Huh. I was expecting the reference to be to Mewtwo Strikes Back. Brother My Brother, and all.
what are you guys talking about, this was obviously the best op
IF THERE IS EVER A HOMESTUCK ANIME LET THIS BE THE OPENING
HOLY SHIT THIS IS SO BADASS
They’re not running right-to-left enough.
It should be noted that that previous post left out stuff like:
-The arc that was nothing but a homicidal Easter Bunny taking over the other holidays
-The arc that involved interdimensional travel to a world of demons - and bringing them to a ‘nice’ dimension. And then initiating a war. And then… damn, the That Which Redeems arc was just quality.
-The arc that involved the main cast’s house being sent to the afterlife. Ghosts in the Gastank is one of my favorite arcs, period.
-The parodies of the Harry Potter books. There are four of them so far.
-The girl that transforms into a camel (and is a main character)
-The creepy dentist character
-The multiple horror parody arcs based around the feline offspring of Satan
-The demon possessing one of the main characters
-The surprisingly complex characters
-The way that it remains funny even in the dark times (poor bastard, anyone?)
-How the author followed up a single line of dialogue into amajor plot point… seven years later.
Sluggy Freelance is more complicated than Homestuck. It really is. And, in my opinion, it’s even better.
(Man, I don’t know which bit of code or data to blame, but your reblog buttons are placed really unintuitively for me.)
(Also, it turns out it might be best to just skip to the end, then maybe read the other stuff at leisure. Whoops.)
The thing is, I feel like Sluggy Freelance has some serious issues that Homestuck hasn’t. I started a reread a few months back, and then stalled out (more on that in a sec), and I noticed some serious issues with the early stuff, some of which persist.
One thing that really sticks out is how much the early stuff relies on topical humor. Reading gags about stuff that happened over a decade ago is… an experience. I’m not saying that webcomics shouldn’t show an awareness of the world around them, but making joke after joke about “this just now happened” is really tiresome a decade later. I believe he at least started making things vaguer, later on, so it’s not quite as bad, that I remember.
More drastic is the self-contained structure of the arcs. Although, yes, there are repercussions even today from some of the very early strips (recall that Dr. Schlock, the current head of Hereti-Corp, originates from a splinter timeline created when some temporal stasis technology from said splinter timeline malfunctioned and sent K’z’k to the distant past, somewhere or other in Europe, thereby eliminating the conditions that brought that splinter timeline into existence.), the bulk of what happens within an arc is only relevant within that arc, or in future incarnations of that arc. It’s really hard to remember what’s actually happening in the overall world, because there’s just so much stuff. The most extreme example that I know of offhand is the Punyverse arc, which is a major factor in why my reread is stalled. They all die at the end. I can’t quite remember the details, but all of the new characters die, and never matter again in any capacity. At some point, I’m going to end up forcing myself to read something that has minimal long-term effects on the three characters who survive. Pretty much the only person who got anything out of all this was the alien scientist who was trying to get free power for his wafflemaker, presumably conducting his research on the taxpayer’s dime. Or something. Point is, it’s not going to matter. Similarly, the third Torg Potter arc (which I must be way out from) didn’t actually happen. Due to time travel.
Which is another thing. It’s really hard for me to draw inferences when I’m not sure how major bits of the universe work. Let’s compare current understanding of time travel (and related cosmology):
Homestuck: a single “alpha timeline” is the main focus of the story. The alpha timeline appears to be defined, in part, by the act of successfully creating a universe. Characters with extraordinary abilities may be able to interact with doomed timelines, which are defined by paradoxicality. The interface between a universe and the session that spawned it is a giant frog. That frog contains multiple divergent timelines, in similar conditions, which may spawn or connect with multiple other sessions. Beyond the borders of the sessions, time and space become uncertain. Extraordinary abilities are required to navigate this region, but things are still identified with their timeline, no matter how their path twists.
Sluggy Freelance: there are time machines built on purpose and time machines built by accident and the DFA can send you through time I think, and Oceans Unmoving is its own weird cosmology that has multiple non-linear connections to the home timeline. When K’z’k took over, it formed a new timeline, but one of its residents had already been there in the present for decades. Then, when K’z’k was defeated in the past, they came back to a present that was almost, but not quite the same. But all of that involved the Lysinda Circle vampires. Okay, let me see if I can untangle this one bit:
In the past of the original timeline, they had not traveled back Lord Torgamus did stuff. K’z’k took over, and Dr. Schlock and what’s-his-name (Slate Hardslab? Something like that. I don’t really care because he himself is not important long-term.) Went back in time, to different points. It’s not clear whether the multiple entry points formed multiple splinters. However, when Brick Meathead’s weapons malfunctioned, and sent K’z’k back to the time of Lord Torgamus, that formed a temporal groove that Riff’s time machine was able to track, taking Torg and Zoë to the past, where they mostly defeated K’z’k. They returned to the third iteration of the main timeline, in which K’z’k and Zoë’s battle was a major political shakeup. In both iterations of Lord Torgamus’s time, Valery (I’m not checking any names, so if I got that or any other wrong, that’s why.) became a Lysinda Circle vampire, and in both iterations, Torg reminded her of Torgamus.
However, I believe that this then leads to an infinite sequence of iterations on these timelines, in addition to stuff like:
Multiple Bun-buns coexisting in Oceans Unmoving, before entering the main timeline at different times (though in a consistent order, I guess)
Riff exploiting temporal loopholes to ensure that Zoë survives 4U City. Only way I can get that to be consistent is to assume that in some timeline, there’s a Riff who did that, and it didn’t work. Because, as the stuff that happened with K’z’k appears to show, traveling back in time creates a splice. However, that implies that there were two Schlocks in the timeline that Old Schlock came from… whatever… But there’s instantaneous time travel, like Schlock used, and the time turner, there’s diversions through the Oceans Unmoving, which is unclear whether it should bring about the same splice mechanics, because now the endpoints aren’t coincident for the traveler. And then there’s whatever the DFAs were doing.
A vital aspect of a fictional world is the audience’s ability to replicate the creator’s mental model. SF appears to be using one of the stock time-travel models, but I’m not certain, and the presentation doesn’t encourage, in me at least, any more than the most superficial analysis. Which means that, for me, I often have no idea what could happen when anything more complex than a holiday time-stop occurs.
A more fundamental difference between SF and Homestuck is that Homestuck has an end-goal, whereas SF is a daily serial with a heavy focus on punchlines. But it also has an elaborate cosmology and archive, which were assembled piecemeal by that same daily drive for punchlines. What this means is that SF makes more sense in some ways read serially, but requires a deep knowledge of the archives. Hussie, by contrast, has noted the tension between these two groups of readers, and does his best to avoid harming the experience of the archive readers (not having people overreact in an OOC fashion for a cheap cliffhanger, for example), because he intends for every reader to be an archive reader, someday.
Some of this is down to the fact that SF was one of the trailblazers of webcomics, so there were some things that Abrams didn’t know to expect. I don’t know if anybody’s tried archive binging a long-running newspaper comic, but if so, it couldn’t have been pleasant. (I believe I’ve read significant portions of some completed newspaper comics, but those were in books specifically for that purpose, with commentary.) I imagine that, when Abrams started out, it didn’t cross his mind that people would be working through his early stuff, two decades later. Because that’s not what you do with the most obvious model, serial newspaper strips. (Oh man, now I kind of want someone else to try it with Garfield.) It’s a fact that the trailblazers of a new medium are likely to attempt some stuff that just falls completely flat. (At AB a few years back, I went to a panel on bizarre moments in anime. Part of trailblazing is experimenting, and experimenting can fail. The style of the beginning of Tezuka’s Cleopatra is… something that is unlikely to be repeated in earnest.) The thing is, SF isn’t just tied to the weight of its continuity, it’s tied to the weight of the choices that led to its continuity. When people who’ve learned from what’s come before start out now, they have a much better idea of what’s likely to actually work.
Oh fuck, that’s in paragraphs, but what are paragraphs.
Ultimately, I think a key thing to note is that Homestuck is the fourth (two of the six don’t count for much) Adventure on MSPA. While Hussie is still experimenting, he’s culled the biggest missteps from previous works (like Bardquest’s true branching. Eugh.), and is drawing on the history of his previous online works, in addition to the more MSPA-specific experiments. Further, by releasing multiple stories, he doesn’t tie himself to his past mistakes. He references previous works, but the references aren’t vital to understanding what’s going on right now.
Actually, I was thinking a few days back that this is something the mainstream comics industry should also try: have a definite end in mind for characters/stories. Take all the time you need to get there, but be ready to say “Okay, we had some good adventures with this character, and learned some things, but now it’s time for a fresh start.” (Because otherwise canon and experiments pile up, and people get more and more opinionated, which isn’t a problem until you hire them. Not the same issue as in webcomics, but something to think about while rolling in licensing revenue.)
To bring this around to something that’s not “just my opinion, man”, how would you advise someone interested in reading Sluggy Freelance for the first time?
Page 2465 of my Homestuck reread
HOLY FUCK HUSSIE NO FUCKING WAY JESUS jhaplkgfdabhspighfasdfsa
HE HAS A BOWTIE AND THE SWIRLIE DEALS AND EVERYTHIGN
You know about this… interesting thread… right?
Everything is grist for the mill of his storytelling.
can someone seriously tell me how the homestuck fandom comes off as racist
I’m being srs.
Hell, going by that logic might as well start pondering on how Hetalia is racist.
I suspect it varies by site. /r/homestuck, for example, seems basically unremarkable in this regard to me (ready to be proven wrong, for the record), while I have no idea what it looks like on tumblr because I only follow specific blogs. For a concrete comparison, take /r/minecraft vs the minecraft tag. One struggles to find an identity, and has given far too much traction to unfunny Endermen jokes* (I think that shit’s mostly burned out, thankfully), while the other looks to me like a bunch of inoffensive things floating in a massive cesspool of incompetent spam and piracy.
*”Oh man, they’re tall, black, and steal your stuff. Oh man, they can’t swim. Oh man, watermelon were added at the same time, is grape juice next?” Unfunny and stupid. Also, I’m fairly sure most black people don’t have purple eyes, can’t teleport, and don’t live in a hidden sky dimension overseen by an all-destroying dragon.
Someone probably already pointed this out, but I’m just now realizing it. On the newest update, uu did that crown swap thing with the chess pieces…
Didn’t the White Queen have the King’s scepter when she knocked out Jack?
I wonder if that has any special significance.
uu: MY QuEEN. DISGuISED AS A KING. MADE MOVES LIKE A KING. WHICH IS WITHIN ITS CAPABILITY. THIS WAS DONE TO DECEIVE YOu.
uu: MY KING. DISGuISED AS A QuEEN. MADE MOVES LIKE A KING. BECAuSE DOING OTHERWISE WOuLD BREAK THE RuLES.
uu: BuT YOu BELIEVED IT HAD HER POWERS. AND I uSED THIS TO MY ADVANTAGE.
uu: WHICH WAS HILARIOuS TO OBSERVE. WATCHING YOu BACK AWAY FROMS “THREATS.” FROM WHAT WAS IN TRuTH A DISTANT KING!
uu: ALL THE WHILE MY RuSE. PATENTLY OBVIOuS IN HINDSIGHT. WENT EMBARRASSINGLY uNDETECTED.
uu: NO RuLES BROKEN. NOT ONCE.
Of note: Despite their Prospitian/Dersite affiliations, uu was playing as White, and UU as Black.
It is painfully obvious I do not own these beautiful pictures.
If you reboob CHECK AND SEE IF IT CUTS OFF IF IT DOES MAKE IT A TEXT POST!
Dragged Doc Scratch. Was disappointed.
Somebody, possibly me, needs to set up some white/transparent goodness on his sign.
And maybe a SBaHJ face on his head.