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Homestuck Has Me Hooked

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Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

click to enlarge Spotted at Animé Los Angeles. - SHANNON COTTRELL
I think I'm hooked on Homestuck.

Homestuck is a web comic, the fourth story in the MS Paint Adventures collection created by Andrew Hussie. It started in April of 2009 and is ongoing, with five acts completed and a sixth one underway. If you want proof of its popularity, go to a comic book or anime convention and look for the gray kids with orange and yellow horns. You'll see a lot. And, if you can't get to a convention, check out the fan-generated work on Tumblr.

I started reading Homestuck last summer, after seeing a large group of people cosplaying characters from the series at Anime Expo. After reaching the midpoint of Act 1, though, I got busy and put it aside for a long while.

Then last weekend at Animé Los Angeles I wandered down to a Homestuck cosplay meet-up with a couple friends. It was massive, at least 100 people from what I saw. The following day, I asked my pal Charleett, who has become something of a Homestuck evangelist, about the comic.

click to enlarge Homestuck fans at Pacific Media Expo. - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • Homestuck fans at Pacific Media Expo.
"I think that if you make it to the end of act one, you're unlikely to drop it at that point," she told me.

So I went home and decided to start Homestuck from the beginning once again. That was Sunday night. As of today, I'm on Act 3.

I have thousands of pages to go before I'm caught up on Homestuck. That's not an exaggeration. I still haven't been introduced to most of the characters I see popping up at conventions. I don't know who the trolls are and why they seem to be so popular. I'm playing catch-up. Maybe by the end of January, I'll have a better grasp of Homestuck. Right now, though, I'm a total n00b.

Despite the fact that I'm essentially three years behind on Homestuck, I'm beginning to understand it's popularity. Or, at least, I think I'm understanding it.

On its surface, Homestuck is a story about a group of kids who get sucked into a video game-style adventure. That in itself isn't unique. In recent years, we've seen a lot of stories -- e.g. Scott Pilgrim and The Problem Solverz -- that make overt references to game play. What makes Homestuck different is the way the story takes shape.

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