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Homestuck is a webcomic by Andrew Hussie. It is the fourth MS Paint Adventure, and by far the largest and most notable, ending with 8,124 pages. It started on the tenth of April, 2009, with Homestuck Beta.  "Let me tell you about Homestuck" was a popular phrase about the fandom referencing the 'cult-like' nature of the fandom. It continued through a lot of creator and fan drama, a Kickstarter, and the release, in September 2017, of the first of four Hiveswap games.
Homestuck begins with four children, John Egbert, Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider, and Jade Harley, who play a reality-altering video game that brings about the end of their world. The adventure is characterized by time travel, mystery, copious pop culture references, and numerous gory deaths. The cast later expands to include dozens of aliens, alternate versions of the kids and their guardians, various eldritch horrors and strange beasts, and the author himself. The game is played multiple times, plot threads are tied into gordian knots of confusion and hacked apart, and many incredibly self indulgent tangents are embarked upon.
- Beta Kids: John Egbert, Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider, and Jade Harley
- Beta Trolls: Karkat Vantas, Aradia Megido, Tavros Nitram, Sollux Captor, Nepeta Leijon, Kanaya Maryam, Terezi Pyrope, Vriska Serket, Equius Zahhak, Gamzee Makara, Eridan Ampora and Feferi Peixes.
- Alpha Kids: Jane Crocker, Roxy Lalonde, Dirk Strider and Jake English.
- Alpha Trolls: Damara Megido, Rufioh Nitram, Mituna Captor, Kankri Vantas, Meulin Leijon, Porrim Maryam, Latula Pyrope, Aranea Serket, Horuss Zahhak, Kurloz Makara, Cronus Ampora and Meenah Peixes.
- Cherubs: Calliope, Caliborn
- Guardians: Nanna Egbert, Dad Egbert, Mom Lalonde and Bro Strider.
The early fandom of Homestuck originated on the MSPA Forums, which originally housed the suggestion boxes from which Hussie would take suggestions for the next action in his story. As Hussie began incorporating musical flashes into the story, it also housed the "secret" music forum, and members of the music team were selected from friends and fans who had posted their music to the forums.
Homestuck also has a long-running thread on the Penny Arcade forum, as well as several on both 4chan and plus4chan. Content was mostly created on the forums and reposted nonymously over on the chans. Most of the fanworks were fanart or fan music, though there was a very small fanfiction thread and a growing number of voice actors.
In the early months of 2010, Homestuck began to grow in popularity. On April 13th, 2010, Andrew Hussie posted the end of act 4 comic, "[S] Descend", which was an ambitious four-minute thirteen-second flash movie. It was the second of the flashes to use art elements from the new art team, staffed again by friends of Hussie's and notable artists from the forum. The unusual nature of the flash drew high viewer traffic. Act 5 Part 1, or "Hivebent," which began on June 12, 2010, drew in still more new readers, since it didn't require knowledge of previous canon to enjoy.
On October 25, 2011 Andrew Hussie updated Homestuck with an almost 14 minutes long flash movie, "[S] Cascade", after a hiatus of more than a month. So many fans tried to watch it at the same time that the website hosting the video, Newgrounds, was temporarily down.
The forum's rules strictly forbid any pornography, and in the case of the child characters, anything pairing them with an adult (even in a worksafe fashion) is an infractable offense. In response, someone created MSPAchan, which allowed adult art and fic. Soon afterwards, zombiesauros created Homesmut in July of 2010, as a home for the kink meme and as a hub for people looking for adult fic and art. As these memes could not even be mentioned by forum rules, Sockpuppy also created Captchalogue, the worksafe request meme. While the worksafe meme has little traffic, the kink meme is hugely popular, currently gaining about 300 comments a day.
After the events of [S] Cascade's release, Homestuck fandom exploded in size and popularity. It gained sizeable presence on deviantArt, Livejournal, Tumblr, the Archive of Our Own, Facebook, and miscellaneous smaller sites. Due to its massive, diffused nature, overlap with English-speaking anime/manga fandoms, 4chan origins and large presence on Tumblr, Homestuck fandom does not have a very strong credit culture. It is common to see art reblogged or reposted without credit, and icons, banners, and mix artwork are frequently unattributed. As a side-effect, Homestuck has fewer BNFs than might be expected from its size, though the members of the art and music teams have become fairly well known. BNFs with no involvement in the canon include voice actor Octopimp, writer urbanAnchorite, writer and fanartist roachpatrol, writer JumpingJackFlash and Kagerou author Luka Delaney, known in Homestuck fandom as VastDerp. Other names that have cropped up from time to time are Radiation, Bowman, Lexxy and SkepticArcher (members of an art and music team), along with voice actor Von Fawn.
Pinpointing BNFs in a fandom sprawling and sectioned as Homestuck is difficult, and coming to consensus by its nature requires discussion among diverse groups. Addition to this list, or discussion of it on the talk page by interested parties would be appreciated.
With the influx of new fans and subsequent flooding of sites with Homestuck related content, Homestuck gained a large anti-fandom. Many anime fans, especially those of the series Hetalia: Axis Powers reacted very negatively to Homestuck fans' presence at conventions and online. People outside the Homestuck fandom have sometimes been known to be annoyed by the frequency and over-enthusiasm of some Homestuck fans (for example, the many people who commented negatively on the fandom in fandomsecrets during spring/summer 2011).
Homestuck has a reputation for being a difficult fandom to join for several reasons. The beginning of the story is mainly gag-oriented and the plot is slow to start, disappointing many people who attempt to read from the beginning following a recommendation by a friend or fan. The comic is extremely long and the plot convoluted and complicated, with numerous characters, timelines, and universes, making catching up with the story from the beginning a daunting task. Joining the fandom presents an obstacle in and of itself, as there are huge quantities of fandom meta and fanworks spread over multiple sites, as well as years of complicated fandom history, as well as various internal jokes and conflicts.
Because of the canon's complexity and the complicated, often volatile fandom, Homestuck has many passive fans who enjoy the comic but participate little in the fandom. These fans rarely indulge in the same semi-obsessive theorization common on parts of Tumblr and the MSPA forums, where the bizarre plot twists lead to even more bizarre theories.
Since the flash videos have become longer and more complicated, fans have started to record and share reaction videos. Flash videos sometimes inspire a variety of episode tags. Anticipated events (like the Scratch at the end of Act 5) also often lead to much speculating and fic.
For more, see the 2017 meta essay Homestuck fandom, a brief history
Almost every imaginable ship exists somewhere in Homestuck fandom. Stories often deal with the interspecies romance between humans and trolls in various ways, however gen fic tend to either wholly ignore or gloss over the potential difficulties of cultural or biological differences.
Some popular pairings include:
- John Egbert/Karkat Vantas
- John Egbert/Dave Strider
- Dave Strider/Karkat Vantas (DaveKat, canon)
- Rose Lalonde/Kanaya Maryam
- Karkat Vantas/Terezi Pyrope
- Jade Harley/Dave Strider
Shipping terminology can be found at the List of Homestuck pairings.
The troll concept of romance has been explored extensively in canon, fanon, fic, and art. The trolls have their own specific, complicated romance system, divided into four "quadrants". (Canon explanation) Some fans have used this system for fusions with other fandoms. Other fans use this romance system to try and explain relationships between characters in other fandoms or for real relationships.
Homestuck has a large community of visual artists, writers, musicians, and voice actors, all of whom have contributed to fandom in their own ways. Fanworks have included digital art, paintings, sketches, mixed media, sculpture, electronically and conventionally produced music, plushes, stories, comics, roleplays, askblogs, stained glass, panels, and uncountable myriad esoteric arts.
Homestuck has a large fanmusic community, due to its large soundtrack and the fact that in the past the Homestuck music team was populated by fans of the comic who had made previous fanmusic. Several of the original members of the Homestuck music team were from OCRemix, and a certain amount of wank followed the early music team as a result. However, it has long since died down, and the main remaining vestige of the OCRemix influence today is the various fanmusicians' use of the term "remix" to denote works that use only the melody of the original, without sampling (usually this is called a cover). The official coloUrs and mayhem albums are made entirely of fanmusic submissions.
Many fanworks imitate the format of the comic, whether through storytelling devices, page formatting, art style, or writing style.  Many of these comics start on the forum and use audience suggestions (see MSPA Forum Adventures.)
Many fans create their own troll or human avatars for RP, known as fantrolls or trollsonas, complete with art and typing quirks. There is a generator available to make them, a wiki specifically for fantrolls, and several forum posts and tumblrs about fantrolls.
Post-Sburb/post-Scratch fic explores how the characters cope with the end of the game and either going back to having normal lives or adapting to strange new universes created at the end of the game.
A popular concept in fandom is the idea that Dave Strider is transgender, and both fic and art have been produced to this theme. Stories have been written about many other characters exploring concepts of gender and identity, but Dave is a particular focus of them.
Another popular headcanon is the concept of trolls being hermaphrodites and referring to their genitalia as bulges and nooks rather than penises and vaginas. A troll will also spew their genetic material into buckets for the incestuous soup of which young trolls are birthed from.
Homestuck fandom has a lot of Alternate Universe stories. Many stories are titled with a thematic word suffixed with -stuck, examples: (Hemostuck, Adultstuck, HeartStuck, Hoofstuck ...) This extends to AU concepts - Humanstuck, Trollstuck, Horsestuck, Molluscstuck, etc.
Common AU concepts include:
- Humanstuck, where all of the characters are humans, often living in a fairly mundane world.
- Bloodswap, trolls switch roles in the hierarchic society that they belong to, which is sorted by blood color, (see Hemospectrum) (for example Red Dead Virgo by adamantApoplectic and (Violetesence) by lucidSeraph.)
- Speciesswap, where the trolls are humans and/or the humans are trolls (for example (>Connect) by biichan, inverts, renachan, and roachpatrol.)
- Stabdads is a type of Homestuck A/U that involves the exiles of the troll session in their mobster personas, with the trolls they served as their children.
Many stories feature both the kids and the trolls, either in a completely different setting or in a canon AU, even though in canon some of them finally meet only at the end of Act 5. It is not uncommon for elaborate AUs to have an accompanying Tumblr blog for answering questions, additional worldbuilding, reblogging of fanart, and announcements.
Notable Fan Activities
- A Lullaby for Gods by Angela Sham. The piece gained the attention of Andrew Hussie which lead to Sham being brought on as an animator at What Pumpkin and working on final animation of Homestuck in 2016.
- Rex Duodecim Angelus is an animated short which billed itself as "an epic tribute to Malcolm Brown's musical masterpiece." It was finished after 3 years of development.
- After Us is an animated music video for the Alternian ancestors–characters.
- Mambostuck is an animated music video.
- 4chords was a popular comic by Emily Hu. Set in a college AU where the trolls where human, the story centered around Gamzee's relationship with Karkat and Tavros. While the comic itself was only 15 pages before it discontinued, it inspired many other fan works.
- Promstuck/Marchingstuck is an AU collaboration between Shelby Cragg, urbanAnchorite, and cephiedVariable. It's a high school AU with prom, and also marching bands, that can be found spread out over tumblr, the Archive of Our Own, and livejournal.
- The Unwanted Free Ugly Troll series by coldhope is an AU longfic with additional shorter works based on the petstuck oncept popularized on tumblr. It is by far the most-kudos'd Homestuck fanwork on the Archive of Our Own.
- Real Men Wear Tights is an illustrated John Egbert/Karkat Vantas AU wherein the main characters live in a blended Troll-Human Earth society with some characters as superheroes. It is available on AO3 with additional behind-the-scenes material and status updates on the RMWT tumblr.
- Replay Value AU is an AU based upon incidental roleplaying in the comments of godsgifttogrinds' Sburb Glitch FAQ that eventually spun off into a full-fledged AU (see Replay Value AU AO3 tag).
- Cities in Dust is an alternate universe mixed media story written by cephiedvariable.
- Strider's Edge is a highly AU work mixing Homestuck with Brideshead Revisited written by paraTactician.
- Detective Pony by sonnetstuck - an extensively completed version of the altered version of Detective Pony Dirk gives Jane for her birthday
- Dave: Accelerate is a fan-made, playable companion piece to the Flash Update '[S] Dave: Accelerate'. The source code was also made available upon it's release.
- Nepetaquest 2011 - fan-made RPG, currently being developed.
- Terezi Pyrope: Ace Attorney, Homestuck-version of Ace Attorney. The first case was released in 2012 and the project was later dropped.
- Homestrife 4⅓ - "fan-community made multiplayer fighting game project based on Homestuck", currently being developed.
- The Baby Is You: a parody musical made by Radiation & friends, consisting of 11 parts now available for download here (or on Youtube.) Radiation wondered whether the "no pregnant kids" rule on the Art forum extended to songs and created an album that centers around Dave giving birth to John. It was posted on the forum on 14.10.2010, met with shocked disbelief, and deleted a short time later. The mods later declared that "Posting anything from this album is unacceptable.".
- Homestuck Gaiden, a multi-album collaboration project produced by the Homestuck Music Team.
- Pesterchum Radio: Pesterchum Radio is a podcast about MSPA made by several fans. Its first season ran from February to October 2011 and had 26 episodes.
- Let's Read Homestuck: Similar to let's plays or podfics, Let's Read Homestuck was a project in which a group of voice actors read through the comic, which actor providing unique voices for every character.
- Hivebent: The Radio Play: The voice acting community had become enormous by the summer of 2010, largely due to the popularity of the Hivebent characters. On July 30th, a Hivebent: The Radio Play thread was added to the forums as a centralized location for discussions going on in the voice acting thread. The radio play was a full cast production of Hivebent, and features both adaptations of the comic text and original sections written to fill out gaps in the story. It was originally directed by Von Fawn, who also voices Vriska, and was then being produced and directed by arianadream (who voices Kanaya) and Zigkirby (who voices Karkat). In April 2011, the first episode was released  and met with enthusiasm, but in May 2011 it was announced that the project was shutting down. 
Notable Fan Projects
- Eat Mesa: In March 2011, inspired by an episode of the Pesterchum Radio, fans started to create and collect Homestuck-inspired recipes on the forum. An Eat Mesa Tumblr was created, and in December 2011 a .pdf version of all the recipes collected so far, the The Eat Mesa - An MSPA Fan Cookbook was made available.
- Pesterchum: There were various attempts by fans to create "Pesterchum", the chat program the kids use in the webcomic. (history, different versions etc.) The most recent version is Pesterchum 3.41. (usage?)
- Zingled: Zingled is a website (like Omegle) which allows users to chat anonymously with another random user of the site. In early 2011, Homestuck fans discovered the website, and used it to roleplay anonymously as the characters from the comic. It is now almost entirely taken over by Homestuck RPers. Notable logs are posted as fic in themselves or used as inspiration for new work.
Homestuck is a popular cosplay fandom, with cosplays of the kids and trolls being especially common. Many of the characters' signature T-shirts are available at the MS Paint Adventures online store, increasing the ease of creation for many of the cosplays.
Controversy over cosplay is common in the fandom, with numerous arguments taking place over body type and race in relation to cosplay, quality of cosplay, perceived cosplay elitism, the preponderance of Homestuck cosplay at anime conventions, and the huge number of non-canon cosplays among fans.
Before horns were available for purchase at various official and unofficial websites online, it was a right of passage for a Homestuck cosplayer to make their own horns.
- MSPAChan, the dedicated chan for Homestuck art and fiction.
- Captchalogue, the worksafe Homestuck request meme.
- Homesmut, the Homestuck kink meme.
- Omegaupdate, the bodged-together replacement for the MSPA forums.
- MSPAbooru, an imageboard for fanart.
Like all large fandoms, Homestuck has its share of controversy.
Probably the first issue in Homestuck fandom was the closure of the suggestion boxes. Though Hussie had hinted many times that he was phasing out direct audience contribution, the suggestion boxes only closed for good in March of 2010. In the ensuing months, threads were posted regularly to the MSPA Forum complaining about the lack of interactivity and the fact that the story was now going downhill. 
In April of 2010, Bill Bolin made a post to the MSPA Forum announcing that he was quitting the music team, giving a several-page-long explanation of his reasons, and culminating in a picture of himself flipping off the camera. Even with the explanation, Bolin's reasons were almost totally opaque without access to the discussions that had preceded his departure in the private music team forum. The confusion over Bolin's exit caused a number of forumgoers to create new threads asking for any clear explanation, which were quickly spammed by those who thought the whole thing was hilarious. Bolin's middle finger enjoyed a brief spate of popularity as a meme before the mods made it clear that stirring up wank over his exit would not be considered acceptable. When his songs were removed from the flash pages in which they were featured at his request, further conflict arose. Fans complained about the replacement songs so often that in November of 2010 the explanation was the second question in the Simple Questions, Simple Answers thread FAQ.
From 15.1.2010 until 2.9.2010 Hussie posted "The Intermission", a chapter that was, at that time, not directly connected with the rest of the storyline. It included many new characters and time travel shenanigans, making it difficult to follow. Many fans who started to read Homestuck later admit (or, in many cases, don't admit) to skipping the Intermission, which is completely accepted in some parts of the fandom (most places on LJ), but led to mockery and dismissal in other parts.
When "Hivebent", act 5, became very popular, several new readers started reading directly at the beginning of act 5. When the focus shifted back to the kids there were heated arguments about which group, the kids or the trolls, were more interesting.
Hussie is clearly aware of his fans, but it is unclear to which extent and whether he is influenced by them. Especially after surprising updates, some fans regularly accuse him of "trolling" the fans and of deliberately introducing content to mess with them. While he has occasionally admitted to including details made popular by fandom (for example the way he drew Karkat's ancestor, a reference to Pantskat), Hussie says that all major plot points were planned far in advance.
In May 2011, Andrew Hussie made a post (now deleted, anyone have screencaps?) on Formspring asking his fans not to sell fanart or any other fanproducts without his explicit permission. Some fans were understanding, while many others could not understand his stance and were very annoyed. (See also Selling Fanart for this issue in fandom in general.)
In January 2012 the discussion about whether the four original kids are white or racially ambiguous was fueled by two posts by Andrew Hussie and resulted in a lot of discussion and some wank.
Points of discussion and conflict have included:
- Tension between Hussie and the fandom
- Treatment of characters with disabilities in canon and fandom
- fan trolls?
- Dave (and others) as transgender in fanon
- Issues of sexual identity
- John is not a homosexual (canon statement) vs. slash fandom
- Kanaya as lesbian character vs. no homosexuals in troll society (she was confirmed to be attracted only to women in a post on Hussie's formspring)
- Shipping of gay characters (Kanaya, Dirk) in het relationships
- Fanon characterization:
- Eridan as woobie
- John as "lovable derp"
- Dave as "coolkid" vs. Dave as utter dork
- Gamzee as mentally ill, as junkie, as evil, etc.
- Feferi as hateful bitch
- Vriska as hateful bitch
- Nepeta as hateful bitch
- Shipping of young characters ("pedophiles!")
- Porn of young characters
- Mockery of bad art, cosplay, fic, etc.
- Ubiquity of the fandom
- Kids as racially ambiguous
- Headcanon races
- Perceived fetishization of homosexuality
2016 MSPA Forums outage
In late March 2016, the MSPA Forums went down with no notice to the community (including the moderators). As of August 8, 2016 it is still down. See here for what people know so far.
- homestuck fandom, a brief history (posted in June, 2017)
- saccharineSylph: Homestuck History, Archived version
- please tell me the wildest shit that happened in homestuck’s fanbase, original Tumblr post by bawlgoblin, reblogged by cancerously (14 March 2016), Archived version
- The Complicated History of the Homestuck Fandom - The Fandom Files (a video by The RPG Monger, October 5 2018),
- Homestuck MSPA Wiki (Accessed August 8, 2016)
- What Homestuck Was on Kotaku.com, by Gita Jackson, 2017-09-13, accessed 2017-09-15
- Hiveswap Review on Polygon, by Victoria Rose, 2017-09-14, accessed 2017-09-14
- 25.10.2011, [S] Cascade Discussion Thread on the forum
- "Created on 2010-07-06 18:41:06". homesmut - Community Profile. (Accessed March 26, 2011)
- The current meme had 4496 comments as of March 26th and was posted on March 8th.
- example: 22.10.2011, Reaction Videos Obviously Deserve Their Own Thread. after [S] Cascade, on the forum
- For example life's like this you by melannen, fusion with Dresden Files
- For example Nepetaquest (link) by aceofspudz and Be the Sea Dweller Lowblood (link) by ckret2.
- Examples: Fantroll Evaluations, F-yeah Fantrollreviews, fuck yeah awesome fantrolls, and fuck yeah awful fantrolls
- 14.10.2010, THE BABY IS YOU - a new album by toby "radiation" fox w/ art by astroliner by Radiation, accessed 10.12.2011
- 24.12.2011, Im having baby and the baby is you by anonymousbaby, accessed 10.12.2011
- 11.4.2011, Hivebent: The Radio Play - Episode 0 on Youtube, accessed 13.11.2011
- 10.5.2011, comment by Zigkirby on the MSPA Forum thread, accessed 13.11.2011
- 4.3.2011, The Eat Mesa - An MSPA Cookbook by Katt, accessed 9.12.2011
- 4.12.2011, comment by ShivaShekaria, accessed 9.12.2011
- Suggestion Boxes are locked until further notice. (Accessed March 26, 2011)
- Q: What happened to the music on <page>? A:Music by artist Bill Bolin was replaced after he caused serious drama/problems with the music team. It was decided all his ties to the project should be cut and thus was the music removed for sale and replaced in the flashes. It will NOT be coming back ever. It's inarguable. You can find links for the old flashes with creative Search powers, but PLEASE do not start on how the animations "don't fit" the new music. Concede your hindsight bias and have faith in Andrew and the music team. HEY! HAVE A QUESTION? Simple MSPA Questions, Simple Answers Thread!. (Accessed March 28, 2011)
- 28.5.2011, ANNOUNCEMENT: REGARDING THE SELLING OF MSPA STUFF by Lexxy, post explaining the new rules with quotes from Andrew, accessed 3.11.2011.
- 28.5.2011, No Selling MSPA Stuff Without Andrew’s Permission clarification and opinion on Lexxy's tumblr, accessed 3.11.2011
- archived (original post on Hussie's formspring no longer exists)