By Austen Rioux, South Hadley High School, South Hadley, MA
For today’s digital generation of youths, it can be hard to move away from the computer screen to enjoy literature when there are just so much more fun things to do on the Internet. To counter this effect, aspiring writers and artists have turned to webcomics to get their works known. And almost synonymous with the term “webcomic” is the innovative and massively acclaimed series, Homestuck. Though drawn in an initially simplistic art style, it isn’t hard to see after the very first panel that the comic does something different from static three-panel funnies seen in the newspaper and other websites: it moves.
Creator Andrew Hussie utilizes Adobe Photoshop to create .gif panels for his comic, providing his characters with a limited amount of movement for emphasis on nearly every page. And when the images do not move, they are accompanied by heavily character oriented dialogue through an instant messaging format, and the advance to the next page is typically marked by a text command, as seen in old text-based RPGs. Every so often, readers are in for a real treat when a full length Flash animation is given, providing extensive movement and animation, and accompanied by originally composed music reminiscent of arcade games when not a full epic symphony, and original artwork that breaks the regular cartoon style.
The readers of Homestuck have also contributed to its fame. Originally, Hussie received suggestions from readers to directly advance the story lines of his works, Homestuck included. They have also succeeded in what every fandom does if not surpass it: make complete and utter fools of themselves on the Internet, at conventions, and in public. With a plethora of inside jokes, one-liners, and distinct gray-skinned characters, it’s hard not to spot a Homestuck fan when you realize what one looks and sounds like.
Whether or not you join in manic fandoms or look on them with disdain, there is one important thing to remember about Hussie’s creation. It is very, very confusing. Someone without acute knowledge of Internet jokes, video games, pop culture, history, theoretical time travel and alternate universes would have a very hard time picking up the comic from the beginning, let alone sticking with it until where it continues to update about daily. Here is where the fandom comes in handy, however, boards and dedicated sites allow people to draw fan art, submit theories, and better explain the confusion happening to the heroes they’ve become addicted to. Hard to get into at first, but utterly trapped when understood, Homestuck is a must-read for any internet aficionado.
4 out of 5 paws: Pounce on it!the original article from hsj.org, written by Austen Rioux