Addiction Is A Powerful Thing…

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Amanda Coffey

Addiction Is A Powerful Thing, and That’s All There Really Is To Say On The Matter.

Homestuck, an interactive webcomic by graphic artist Andrew Hussie, author of Problem Sleuth and owner of website mspaintadventures.com, has taken the Internet in a stranglehold with his new creative project. Barely a year old, the motion comic uses unique storytelling and quirky animation, music and artwork to weave together a genre-busting odyssey, emulating the style of vintage choose your own adventure games. Ready? Aggress or abscond!

Following the adventures of four teenagers as they play a video game that manipulates the real world environment of those who play it, (a mixture of The Sims and Spore, with elements of Earthbound, according to the author), viewers are treated to layers of fascination as the kids become embroiled in the dark secrets behind the purpose of the game itself, and ultimately to something much more transcendent (without spoiling too much). Prankster John Egbert, eldritch enthusiast Rose Lalonde, irony-obsessed “cool kid” Dave Strider and “girl extraordinaire” Jade Harley become the Heir of Breath, Seer of Light, Knight of Time and Witch of Space, who are transported into the Medium where a battle is being waged over the planet of Skaia. Together, they must ascend to the height of their abilities, defeat the final boss and retrieve their ultimate reward, sacrificing their own home planet in the process… that is, until the whole thing is ripped to shreds due to the tampering of intergalactic internet trolls and, as the comic puts it, “weird time sh*t.”

Being a webcomic, it’s primary following consists of science fiction enthusiasts online, and those who do follow it, do it often, religiously- partially due to the rigorous work ethic of the author (roughly five pages of updates in a day, average, if Andrew is not working on a flash animation), and the absolute necessity to pay heed to every single plot detail and joke, no matter how miniscule. It is not a work for one with a short attention span, and its cult following is one to be reckoned with. The amount of talented fan art, fan music, and costume play has reached the amusement of the artist himself, who up until the plot became too heavy, used fan given suggestions within comic and even recruited members of the fandom for the music and alternate art team. As a result of his amazing dedication, the fans are all relatively close knit, and it makes the comic tantamount to an experience rather than a conventional read.

The story is broken up into Acts, all of which are mapped out neatly on the website: Acts 1 through 5.1 and 5.2, and Intermission (which follows the foibles of the Midnight Crew- a group of alien mobsters who fight against another group of alien mobsters who travel to and fro in time). The comic, being a serial, is nowhere near close to being completed either, and is currently undergoing the plot heavy arc pileup of Act 5.2. Perhaps one of the more attractive parts of Homestuck, though, plot-wise; is that the story itself manages to be deep without being preachy- including themes of death, sacrifice, and coming of age. These really are just four 13-year-olds playing a video game together, even when the emotions run high. One of the key points of Homestuck, the emotional maturation of the heroes, is sometimes you forget they ARE kids- that is, until a multiple exclamation regarding the number of irons in the fire (all of them) or an intergalactic rap battle reminds you in the most hilarious way possible.

Homestuck is, beneath everything, a comic about kids and fun. However, that does not mean that it is for kids by any means. The comic is laced with mythological symbolism and math references that will go over the heads of most children, as well as explicit language and incredibly graphic scenes of violence and death. In addition to containing themes not meant for children, it starts out slow, but by the time you meet all four kids, if you don’t love the comic, then it’s simply not for you. However, if you find yourself with enough free time and are willing to tackle something colossal, Homestuck can be experienced in its entirety for free on Andrew Hussie’s website, mspaintadventures.com, along with the other comics, games and music it has to offer. There isn’t word on its completion yet, minus the author’s chronic trolling, but being part of his history can only go to show that his next comic will be even bigger and better, if this is just his warm up.

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