12/29/2016: I’m going to write a tiny bit more and then release what I have of my next post because I’ve delayed them way too long already.
For the past two months we’ve gotten Homestuck material presented to us via Snapchat stuff and it’s frightening for practically every reason imaginable.
It all started with the credits, which I have very mixed feelings about right now, but at the time they relieved my salt about Act 7 which felt pretty mystical. Then there were Halloween snaps a few days after the credits, before the deeper problems with them started to sink in for me. A few mildly cringey references aside, the Halloween stuff was further salt relief because it was pretty much a bunch of fun fluff.
But then came 11/11, the fifth anniversary of Act 6, and, uh…
OK let me put it like this. That series of snaps started with Jane at Crockercorp and felt like they would be mystical (holy mother of god her doing important stuff!), but instead they turned into what I’m pretty sure was supposed to be a bunch of pleasant happy fluff. But it was actually the kind of stuff that pretends to be cute and fun but actually freaks you out completely. I’ll admit, on that day I was too distracted by shipping stuff to pay attention to the underlying problems with this method of media presentation that would come into full view later on. But look, I’m not the biggest fan of the story acting like random ships that came out of nowhere (in this case Roxy and Calliope) suddenly were always meant to be a thing, is that hard to understand. It’s just a pretty dumb way to present story material in general.
After those snaps happened, people were theorizing and anticipating resolution about Jane being kidnapped or whatever happened, but I found it hard to care about it or treat it like actually relevant material. It’s just hard to treat the Snapchat material as part of Homestuck for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that it’s run by Hussie’s associates, not the man himself. Also because it isn’t posted on the MSPA website or anything.
Second person narration, dear god why…
After that we got snaps on Thanksgiving focusing on Jack Noir. I actually enjoyed them in and of themselves, because Jack is all around an enjoyable character. But the problems with them are especially multi-layered. First and foremost, it feels pretty gut-wrenching seeing Slick replaced in role entirely with this version of Jack without anyone saying a word. But even if you ignore that entirely, those snaps use second person narration for some reason which doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Between this and the snaps being all around way too wordy, it’s clear that this is really just meant to be a fun and new way to present Homestuck material. But it’s not that fun when you don’t have a phone anywhere near good enough to install Snapchat on and have to either consume one every hour or click your way through a dozen Reddit posts to take a look at the snaps. I know that’s not necessarily what you have to do but you get the idea: it’s hard to digest them anything resembling the way one can peruse the actual comic.
But the ultimate problem with having this stuff is as follows: it’s actually plot-relevant stuff, presented in this crummy format. I don’t know much about how Snapchat works but I’m pretty sure the pictures delete themselves after a day so I don’t have a clue what the people who run this are thinking. Nor do I have any idea whether they’re going to be posted again as part of the comic, which I’d rather not have happen because (1) the whole story turning into Snapchat stuff would be the absolute worst and (2) the material in the snaps still feels pretty tangential and disjointed from the comic. Plus, treating these snaps as not part of the comic makes me feel better about the stuff in them that doesn’t make me that happy.
It all came together just a few days ago when we got the hardest to follow plotline ever seen. I don’t know what happened in it but I’ve heard people talk about Jane giving Jack her old tiaratop and controlling him, or something? I’m not going to lie, it feels like they’re talking about a whole different comic.
A big part of this sequence being hard to follow is how much stuff was happening at once. It’s obviously supposed to seem cool and awesome but instead it’s confusing. Not confusing as in some kind of crazy time loop, but confusing as in you just can’t tell what’s supposed to be going on. The text in those snaps is also extremely distracting, and I’m fairly certain it’s pretty far removed from how people actually use Snapchat, which again makes it feel like it’s really just a new way to present Homestuck material even though it’s bad.
But the ultimate problem with the writing in the snaps is as follows: it feels like the guy who’s writing them is trying way too hard to make the characters sound like themselves. Practically every single snap is captioned with just way too much text and I’m like, is that really how the characters talk?
Bottom line: At first these snaps seemed just like enjoyable filler material but now everything is going sideways in a really confusing way. That’s actually how I would describe all of Homestuck since the retcon happened, but maybe something worth it will come out of this? At this point I’d almost be completely OK if the whole rest of Homestuck from here on out is just Caliborn gloating at us.