The wildest shit that happened in homestuck’s fanbase

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Title: please tell me the wildest shit that happened in homestuck’s fanbase
Creator: bawlgoblin and commenters
Date(s): March 2016
Medium: Tumblr post
Fandom: Homestuck
Topic:
External Links: reblog, Archived version
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the wildest shit that happened in homestuck’s fanbase is a Tumblr conversation about the history of Homestuck fandom.

It originally began with a post by bawlgoblin:

please tell me the wildest shit that happened in homestuck’s fanbase, its like listening to old tales that can’t be true but are.

The original post was deleted, but as of April 2019, had over 85,400 notes.

Some Topics Discussed

  • Homestuck cosplay
  • fan events and conventions
  • how the update schedule (or lack thereof) affected the fandom
  • fan interaction with creators
  • How Homestuck differentiated from most fandoms and its lasting impact

Some Comments

[cursmudgeon]

Well there was the girl who nearly killed herself by soaking in a bathtub full of vodka and grey sharpies to try and dye her skin for her troll cosplay. And the fact that a bunch of fans sent the creator a MASSIVE horse dildo that later ended up in the comic. And the two people who spent $10,000 dollars a piece to have their OC’s appear for one frame and be immediately killed. And the one time a homestuck flash update ended up DDoSing newgrounds by accident. And the totally irregular update schedule made it so there was an application developed to tell you when the comic updated. The culture around homestuck is really surreal to look back on just for the sheer volume of alternate universes and fans works and in jokes and subcultures that developed within one fandom. It really makes me wonder if anyone will be able to capture that level of obsessive enthusiasm again. Like people joke about Steven universe being the new homestuck and I can see some parallels but that fandom still seems way smaller and way less messed up than homestuck at it’s peak.[1]

[seerofsarcasm]

It wasn’t just internet concentrated either, it pretty much set up a lot of standards and practices for conventions today. In-characters panels were no where near as popular until Homestuck popularized them and now there’s ones for every fandom out there, versus only a scattered few (mostly Hetalia) before Homestuck had 5 going at any given con. The concept of a “draw party” was also a Homestuck invention, I believe, draw parties being midnight meetups at dead parts of the con center where people sat around, trading art cards and generally hanging out but with the common theme of them all being Homestuck fans. “Gotta go fast” and “first” took on whole new levels because as soon as a new design were released the first person to put together a cosplay for it got an intense amount of notoriety, mainly because it was generally just a few hours after the design appeared. Hell, I was once at a con where Homestuck updated on Friday and the next morning someone had made the cosplay in their hotel room and wore it to the con.

Sadly there were also downsides which is where the crazy stories come from. Homestuck was something absolutely new because it was a perfect storm of being huge, having almost all characters you could cosplay require body paint, and having a really disproportionate amount of fans being very young and inexperienced at how conventions worked.

Many conventions put limits on body-paint after Homestuck got popular because of young, inexperienced cosplayers not sealing their makeup and tarnishing convention centers. Going to a small con that forbids body paint? Homestuck is why. Homestuck became feared at a lot of cons because a non-consensual hug from anyone at a con is awkward and shitty, but if it was from a Homestuck fan you ran the risk of having grey stains all over your costume, and I had seen it happen to people on multiple occasions. Homestuck was also the first fandom to finally force conventions start making rules and limitations on fan-run photoshoot gatherings, which they had previously just ignored or discouraged all together. Homestuck shoots were so big conventions had to start working with them. The Saturday photoshoot at Otakon that Alex and I ran at Homestuck’s peak had an estimated over 700 attendees, and the next year was the year Ota started regulating their photoshoots through official channels.

Speaking of that photoshoot and crazy stories, Michael Guy Bowman and Tavia Morra, two of the most prominent members of Homestuck’s music team at the time, literally showed up on a whim with a guitar and asked Alex and I if they could perform a three-song set in the middle of the shoot, then came back for the next day’s shoot in their Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido costumes and did it again.

[images]

Don’t even get Alex started on how she ran in-real-life Promstuck events in Manhattan for years with official venues, decorations and literal tickets.

Being in Homestuck for the time I was there was an incredibly surreal experience, because having been going to conventions for years before Homestuck, and having been somewhat in the center of these events (Homestuck was the only fandom where I was considered a “BNF”), I can still see the way Homestuck has changed aspects of fandom events at cons. I was in one of the first in-character Homestuck panels back in the summer of 20fucking11 and ended up being in some incredibly popular ones in 2012-13 that still get hits on YouTube today. Alex and I’s model for photoshoots are still being used by friends and people who we don’t even know who run other fandom’s events. Some cons I had reached out to so I could get official approval to run photoshoots of hundreds of people are still using my model and system to regulate shoots at their events years later. Hell, by the time I was hitting my peak along with Homestuck I was going to 10 conventions a year and running an average of 3 photoshoots per con, not to mention an average of 2 in-character panels per weekend that I was either in or running. At some of the cons I attended staff knew me so well because I had to secure the shoot details in advance and had so many panels under my name they had my number listed under “in case of Homestuck issue call her” because Homestuck was a category of attendee cons literally had to separate from other attendees and learn to anticipate ahead of time. I will emphasize, I was never on staff, they just knew me as the liaison for the massive hoard of grey 13 year olds that scared the shit out of them.

When people who have been in the fandom five years like me try to emphasize how big Homestuck was we’re not just talking haha it was huge, Homestuck fundamentally changed the landscape of conventions for years and a lot of those changes stayed.[2]

[cancerously]

OHH MAN PROMSTUCK, the final event clocked nearly 500 attendees and cost roughly $12,000 when the whole thing was wrapped. That’s barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this sort of discussion though.

Homestuck was a phenomenon because with frequent updates and no defined update schedule, the hype train never stopped. Frequently fandoms will go through phases of an explosion of content and then a resting period, which can easily be tracked by when new content appears. With things like TV shows, video games, or even most webcomics, having a schedule means you could tell when everyone was going to be freaking out, and the subsequent planning around that meant the hype train could be quantified. The problem with Homestuck was those curves couldn’t be tracked, especially because there was NEVER any warning what KIND of content we were getting. One day could be an update dropped at 5 AM EST that was two kids pelting each other with fruit. 4 hours later we could get a flash that killed 17 people. Then it could be THREE DAYS before another update where haha it was retconned that was a dream none of those people are dead. It was fucking anarchy. Sure there was a WAY to define the plot but knowing what was going on or what was coming at any given moment was fucking impossible, and the break between these updates is what spawned “update culture”.

The thing with update culture is that most content creators are aware of, and plan content updates around, the idea of what the fans will be feeling and thinking once that content is done being distributed. For TV shows, episodes are released with beginnings, middles, and ends- a narrative arc that allows people to start thinking about media the way the creator wants them to, leading them along with little trails of plot and puzzles to solve. But Homestuck’s updates weren’t planned like that, because they came in chunks of whenever it was done, a carry-over from the original Choose-Your-Own-Adventure format. Because of this, people were theorizing about thing that’d be fixed in the literal next page, but because we didn’t have that information, the weirdest shit started being produced. It also didn’t help that Homestuck has some fucking weird shit happen in it! And sometimes fan theories wouldn’t resurface until literal YEARS down the line (Tricksters, anyone??) and people would be screaming and throwing themselves on the floor. There was no predictability, and therefore ANYTHING WAS VALID. And it created an incredibly interesting, though HORRIBLY chaotic space, that by god, was so much fun. Homestuck was a large-scale production media produced like a fanfiction author and because of the size of the audience lead to PANDEMONIUM on a scale that can’t be easily replicated.

Like it’s not really appropriate to say “oh x is the new Homestuck” because the very nature of Homestuck’s creation and population ensures there will never BE another phenom like it. The landscape of fandom, due to Homestuck, has changed, because update culture can’t exist without the perfect storm of described attributes that this comic had- that now no one else can replicate because Homestuck caused people to move away from that style of storytelling BECAUSE of the hectic fandom! It all feeds into itself. (Sort of like the story of this comic, honestly.) The Homestuck fandom experience will likely never happen again because of the way Homestuck shaped the fan scene. And that’s cool to know about!

Also I feel I should clarify on some of the above points. To begin, they’re all fucking true.

- The sharpie dyeing story is unfortunately real. It’s original source is 4chan, the OP posted it on their personal tumblr blog (which for some reason still routes to my page if you google it). It can be found here, Archived version.

- The horse dildo was also real. It was sent as a joke because of a series of horse dick jokes mentioned in the comic; for those not in the know about Homestuck, there’s a character who talks a lot about horses and their rippling muscles. Hussie included it as a find-able item in a later walk-around minigame flash.

- Two people did in fact donate $10,000 to the Homestuck kickstarter to have their fantrolls be canon and then murdered. While I don’t personally know the story of the female fantroll, the one in the top hat (Nektan Whelan) was actually made by an American Army veteran who read Homestuck while deployed in Iraq. He credited it was part of what helped him stay positive during active deployment. I can’t find the link to this conversation because it was on formspring like 4 years ago but if anyone has the link, let me know, I’d be curious to have it archived.

- The Homestuck flash in question that killed Newgrounds was Cascade. Hussie recorded that at that time he received over 1.2 million unique pageviews trying to access it at once, world-wide. It also crashed the main Homestuck site and forums, then megaupload, and (for a VERY short time), Twitter and Livestream, because people started streaming it and tweeting the links. Someone made a comic, Archived version about how that experience felt and as someone who was there screaming at Newgrounds to let me in, I can promise it’s accurate.

- The update notifier was a godsend, and people would design specific macros, sounds, and images for their notifiers. It became a mini-culture in itself how you heard about the update. For a long time, I used to make tumblr posts, Archived version about it. Update culture, and how fast you got to the update, was so real.[3]

[saccharinesylph]

As I am still Homestuck garbage and probably will be till I die, I gotta echo a lot of Ash’s sentiments here. Homestuck has literally changed the bedrock of how FANDOM IS DONE. That’s crazy. The art/fic exchange models that Homestuck started are being echoed and used down the line, as well as large-scale fandom events like Promstucks. Now that most of the fandom has scattered, they’re still using HS meets to band together, through Draw-Party events at cons and local meetups. The thing I’ve noticed is, even the largest scale fandom hasn’t been able to match the physical tenacity of Homestuck. I’ve seen a handful of other local events try to pop up for other fandoms, but they don’t hold up. Next month we’re still having a 4/13 meetup.

What’s also cool is that the visual symbols have gone ahead of Homestuck, too. Years later, I still see people use the spade symbol to represent a hate pairing with characters that have NOTHING to do with Homestuck. (Most recently I see them floating over Kylux’s heads.) Whited out eyes to represent a dead character were used for everything from SNK to Dangan Ronpa and are still being used now. Even LANGUAGE has changed. There are tons of Homestuck phrases that have infiltrated our vernacular enough people who have no idea what Homestuck is can be heard saying things like “Being a kid is hard and no one understands” or “you’re the star, it’s you.” It brought back the second-person writing style. Before Homestuck, I had never seen second-person as an accepted writing style, but now I see it everywhere, in tons of mediums.

It had its dark sides, too, I won’t lie. The kind of fandom indignation that could literally brew WITHIN AN HOUR is partial to Homestuck. And I think a bit of the entitled nature of current fandoms comes from having a fairly accessible content creator (not entirely, but Hussie still kept tabs on fandom) who would respond openly to fandom’s demands, which can be sort of unhealthy, especially for content creators in the future.

I’ve participated in other fandoms, but still, nothing holds my heart like the Homestuck fandom. It’s like home, and even though a bunch of my kids have flown the nest, it’s nice to know that they took some of the good parts with them. C:[4]

[jehancourf]

remember broadway karkat

[asahisplushrumps]

Magic cupcakes

[sugimoto-reimi]

OKAY HONESTLY I HAVE SO MANY STORIES AND MEMORIES I’LL JUST PUT SOME SOME DOWN IN A LIST

  • Terezi cosplayers eating/licking various nonedible things. I know someone who ate a rose and I licked a courthouse once
  • There was some discourse over this one person who made a bulge for their Cronus cosplay and would flop it out at conventions
  • THE ENTIRE SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORM THAT WAS MADE FOR/ABOUT HOMESTUCK
  • I once tried to organize NOT 1 BUT 2 ridiculously large art collabs where people were supposed to sign up and draw one homestuck character each until every character in the comic was drawn BUT AS OF TODAY, 3 YEARS LATER, ONLY ABOUT 15% OF THAT WAS FINISHED and it’s completely dead
  • Octopimp’s homestuck voiceacting
  • People getting outrageously pissed off if you skipped the intermission
  • “Homestuck is my favorite anime!”
  • Several animating groups trying to make homestuck into an anime just so that joke could be real
  • THE ENTIRE FANDOM AGREEING UPON WHAT TROLL GENITALS WOULD LOOK LIKE
  • David Elizabeth Strider
  • The end of homestuck was announced 3 years in a row and it’s still going. someone kill it. put it out of its misery. is hussie even alive anymore? help him.
  • THE PANTY RAID COMIC
  • god honestly i could go on all day i’m gonna stop here
[jasper-rolls]

Sexy Aradia cosplayer posing in an actual graveyard on actual gravestones for actual dead people

[lornacrowley]

my most vivid homestuck memory involves a meetup of like 150+ people at nycc singing “make her a member of the midnight crew” off key at a singular, visibly uncomfortable spades slick cosplayer for like maybe 3 straight minutes before con staff made everyone move for fire safety reasons [5]

[egbertcaptors]

i’ve brought it up before but there were even sites dedicated to the fans. the messaging system in Homestuck (Pesterchum) was actually created and you better believe i had one. then there were sites like gigapause where you could rank up and talk to other fans and it was just so amazing to be a part of something so huge and so fun. i made some of my greatest friends through this web comic and it makes me genuinely sad, even now, that those sites eventually died out and shut down. homestuck was my first time seeing so many people being so passionate about something and i’m glad that i could be a part of that.[6]

[shinysquirtlesquad:]

oh good theres more. its three am but

  • zombiestuck and the thousands of cosplays
  • fandomstuck and the fact that the hetalia fandom was the homestuck fandom’s best friend
  • that time the hetalia fandom and the homestuck fandom were at fucking war for whatever reason
  • MAKE ME COME ALIVE CMON AND TURN ME ON
  • Sugoi Quest for Kokoro fanime
  • When Hussie tried to stop people from spoiling Calliope and provided a fake troll image of her for people to post and people followed it for like a day
  • That tumblr post that had no indication that it was homestuck other than the troll blood colors and follower counts next to them
[finejeeze]

Oh man what about all the other crazy shit like

  • When one of the Music Team members had a huge falling out with Hussie and all of his music was systematically replaced on all his flashes and no one ever talked about it ever again
  • And if you did talk about it you were banned from the forums
  • The sudden and jarring shift in demographics as all the late-twenty-somethings who were into dumb jokes, old sierra games and computer science who liked Problem Sleuth completely fucking bailed, and all the weeby queer teens started jumping onto it like nothing ever before. This was especially jarring for us weeby queer Sierra-game enthusiasts as we watched it switch but stayed on board. All dozen of us.
  • Every month for most of years 1-2, Hussie had to change servers because his current one couldn’t handle the bandwidth demands

When Hussie’s house flooded which stopped the comic for about a week or two, which up until that point hadn’t happened yet. Ever. The whole comic was almost cancelled because his hard drive with Homestuck on it was caught in the flood

  • Going from 12 people total at a 2k+ attendance convention recognizing me with only one other HS cosplayer to the same con a year later literally EVERYONE recognizing me and dozens, close to one hundred Homestuck Cosplayers
  • Formal, organized Fangroups policing and absorbing every member they could, and the breaking down and schisming of those groups that followed.

Crazy shit, man. Crazy shit. [7]

[redead-red]

oh man

  • The fights/arguments between different regional fangroups
  • Fat Vriska
  • LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOMESTUCK
  • Someone literally made a post explaining that you shouldn’t cosplay a character “above your blood caste” so a Leo couldn’t cosplay as Gamzee (I know.) (I KNOW.)
  • The first big hiatus
  • Fangroups getting big enough to actually hold events like dances and prom
  • PEOPLE GOING TO THE MALL IN GREY PAINT I FUCKING STILL CAN’T GET OVER THAT SHIT
  • Four different shipping quadrants. I’m not even kidding it was terrible
  • That Bucket that everyone passed around at a restaurant and like spat in
  • Buckets in general being a huge “”””taboo”””
  • At San Diego Comic Con 2012 Hussie was doing signings at the Topatco booth but the line got so out of hand that SDCC had to move Hussie and the line to a signing table
  • Hussie’s adventure at Olive Garden[8]

References

  1. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version March 11, 2016
  2. ^ 16.03.14 (archived)
  3. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version 14 March 2016 reply from cancerously
  4. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version March 15, 2016
  5. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version 14 MAR 2016
  6. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version Jan 9th, 2019
  7. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version March 14th, 2016
  8. ^ Tumblr post, Archived version March 14th, 2016