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A Mom’s Journey into Homestuck Part 3

Some of you out there may be wondering why Homestuck should get so much attention. It’s just a webcomic some kids read, right? Let me put it this way. In September, creator Andrew Hussie created a Kickstarter project, a crowd-sourcing funding site, to make a video game of Homestuck. He wanted to get $700,000 in 30 days. The project reached its goal in just a few days. It hit $1 million in just about a week. At the end of the 30 days, it had hit just shy of $2.5 million and became the 6th highest funded project on site. Ever. Most of the funding came from individuals pledging $15-$25. Yes, there were people who pledged more, but it was the small pledges that made it happen, pledges from those same kids.

Act 3: Devildogs, dreamscapes, and pumpkins, Oh–! What pumpkin?

If Act 2 seemed a little “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey,” then Act 3 takes it to the next level. It starts by introducing the last of the friends, Jade Harley. She lives on a Pacific island with her grandpa and her dog, Becquerel. She grows flowers and pumpkins (which keep disappearing for some reason) and likes anthropomorphics (furries), Squiddles, and the mystic arts. She tends to fall asleep at random times and dreams of strange worlds, while a robotic version of herself mimics her dream journey in the real world. She also has knowledge that the others don’t. In her pesterchum chats with John, Rose and Dave, she is always referencing things that haven’t happened yet. The other kids just think she’s odd, but she seems to know what is going on with the rest of the gang and how it will turn out. There is no explanation as to how or why she might know these things, but a clue comes when her birthday present from John arrives. She doesn’t open it but instead sends it to the future and sets things up for the wanderers to find it and send it back to a past birthday of hers when she was young and hadn’t met anyone yet. Jade doesn’t see time in the same way as everyone else.

And what about John and his friends? When last we left them, John was facing a couple of giant imps, Rose was trapped in Mr. Jasper’s mausoleum, and Dave was fighting his Big Bro and Lil Cal. John defeats the giant imps with the help of Nanasprite and his pogo hammer. Rose finds a staircase under Mr. Jasper’s casket that leads her to the lab across the forest and Dave keeps fighting Big Bro. In the lab, Rose is able to recharge her laptop, and while she is there she discovers a mutant kitten with four eyes she names Vodka Mutini and an appearifier that leads back to her house. With power and access, Rose helps John build a path to the portal. While waiting for Rose, John has created a bevy of weapons to use against the imps trying to stop him from reaching the portal. Big Bro takes off suddenly and leaves Dave his Sburb beta discs, so Dave can install them and help Rose.

But what about John’s Dad? Last we saw him, he was trying to escape from the imps. It seems he is still giving them, and their commander, Jack Noir, a hard time. Jack is an Archagent that works for the Dark Kingdom, and he hates his harlequin-esqe hat. Along with Jack, we are also introduced to two new wanderers in the future. The Peregrine Mendicant is a female and obsessed with the mail. She pushes a cart filled with mail boxes around and considers delivering the mail a sacred duty. She meets up with the Wayward Vagabond and they both meet the Aimless Renegade. He is well armed and considers himself The Law in this wasteland, and even though he finds Peregrine Mendicant nice looking, his duty to uphold the law is more important.

Act 3 ends with another flash animation. Dave installs the Sburb beta and starts getting Rose set up. She prototypes her sprite with Mr. Jaspers, and Dave adds a doll that Rose knitted tentacles for. Jade waits in the ancient temple by a huge lotus flower on a transportalizer, where Dave’s Sburb beta discs, the ones that he dropped out the window in Act 2, appear. John uses all of his weapons to move up the platforms Rose built to reach the portal and goes through it. The end of the act shows off Hussie’s storytelling skills, as there is so much excitement and tension created not just by the animation but also by the music. He knows how to use them to their maximum effect, which may be why the story has become so addicting.

There’s a lot of action in this act, but not a lot happens story-wise. The new character introductions took precedence, as did some development of the core characters, specifically John. The revelations about his dad did seem to shake him up. Rose does a good job of helping him through some of it. I also really enjoyed John’s Dad escape. It was obvious what was going to happen, but it was hilarious anyway! There are also a couple of things that don’t seem important now but could be important later. First, watch the kids’ shirts. When we first meet Jade, the design on her shirt keeps changing. We soon learn that it’s because she has a machine that can randomize and change her designs, but then Dave, after this battle with Big Bro, has a new design on his shirt. It was a record, and now it’s a broken record.

Then there is the Trollslum in Pesterchum. Rose, Jade and Dave have conversations with these characters who are trolling the kids by calling them stupid and such. They each have a distinct way of talking/typing, i.e., one capitalizes the first letter of every word, one capitalizes every letter except the first letter of the first word of sentence, and one types in all caps. Their names have a familiar sound to them too. I think we will be seeing more of these guys later. I kind of feel sorry for the troll who tries to pick on Dave after his battle with Big Bro. Dave just rips into him so much that the troll ends up blocking him!

Sadly, there is no print book of this Act yet, so you will have to read it the way it was intended, on the computer. But as convenient as books are, watching this story on the computer has its advantages, namely the music. I’ve been enjoying it a lot and will now have to pester my kids for their copies of the soundtracks. There are something like six albums that are written by a team specifically for the webcomic and several more put together by fans. They are all available for digital download and priced from $3.95-14.13, depending on the length of the album. I’m looking forward to Act 4. Now that we’ve been introduced to all four kids, I’m hoping for more story development. The last three acts have been filled with hints and teasers, and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Images © Andrew Hussie

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!


  1. Woe Kitten says:

    I’m really glad you’re enjoying Homestuck! It gives me hope that I might be able to get my own mom to read it. Next up is the Intermission, which focuses on an entirely different set of characters. It looks irrelevant at first, but actually introduces some very important plot points.

    Oh, and Rose’s cat is just named “Jaspers.”

    • Super Mega King says:

      Oh, really? I skipped past the intermission and went back to read it again later. It still seemed unimportant, but slightly more important than before. Snowball and Spades seem to be parallels to Jack and The Queen… Am I right? Maybe? I just started delving into the troll arc.

  2. Sterling Ericsson (Silver seren) says:

    Nine albums, actually, with fourteen side albums made too. Plenty of music for you to listen to. :3

    And now you get to read the Intermission! As is necessary for all Homestuck fans to note, make sure you don’t skip any of it. It all turns out to be important down the road.

    Admittedly, not for quite a while down the road, but you’ll get there.

  3. @Woe Kitten: I will admit it. I am now a fan of Homestuck. I’ve really enjoyed reading it and love the characters. If you mom has a twisted sense of humor like I do then, there is a very good possibility you can get her to read it. And I know it’s just Jaspers, but Rose calls him Mr. Jaspers at the beginning, and I think that funny.

    @Sterling Ericsson: I was thrown by the intermission at first, but was assured by my kids it was necessary. And I enjoyed it too. Look for a review of that coming soon too. 🙂

  4. I too have been using Homestuck as a way to connect with my mom, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about your progress. She unfortunately doesn’t have time to read it, but I have found a really excellent youtube group who make videos of the comic, and we watch it together!

    They actually published the first video of act 5.2 yesterday, so they are a good ways into the comic. I recommend them to anyone who tells me that they weren’t able to get into reading it but still are interested.

    Also, common misconception about the music. Every album on the official bandcamp page (23 in all) was written by the music team (exceptions being the two contest albums) specifically for the comic.
    There ARE fan albums, but everything on that page is official and endorsed by the What Pumpkin record label.

    anyway, I look forward to your future posts on the subject!

  5. Ahoy, I’m happy to hear that you enjoy Homestuck. I kind of thought it nearly impossible for someone in your age-group to enjoy it. According to a poll of average readership age, something like 98% of the readers are below age 30, myself included at 24.

    I’m not sure why, but I feel like it’s my responsibility to inform you that, post Act 3, the story gets rather dark and violent at times. I don’t really know what your personal tolerance level is, but expect it to be stretched. Your teenager may be used to this kind of thing, since the internet tends to dull sensitivity, but if you don’t feel comfortable with the level of violence in the Intermission or Act 4, I suggest you don’t continue with Act 5.

    Or I could be all wrong and maybe you’ll enjoy it regardless. The story is well-told and expertly crafted. Also complicated. Don’t be afraid to reread parts or ask your kids to explain things you don’t understand, since that sort of problem can snowball down the road to the point where you simply have no idea what is going on. I look forward to future posts.

    • Lori Henderson says:

      No need to worry Nick, I am well aware of the direction the story takes after Act 3. My kids have warned me about the violence, especially in Act 5. I actually found the Intermission to be more violent than Act 4. Act 4’s violence mostly takes place in the flash pages, and is shadowed and fast. The Intermission doesn’t sugar coat anything, though I think part of that is the genre it’s based in.

      And yes, I do ask my kids a lot of questions. While I’m reading the act and after, they are peppered with questions about things I’ve read and how they relate to things I’ve seen. I’m rather proud of the connections I’ve been able to make and have them confirm. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  6. The record on Dave’s shirt gets broken because Bro gave slashed it in half with his sword during the battle. 🙂

    • Lori Henderson Lori Henderson says:

      Yeah, but I think there’s a little more to it than that. At least according to my kids. Thanks for reading!

  7. dancingcrane says:

    Hi, Lori, Nick and all! I’m also a thoroughgoing fan of Homestuck and I’m 56 and mom of five. My third child turned me onto it, and I have since addicted others. While time constraints still have me ‘stuck’ at the bottom of Act IV, I do have all the albums of music, and enjoy every aspect of the webcomic and it’s varied community.

    • Lori Henderson Lori Henderson says:

      That’s great! I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I can relate to the time constraints. I just finished reading Act 5 Act 1 over the holiday break, and I needed that extra time off. It’s a long and complex act, and it’s only the first half of Act 5! I’ve wrestled some music from my kids and will start listening to that too. I thought about listening to it at work, but a little reluctant as I think about the language…

  8. I’m glad I came across your blog as I have been trying to figure out this homestuck story. My biggest question/confusion is where on earth do you read this at!? I don’t want to buy the acts. I’m trying to read up on it as in 3 months I’m taking my niece to a comic-con and she is dressing up as John. (I thought his name was Jake!). I visited the mspaintadventures site and it seems that I have to walk through every single step. Is that the whole idea of it? Lol. I don’t have the time for that. :-). So what’s the pretense… The kids follow along on that site and then have to wait inbetween acts? Is the YouTube link my best bet for catching up on this? Thank you so much for any help. 🙂

    • Homestuck is a web comic, and like all web comics are updated periodically with new pages. What makes Homestuck different from most other webcomics is that it’s not in the usual panel format and it uses multimedia to it’s fullest with the flash animations, music and links to supplimental material. It’s the multimedia content that makes reading it so much fun. I checked out the youtube videos “Let’s Read Homestuck” linked to earlier. It’s a fairly well done fan work, and is done like an audio drama, with different people playing the part. If all you want is the gist of the story and characters, it’s not a bad way to go about it, but it’s not necessarily going to be faster. It’s still going at the speed that someone is reading it. But if you have a means to and time to just listen, then the “Let’s Read Homestuck” isn’t a bad starting point.

  9. Lori, I’m glad to see a review from a mom and the ensuing comments from other kids. I am a mom and my 13 year old and her friends have recently discovered Homestuck. I’ve watched a couple of the Youtube installments noted in one of the comments above, but have not yet dug into the whole series – which seems daunting. Can you help me out by answering a question? I would really like to hear your perspective from a morality standpoint. Are there good and honorable qualities demonstrated by the characters, or are the themes and characters rather dark and anti-society, so to speak? Thanks ahead of time for your insight!

    • Lori Henderson Lori Henderson says:

      I don’t really want to get into questions of morality, but as to the characters, yes, I do think they display good qualities. The four humans, John, Rose, Dave and Jade are all friends who care about each other, and fight to help and protect each other. Even the trolls, with their very different society and outlook do care about each other and doing what’s right, for themselves, and for their worlds.

      There are dark characters and themes, but the good guys can’t be good without bad guys to fight.

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