A few months ago, a friend of mine suggested that I check out a webcomic series called Homestuck, written by Andrew Hussie and featured on MS Paint Adventures. Normally, I wouldn’t really bite for webcomics, although the way it was described to me didn’t seem like a webcomic at all, but rather some full-fledged story. Nevertheless, I bookmarked the page, nonchalantly wrote it off as hipster shit, and went about my days too preoccupied to try anything different. It was one of those days that I figured “fuck it” and popped open the tab. I don’t remember exactly what prompted it, but whatever I’d finished reading at the time allowed for something to take its place. But instantly, I was bored with it again, unimpressed by its presentation. It took me awhile to muster up the enthusiasm to continue again, but I did, and I kept at it. And I’m glad I did, because Homestuck is probably the greatest thing I have ever read.
It’s really quite difficult to explain how much I love this series. Recently, it’s been my favorite thing, and, as strange as it sounds, manages to populate every facet of my interests at this point. The entire story is canonically somewhat of a throwback to EarthBound on the Super Nintendo (to which Hussie is evidently a fan of), in which there are four friends trudging through copious amounts of plot shit attempting to finish whatever it is they’ve been slapped around the world in search of. It’s funny, because even if EarthBound weren’t already my favorite game, the delicate pedestal I’ve placed this on would remain unchanged (you can even catch a glimpse of the EarthBound kids somewhere in the story if you know what you’re doing).
As odd as it sounds, the entire series is done entirely in Photoshop and whatever GIF animation program he uses to make the repeatedly flashing images which consist of nearly every panel. It may seem a little half-assed with a name like “Microsoft Paint” wrongly figure-heading its production, but don’t be fooled. MS Paint Adventures is an incredibly misleading title for such a great collection of work (fuck yeah, Problem Sleuth) done by a guy who’s responsibly aware of his fanbase, despite whatever media is used.
On some occasions, flash will be incorporated (these panels are preceded by an “[S],” indicating the use of sound) to better represent whatever part of the story he feels deserves the honor of being made into a short film (or game). Released on the side of Homestuck is a wide and ever-expanding discography based on the series, some songs in which are actually used in the [S] flashes. The amount of work put into not only the comic, but the number and quality of its albums is admirable to say the least.
The comic unfolds with that of a boy named “John Egbert,” a painfully modernized version of a 13-year old kid whose only friends seem to occupy the contents of his “PesterChum” buddy list, in which there are only three: Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider, and Jade Harley. Although they’ve never had the opportunity to meet eachother in person, their bond can be considered as strong as, if not more than any orthodox friendship. They make up for the lack of face-to-face communication by sending eachother thoughtful gifts in the mail.
As it so happens, the kids have recently caught wind of the latest PC game known as “Sburb.” Sburb is a highly-advanced piece of software in which people are now able to distort the physical surroundings of their clients from the safety of their own homes. The game takes a grip on reality, as players are encouraged to “alchemize” multiple objects into single, more “efficient” objects (i.e. Bill Cosby poster and computer makes “Cosbytop,” a Bill Cosby-shaped computer). In this, the four friends have gained the ability to significantly alter the world around themselves in order to achieve something which I will leave open-ended for the sake of preserving the story.
The humor is as impeccable as it is down-to-earth. Throughout the story accumulates a snowball of in-comic “memes” specific to the comic itself (jokes usually surrounding Nicolas Cage movies, Nintendo Power, Juggalos, and the side-project of an intentionally and incredibly shitty webcomic called “Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff” which is almost completely to blame for the large number number of English-corrupt terms which appear as subtle commonplace throughout the series (WHEW)).
Don’t make the same mistake of abandoning at the start, because once you’re but a shoe in, you begin to grasp the enormity of the plot as well as its charm. So if you’re someone who’s even the least bit interested by the antics of an alien race of both literal and figurative trolls, a batshit-insane archagent who rises to become a universal deity, or the misadventures of a team of survivors on a devastated planet, then Homestuck is the story for you.