Homestuck: Act 7
April 13, 2016 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Exactly seven years after it began, Andrew Hussie's maximalist webcomic Homestuck has concluded with Act 7, a nine-minute, hand-drawn, fully-animated-and-scored climax to an epic that began with a young man standing in his bedroom.

Act 7 was storyboarded by Andrew Hussie, but most of the animation was drawn by Angela Sham, who before working the comic proper was responsible for the beautiful fan animation A Lullaby for Gods. The music was composed by Clark Powell and extended by Toby Fox. (Yes, that Toby Fox.)

[previously][previously] [previously] [Fanfare] [GIGAPOST]
posted by Sokka shot first (71 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I freely admit that it sort of never occurred to me that Homestuck could end. I have a housemate who is a big fan, so every once in a while we have a chat about the latest developments.

Wow, this just seems wrong. Homestuck was supposed to go on forever in endless iterations, like your favorite author is never supposed to die.
posted by Frowner at 7:03 AM on April 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'd really enjoyed Problem Sleuth, so was pretty eager for Homestuck when it launched. But, tbh, I totally lost track quite some time ago, despite reading updates as they came. Alternate timelines, remixed characters, callbacks on callbacks.

The finale was gorgeous, but I have literally no idea what happened.
posted by themadthinker at 7:04 AM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I started reading Homestuck when I was in college, early in act 5, and kept up religiously for a while, but I sort of floated away a while ago and haven't actually read homestuck in about three years. It's never been a part of my life to the degree it has for a lot of fans, and it's barely a part of my life now. And yet it still feels so, so strange that it's over. Homestuck was a foundation stone of the internet of my adulthood (versus the pre-homestuck internet of my adolescence), and I can barely wrap my head around the idea of it actually having an ending.

I should go get caught up.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:06 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; let's not start off immediately with "I don't like this"; it doesn't really leave a lot of obvious conversational avenues]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:09 AM on April 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


"We have to think about beginnings from the vantage point of endings. Only then when something has concluded, can we truly say that something has begun."
-- Hegel on why Homestuck had to end

(freely translated)
posted by bigendian at 7:13 AM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]




So it's like an alternate ending for Lord of the Rings, with better gender balance and a great soundtrack?
posted by effbot at 7:27 AM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wow, this just seems wrong. Homestuck was supposed to go on forever in endless iterations, like your favorite author is never supposed to die.

Not only has Hussie already said he's going to have time to write the inevitable epilogue now that he's not racing to complete the comic by 4/13, but there's an episodic video game coming.

The real end of Homestuck is a long way off yet.
posted by these are science wands at 7:34 AM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


there's an episodic video game coming.

Is anyone still working on that? Most recent updates of site, tumblr and twitter seems to be July last year.
posted by effbot at 7:51 AM on April 13, 2016


Incidentally, people interested in a reread should definitely join the Fanfare fan club!
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:23 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


My feels, they are mixed. I really liked the earlier, harsher iterations of Homestuck, when Hussie seemed to be reacting to (and actively trolling) the readers as he went along, which is something I hadn't seen in fiction before. Over the course of the years I think he became genuinely sympathetic to his readers, and at some point the work began to suffer for it. Weirdly, this happened in parallel with his reader base growing up, so just as his readers became more emotionally sophisticated the work became less likely to take the sort of risks that could keep up with them.

Anyway, it was really fun to watch the whole phenomenon, and it was really fun to read. Thanks, Hussie.
posted by phooky at 8:27 AM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh. I always thought it was Homestruck. Now I know how bad my reading comprehension really is!
posted by minsies at 8:30 AM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not only could Homestuck end, it had to. It's been building toward a definitive ending for quite some time, and the last round up updates last year (before the pause to complete the final animations) was all about saying final goodbyes to all the major characters.

But at the same time, it can't end. The structure of the whole thing is fractal, with the same events echoing at different scales throughout. The ending we have here leaves things inconclusive, but hints that, despite the air of victory, all we're really seeing is the yet biggest iteration of the same endless cycle of defeat and escape that we've seen repeat throughout the story.
posted by baf at 8:43 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I guess I should try and figure out where I left off last time I read Homestuck and read to the end. Not that it'll make much sense, I quit reading the lengthy dialogue about the time the trolls showed up. I seem to remember the last stuff I saw involved two parallel panels showing up on the page at once instead of just one column?
posted by egypturnash at 8:56 AM on April 13, 2016


Over the course of the years I think he became genuinely sympathetic to his readers, and at some point the work began to suffer for it.

I could not disagree more!

I think Homestuck was fantastic when it started, and it was fantastic when it ended. It embodied an ongoing dialogue with its readership, and I think part of Andrew Hussie's genius was in rapidly learning how to incorporate fan participation as his audience grew from thousands to millions and his previous "type a command" style of interactive storytelling grew unfeasible. He made very few missteps and created an intricate, moving, multimedia narrative in concert with hundreds of collaborators, most of whom began as fans.

It never stopped being as slyly meta as it was initially—I'm thinking of late-comic gags like Caliborn literally destroying the MSPA website—and its early weirdo fixations (clowns, baking, etc) turned into deep ties that thematically bind the narratives of multiple universes together.

And he never stopped being incredibly inventive and clever with his use of language, which is probably the single gift of his of which I'm most knuckle-gnawingly envious.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:06 AM on April 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


The final animation is cool but the penultimate animation is cooler, FYI:

http://www.mspaintadventures.com/collide.html

Probably the proceeding hundred pages (not the mention the year+ long wait) were just setting up these 5-6 final boss fights so it was AWESOME to see that pay off.
posted by subdee at 9:33 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would like to register the fact that I am currently unable to even, and it may be some time before I can even. For something I disparaged at first out of a misguided reaction to what I perceived as Hussie's goon-culture-esque """ironic""" cynicism, HS is now one of my most beloved works of fiction. And for it to end so suddenly after returning (even though the schedule was made very clear) is a bit like catching up with an old friend only for them to suddenly die.
posted by Drexen at 10:02 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


So this might be a good time to start reading it? Ever since the finale of Dexter, I want to know there's a good resolution before investing time in a story.
posted by synthetik at 10:06 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]




Wow, this just seems wrong. Homestuck was supposed to go on forever in endless iterations, like your favorite author is never supposed to die.

I'm sure there will be more MS Paint Adventures to come!
posted by kenko at 10:23 AM on April 13, 2016


So wait, act 7 is just a single animation? That's it?
posted by kenko at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2016


@synthetik: It's absolutely worth the read. Be warned, though, it's over 8000 pages long, and takes a month or two to complete at a reasonable pace. People may complain about the final ending being vague, but a bunch of things happened in the pages leading up to it that most of the plot arcs and character arcs have a satisfying conclusion. And those that don't, well, there's the upcoming Epilogue.
I can definitively say that Homestuck changed my life for the better. I met some of my best friends to this day through a fan-made Pesterchum client, and the story's inclusion of LGBT characters out the wazoo made a bi kid in the the Bible Belt feel a little less alone.
By virtue of its length, it's evolved from a coming-of-age story for the characters inside the comic, to a coming-of-age story for those people reading it, from teenagers to adults. I hopped in late on the Homestuck train, and still it was three or four years of my life gone by from the first time I saw the first panel to now. Everyone I know who's read Homestuck has grown so much as a person since starting reading, and it probably added more to my personality growing up than just about everything else. (I still say "where doing this man, where making this happen" every now and then.)
posted by brecc at 10:27 AM on April 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


So wait, act 7 is just a single animation? That's it?

Yup. Per Andrew Hussie's update post on March 28: "[...]ending with an update on 4/13, the 7th anniversary of Homestuck. That update will contain ACT 7 in its entirety."
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:28 AM on April 13, 2016


I assumed that "that update" meant there would be like 500 new (still image) pages uploaded today. Seems kind of anticlimactic! Though I haven't actually watched it yet.

to a coming-of-age story for those people reading it, from teenagers to adults.

Some of us started reading it as adults!
posted by kenko at 10:59 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


And please note that is a month of reading, not a month of life while reading at a normal pace.

Homestuck is honestly a sprawling epic of a size that makes Proust's In Search of Lost Time look like a tweet.
posted by winna at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2016


I like Homestuck but that's absurd.
posted by kenko at 12:01 PM on April 13, 2016


(And it is completely possible to read all of Homestuck in a month or five weeks, not "a month of reading".)
posted by kenko at 12:02 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


there's an episodic video game coming.

Is anyone still working on that? Most recent updates of site, tumblr and twitter seems to be July last year.

Yes, it's still in development. To make a long and controversial story short, the original game collapsed in a funding and development partnership nightmare; it was brought in-house to a studio formed around it; that team scaled back around the time that you mention to a small crew. I gather that in the process the scope of the production was reduced to something that a small crew could manage. But I've heard that it is continuing.

I'm trying not to speak beyond my certain first-hand knowledge. As the HS folks are good people, there has been a lot of Not Talking to avoid pointing fingers and inciting mob justice or proxy wars. It's been troubled but is apparently still underway.
posted by peripatetron errant at 12:04 PM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Homestuck is honestly a sprawling epic

I mean, kind of. It's pretty long. But the Song of Ice and Fire series is twice as long by wordcount, and that's not even finished.

Homestuck is two or three biggish novels' worth of illustrated text, plus a few hours of animation. It's a commitment, but no more so than a series of books or a multi-season TV show.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:11 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I gather that in the process the scope of the production was reduced to something that a small crew could manage.

Yeah, they switched to 2D art, which looks gorgeous.

The fact that Hussie had to deal with the original developer (who, according to rumour, absconded with a bunch of cash and delivered nothing but a walkcycle while working on their own original project) and then start and staff a game dev house up from scratch and he still managed to finish the biggest* webcomic ever created is nothing short of astonishing.

*probably
posted by these are science wands at 12:14 PM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Homestuck couldn't have existed in a different time period - it's not just a story about clowns, it's a story about being young and growing up on the internet, in a social and communication environment that's never existed before. It's about online gaming and online hate and the divide between you and your parents who don't understand that the people you're connecting with are actually real.
posted by xiw at 12:48 PM on April 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Re length: I started reading Homestuck a little over three years ago, which is to say, more than halfway through. It took me about three weeks to catch up the latest update (which was around the end of the Trickster Mode arc). I have a job, so I wasn't devoting my every waking hour to reading, but after the first few days, I was basically spending all my leisure time on it. So two months to read the whole thing does not sound unreasonable to me.
posted by baf at 1:07 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also I'm not a "get a tattoo" kind of guy

but I've always thought a great tattoo would be

[S]
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:53 PM on April 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Big thanks to rorgy for compiling the [GIGAPOST] mentioned above.

I'd bounced off Homestuck a few times previously; I had a vague notion that it was an ambitious and/or interesting webcomic, but it wasn't really clicking for me during the first 100 panels or so, so I'd start from the beginning, read it for a bit then get bored and forget about it for a while. That post was what finally convinced me to push through my initial lukewarm reaction and get on Hussie's wavelength. And I must say, as a 30-something who grew up in the 413 area code with interests that skewed nerdy and videogamey, and who appreciates metafiction... Jegus, it turned out to be very much my wavelength after all.
posted by drumcorpse at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I read a lot of it while I was on paternity leave last year. At a certain point, I honestly couldn't follow it. I got midway through act...5? 6? All the trolls had been introduced and we were back to the original characters.

The joy I had felt reading the early bits, working through the slapstick logic of the original four characters playing the game, sort of went out the window as that logic became incomprehensibly dense for me. I couldn't tell you whether that's the nature Homestuck itself or a result of my own sleep-deprived brain.

So...Homestuck partisans...is an ability to parse the logic of Homestuck a prerequisite for understanding Homestuck through the end? Or at a certain point does it become a "let this insanity wash over you" experience?
posted by HeroZero at 1:58 PM on April 13, 2016


I'll say this much: Some of the greatest moments in the whole thing are epiphanies where details from disparate parts of the story are brought together and you suddenly understand their true significance. This requires you to parse the logic.

On the other hand, you kind of have to just let the insanity wash over you sometimes, if only to appreciate how insane it is.

It seems to be a common practice among fans to watch the animations at least twice: first for a purely emotional reaction, and then a second time to figure out what was actually going on.
posted by baf at 2:39 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are a LOT of details that don't matter too much, characters who seem important on first appearance that don't pop up often, etc. You don't have to learn every single bit. It's fine to miss a few names and keep going.
posted by sandswipe at 4:03 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thank you for doing this; I thought about making an FPP, but couldn't figure out how to say anything other than just "IT ENDED".

The update had a deeper resonance for me because at one point the anticipation for the ending was the only thing keeping me alive.
posted by divabat at 4:26 PM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


That was a lovely piece of writing, divabat. I'm glad you're in a better place, now.
posted by Sokka shot first at 4:32 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


A roadmap of Homestuck's future:

Epilogue: A thing that will happen at a particular time. If Hussie makes it pay-only he will have rocks thrown at his head but the rocks will have money taped to them.

Game/s: One, possibly two four-episode prequels to Homestuck containing new info about Alternia and Skaianet. The first is about a human girl being sent to Alternia; the other will hopefully still be made and is about a troll getting sent to Earth. It's believed that progress was slowed when the developer used the Kickstarter money to make the new King's Quest game; the drama was ended with an agreement including a non-disclosure agreement. It's now being developed by Hussie's own game dev team.

Homestuck 2.0: A mysterious mainstream media project being made with the help of a connection Hussie made by putting a reference in the comic to Dante Basco.
posted by BiggerJ at 6:12 PM on April 13, 2016


Coverage on Polygon, IGN, Comicsbeat, Kotaku.
posted by divabat at 6:46 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


One thing I've loved is all the fan explanations of what they believe has happened (such as the tumblr link from Narrative Priorities' comment). That being said, I have to say that I was a bit underwhelmed by Act 7, and although I have heard people argue that Hussie intentionally broke narrative conventions on purpose, I have to agree with this imgur image series discussing how his violation of certain narrative rules ultimately has diminished the impact of the ending.
posted by subversiveasset at 6:52 PM on April 13, 2016


Now that I've watched it let me say: aw, can town!
posted by kenko at 6:53 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have to agree with this imgur image series discussing how his violation of certain narrative rules ultimately has diminished the impact of the ending.

Most of those narrative "rules" strike me as either "not enough fan service!" (would've been great if they all fought as a team in the big battle at the end! sure, yeah, ok, but is that a "rule"?) or as complaints that things didn't happen according to reader expectations, which is … weird. Tropes are for breaking; that's where the information comes in. "Formulaic" is an term of derision. The complaints about Vriska in particular strike me as ridiculous, especially when paired with the praise Homestuck gets for being (a) conventional (b) complex and (c) actually a serious work rather than generic* blah. It's like, oh no, structural sophistication! You can't have that!

* in the sense of genre-ic, geddit
posted by kenko at 6:58 PM on April 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think bigger drivers of let-downitude are the mere fact of the big pause since last year and the video format itself. It happened after too long a time and then too fast, and it has the effect, basically, of saying "and in the final moment, everything worked".
posted by kenko at 7:13 PM on April 13, 2016


There's nothing wrong with everything working in the final moment, but just saying it isn't effective. If everything since the story started up again had come, instead, where the pause before the end actually started, I think it would have felt a lot more effective. Less discontinuity.
posted by kenko at 7:14 PM on April 13, 2016


kenko,

My own personal feeling as a result of [S] Collide was that I was waiting for *something* to go wrong. Instead, there was a plan...and the plan mostly worked (I mean, yeah, there were a few people who were supposed to be knocked out who woke up, but things were OK).

Of course, by the end of [S] Collide, I thought: "Well, then, there is one big bad left...so clearly he's going to shake some stuff up." But with Act 7, not only was there not really a real confrontation, but the ultimate outcome of the big bad is...ambiguous (I mean, there are of course explanations that argue that he was defeated, but it just didn't feel resolved.)

I'm not saying that media has to follow formulas. but I agreed that the breaking of the formulas in this case disoriented my expectations for [S] Collide and Act 7 in pretty much the ways that the imgur series mentioned.
posted by subversiveasset at 7:30 PM on April 13, 2016


(I mean, there are of course explanations that argue that he was defeated, but it just didn't feel resolved.)

Yes, it turns out that hyperkinetic wordless videos presenting a confusion of scenes without explanation is not a good way to convey what's going on, and are probably bad choices for ending your super long comic. You want a narrative rule, try that one out.
posted by kenko at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I disagree. Other flashes (e.g., [S] Cascade), didn't feel like this. It's not the medium, but what was conveyed in it.
posted by subversiveasset at 7:42 PM on April 13, 2016


I understand the feelings of letdown but did not myself share them.

I think it's a work that will benefit significantly from being read straight through with no year-long gaps to wait through. I'm glad I DID read it as it was posted, mostly, if only because getting to watch the fandom was batshit insanity in the best possible way, but I bet I'll enjoy it more as a narrative with a reread.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:44 PM on April 13, 2016


Well, we knew a lot more about what was going on in those. Oh, they're fighting. Oh, this thing is happening which we were more or less prepared for. The things that we don't really know about in this one, like where Lord English ended up, we didn't really have preparatory context for. So who knows? This wasn't a good way to convey that, whatever it was (or if we were even supposed to know).

I have just recalled that the "it would've been great if they'd all fought together as a team!" thing was actually explicitly called out in Problem Sleuth.
posted by kenko at 7:45 PM on April 13, 2016


Coverage on Polygon, IGN, Comicsbeat, Kotaku.

I find the number of people (either commenters, or the authors of the articles themselves) opining that they were too old for Homestuck kind of strange. I started reading Homestuck after it had been going for, I don't know, six months or so, after reading and loving Problem Sleuth, and I was ... 27 at the time (kind of mind-boggling, that). The associated forum (still a subsite of the main mspa site!) was certainly extremely active, but I think it didn't have the insanely huge fandom it now enjoys until around the time of the trolls? Or something? It's perfectly possible to enjoy and appreciate apart from that and I kind of wonder if its reputation as something with a rabid and young fanbase doesn't lead people to think it can't be enjoyed without a similar level of devotion. It's really very cleverly written and structured (and, as I've commented on at least one of the previous threads linked above, Hussie was an interesting writer about his own process).
posted by kenko at 9:43 PM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been following Homestuck since the day it started and... gosh, I'm just feeling that weird sense of 'what now?' you get after finishing a huge book or really epic movie. Slightly bereft.

I thought it was so impressive, so inventive, really intimidating in terms of artistic brio and quality and sheer output. I don't disagree with any of the criticisms of the ending or of the 'comic' (that doesn't feel like it quite covers the multimedia smash-up that Homestuck became) in terms of narrative coherency, etc, but what you've got to remember is that Hussie was writing and posting it serially, updating with multiple pages daily. No backsies, no do-overs. To my mind, it's a goddamn miracle that the story finished at all.

Since Homestuck started, I've become a writer myself, and the idea of just slamming story down, no edits, no editors offering feedback, no finishing the whole book then coming back to see if it makes sense - that is the nightmarish stuff right there that wakes me at 4am in a cold sweat. My first drafts are godawful swill. Homestuck is all first draft. When you look at it as a development of Problem Sleuth, it becomes possibly the longest sustained improv skit of all time. And that's BANANAS. Of course the plot is incoherent - he's building the track while the train is moving. And every bit of dialogue, every action a kid takes, establishes lore which subsequent panels have to adhere to.

I mean, my goodness. Anyone who dislikes Homestuck, who doesn't get what the fuss is about, I totally understand and you have my sympathies. But in terms of artistic spectacle? We may never see its like again.

(also: Karkat & Dave? ADORABLE)
posted by RokkitNite at 1:53 AM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


kenko: I've heard younger fans (teenagers and below) openly say that they don't understand why "old people" (basically anyone over early 20s) would be interested in Homestuck. It's hard breaking into the fandom if you're older and you don't have an established skill like art or music that could conceivabely get you hired to make canon (man I wish they had space for writers).

I'm really frustrated at the fans who think "oh clearly Hussie's given up because other people are doing the art and he's not writing anything and the ending is so blah". Producing a major group effort that involves trusting other people with your artistic vision is a HUGE undertaking! It's not something that you can successfully pull off if you have "given up". He probably worked harder herding those cats than doing the art/writing himself.
posted by divabat at 4:48 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


kenko: I've heard younger fans (teenagers and below) openly say that they don't understand why "old people" (basically anyone over early 20s) would be interested in Homestuck.

I think there's some substantive content to this idea - in that, like, the internet changes fast and your experience of it as someone over 20 is very different from your experience of it at, say, fifteen....but at the same time, I remember thinking as a teen that adults could not seriously be interested in pop music, comics, television, roller coasters, going dancing, fashion, etc....and that was pretty much because I could not imagine being an adult. (Which is fine, I wasn't an adult.) I couldn't really imagine that someone's interest in "young person" things might change over time rather than simply stopping.

At the same time, I remember thinking that I would naturally come to care deeply about classical music, the cinema of the fifties and beer, since those were things that bored me terribly but adults all seemed to like. I figured that one day a switch would flip and there I'd be.
posted by Frowner at 6:12 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's hard breaking into the fandom if you're older

Yeah well I mean who cares? "The fandom" is not part of Homestuck, it's not even a para-part of Homestuck the way Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is its own little para-comic.

Anyway, 34-year-old me would be happy to send a short explanation to any benighted teenager curious about why an old would like Homestuck.
posted by kenko at 7:30 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


And then there's the tiny detail that the creator himself is a dude in his 30s.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2016


The angry fan reaction to Act 7 managed to impressively demonstrate why Andrew Hussie grew increasingly misanthropic (towards his fans) and antisocial (same) across the length of his project.

Seriously, putting a capstone on something this massive and knotty was a demanding task. The temptations to fuck it up and go too self-serious were numerous, and the bar demanded by the entire rest of the piece was extreme. This managed to avoid the fuck-ups and raise the bar all in one, and if it didn't give you every single thing you could have ever possibly wanted in a series that's run for seven years, spanned several dozen characters, and generated everything from cults to hentai, welcome to what artistic restraint looks like—all the more impressive since it's coming from a guy who's been accused of maximalist hedonism, and rightly so.

And if you kept looking for some clever twist of logic that'll put a bow on everything plotwise that Homestuck ever offered you past the point where the Genesis Frog lept out of a massive volcano IN SEMENLIKE TADPOLE FORM and shot into Skaia as if it was the biggest egg in the universe, welcome to my ( -_-)>, visible from space.

The ending couldn't have been any more obviously a Mobïus Double Reacharound, in which Caliborn set events into motion which John ended, while simultaneously setting up several endings that we've already seen happen (the heroes' imprisonment in the Homestuck juju; Caliborn's imprisonment in the Cal juju and eventual defeat, at Dave's hands, in Collide while in Jack's body) that ALSO SIMULTANEOUSLY demonstrate the dividing line between Homestuck's protagonists and its antagonists: for Caliborn, victory is achieved by smashing the arbiter of death itself, granting immortality, and the rest of the game shall be dedicated to destruction; for John, victory was achieved by playing the game, and the final victory was not one of destroying his enemy, who will never be ultimately eradicated, but rather the creation of something new that will live past him.

Shit like this is why Homestuck was so long. Hussie took about a thousand pages to retroactively explain each of his animations, except for Collide, which he took about a thousand pages to explain before it even occurred. Fuck the fandom, man.

posted by rorgy at 7:56 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh, and catching up to [s] Collide after two-ish years of ignoring Homestuck because I had better things to do was supremely disappointing. As a spectacle, I'm sure it was tremendous (I caught up to it after the screaming had subsided); as an endpoint it was lame. Act 7, meanwhile, was everything I'd hoped for but had no faith in ever occurring.

I have extremely partisan views about these two YouTube videos.
posted by rorgy at 7:59 PM on April 14, 2016


Yeah well I mean who cares? "The fandom" is not part of Homestuck

But didn't all fantrolls get declared canon at some point?
posted by radwolf76 at 9:33 PM on April 14, 2016


The fandom is absolutely a part of Homestuck. Most of the people who worked on the ending art & music, as well as the Paradox Space comics and the upcoming Hiveswap game, were prominent fan creators - they didn't really "go pro" until Hussie hired them to help out with the overall Homestuck grand story. The animator of Act 7 was mostly known for a fan animation made some time ago. So many of the references in Homestuck come from fandom - "Homestuck is my favourite anime" was an old meme, at one point Caliborn draws his OC which is directly based off someone's fanwork on Deviantart (she gets credited a little belatedly), and there are a lot of nods to fandom and fan culture across the place.

I feel like people assume Hussie hates the fandom more than he necessarily does. He may want to have some distance from it, but that's also because he's been hard at work juggling multiple huge projects in the last couple of years and didn't really have the energy/time to be as chatty as he used to be. I'm sure that there are plenty of factions in the fandom that frustrate him and annoy him! But if he was truly antagonistic towards fandom, he wouldn't have hired fan artists to create some of the most poignant, powerful, and climatic parts of this story.
posted by divabat at 12:15 AM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The fandom is absolutely a part of Homestuck. Most of the people who worked on the ending art & music, as well as the Paradox Space comics and the upcoming Hiveswap game, were prominent fan creators -

The fact that the people who contributed to Homestuck were fans doesn't make the fandom part of Homestuck in any sense that's relevant to the comment I was replying to, which said that "It's hard breaking into the fandom if you're older". That is: to be able to appreciate Homestuck, you do not need to be part of, or to want to be part of, or even know about the fandom, though presumably a Homestuck appreciator will know about and appreciate the contributions that happen to come from fans. (Though such a person may not know that they come from fans or even what a "fan" is in this context!) The fact that elements of the work, Homestuck, came directly or indirectly from fans still does not mean that you have to be a part of, or want to be a part of, or particularly aware of, the fandom. Get this: I like and appreciate Homestuck, and I've never seen Con Air. I don't even want to see Con Air. And yet there are obviously lots of references to Con Air in Homestuck! What a stumper! Except not really! The fans are Con Air. If you want the true story of the genesis of all the bits and pieces in Homestuck, where different references of various kinds or in some cases even plot points came from, you do have to know about the fandom, but you don't have to care about it or be part of it. I think you be a better and more complete appreciator of Homestuck without even knowing about the fandom—like, is it important that Caliborn's drawing comes from some real-life person's Deviantart?—than you can be of Problem Sleuth without knowing about the once-upon-a-time forum, because that played a much bigger role in the substantive form and content of PS than the fact that the guy who composed the music for [S] Whatever was also part of this loosely organized rabid affinity group does for Homestuck.

Similarly, you can appreciate Homestuck without being a personal friend of Hussie.
posted by kenko at 6:52 AM on April 15, 2016


The ending couldn't have been any more obviously a Mobïus Double Reacharound, in which Caliborn set events into motion which John ended, while simultaneously setting up several endings that we've already seen happen (the heroes' imprisonment in the Homestuck juju; Caliborn's imprisonment in the Cal juju and eventual defeat, at Dave's hands, in Collide while in Jack's body)

I would read a lengthier exposition of the ending animation.
posted by kenko at 6:54 AM on April 15, 2016


This is gonna sound ironic, coming from the guy who wrote a trollish 6000-word-long FPP about Homestuck, but it genuinely didn't feel like Act 7 was that confusing. New universe gets made, game ends, Caliborn acquires Homestuck itself (or the house juju if you don't want to call it that), and the only new things we learn are details like "ooh this world is pretty" and "yassssss Can Townnnnnn". Oh, and the Green Sun gets destroyed, which is either a good thing (Lord English will finally be vanquished) or a bad thing (whoops now there's a black hole that'll suck up all of existence, I guess the status quo keeps being status quo'd), but all the important alt-Calliope stuff had already resolved itself, I feel.

The delightful thing, to me, was that there weren't any twists or new plot developments, and that Collide's 18-minute show-nothing-do-nothing was, not a long suspense-building "oh no what'll fuck all this up", but simply the grand ending to something that sorely needed an ending. Act 7 was the thing that ended, not the game, but Homestuck as an entity, showing the last couple of things that mattered in a beautiful way. And I think that's what tripped the fanbase up. They were expecting More Story, and what they got was a bow on a story that was already over.

I get why that must be frustrating if you were hung up on whatever that last big pause was, then got, after a year-ish, an update in which things happened that you were already told would happen, and then things ended. To me, as somebody who gave up after Game Over-ish because it simply felt like it was going nowhere fast, coming back to learn that, no, it had already ended, I was simply waiting on the resolution, was delightful. Homestuck didn't need another 15-minute Flash where five hundred plot twists go by too quickly to make sense. It needed a 7-minute Flash where approximately two things happened, very beautifully and climactically. And that's what it got.

Aw fuck and there's the wordy thing I told myself I wasn't about to write.

As a side note, the funniest angry tweet I saw about this was something along the lines of "After Act 7, I can no longer in good conscience suggest that new people read Homestuck." Buddy, if you felt good about recommending three Moby-Dicks worth of teens yelling at each other before Act 7, don't let a few minutes of anime spoil your weird-ass idea of a good time. Yes, I share that weird-ass idea of a good time, what's your point
posted by rorgy at 7:14 AM on April 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, and w/r/t the fandom being "a part of" Homestuck: as a big enthusiastic fan of games and art and good yarns and funny shit, the fandom is what kept me away from Homestuck for the longest time. I am pretty anti–the notion that you ought to be responsible in any way for liking stuff that you like, but at the same time it's equally true that rabid enthusiasm leads directly to shutting out outsider. (This is just as true in politics and academia, and is a conundrum I spend a lot of personal time trying to figure out how to solve.)

The fandom basically convinced me Homestuck was a piece of shit, sort of like Achewood's fans convinced me for the longest time that Achewood's humor was "ironic" in that it didn't have any. My favorite things tend to be things whose fans I've never met, I think because when I meet somebody who likes a thing it makes me not want to like that thing as much, and I am comfortable blaming "fans are the worst" for that. So, to a new reader, I'd suggest basically ignoring people who like Homestuck, and perhaps never mentioning that you like it, and definitely never going to a public meetup about it.* Just (1) read the comic, (2) be prepared for it to be mostly shits and giggles for a while, and (3) have faith that when the plot kicks in, it will kick the fuck in.

*(I am maybe still not-a-fan enough to get over the squickishness of seeing a bunch of late twentysomethings hanging out around a bunch of teenage enthusiasts. Some of my good friends are part of IRL Homestuck communities, so I'm sure it's actually lovely, but it weirds me the hell out.)
posted by rorgy at 7:27 AM on April 15, 2016


I wasn't trying to get into the fandom because I felt like I had to to understand the comic. I haven't seen 90% of the pop culture references that HS makes either.

It's because I like community, and have been active in some kind of fandom since I was 13, so much of my life was sparked from fandom activities. I appreciate the conversations and creativity that comes from fandom, and omg there was so much about Homestuck I wanted to chat about! Its interactions with fandom is one of the things I LOVE about Homestuck, and if I had gotten involved sooner I feel like I would have been very creatively productive, just like my teen years in the Savage Garden & (self-created) Channel V fandoms.

I found my main fandom outlet on the Homestuck subreddit, which has actually been way nicer to me than Mefi has sometimes despite me being a demographic outlier. Tumblr's all right though it's a little harder to get traction for long text posts - but I did find some people who appreciate long meta, wooo
posted by divabat at 7:50 AM on April 15, 2016


pretty anti–the notion that you ought to be responsible in any way for liking stuff that you like, but at the same time it's equally true that rabid enthusiasm leads directly to shutting out outsider.

I'm pretty anti the idiom of saying "I'm anti-whatever", but I am VERY VERY pro using en dashes for open compounds, and for that, rorgy, I salute you.

(And I'll suggest that it's because you were the sort of person who could write a 6k word post about Homestuck that you didn't find it confusing. I'd let enough time pass that I honestly had not identified the "house juju" as such and have no memory of the kids being trapped therein. So: confused! I'm sure if I'd read it in a single go, it would have made much more sense.)
posted by kenko at 8:10 AM on April 15, 2016


Oh, it makes way more sense now. Though that also suggests that Caliborn/English wasn't defeated in [S] Collide by Dave, but in events not shown in Act 7.
posted by kenko at 8:58 PM on April 15, 2016 [1 favorite]




btw am I the only one who watched the frog bit in the act 7 flash and briefly thought "oh my god, homestuck was Frog Fractions 2 the whole time"?
posted by sandswipe at 7:30 PM on April 21, 2016


No, Sandswipe, I thought that as well. Well, I thought, "ah, so *that* is how they're going to make the Homestuck game."
posted by peripatetron errant at 1:16 PM on April 22, 2016


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