself. I endured the shenanigans of John Egbert trying to obtain his copy of Sburb. Then I met Rose Lalonde and instantly had a character I identified with, because surely I had a similar relationship with my mother at thirteen. I learned Dave Strider was the Cool Kid with the shades, and Jade Harley was the sweet girl who lived on an island and had a mystical god-dog named Becquerel who loved her. 

Okay, I'm good so far, I told myself. They're living a video game. I can get behind this. It's got RPG rules, it has adventure it has... wait, what? That's when I officially met the Trolls. I knew they were there, mind you. I've seen the cosplay and fantrolls. I expected Aradia Megido, as the representative of Aries and therefore my patron troll, would be my favorite. Little did I know how that would change as I moved deeper into the story, and I was already quite deep into it! Before I knew it, my mild curiosity turned into full-blown fandom. For the record, Karkat Vantas is my favorite.

Despite the fandom being, for the most part, quite a bit younger than me, I've found myself at home in it. As with any fandom, I tend to stay away from the major hubs of interaction and instead lurk on Tumblr or make friends here and there; I do this in almost any fandom of which I am a part. I tend to stay in the confines for canon for the most part, fully accepting that any fantroll (despite Hussie's joking statement of them all being canon now) and the adventures/universe he/she/ze might be a part of are purely outside of official canon, that there was crappy fanfiction out there (as there is with any fandom), and that there were zealots. Guess what? All fandoms have this. It felt no different than being a Supernatural fan or a Doctor Who fan or a Mass Effect fan. I was at home.

It was soon after that, however, that I learned that there is a sort of fandom rivalry (a very stupid one, if you want my honest opinion). This is the part that made me defensive, made me want to defend the Homestuck fandom fiercely. I will pick a few reasons people have personally told me and then my own confession as rebuttal.

1. It has no place with other Fandoms: There are those who opine that because it's a webcomic, it doesn't have a place among the other fandoms it's often seen with: anime, video game, sci-fi, comics, etc. Given that it is, as I've observed, an homage to and parody of all of those genres AND a commentary on them as well as their associated fandoms, I think it very much has a place. If anything, it's almost a bridge to close the gap and bind fandoms together. It also, I feel, has become a voice for the marginalized fringe elements: the shippers, the furries, the internet friends,etc.

2. The fans are rude: Okay, I'll give you that. There are quite a number of fans who take their trolling and troll personas too far. There are cosplayers who are loud and obnoxious. There are elitists, definitely. Here's the point: Not everyone is like that. Certainly every fandom has its share of bad eggs. If I let those bad eggs sour the comic for me, I'd have never found the enjoyment in the story that I have so far.

3. The artwork is awful: I'm a graphic designer. I think the artwork is great. It's a style meant to emulate older video games. Come on, the site is MS PAINT ADVENTURES. Look at the flash animations. Look at the poses and pacing. This is deliberate, and again, a perfect medium for the story. It's along the lines of being a current-gen gamer who enjoys the retro-style games.

4. The story is hard to understand: If you watch Doctor Who or look for the clues in a Harry Potter book, then Homestuck is fairly easy to follow. I personally only have a problem with the long lines of dialogue underneath all of the panels, because I like scroll back up to take in the visual scenery again. I will give you this: it's got a very convoluted storyline. There are events taking place on multiple timelines that constantly intersect and move both concurrently and against each other. Certainly one has to think in a non-linear manner to fully grasp what's going on.  Things that don't make sense in one place will make sense further on.

I could keep going. I've heard all varieties of complaints, but these tend to be the biggest ones. (I'm not going to touch the "Hussie hates his fans" argument people have shoved at me.)  Surely most of the arguments against Homestuck in particular have been more against the loudest and most obnoxious parts of the fandom. Those things, as I've observed, tend to exacerbate elements of the comic people have disliked, assuming they gave it a chance. I understand it; fans are usually the first exposure a person has to a series. That's how I came into the fandom.

So what were my confessions? They're simple.

1. I have a few fantrolls. They're fun to design. I started making one as my avatar for expressing my feelings on what's happening in the comic. Her name is Peitho Pluton.

2. I really love the story. Video games, anime, science fiction, crazy timelines, convoluted plots: everything I love about my other fandoms are all wrapped up in one neat package.

3. I enjoy Hussie's talents as a storyteller. I know, I said I love the story, but I'm particularly intrigued by Andrew Hussie's methods of writing, of giving a story, of character balance, of using tragedy and comedy. I'm a budding writer myself; I've learned a few new techniques.

4. I'm planning a webcomic. No, I'm not biting off of Homestuck concepts, but I've been inspired by the format and have had this idea floating around in my head for a few years that finally seems to have taken cohesive shape.

In closing, I have a few pieces of advice for both fans and haters alike. 

To the fans: keep fanning. Keep being awesome and creating a diverse discourse and selection of art projects and stories. DON'T give people a hard time or be elitist. All must be welcome, and the ones who get it wrong merely need guidance. When you encounter someone trying to give you a hard time for it, don't give in. If you feel the need to fight someone for hating something you like, it's time to evaluate your mental state and just turn away. 

To the haters: we don't care. Don't knock it until you've tried it, and if you've tried it and don't like it, then it's time to stop giving those who do a hard time and move on. If you encounter someone who loves Homestuck and are offended by someone liking something you don't, it's time to evaluate your mental state and likewise just turn away.

As for me? I'm staying in my corner of the fandom. I've got Namco High on preorder. I'm looking forward to the ending of Homestuck. I'm looking forward to the Homestuck game coming out. I'd love to interview Hussie via email or Twitter someday. Hell, I'd love to buy him a coffee or beer or any kind of non-toxic beverage and just chat over games and writing and science fiction and internet shenanigans. Mostly, I'd like to thank him for the fun ride and the amazing story I never expected to like.

This is the part where I give an epic pose, because sh*t just got real.

Jamie Summers, AKA Dark Sakura, is one of the co-hosts of Orange Lounge Radio here on the VOG Network. You can follow her on Twitter at @darksakura

Editorial by - 12/12/2013 11:43 PM921 views

Comments

act_deft
act_deft
12/14/2013 1:25 PM

1 0

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Pretty good read, though I'll just add that all the points you make toward Homestuck and its fandom can be easily applied to any fandom out there.

I think it's very important to state that if you like something, you shouldn't be ashamed of it nor that you should let other people bring you down or look down to you for liking something.
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