afinelife: (heroine addict)

Yep.  It got me.

I'm obsessed with Homestuck.

YOU GUYS, IT IS SO GOOD.  I don't just mean the story is intriguing or the characters are lovable (though it is, and they are).  What I'm itching to talk about here, though, is the downright incredible way it is constructed.

Sometimes, you can read a book, or see a movie, or enjoy some other form of entertainment, and it will be enjoyable and engaging, but you will come away with the sense that the same story could have been told in another medium, either without having lost anything or, in fact, improving from the change.  At least, I sometimes have that experience, and I've been told it's a common one.  There's certainly nothing WRONG with writing a book that would convert well to a film, or a video game that can become an anime, especially when it is done well.

HOMESTUCK IS NOT ONE OF THOSE STORIES.  Homestuck is part of a much smaller set of works I've found that simply could not be told in any other format, at least not without losing its depth and richness.  These sorts of works are RARE, usually breathtaking, and can come in pretty much any storytelling format imaginable.  A good example of one in theater is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Yes, it's a great read and I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone and everyone.  Yes, the movie had some truly stellar performances.  Neither of these comes remotely close, however, to seeing it performed live.  Most of the emotional impact of the play is lost when a screen or a page is placed between the audience and the action.

This is getting off-track, but I promise, I have a point. 

For a literary example of this principle, I'd offer up House of Leaves.  It fully uses and engages every aspect of what it means to be a book, playing with and twisting the relationship between narrator, character, and reader.  By challenging the boundaries of what you expect in a book, it entrenches itself so deeply in the medium that the story and the medium of the telling are completely inextricable from one another.  The Metal Gear Solid franchise, especially Metal Gear Solid 2, does the same for video games. 

HOMESTUCK HAS DONE IT FOR WEBCOMICS.

This is not a comic that could ever be compiled and turned into a trade paperback.  This is not a comic that just happens to be on the web.  This is a web comic.  Andrew Hussie fully explores the multimedia potential inherent in doing something on the internet.  He can (and does) link out from the comic to other webpages.  He scatters hypertextual links to individual pages of a parallel narrative at key points in the main storyline, and he integrates animations and music into the comic regularly.  You don't just read this comic, you watch it and listen to it and sometimes you even play it.  It is ridiculous.  It is long, and complicated, and intimidating, and bizarre, and sometimes extremely silly.  It is also FUCKING BRILLIANT.
 


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Nancy

February 2014

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