Individual Work

Homestuck is a multi-media web comic that is primarily about a group of four children who inadvertently cause the end of the world by playing the beta version of a video game. Additionally, it has a focus on the struggles they face in attempting to create a new universe by beating that game.It is comprised of pieces of all genres and has a massively complex story wrought with time travel, multiple universes and strange mysterious forces at play. In many ways it can be summed up as the misadventures of children playing an omnipotent video game.

In an homage to the text based adventure games early portions of the story are bound by pseudo "commands" given by an unseen controller to the characters we see. Whether or not those characters follow the instructions is purely a matter of the character's willpower. The majority of the work is displayed to the reader through a combination of animated gifs and dialogue told in the style of an instant messanging interface. In many other parts of the story, readers control the flow of the narrative directly by playing as a character in interactive video game sections. Almost all of these include sound. The more dramatically important sections are flash animations that can be as short as 5 minutes and as long as a half hour. All of these flash "movies" feature original artwork, animation, and musical background. In some cases even the formatting of the website itself is changed to facilitate meta interactivity between certain characters and the audience. This breaking of the fourth wall in a manner typical of stage plays is one of the largest sources of humor that it draws from. Usually relying on self referential humor would make for boring jokes, but the sheer volume of the work gives a lot of the running gags a surprising amount of stamina. Homestuck is in contention as one of the longest running web comics on the internet with over 100,000 pages and more than 800,000 images.

The combination of insane volume, fantastical elements and complex story driven narrative have led many to consider it an epic in the same vein as Ulysses, the Iliad, the Odyssey and even Beowulf. It fulfills the same societal niche, with many aspects of the story being created by fans. A large portion of the artwork and music was fan created and the endless speculation on the website's forums generated several portions of the plot as it developed. By growing from the people, it grew almost to be a kind of folk tale with the variations being supplied by legions of fan fiction writers and inspired independent artists. The themes of the Greek mythos extends beyond the telling of the stories to the characters themselves.

Like these ancient tales of heroism, Homestuck does not possess a singular overarching meaning. The piece instead has a large number of smaller messages. A lot of these are geared towards the younger audience it was written for. Lessons about drug and alcohol abuse and the fears of living up to the expectations of yourself as well as those around you are laid bare for readers to contemplate. All of these lessons taught through the lens of teenage hubris that Homestuck provides.