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Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



Homestuck 2 has had some great updates and I thought large parts of the Epilogues were very compelling. But on the whole it feels as though HS2 is an extremely different animal from Homestuck, by design, and often it's not an animal I enjoy that much. "Direct to video sequel" occasionally feels apt.

A lot of the dense mythology and layers of allusion to history, philosophy and literature that gave Homestuck depth and texture are gone, replaced with references to children's books or that god-awful segment where Dirk and Rose talk about how they only have a Wikipedia-grade understanding of philosophy anyway so there's no point talking about it. I thought the Plato's Cave bit in early HS2 was pretty clever, I guess, but it's not exactly a deep cut like all the stuff about Gnosticism in Homestuck. The thing about The Little Prince felt as twee and as substantial as a strip from The Oatmeal.

One thing that I've been thinking about lately is this: in his commentary on early Homestuck, Hussie talked about how he wanted to capture the feeling of what it was like to have online friendships in the late 2000s, without tying that feeling down to a frame of reference that would swiftly become outdated. So, almost mechanically, he developed Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff so that the characters could share memes and in-jokes from a parallel source that had the aesthetic of 2009 era internet memes, but would never begin to feel like reading jokes about the ORLY owl ten years later. A lot of the jokes from HS2 feel like they're going to age like reading jokes about the ORLY owl ten years later.

I mean, it's not like Homestuck was immune to this, there's stuff about the Miracles music video and references to the Chaos Dunk and Guy Fieri circa the moment when the internet hated Guy Fieri. But most of its references and callbacks, even when they're to real world things, are elaborately constructed to be relevant within its universe rather than referential to something from ours.

John's obsession with Nic Cage isn't a satire of Nic Cage fans, but a construction that exists to allow Hussie to make pop culture references that are self-reflexively anchored within the work and so fail to lose their meaning when the reader isn't familiar with the cultural moment in which Hussie is writing. Same deal with Terezi's hilarious Silver Spoons edits, Dave poorly photoshopped on the cover of Kid Chameleon for the Sega Mega Drive, etc. It's super post-modern and super clever and totally absent from HS2.

Anyway, too many words, brain stupid. But these are things I have thought on.

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Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



That's not to say HS2 is bad. I don't think it is. Some of the writing's really good. The early updates especially are funny and interesting. The writers have a very good grasp of Dirk's voice and, in fact, often write him in more compelling ways than Hussie did. I think Dirk Strider is a character who has blossomed in the churlish grip of fanon more than he did in his source material, and HS2 continues that tradition. Other characters feel off, though.

I find the Candy timeline stuff incredibly boring and it seems as if that's where the focus has lain for the majority of the comic, so I've gotten progressively less enthusiastic as that's continued, but maybe when we see the entire picture it'll all look better. I just can't take the stakes of the goofy troll-human war seriously and I don't think the comic ever really successfully establishes them as being serious. This bizarre idea that all these demi-gods just sit in their houses while a massive civil war rages around them and barely notice until it's time for the comic to start feels like a comedy beat, but it's played like melodrama. Just doesn't work at all for me.

Regarde Aduck
Oct 18, 2012

haha


Grimey Drawer

I don't really understand why Hussie wrote the epilogues, which were really well done and made me think 'hell yeah, this is it, he did have a plan', and then abandoned it again. His experiment with canocity is fine, whatever, but I was here for the Homestuck as written in Hussie's voice. The epilogues were so well done it's odd that he returned to just... not get to the point once again and for the last time?

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



Hussie actually only wrote parts of the Epilogues - a few key scenes and the outline, is my understanding. A variety of other writers also worked on them, including some of the people who are working on HS2, although they're not the same team entirely. Aysha U. Farah and Lalo Hunt worked on both the Epilogues and HS2. Writers who worked on the Epilogues but not HS2 are cephied_variable (Jennifer Giesbrecht), CTSet, and "V".

For my money, the Epilogues are good on balance and the Meat branch is especially good, so it's not as if you need that Hussie magic to write a good story in the Homestuck setting.

Tenebrais
Sep 2, 2011



Android Blues posted:

I find the Candy timeline stuff incredibly boring and it seems as if that's where the focus has lain for the majority of the comic, so I've gotten progressively less enthusiastic as that's continued, but maybe when we see the entire picture it'll all look better. I just can't take the stakes of the goofy troll-human war seriously and I don't think the comic ever really successfully establishes them as being serious. This bizarre idea that all these demi-gods just sit in their houses while a massive civil war rages around them and barely notice until it's time for the comic to start feels like a comedy beat, but it's played like melodrama. Just doesn't work at all for me.

Yeah, I think this was a big problem for HS2. Add on top of that that the Candy universe was very openly, explicitly set in a bubble of "the poo poo that happens here doesn't matter". And that the comic opened on Meat-universe Dirk/Rose/Terezi, setting up their deal as the primary plot of the comic, which we got, what, two updates on? The other Meat-side updates were also fairly good and felt at least a bit significant, but they mostly consisted of the characters waiting for the plot to be ready for them to enter stage.

The Candy universe stuff never felt like it mattered, or like it had any impact on what the plot was going to be. It's like if the Felt intermission was 70% of Homestuck. Even when you can tell it's eventually going to be affecting something, not seeing any sort of path for how this is going to matter to the main stakes of the plot makes it all feel like pointless frippery.

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



Tenebrais posted:

Yeah, I think this was a big problem for HS2. Add on top of that that the Candy universe was very openly, explicitly set in a bubble of "the poo poo that happens here doesn't matter". And that the comic opened on Meat-universe Dirk/Rose/Terezi, setting up their deal as the primary plot of the comic, which we got, what, two updates on? The other Meat-side updates were also fairly good and felt at least a bit significant, but they mostly consisted of the characters waiting for the plot to be ready for them to enter stage.

The Candy universe stuff never felt like it mattered, or like it had any impact on what the plot was going to be. It's like if the Felt intermission was 70% of Homestuck. Even when you can tell it's eventually going to be affecting something, not seeing any sort of path for how this is going to matter to the main stakes of the plot makes it all feel like pointless frippery.

Agreed. At first when the Meat/Candy dichotomy was introduced, I felt like the idea was that Meat was plot and setting and Candy was domestic fluff, character relationships, and melodrama, but in practise there's a bunch of the latter in the Meat branch and a bunch of the former in the Candy branch and the Meat stuff is generally better executed than the Candy stuff regardless.

Per the Epilogues, the unique qualifier of the Candy universe is that people there can never really be substantial or entirely on-voice and its plots can't be resonant or its protective irrelevance field would disappear and it would collapse into oblivion. I guess that's consistently true in practise, but it doesn't make it more fun to read about the world where characterisation is ontologically bad and plots are ontologically hokey, at least not in the way that it's executed and the amount of focus HS2 puts on it.

ArfJason
Sep 5, 2011


is it really spelled Practise

Pants Donkey
Nov 13, 2011



Meat is greatly improved over Candy by having a clear antagonist presented in an interesting way. Candy is just trying to get increasingly weird because we start with the flawed premise that romance and character moments are needless fluff. But I could see how you might come to that conclusion given how romance was handled in Act 6.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I feel like if you think the premise of Candy is that character moments and romance are "needless fluff," you may have missed what Hussie was trying to do altogether.

paranoid randroid
Mar 4, 2007


Android Blues posted:

or that god-awful segment where Dirk and Rose talk about how they only have a Wikipedia-grade understanding of philosophy anyway so there's no point talking about it.

i thought that was hilarious because it played back into rose's admission she doesnt actually know anything about psychoanalysis, she just has read some wikipedia articles, and of course dirk is exactly the same kind of not-as-clever-as-he-pretends smartass

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



paranoid randroid posted:

i thought that was hilarious because it played back into rose's admission she doesnt actually know anything about psychoanalysis, she just has read some wikipedia articles, and of course dirk is exactly the same kind of not-as-clever-as-he-pretends smartass

I can totally see that! For me, it felt frustrating because partly it felt like these characters who'd always been written as smarter than their authors giving in and going, "ah, we actually just know the things the author knows, our intelligence is a literary illusion".

I don't think there's actually anything wrong with that from a character development standpoint, it makes sense that both of them are pretentious dabblers given they were playing at being smart at 13 and 16 years old, and I can see why it's enjoyable from that perspective, but for me it felt like sticking a pen through the fourth wall in a kind of tiresome way.

ArfJason
Sep 5, 2011


wasnt that a big point of all characters though. they have hobbies in so much as they engage with them in a very superficial way. John is a cinephile but he only likes popcorn cage stuff and ghostbusters. Rose is a psychotherapist but she gets all her info from wikipedia. Karkat was a romance expert who got all his info from the alternain version of Hitch and bridges of madison county. Dave was detached from everything he did because of Irony reasons.

of the main cast i think Jade was a gardener (????(jade had character traits?)) and i think she was the only one who was competent at her hobby. Kanaya too with her seamstress work

Clawtopsy
Dec 17, 2009


ArfJason posted:

wasnt that a big point of all characters though. they have hobbies in so much as they engage with them in a very superficial way. John is a cinephile but he only likes popcorn cage stuff and ghostbusters. Rose is a psychotherapist but she gets all her info from wikipedia. Karkat was a romance expert who got all his info from the alternain version of Hitch and bridges of madison county. Dave was detached from everything he did because of Irony reasons.

of the main cast i think Jade was a gardener (????(jade had character traits?)) and i think she was the only one who was competent at her hobby. Kanaya too with her seamstress work

why do you hate homjestuck so much to point out the bad writing? hm? hater...

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



I think Dirk particularly is typically written as a ridiculously unrealistic genius and his musings about philosophy in Homestuck proper allude to some pretty obscure stuff.

Obviously that's all a well-developed illusion, but it's definitely a swerve to go, "ah, you know what, Dirk's never actually read Plato's Timaeus, he was just pretending, because I the author haven't and I don't feel like I can maintain the illusion that he has".

Same deal to a lesser extent with Rose, who in Homestuck has written an incredibly florid fantasy novel by the age of 13 and as a toddler played psychoanalysis instead of playing house. Or Jade, who taxidermied her grandfather as an infant. The characters in Homestuck were often hypercompetent in ridiculous, heightened ways that eschewed naturalistic modes of writing and especially of writing children. It makes sense that Rose just got her psychoanalytic jargon from Wikipedia, but given her characterisation in Homestuck it would make just as much sense for her to have read an unrealistic amount of psychological theory.

Some characters, like John or Karkat, are everypeople who aren't any more competent than an average thirteen year old and thereby serve to give a relatable lens into the bizarre setting of the comic, but that's definitely not the case with all the kids.

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



You know what though, on re-reading that segment it's actually not as jarring as I remembered it being. And it leads into the really creepy bit where Dirk eats Rose's free will, so yeah, free pass, criticism retracted.

Clawtopsy
Dec 17, 2009


Android Blues posted:

I think Dirk particularly is typically written as a ridiculously unrealistic genius and his musings about philosophy in Homestuck proper allude to some pretty obscure stuff.

Obviously that's all a well-developed illusion, but it's definitely a swerve to go, "ah, you know what, Dirk's never actually read Plato's Timaeus, he was just pretending, because I the author haven't and I don't feel like I can maintain the illusion that he has".

Same deal to a lesser extent with Rose, who in Homestuck has written an incredibly florid fantasy novel by the age of 13 and as a toddler played psychoanalysis instead of playing house. Or Jade, who taxidermied her grandfather as an infant. The characters in Homestuck were often hypercompetent in ridiculous, heightened ways that eschewed naturalistic modes of writing and especially of writing children. It makes sense that Rose just got her psychoanalytic jargon from Wikipedia, but given her characterisation in Homestuck it would make just as much sense for her to have read an unrealistic amount of psychological theory.

Some characters, like John or Karkat, are everypeople who aren't any more competent than an average thirteen year old and thereby serve to give a relatable lens into the bizarre setting of the comic, but that's definitely not the case with all the kids.

"Have you considered that throwaway gags like this are actually depictions of traguic abuse? Really make syou think about the Homes Tuck narrative in a new light

dipwood
Feb 21, 2004

rouge means red in french

So what you're saying is Jade is actually the smartest.

Clawtopsy
Dec 17, 2009


jade is provably dumb as poo poo, possibly the dumbest alive

life_source
May 11, 2008

Destroy everything?

Sounds fun.
Let's start.


WAR FOOT, please, you are not well. Take a breather. We care about you. Come back tomorrow with better posts.

Clawtopsy
Dec 17, 2009


never

Nina
Oct 9, 2016

Invisible werewolf (entirely visible, not actually a wolf)

I always loved the kids for being simultaneously the smartest and dumbest people in the room. All of them have the energy of self-teaching advanced concepts with such an absurd gusto it becomes a part of their dysfunction.

Already getting that energy with Psycholonials too what's with miss MIT hacker who's written an entire political manifesto while still being a dumbass garbage goblin of a woman.

HookedOnChthonics
Dec 5, 2015

Profoundly dull




ArfJason posted:

wasnt that a big point of all characters though. they have hobbies in so much as they engage with them in a very superficial way. John is a cinephile but he only likes popcorn cage stuff and ghostbusters. Rose is a psychotherapist but she gets all her info from wikipedia. Karkat was a romance expert who got all his info from the alternain version of Hitch and bridges of madison county. Dave was detached from everything he did because of Irony reasons.

of the main cast i think Jade was a gardener (????(jade had character traits?)) and i think she was the only one who was competent at her hobby. Kanaya too with her seamstress work

there was also dave's photography interest that never really amounted to anything but if youve got bottles of hc-110 in the closet you're not exactly a dilettante


and i always read jade's character as... jrpg. in the sense that john, rose, and dave are all (extremely hazily) identifiable with real-world socioeconomic contexts that kids grow up in and jade grew up in fantasy bullshit land and ended up with the fantasy bullshit outlook of your first add'l party member/female lead in a psone game

kinda flighty, but very self-assured and undeterred by obstacles she doesnt respect




following on from last page's talk, the biggest unanswered mystery of homestuck for me still is what the actual reality of hussie's work routine and life during peak homestuck was like—how the gently caress did he do it, and at what cost?????? like just counting below-panel text it's already one of the longest works of fiction in the English language; and he didnt just illustrate but *animated* huge chunks of it...? just inconceivably prolific.



I also definitely hope someday we get Criterion Homestuck with a well-implemented real-time mode, including side content like SBaHJ and Northquest, annotations, maybe even a tasteful curation of community reaction to stuff like murderween and newgrounds going down. I would super follow a Homestuck: Day by Day twitter account

HookedOnChthonics fucked around with this message at 07:07 on Feb 17, 2021

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



HookedOnChthonics posted:

following on from last page's talk, the biggest unanswered mystery of homestuck for me still is what the actual reality of hussie's work routine and life during peak homestuck was like—how the gently caress did he do it, and at what cost?????? like just counting below-panel text it's already one of the longest works of fiction in the English language; and he didnt just illustrate but *animated* huge chunks of it...? just inconceivably prolific.

Yeah, it is and was a gigantic achievement. He's said many times that it wasn't a sustainable way of working but never mind sustainable, I'm amazed he managed to do it at all.

One of the most interesting things, I think, is that he developed the re-useable assets like sprites and backgrounds and Sburb UI elements so that he could update frequently without also needing to draw things from scratch frequently...and then by the time Homestuck really hit its stride, he seemed unable to resist hand-drawing panels for impactful moments anyway, to the point where the sprites eventually became a pretty rare sight. And despite this, he maintained and even redoubled the pace!

Absolutely bonkers stuff. As an artist the dude will always have my respect for the sheer blistering rate of output he maintained for years.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




Psycholonials Chapter 2 was good too.

Space Cadet Omoly
Jan 15, 2014

Yay




It looks like once you finish the story you'll be able to go back and explore other routes choose your own adventure style, so that's neat.

dipwood
Feb 21, 2004

rouge means red in french

Psycholonials owns.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




dipwood posted:

Psycholonials owns.

I'm still loving it. Z is a fun disaster person.

life_source
May 11, 2008

Destroy everything?

Sounds fun.
Let's start.


dipwood posted:

Psycholonials owns.

Psycholownials.

mmmmalo
Mar 30, 2018

Hello!


HookedOnChthonics posted:

there was also dave's photography interest that never really amounted to anything

The photography hobby (and the preserved dead things hobby) both kind of get abstracted into freezing motifs as the story goes on, kind of fixating on the aspect of "preserving" yourself in photos, like "immortality" as a deathly stasis. The other Time players get similar stuff: Aradia and her skeletal perma-smile get a planet of blue quartz (which resembles ice, in addition to the time-keeping associations of quartz), eternal man-child Caliborn gets "Eternity Served Cold" as a theme song... like Dave himself laments that his hobby fell by the wayside, but some related concerns are still pretty firmly embedded in the story

Clawtopsy
Dec 17, 2009


just reminiscing on hussie’s earlier comics like NBA DREAMS and HOOPZ, from when he wrote team special olympics

Space Cadet Omoly
Jan 15, 2014

Yay




Clawtopsy posted:

just reminiscing on hussie’s earlier comics like NBA DREAMS and HOOPZ, from when he wrote team special olympics

If you're missing that kind of manic absurdist humor then you should really check out the work of Branson Reese: https://www.branson-reese.com/comics/

Space Cadet Omoly
Jan 15, 2014

Yay




Hussie did a star wars thing: https://mobile.twitter.com/troubledcosmos

Pants Donkey
Nov 13, 2011



Elderly Chair Fan is the best one

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





That was droll.

Pants Donkey
Nov 13, 2011



It helps to consider it as part of a greater narrative of Hussie’s obsession with IP law

paranoid randroid
Mar 4, 2007


lol the deep fried lovely merch

tag yourself im garfield mondayfucker

Death Bot
Mar 4, 2007

Binary killing machines, turning 1 into 0 since 0011000100111001 0011011100110110

Dolash
Oct 23, 2008

aNYWAY,
tHAT'S REALLY ALL THERE IS,
tO REPORT ON THE SUBJECT,
oF ME GETTING HURT,




Credit where it's due, Psycholonials does prove to me that Hussie can update his shtick of capturing at least some of the internet zeitgeist for the modern-day internet, not just the instant-messaging era.

Marx and Engels as gen-z influencer disasters is pretty wild too.

Death Bot
Mar 4, 2007

Binary killing machines, turning 1 into 0 since 0011000100111001 0011011100110110

https://twitter.com/troubledcosmos/status/1374182041466540034?s=19

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Space Cadet Omoly
Jan 15, 2014

Yay




Someone pointed out the final episode of the latest Ducktales cartoon is Metal Gear, which reminded me that Psycholonials is also Metal Gear.

Z is Big Boss, Abby is Revolver Ocelot is Abby, and War is bullshit twitter drama.

God or bad, that's what it is.

Edit:

Covid is FOXDIE.

Space Cadet Omoly fucked around with this message at 11:13 on Mar 23, 2021

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