Entertainment, Education, and Public Relations. (Except not boring)



Homestuck is a webcomic (sort of) written by Andrew Hussie that began on 4/13/09 and presently has 5711+ pages. Unlike traditional comics, Homestuck pages feature a single panel and presents dialogue in color-coded IM chat logs rather than speech bubbles. Homestuck is made even more unique by its use of gifsincreasingly complex Flashgames, and some truly kickass Flash animations featuring an ever growing original soundtrack. This unprecedented level of multimedia integration is designed from the outset to capitalize on the unique storytelling potential of an entire internet browser.

The story begins with 13 year old John Egbert and his group of internet friends playing the beta of a video game called Sburb, which somehow triggers a meteor apocalypse to destroy the Earth and transports each of their respective houses to a pocket dimension that blends elements of both fantasy and sci fi. To restore life to Earth and fulfill their own mysterious destinies they must continue playing the game, delving into its secrets which are somehow rooted into the very fabric of reality itself. After that things get complicated.

All together,  Homestuck’s plot is uniquely suited for the internet. The huge scope, complex foreshadowing, multiple storylines, and minutely detailed iconography all benefit from the long term incremental installment model of webcomics, and are more fully appreciated by rereads and forum discussion.

As implied above, Homestuck is well suited to an internet audience. Its mechanics often interact directly with the user, drawing inspiration from both text-basedand point-and-click adventure games. Its plot is quintessentially geeky, borrowing the best and most addictive elements of science fiction, fantasy, manga, cartoons, video games, and fan speculation. But more than simply appealing to an audience, Homestuck capitalizes on the phenomenon of the fandom. I’m not sure how to make the distinction between audience and fandom clear, but Homestuck most definitely has the later. It has a huge online community constantly churning out an endless series of fanfiction, fan art, fan music, fan blogs, fan roleplays, fan cosplays, fan reaction vids, fan everything.  Homestuck is meant to have fans, not simply readers. It is deliberately structured to provide a creative spark for all of the above fan works, from its update schedule to its subculture archetype characters to its use of ship teasing.

If anybody wants more info, I have a longer form of this post that I can email to you.

Some related links: Let’s Read Homestuck; “made of pure internet

Seriously guys, this thing is revolutionary. It NEEDS to be on our syllabus. Wanting to discuss Homestuck is half the reason I signed up for this class.



Extra Credits

Extra Credits is a webseries that discusses video games as an artistic medium. Its potential for interactive storytelling, the emerging language of critique used to discuss it, its cultural and social implications, the unique challenges of integrating narrative with gameplay, all these subjects and more and discussed intelligently and insightfully–accompanied by pretty pictures! Since these are basically educational videos, I’m not sure how we could structure a lesson plan around them (lessonception?). Still, I highly recommend you spend half an hour watching a few of these videos. They really get you into a mindset to discuss the new dimensions that interactive media is opening up for literature. Pretty soon video games are going to become a distinct field of literary discourse–on par with poetry, film, and studio arts–and this webseries is leading the charge into that brave new world.



official website of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson

This is less of a serious proposal than an honorable mention. Brandon Sanderson is a favorite fantasy author of of mine, but the real I bring him up is that he has a very active online presence. He often interacts with fans on through blog posts, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, making announcements and inviting fans to discuss his work with him. But what really interests me is his website’s Annotations and Warbreaker sections. In the Annotations section he discusses his writing process and the significance of various passages of his books, often revealing worldbuilding details that not featured in the published text. The Warbreaker section takes this a step further. Wihle he was writing his novel Warbreaker he free posted online all his unedited drafts, giving readers a direct look at his righting process that showed how his ideas evolved. Although not hugely groundbreaking, Brandon Sanderson’s website offers food for thought concerning the how the internet allows supplementation of traditional print novels and is shifting the relationship between authors and readers.


P.S. sorry this post is late. please be merciful Prof. Bianco



~ by Freddie on January 12, 2013.

3 Responses to “Entertainment, Education, and Public Relations. (Except not boring)”

  1. Freddie,

    I actually think that we could structure a lesson around Extra Credits if we were to tie it to things similar to it; I think you’re right when you say, “They really get you into a mindset to discuss the new dimensions that interactive media is opening up for literature,” as this really reminds me of multimedia poetry that I’ve seen. Even if this text seems more juvenile with its crudely drawn figures/scenarios and photos taken on the internet and slapped onto a white screen, the idea is the same: to pair words (audio or visual) with images. With this specific text (I looked at a few, but the one called “Beyond Fun” really intrigued me), I felt as though the images were as much a part of the dialogue as were the audible words. You even had to read a short snippet of a scenario sometimes while the speaker was talking, but it didn’t seem to detract but instead enhance (an art form in itself). While I might describe the images as sort of visual footnotes as they are not in the main narrative, they are vastly important footnotes that you have no choice not to watch. The images are important as they add a layer of humor and, honestly, a human element as they connect the speech with images we have seen before. Furthermore, each video has a sort of thesis, a way of storytelling, and a purpose which is significant in that it is not just an unstructured rant with random images slapped onto it. Like I said before, perhaps this would be interesting to compare/contrast with other things like it–perhaps we could compare it with multimedia poetry.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. I noticed Extra Credits on other sites, too, and I really enjoyed watching those videos. The idea of digitally discussing the relevance of digital media really speaks to this class, and I would love to look into this further.

  3. I was enamoured with what I played of Homestuck. I was really into text-based adventure games when I was younger and enjoyed interacting with something that hearkened back to that genre. Also, I’m fascinated by hypertext stories and would love it if this class focused on at least one. I guess it’s a little more than strictly a hypertext narrative, but it is a piece of media only possible through the internet, which I think is worth discussion, this class being ‘digital storytelling’ and all.

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