Homestuck Cosplay

Homestuck is an interactive experience which has even permeated past the internet and onto the streets. At the upcoming Supanova Popculture Convention, there will undoubtedly be colorful red and orange horns, found atop the heads of Homestuck’s alien race, the Trolls. Fans have also created a plethora of unofficial works, including fanfiction, fanart, and cosplay ensembles based on the characters. Supanova, held at RNA showgrounds twice a year, is a highlight for people known as ‘cosplayers’, a phrase which is a combination of ‘costume play’. The fad originally began at Japanese anime and manga conventions, but have quickly spread through out the rest of the world. The idea of dressing up as a character for a day, and the immense amount of skill and dedication put into the outfits, is something which sets cosplayers apart from more casual fans. Below are a few examples of costumes, and the intense work and effort that goes into them!

(Cosplayers from right to left: John Egbert (Godtier) and Rose Lalonde (Grimdark) from Homestuck)

(Mr Kitty as Jake English, from Act 6 of Homestuck)

(The Ancestors from Homestuck, from left to right: The Summoner, The Disciple, Her Imperial Condescension, The Grand Highblood, The Expatriot Darkleer, The Marquise Spinneret Mindfang, The Neophyte Redglare, The Handmaid, The Dolorossa, and the two infront are The Signless and The Psiiconic)

(The first 12 trolls. Back row from left to right: Terezi, Vriska, Equius, Gamzee, Eridan, and Feferi.

The row beneath: Aradia, Tavros, Sollux, Karkat, Nepeta, Kanaya.)

(Godtier Rose Lalonde and Davesprite)

(Dirk Strider)

( Cronus Ampora, by Shawna, 17, a fan of Homestuck)

Name: Saro
Country: USA
Age: 19
Quote: I love Homestuck, and cosplay especially, because it makes it easy to find people with things in common with you. I’ve always been really, really weird to a lot of people and it wasn’t until I went to college and discovered Homestuck that I realized that there were actually people like me out in the world. Also since I’m normally pretty shy, being able to assume the identity of a character and communicate with people first from behind that sort of safeguard makes it a lot easier to initiate conversation.

(The four main characters of Homestuck; Rose, Dave, John and Jade)

Advertisements

The Characters of Homestuck – a Diverse and exciting cast

Homestuck has a vast range of over 100 unique characters – a far larger cast then most movies, books or other webcomics. Homestuck takes a unique stand on the presentation and complexity of its characters – with more then 5000 pages, its unique format allows the audience to chop and change between sequences in the story. This allows insight into each character’s individual drives and motivations, and helps to give them more rounded personalities.The cast is split evenly in regards to both male and female characters, with an almost 1:1 ratio making it unique in modern media. Some of the most important arcs of the story line are initiated by the strong female cast, who challenge and tear down common media stereotypes. Homestuck deals with romance and action, love and tragedy, but avoids typical gender stereotypes such as a shining male ‘hero’ and damsels in distress. Homestuck at its root is a comedy – and while having complex characters, Hussie’s intention is not to shove heavy handed feminism down his audiences throat. With his penchant for repeating patterns and brick jokes (A joke set up far back in the narrative, waiting for the other shoe to drop) make for revelations that exist to be both wonderful and terrible at the same time – showcasing his skills in making interesting and ever evolving characters who do not conform with societal gender norms.

In modern media, a narrative is usually marketed to a gender. Male audiences are expected to connect and view characters with male focus, action movies with male protagonists. A narrative with women at its focus is usually marketed exclusively to women, and focuses on themes deemed ‘feminine’, such as relationships or family drama. Examples of such media are movies such as ‘Valentines Day’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and ‘Twilight’. Archetypal roles are often used in these movies, creating flat two dimensional characters. Homestuck rebukes these stereotypes, challenging them through its characters.

What sets Homestuck apart are the roles that the female characters take; despite the large number, each one is different and every single one has a job to do. Despite the typical stereotype of femininity, and cliche notions of ‘waiting to be rescued’, they are given drives beyond being typecast as ‘girls’.  An example of this is showcased in the complicated revenge cycle between two characters, Vriska and Aradia. Both take part in an extreme action role playing game together with a few of their  friends – extreme in that, some cases, the game causes the death of its participants. As they are part of an alien race, known as trolls, who are quite savage in nature, this is seen as only a slight hindrance rather than a big deal. Within troll society, there are different blood castes, all placed on a ‘Hemospectrum’, which goes from rust red (being the lowest) to pinkish fuchsia (considered royalty). The dynamics of this class system, as well as interpersonal dynamics between the trolls themselves creates a tense social situation.



(An example of the Hemospectrum)

Vriska (a blue blood), spiteful that Tavros (a communal friend of both her and Aradia) does not return her feelings, injures him, causing him paralysis from the waist down. Aradia takes this as a slight against herself, and using abilities given to her by her blood caste (she is rust red blooded) she sends spirits to haunt and terrify Vriska. This continues a cycle of revenge which ultimately leads to Aradia’s death, and her ghost implanted in robotic form later. This intense cycle is a centre point of Homestuck, and holds greater importance later in the story line, cementing both Aradia and Vriska as vital characters. The relevance placed upon them and their later character development, and the complexity of their arc showcases the lack of gender stereotypes in Homestuck. Both Vriska and Aradia are written as strong characters with their own personalities and volitions. In this arc, Tavros is important, but less for what he does, and instead for what happens to him – a role usually given to female characters.

(Aradia’s ghosts robotic host, taking revenge on Vriska for killing her.)

Vriska is arguably one of the best written characters in the series – slowly growing from a dislikable antagonist and self proclaimed ‘8itch’ to redeemable. The detail and intricacy of her storyline, the kind of attention usually reserved for male protagonists, is a shining example of Hussie’s unique storytelling style. The characters are presented as more than their genders, or stereotypes abundant in literature of today. Homestuck presents characters which are relatable and realistic, having both admirable and despicable traits, and balanced and interesting personalities. This broad range of exciting characters, interpersonal dynamics and Hussie’s ability to laugh both at himself and his audience are what keep this webcomic fresh, different, and a few steps ahead of its literary competition.

Andrew Hussie’s webcomic, Homestuck; Internet phenomenon, or just another phase?


Image


Homestuck is an interactive story and webcomic, which utilizes the internet to the fullest to explore the narrative of four teenagers who play a game which brings about the apocalypse. That’s quite a summarizing sentence, isn’t it? But by using the unusual formatting allowed by the web to include moving graphics, interactive gameplay elements, short flash animations, and chatlogs, Homestuck is a one of a kind media experience. It has both been praised and scorned across the internet, but the rapid growth of its fans and 600,000 unique IP hits the ‘mspaintadventures’ site receives on a daily basis suggest that this phenomenon is not all just talk. Homestuck has been likened to the modern day internet equivalent of Ulysses by the popular PBS Idea Channel, and for good reason. The comic is currently at roughly 7000 pages, and still updating. Andrew Hussie’s diligence with supplying updates every few days has helped the comic flourish from its humble forum based beginnings.

Image

Begun in 2009, one fateful april 13th, Homestuck was originally a small forum run story, in which members of the forums could input commands and see the results. But soon fan numbers grew out of control, and Hussie had to reign in and retire the commands element in favour of more streamlined story telling. What resulted from silly fan inputs has since grown into a hugely complex story involving parallel universes, time travel, and a whole lot of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey shenanigans. However, the complicated story line is not the only draw; the cast of over 24 main characters, and the challenges and value of internet friendship, as well as themes of romance and growing up help to connect the reader with this story. In an age of rapidly globalized social interactions, and an increasing number of teenagers taking to the internet as a form of social interactions (via sites such as facebook, reddit, and tumblr) the webcomic helps unite people with similar interests from across the globe, encouraging and reinforcing the value of friendships despite distance.

That is not to say the comic goes out of its way to be preachy and overly cliche – in fact, with its unique mix of comedy/tragedy genre, Homestuck is a webcomic that is not afraid to make a joke about itself. With a myriad of inside jokes about stairs, the text is scattered with literary throw backs to old video games and memes of yester-year. Heavily based on Earthbound, Sims and even a little like Spore, Homestuck revitalizes elements from other media, incorporates it and makes it its own.

The Homestuck fanbase has not been idle since the retirement of reader commands. With Homestuck’s boom in success, the fanbase has become huge, and while sometimes quite an excitable internet subculture, they have made some pretty monumental marks on the internet and on the world outside as well. The fans  crashed Newgrounds servers (co-opted by Mr. Hussie to help distribute the update) after waiting 3 months for an update flash. (He then placed it on Megaupload. It crashed too.) They have started charity initiatives, such as the Can Town Project, which donates tinned food to various charities across the world. The most crazy feat of all – raising $700,000 of funding in less than 32 hours for the promised release of a Homestuck video game in 2014. This monumental effort shows the numbers of diverse and intensely passionate fans, and the power a good story can wield.

Homestuck is many things – an interactive webcomic, an exploration and invention of new ways to explore storytelling through the medium of the internet, and a powerful force for bringing people together. While the story is definitely an undertaking,  it is an enjoyable and hilarious read and well worth the 3 weeks worth of reading it will undoubtedly take.
Image 

Hello world!

This blog is dedicated to the dissection and discussion of Andrew Hussie’s popular webcomic, Homestuck. The purpose of this blog is to identify and interpret as well as give fuller understanding to all readers!

I personally love reading, playing video games, and enjoying characters and their growth. I also thoroughly enjoy Homestuck, and find it in most regards, a breath of fresh air in a media climate full of worn out cliches and overly stereotypical narratives. But that does not mean Homestuck is beyond criticism, or dissection; in fact, looking critically at stories I enjoy help me to better understand and involve myself in the story itself. Hopefully, this blog will shed a little light on the phenomenon that is taking the internet by storm at the moment and be an enjoyable read as well.

(And maybe help you get a handle on all 6 of those pesky acts!)