Homestuck is a web comic that is notoriously hard to explain. It’s a combination of old memes and references to the pop culture of the eighties and nineties. It uses the slightly obnoxious format of old text based computer games and makes fun of old movies and just about anything its creator Andrew Hussie can think of. It is an extremely geeky comic for extremely geeky people and it can be hard to get into because of its complicated plot and running gags.
This web comic is something of a full immersion experience. Hussie takes full advantage of the medium he’s working with to create animated gifs, interactive games, music, and short animated sequences to tell the story. There are a few other web comics that have used animated gifs, but Homestuck may be the only web comic with a soundtrack.
The story involves four friends who decide to play a computer game called SBURB. This game enables the players to affect their environment in the real world, and also causes a countdown to the world’s destruction. It turns out that this game has stakes much higher than the four kids could ever have imagined, and the ultimate prize is of cosmic proportions.
If that weren’t complicated enough, it turns out that their session of the game interfered with the game session of aliens who call themselves “trolls.” These trolls (who themselves are the same age as our human players) spend a great deal of time at first harassing the kids and then slowly coming around to assist them. Working together, the kids and the remaining trolls attempt to find a way to rescue each other from game sessions that have gone profoundly wrong, and hopefully, find their way to a new game session win the ultimate prize.
Homestuck is an oddly engaging comic, though it is extremely difficult to get into. The first couple acts of the comic are repetitive and the characters engage in some extremely ridiculous and nonsensical activities. However, as details and plot points develop it soon becomes clear that there is a lot of something going on, even if you still are not clear what that something might be. Homestuck is a quirky, strange comic packed with in-jokes, bizarro humor, extreme death of the author and an amazing soundtrack.