Cookie Fonster’s Problem Sleuth Commentary Introduction

As I mentioned not long ago, I’m starting a new blog post series similar to my lengthy post series commenting on the famed story webcomic Homestuck, but covering its predecessor, Problem Sleuth. I would say it’s based on the success of my Homestuck post series, but that post series isn’t particularly popular at the moment. I would also append that sentence with “(yet)” if there was a non-awkward way to say that while also acknowledging that my posts becoming more popular is merely what I hope will happen.

Although Homestuck is unquestionably Andrew Hussie’s magnum opus, Problem Sleuth deserves some appreciation for keeping a consistent theme and storyline through its year-long run. Homestuck, while unlike Problem Sleuth intended as an “actual story” from the start, started as a command-based story of four teenagers playing a video game but gradually shed many of its original layers, progressing into a tale of gray-skinned aliens and lengthy dialogue and complex plot lines, and then incorporating relationship drama and aging up its characters and regularly going on hiatus to the point where it’s a completely different story from what it started as. This is not to say that what Homestuck became ended up being bad—although some people do think that, I actually like the middle section of the comic the most—it’s more like Problem Sleuth does a better job at keeping a consistent style. Throughout its run Problem Sleuth ran on user-suggested commands and kept its theme of being a video game adventure while still doing a good job at escalating its storyline, something that cannot be said of Homestuck.

Problem Sleuth is so far the only one of Hussie’s four comics on MS Paint Adventures to have a definite conclusion, sealing its role as a story more so than Homestuck which is the one that’s an actual story. Its predecessors of similar style, Jailbreak and Bard Quest, are both left unfinished, while Homestuck is either finished or semi-finished depending on how you look at it (I look at it as semi-finished). As it stands, Homestuck technically has an ending, but there’s a vaguely described epilogue planned as well. There is much debate as to whether Homestuck’s present ending is a good satisfying ending. Many readers, myself included, feel that the ending as it stands does not give a satisfying wrap-up to all its plot threads and character arcs. Some readers, myself still included, think Homestuck’s current ending doesn’t even hit some of the bare minimum requirements for a satisfying ending. Readers also can’t agree on what to expect for the epilogue of the comic, whether it will resolve stuff and possibly even redeem the ending, or if it won’t be of much substance. I personally have optimistic expectations for the epilogue, mostly because it really feels all “look I know Homestuck isn’t good anymore” to think it won’t be much good.

While Problem Sleuth has a solid conclusion, it still is at heart a silly video game parody story of clumsy detectives. But with a decent length of over 1600 pages, it’s still worth giving serious commentary, in what will be my second full read of Problem Sleuth. For reference, my first read of Problem Sleuth was on and off over the course of several months, and was at around the same time as my second read of Homestuck. While I have no posting schedule set in stone yet, I’m thinking of making these posts at a similar rate to my Homestuck posts: generally every 3-5 days, though it can vary. I think it’s reasonable to cover about 100 or more pages per post, similar to how I originally did my Homestuck post series. This means that if things go as planned, my Problem Sleuth post series will contain about 16 posts total and take a few months from start to finish.

List of posts:

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

(more coming at some point hopefully?????)

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