Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.1: Scrawlings in Puddles of Sloppy Discharge

Introduction

Part 11 | Part 12.1 | Part 12.2 >

Pages 1052-1099 (MSPA: 2952-2999)


Act 3, Part 4 of 5

Link to old version

This post (which I wrote on and off over the past few weeks) was originally going to cover the last ~100 pages of Act 3, but yesterday I decided to split the post in half because it was getting long. I also renamed my rewritten post series from “Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Rewritten” to “Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck”; the last ~50 pages of Act 3 will be covered in Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.2.

Picking up from where we left off, John Egbert is commanded to alchemize in a 1980’s time-lapse montage. The narration declines the “1980’s time-lapse montage” part of the command because Hussie didn’t feel it was worth making John’s per-character alchemy binge into a flash, which I think was a good decision. All four beta kids get their own alchemy binge during the first five acts, and each one brings about a delightful mix of extremely plot-relevant items and inconsequential nonsense and everything in between.

First off, John tries alchemizing “pogo || hammer” instead of “pogo && hammer” and makes a hammer-shaped pogo ride. This is a clever integration of computer science technicalities to make alchemy work in Homestuck without inevitably running into captcha cards with too many or too few holes. Here’s the book commentary on this page:

You people don’t even know what the && and || operators mean, do you? Why don’t you learn computers you dorks! Although to be fair, technically the single & and | bitwise operators are what perform the described functions. So now who’s the dork. Me. I went with the logical operators (&&,||) instead because they are more recognizable and frequently used from a pure coding perspective. So it’s this weird case where I dumbed it down for the sake of people who ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM. Good grief.

afw I like this commentary because it shows how much care Hussie put into balancing technical accuracy and general accessibility when writing Homestuck’s early acts. The mix of accuracy and accessibility sets Homestuck apart from Problem Sleuth, a story based fully upon technical accuracy (to its own set of rules, that is).

Eh, could use some improvement.
Yes, PERFECT!

And here’s where John starts customizing his suit until he comes up with something satisfying. It’s common in media for characters’ outfits to set the tone of the story, and the early acts of Homestuck do that in a unique and incredibly fun way: by having characters experiment with item combinations until they make an outfit they like. Usually the outfits are just for flair and tone-setting, but Dave’s outfits are a special case because they distinguish his time duplicates.

Don’t forget that Lord English will one day eat every single hammer John has ever made.


John’s creativity starts to shine as he comes up with ways to use his complex alchemized weapons. How does he solve the problem that his Telescopic Sassacrusher is too big to carry? Simple: he makes a Remote Ghost Gauntlet—a remote-controllable arm alchemized from his fake arm, Nanna’s ectoplasm, and his father’s PDA.

Then he uses a mirror to make a Left-Handed Remote Ghost Gauntlet. Hussie’s book commentary raises an interesting point about its usefulness:

Honestly I forgot until just now that a mirror could be combined with items to flip them. I don’t think that clever tactic was ever used again. But then, in a universe where sprites can just “flip turn-ways”, maybe it’s not actually that useful?

Flipping sprites turn-ways only happens twice, both times in the Midnight Crew intermission: first when Diamonds Droog uses effigies to patch Spades Slick’s eye, then when Slick flips his own sprite so that his bar-coded arm isn’t severed. I wonder if flipping their sprites turn-ways is something carapacians can do but humans can’t? It matches with their roles as NPCs and all the other stuff I talked about in a recent post. Maybe the Kiddie Camper Handysash has a badge that grants players full ambidexterity and sprite flipping? Or maybe it doesn’t since most of the Handysash’s badges grant players abilities humans in the real world can do just fine.


Hopefully you already know that real-world controversies have greatly affected Bill Cosby’s presence in Homestuck. I find this instance rather amusing; many readers might chance upon this command and guess that because the command ends with an ellipsis, John will remember on the next page what Cosby is now best known for and decide not to alchemize anything with his Ghost Dad poster. Alas, most of Homestuck was written before the controversy which means a few parts read very differently now.

You probably already know that Hussie owns the painting of a horse attacking a football player in real life.


Through a bit of creative thinking and math, John figures out how to remove the clown drawings from his movie posters! Another bit of admirable problem solving that shows he’s smarter than he lets on—clever problem solving is a trait he has in common with Roxy which neither show very much in the brutally deconstructionist Candy Epilogue.


And then John makes… this thing. I’m not going to bother saying what everyone says when they get to this part. Instead, I’ll talk about the book commentary on this page:

Bill Cosby is the perfect father. We all know this. Whereas Bing Crosby, though quite fatherly onscreen, was actually a total douche to his real kids. I didn’t know this until way after I put him in HS. I wonder if Dad would have a dramatic breakdown if he learned that?

YEARS LATER EDIT – HA HA, LET’S POLITELY SIDESTEP THE FACT THAT HE’S NOW BETTER KNOWN AS A SERIAL RAPIST THAN A GOOD FATHER. HA HA, WHAT SEX CRIMES SPANNING FIVE DECADES??? HA HA, WOW, MOVING ON!

*But for real, re: the Cosby debacle. Given that I was just saying what a douche Bing Crosby was, it makes sense that Bill Cosby turned out to be one as well. These two figures are cosmically linked in the Homestuck mythos, which has eternally bound their souls together whether they like it or not. Both iconic father figures. Both wretched human beings. The circle of depravity is complete.

I think this commentary provides good insight into how the Cosby debacle affected Homestuck that doesn’t come across as being in bad taste. The fact that Hussie managed to form a logical connection between that whole situation and his comic’s mythos is a testament to how deeply intertwined every single aspect of Homestuck is, even the absurd celebrity jokes.


GOOD PROBLEM SLEUTH REFERENCE. That is all.


God, the Wrinklefucker has such a cool design. How can a hammer whose head is made of springs and irons possibly look so badass???

It’s like fucking christmas up in here.

Actually, it IS fucking christmas up in here, because this page was posted on Christmas.


And that’s the end of John’s alchemy binge! A whole bunch of sweet loot, including some sick weapons, a stylish new outfit, a couple wild variants on Fruit Gushers, and some inconsequential miscellany. The next three alchemy binges are even more fun.

PLEASE WATCH THIS YOU WON’T REGRET IT (to complete the trilogy)


Now it’s time for Dave’s final round of strife against his Bro.


Dave, Bro, and Cal have their grand final confrontation, face-to-face, sword-to-sword…


… and with one swipe of his anime sword, Bro Strider fulfills most of what was foreshadowed when WV looked at Dave’s exile screen. This moment establishes how unbeatable grown-up Dirk is—not just brutally defeating Dave, but also using his sword to introduce three plot points in one go: Dave’s swords breaking, Dave’s record symbol representing the Scratch, and the deep dark secrets behind Lil’ Cal (because his head is intact). Bro’s strength is also important because it’s used to show how unbeatable Jack Noir is after he becomes a dog.


Dave stumbles around some more until he lies face-up on the ground. He finally has his bro’s copies of Sburb, and all it took was his lunatic guardian handing him the brutal beatdown to end all brutal beatdowns. Post-scratch Dirk fulfills plot points through clever well-timed sequences that take advantage of every detail he can find; pre-scratch Dirk fulfills plot points simply through being an anime swordsman.

If I recall, Hussie didn’t intend for Dave’s bro to give off such strong anime vibes but rolled with it when fans pointed that out.


And with that, Bro Strider hops on his rocketboard and floats away like a mysterious motherfucker.

It’s kind of crazy that he just simply hops on and flies to the meteor so he can slice it in half while Dirk in the Unite Synchronization flashes has to make use of complex physics to achieve similar feats. Is this the way adult Dirk rolls, or are the beta kids inaccurately perceiving their guardians again? I’m going to assume it’s the former, because Bro spent 30 years or so inseparable from a puppet housing the souls of several impossibly strong beings whereas the puppet’s post-scratch “clone” didn’t have any of those souls yet.


And then comes the iconic sequence. Say it with me:

— turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] — 

TG: bro just kicked my ass 

TG: thats really all there is to say on the matter 

Bro just kicked Dave’s ass. That’s really all there is to say on the matter. Now let’s go on to [S] Jade: Pester John, a flash everyone forgets about for some unfathomable reason!

I hope you don’t mind some self-advertisement.

The main point of this flash, as the title suggests, is to show Jade and John’s conversations we already read from the former’s perspective. This flash is unique because it’s the only time we see a previously read pesterlog from someone else’s perspective in a full-length animation rather than still pages, which I’ve always found to be a genius method of storytelling.


This flash reveals that Jade’s dream self talks to her friends through her dreambot. It’s still so crazy to consider that Jade’s first ever onscreen conversation with someone was typed by a robot who mirrors all her dream self’s actions—perhaps even crazier than the reveals of trolls and cherubs.


After we establish that dream Jade is using her lunchtop to pester John, the flash takes a bit of time to show us how exactly Jade can “see the future”: during Skaia’s eclipses, she absorbs information from clouds that show her bits and pieces of their story. Alongside all the clouds showing past events, there are a few clouds shaped like people and items in Jade’s daily life, like the Squiddle-shaped cloud above. These shaped clouds are a nice touch to the Skaian cloud scenes and I find it a bit of a shame they’re phased out—they’re shown in this flash mostly to tie into [S] John: Wake up towards the end of Act 2.


Dream logic gets REALLY weird as we find out the truth behind the noise outside Jade’s house that “sounded like an explosion”. A Skaian cloud showing Jade’s island 413 million years in the past expands so that Jade is now “reliving” that memory, much like a dream bubble…


… then another Skaian cloud shows the prehistoric meteor arriving from the beta kids’ session, and the meteor turns into a meteor-shaped cloud …


… and then the meteor-shaped cloud crashes near the volcano, reenacting a scene from [S] WV: Ascend. The fact that the meteor is represented by a cloud instead of just being a memory of a meteor is a good demonstration that dream mechanics in Homestuck often work based on what looks the most artistically pleasing (or narratively convenient).

This flash shows us that Jade slept through John’s entry into the game, as we would expect from her.


And this is the big reveal. The loud noise outside Jade’s house that sounded like an explosion wasn’t a meteor impact, but a dream memory of a meteor impact. A bit at odds with how Skaian clouds usually work, but still a great red herring and demonstration of bizarre dream logic. It’s also a good retrospective demonstration of how protective her dog is; we know from [S] Jade: Enter that Bec will never let a meteor impact anywhere near Jade and instead destroys the meteor head-on to wipe out everything else on Earth.


This memory reveals to the reader (and to Jade) that the prehistoric meteor from [S] WV: Ascend gave birth to Becquerel, a millions-of-years-old dog who rose up out of lava in case you need a reminder how incredibly tough he is.

Please take a moment to appreciate that Jade is casually typing from atop her dream tower.


It’s also super crazy to see what Jade means by “bec doesnt want me to go near it”. She’s unknowingly referring to two versions of Bec: the dog in the real world and the dog’s dream projection. I assume that the reason she doesn’t find it surprising that she’s dreaming about Bec for the first time is because her dream self has a very different kind of brain from her waking self.


The last part of this flash shows us another John scene from Jade’s perspective: his short dream where he saw clouds shaped like items from his house and a silhouette of Jade. Jade notices him floating with his eyes shut tight and flies towards him to try and wake him up. We don’t yet know that she’s extremely antsy to finally show John around Prospit and tell him all her secrets—that’s saved for an extremely sad letter John reads after her dream self’s death.


This sequence revisiting the events of [S] John: Wake up is extremely well executed: we see the exact same shots with a bit more detail than before, showing that the shaped clouds John glimpsed at were only a small portion of a much bigger picture.


The silhouette of Jade is also revealed not to be what John thought: a look from a broader perspective reveals Jade to be wearing her golden dream outfit, shaped a bit differently from John’s perception. Jade flashes a few times in her dream outfit as we revisit John’s perspective.


And then they both wake up.

How is it POSSIBLE that so many people forget about this flash?! Or the music in it for that matter. [S] Jade: Pester John may not be as fast-paced as all the iconic end-of-act flashes, but it’s a beautiful way to finally reveal how Jade “knows the future” and the truth behind her pesterlogs with John, with lots of stunning dream scenery as well.

Jade’s past pesterlogs with John can be reread below this flash, helpfully accompanied by links to the pages we first read them on.

GG: anyway what have you been up to john?
GG: oh!!!! did you get my package yet? :O
EB: er…
EB: yeah, i was trying to get it, but rose dropped my car into a weird spooky bottomless pit and the package was in the car and im really sorry about that.
GG: oh no!
EB: wow, ok, i guess i should start at the beginning.
EB: see, a meteor blew up my neighborhood.
GG: thats terrible john! im so sorry!


John and Jade’s pesterlogs read very differently now that we know Jade is actually her ditzy dream self. She reacts to John’s statement that a meteor blew up his neighborhood like a normal person would because she isn’t on top of things like her waking self is.

EB: but i’m ok! and my house is too, sort of.
EB: that game i was telling you about, sburb which i was playing with rose, sort of transported me somewhere at the last minute.
EB: but now i’m trapped here and it’s weird and dark and i can’t find my dad and i just lost the car and my copy of the game in the pit and i think i have to save the world from the apocalypse!!!
GG: O_O
GG: well…..
GG: it sounds really crazy and kind of scary but…..
GG: it also sounds kind of exciting!
GG: i dont know john maybe this is your destiny
GG: if anyone can save the world i think it is probably you!


Jade’s encouraging words again come off as extremely airheaded from her perspective now that we know her dream self forgets everything.

EB: wow, you think so?
GG: yes!
EB: well ok, BUT.
EB: it’s not even that simple!
EB: i was about to connect to rose to help transport her and save her from meteors and fire and stuff.
EB: but she lost battery power and i lost the game disc!
EB: so i think i have to get TG to use his copy to save her!
EB: but that jackass won’t shut up and stop rapping and stuff.
GG: hahaha
GG: he is so silly!
EB: yeah. anyway i should talk to him about it, so brb.


One thing waking and dream Jade have in common a special soft spot for Dave. I feel so bad for her in the epilogues, even reading short passages like this.


Jade’s next conversation with John in which she is an EXTREMELY FILTHY LIAR turns out to be her waking self and it’s just as annoying to read now as it was then.

GG: hey!!!!
EB: whoa, there you are!
GG: how is your adventure going john?
EB: it’s ok, i am making some progress, and rose finally connected again so she is helping me now.
GG: thats good!!
EB: oh but, like…
EB: i don’t think i am actually saving the world here. 😦
EB: i dunno what i’m really accomplishing but i guess it’s not that.
GG: hmm well i think whatever it is it must be pretty important!
GG: dont lose hope john i think it will all turn out for the best if you stay positive….
GG: just keep listening to your grandmothers advice!!!
EB: yeah, you’re probably right.
EB: but, um…
EB: i don’t think i mentioned nanna to you, did i?


It’s somehow much more surprising now than before that Jade knows about Nannasprite. We now know that she must have seen Nanna in a dream, but it’s still really weird to see that she knows this much in advance.

GG: oh uhhh…….
GG: i dont know didnt you???
EB: hmm, i dunno, maybe you talked rose or dave about it or something.
GG: yeah maybe that was it!!
EB: they’re really weird when they talk to me about you, like they’re always trying convince me you have some spooky powers, but i’m always like no she seems like a pretty regular girl to me!
GG: heheheh 😀
EB: but then when i think back maybe there are times when it seems like you know some things?
EB: like maybe you know more about a thing than you are telling me? i dunno.


The dramatic irony is stronger now than ever before. Come to think of it, Rose and Dave trying to tell John the truth about Jade is a bit like Roxy and Dirk trying to tell Jane the truth about Betty Crocker.

GG: oh! john!!!
GG: i forgot i was messaging you about that meteor that fell near my house!
EB: oh yeah.
EB: what ever happened with that?
GG: oh boy…. well……..
GG: it turns out i was confused about it…
GG: really confused! o_o;
GG: see i guess i fell asleep for a while and…..
GG: lost track of time
GG: that happens!!
EB: yeah i know, tell me about it!
EB: maybe you should like, wear an alarm clock or something.
EB: so what was the deal with the meteor?
GG: well…..
GG: its hard to explain!!!
GG: but…
GG: i know what it is now!
GG: and now i know everythings going to be ok!!!



This part is much more tolerable when rereading, because we now know Jade is telling the truth and was indeed confused about the meteor. “Lost track of time” is a vague way to say dream Jade forgets things a lot; the truth behind the meteor is indeed hard to explain, even by Homestuck standards.

EB: so what is it???
EB: or is this just another thing you’re “waiting” to tell me???
GG: oh gosh john i really want to tell you all this stuff!!!
GG: but i cant yet
GG: i really think you need to wake up first!
EB: huh?
GG: well ok not literally
GG: well ok maybe KINDA literally!!
EB: AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EB: stop being so confusing!!!!


And finally, we now know exactly what Jade means by “wake up”. Rereading pesterlogs from different perspectives is a lot of fun.



You take a moment to gather your thoughts after your dream. While you are asleep it can get very confusing figuring out what is really happening and what isn’t. Especially during the ECLIPSE, when you are exposed to many visions of the past, present, and future through a variety of CLOUD MIRAGES. It is only after you wake up that you are able to start making sense of it all, and your REMINDERS help you do this!

This is one of the first instances of a pattern in the comic I very much appreciate: following flashes with textual recaps. By this point, Hussie had surely realized that some readers found big, grandiose flashes to be confusing, so he resolved this issue by recapping flashes in words for those who consume information better as text. The paragraph above is a great example of this pattern because it thoroughly explains how Jade knows the future.

But on reflection, there wasn’t much in the dream about the future. You were quite surprised to see your DOG in your dream though. It was the first time the crafty guardian has ever appeared in a dream! You have learned that today is his birthday, just like it is for your other best friend. You have always wondered about this, and never had the chance to throw him a party and bake him a cake. Now you can!

But if you do, it seems that you will need A LOT of candles.

This recap continues with a partial explanation of the story behind Bec. It tells us in a humorous way that the dog is millions of years old, which Jade probably deduced because she’s a huge science nerd.


Bec has never allowed you to enter the MYSTIC RUINS for reasons you never understood. You always assumed it was on account of your protection. But your dream has strongly suggested to you that is where you need to go now!

Since your DREAMBOT is secured in its chamber and does not need to be looked after, Bec is taking a nap in the GRAND FOYER as he usually does. Perhaps you can take advantage of this and sneak out of the house another way?

This bit reads to me like Hussie letting readers suggest how to get Jade to the frog temple because he didn’t have any ideas. This sort of thing is done several times in the early acts back when Homestuck ran on readers’ commands.

Grown-up Karkat isn’t the only character who’s good with a zipline. Just look at teen Jade.


Upon suggested commands, Jade uses her harpoon gun to zipline down to the frog temple. This is a creative solution that I can really tell was a reader’s idea, not Hussie’s, considering the way Jade fights enemies later in the comic.


This page shows us that Rose built John’s house up all the way to his first gate. The book commentary says that his house now resembles a video game level; this is a great demonstration of the creative building aspects of Sburb, which I think is an underappreciated part of the comic.


Having been defeated by his bro, we finally get to command Dave again. His strife specibus is now 1/2bladekind, which definitely is a thing that makes sense. Everyone knows Dave’s broken sword motif demonstrates his struggles with heroism, but I see his thoughts on being “the guy who breaks swords” more as annoyance with character archetypes. He’s the one who told Rose that human beings don’t have arcs (which I vehemently disagree with) after all.


You try to grab the BETA (6) but you forgot your sylladex is completely packed.

You wonder why you jammed all this useless crap in here in the first place. Maybe you assumed you would weaponize it all during one of your customary HASHRAP battles with your BRO. But in retrospect that probably just would have been a huge chore and would have made the battle drag on forever.


Sometimes you need to read the comic a bit deeply to see when Hussie is talking to readers through narration; other times like this, it’s very transparent. On this page, Hussie is telling us he was originally going to make an animated hash rap battle between Dave and Bro.

It’s like what are you made of time.

Obvious god tier title reference right there. This joke is reprised in Act 5 Act 2 when a doomed copy of Dave talks to Aradia, who is the Maid of Time—I wonder if Hussie had devised the trolls’ god tier titles yet by this point? Terezi mentions several of the trolls’ titles in Act 4, one of which is Aradia’s, so the answer might possibly be yes. Act 3 is fun to reread because it’s loaded to the brim with evidence that Hussie planned much of his comic’s plot way ahead of time.


Dave empties his sylladex and captchalogues his bro’s Sburb beta, then pesters Rose.

— turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering tentacleTherapist [TT] —

TG: ok i got it
TG: i hope you appreciate how much gross spongy proboscis i had to fellate to get this game
TG: hello
TG: what are you doing
TG: anyway im going down stairs now and installing this thing
TG: later


Rose would most certainly appreciate how much gross spongy proboscis Dave had to fellate to get this game. She and Dirk are both avid fans of overcomplicated ironic scheming.


That would certainly hasten the parcel’s delivery, but the gift is not finished yet!

You have spent months accelerating your knitting skills to be able to make the gift of perfect sentimental appeal. You even incorporated a cherished heirloom you have had as long as you can remember.

When he sees your staggering gesture of sentimentality he will finally understand. He will understand that in the game of facetious sentimental gestures, no one gets the best of Rose Lalonde.

These hints at the whole bunny mystery arc are a lot of fun to reread. I have no idea what readers might have speculated Rose’s lifetime heirloom to be, but given the appearification and sendification prevalent in the exile arc, I bet some readers immediately guessed on this page that time travel was involved.

We already learned in Act 2 that John was the one who got Rose into knitting…
… but only now do we get to read his birthday letter.


OH BOY, IT’S THIS PART. I love all the birthday letter scenes in Acts 3 and 4 so much. Each one says something big about the beta kids’ friendships and shared interests, and few of them (like this one) revisit prior scenes in more detail.

dear rose,

happy birthday!!!

thanks for being such a great friend all these years. i know you like to make it out like you’re playing it cool and don’t care much about the people in your life, but i know deep down you really do. hell, not even that deep down. it’s like, um, like your subconscious is having a wet t-shirt contest, and you being all aloof is this totally soggy shirt doing no good at all at hiding nothin’. oh wait, it looks like two can play at this game of cracking all these high falutin psychology books! AW SNAP!!!


John’s wet T-shirt contest metaphor is a great way to show how deep and resounding the beta kids’ friendships are. He’s trying to describe through Dave’s style of snappy metaphors what Rose is like deep down; the analogy makes no sense but that’s what makes it endearing.

but yeah, i got you this because i think you’re really creative and you could make something nice with it if you put your mind to it. and it might help you take your mind off a lot of all this serious business you’re always absorbed in. you know, all this weirdo pseudo-gothy stuff or whatever. frankly it’s kind of depressing.

anyway you’re the best rose! have a rad 13th! (i will catch up with you guys soon. god you’re all so old.)

~ghostyTrickster
(john)


John’s motivation behind this gift is to nudge Rose towards being a kinder, more approachable individual. His letter is a bit pushy and perhaps patronizing towards Rose’s interests, but it ended up working exactly as he hoped! He got Rose into knitting, an interest without which she’d come off as a completely boring fake goth girl. Getting Rose into knitting may have even played a part in her relationship and eventual marriage with Kanaya, which is kind of crazy to think about.

Speaking of Kanaya…


… it’s time to dissect the HELL out of her first ever pesterlog. Are you ready?

Some time later, Rose would change her wallpaper to something much less gruesome.


GA: Why Is It That When The Subject Of Temporal Mechanics Is Broached Your Sparing Human Intellects Instantly Assume The Most Ingratiating Posture Of Surrender Imaginable

This troll gives us one hell of a first impression—certainly a way more interesting one than Karkat gave us. The first line we hear from Kanaya is the comic’s first instance of arc words that usually show up when the story talks about alien concepts like troll romance.

GA: Time Is Not That Difficult To Understand
GA: It Is A Utility That A Universe May Resort To In Order To Advance A Desired Degree Of Complexity
GA: Or May Not Resort To If That Is The Case
GA: Its All Pretty Pedestrian
GA: But No
GA: When Time Travel Comes Up You Present The Face That A Man Shows When The Breeze Gradually Alerts Him To His Absence Of Netherdressings


Kanaya’s complaints about the beta kids not understanding time travel may be meant to prepare readers for time shenanigans in following acts. It definitely reads this way to me, because time shenanigans kick into mega high gear when we start hearing more from the trolls.

GA: I Dont See How We Are To Properly Agitate You All If You Continue To Insist On Failing To Understand Basic Concepts Which Common Infants Effortlessly Manage To Describe Via Scrawlings In Their Own Puddles Of Sloppy Discharge


To first-time readers, “puddles of sloppy discharge” probably reads like a gross metaphor Dave would make. Only when rereading the comic will you know that these aren’t metaphors at all, but descriptions of troll biology. I’m going to guess that at this point Hussie had a loose idea of the workings of troll biology.

TT: Have we spoken before?
GA: Yes
GA: In The Future
TT: You and your friends never cease to invent ways to strengthen the credibility of your assertions.
GA: Oh My It Is Your Human Sarcasm Again
GA: I Enjoy Listening To It And I Wish Doing So Could Serve As My Primary Form Of Recreation
GA: There See I Just Did It Too
GA: Saying The Opposite Thing To Emphasize My Contempt
GA: But Suddenly I Feel More Primitive And Hate Myself A Little More
GA: It Was Like This Funny Miracle That Just Happened In My Heart
TT: I would admire the sophistication of you and your fellow future-dwellers a little more if you seemed to be aware the word “human” only functions as that sort of adjective in bad science fiction.
TT: But I won’t be rude and change the subject.
TT: There’s a still a bit of unflagellated straw poking out of your rhetorical effigy over here.
GA: Oh Dear
GA: No We Arent From “The Future”
GA: But We Are All Already In Agreement That You Dont Get It And Never Will
TT: I thought you said we spoke in the future.
GA: We Did
GA: Your Future
GA: For Me It Was Only A Couple Minutes Ago
TT: I understand.
TT: You exist in some temporal stratum through which you have communication access to various points of my timeline.
TT: It’s not that complicated.
GA: Yes Thats Right
GA: Will You Try To Talk Some Sense Into Your Idiot Friends
GA: So That We May Proceed To Bother Them All On More Rational Terms

Is it any wonder that these two are the first couple in Homestuck to canonically marry? The only one, if you don’t consider the epilogues canon. Rose and Kanaya have strikingly similar manners of speech and levels of intelligence, but plenty of differences to make them a worthy couple. I noted in the old version of this post that you’ll know Kanaya is female from her screen name if you know what an “auxiliatrix” is, which means that this pesterlog is one of the first hints at homosexual relationships in Homestuck. I’m not sure if it’s the first hint, because Dave showed quite a few signs of having a gay crush on John in the first two acts.

TT: I try to every day, with mixed results.
TT: But you see, it’s not that I don’t understand you.
TT: It’s just that I don’t believe you.
TT: Because it’s nonsense.
TT: Albeit persistent and coordinated nonsense.
TT: Why would a bunch of temporally dislocated trolls want to harass a group of friends throughout completely random points in time?
GA: I Will Admit This Campaign Of Provocation Wasnt All That Well Thought Out


We later learn that Karkat led the campaign of provocation, which makes sense because he’s kind of a dumbass sometimes. He’s enough of a dumbass that Rose can’t logically process a mindset like his.

GA: Dont Tell Anyone I Said That
TT: Alright.
TT: Maybe you should get some trolling tips from us humans.
TT: Our sparing intellects are probably better suited to it.
GA: Yeah Maybe
GA: Why Dont We Be Friends
TT: You want to be my friend?
GA: I Think So
GA: I Think Were Supposed To
GA: You Suggested As Much Earlier
TT: You mean I did in the future?
GA: Yes A Couple Minutes Ago
TT: Probably because I remembered you mentioning it in the conversation we’re having now?
GA: Thats Likely
TT: Hmm.
TT: Your commitment to this roleplaying scenario is intriguing.
TT: What choice do I have but to accept?


Kanaya is hitting on Rose now, and it’s a mystery arc why that is. Though the kids are hit on by trolls aplenty through the course of their session, readers are probably invited to wonder why Kanaya has a thing specifically for Rose. It’s not revealed until the trolls’ arc that Kanaya found Rose’s Sburb walkthrough before the trolls started their game and spent much time fantasizing about what the writer of the walkthrough must be like.

Dave’s city looks oddly idyllic on a rainy day.

Rose’s flashback is immediately followed by a flashback to Dave’s 13th birthday. This scene reveals something interesting about Dave’s backstory: before he got his Stiller shades, he wore the exact same shades as his bro. You can tell through his triangular shades that Dirk raised Dave to become an anime swordsman just as tough as he is; it’s hard to even call him Dave without the Stiller shades.


John’s birthday letter to Dave is incredibly sweet, I love it so much. I’ll go through it in detail.

dear dave,

happy birthday!!!

i just wanted to take a break from telling you how much your gay butt stinks all the time and say what an awesome friend you are.


Let’s add “Dave’s homosexuality” to the list of things in Homestuck’s late acts that were planned since at least Act 3. The signs of Dave not being straight were there SINCE ACT 3!!!, and plenty more thereafter (like in his conversation with Tavros a few pages later). It cracks me up in retrospect how much I used to insist that Dave’s sexuality arc and maybe-romantic relationship with Karkat were horrifically forced, like “J. K. Rowling revealed Dumbledore was gay” levels of forced. It’s like, how the ACTUAL FUCK could I have been so heteronormative???

I’m getting a bit off topic though. Let’s continue through the letter.

seriously, on any other day i would be downplaying how you aren’t really as cool as you think you are, but just between you and me i think you might actually be that cool. i think you just gotta get out of your bro’s shadow and spread your wings dude!!!

John’s encouraging words to Dave are simply incredible. He knows both his Derse-dreaming friends far better than they know themselves and is single-handedly responsible for major parts of their identities.

so i got you these. they’re totally authentic! they actually touched ben stiller’s weird, sort of gaunt face at some point. i’m sure you’ll dig them because i know you lolled so hard at that movie. ok so for real, this is sort of a shitty present, but it is an ironic present because i know you wouldn’t have it any other way. maybe you can wear them ironically some time. they MIGHT even be more ironic than you and your bro’s dumb pointy anime shades.

Unlike with his present to Rose, John’s present to Dave did far more than he thought it would. He thought Dave would just treat those shades like an ironic prop from one of John’s stupid movies, but Dave ended up wearing the shades on his face every second of his life. Dave’s post-scratch self mirrored this treatment of Stiller’s shades down to the letter; those shades are far more symbolic than Dirk’s anime shades could ever dream of being. (This letter is the first time in the comic anything related to Dirk is referred to as “anime”, which as I said earlier was an observation by fans that Hussie decided to go along with.)

anyway, have a good one buddy! and stay busy being totally sweet!

~ghostyTrickster
(john)


Now that Dave has his Stiller shades, he will be busy every waking moment being totally sweet. John is an absolute prophet, I’m telling you.


Now THAT’S the Dave we know and love. Right when he finishes reading John’s letter, he puts the anime shades aside never to be worn again.


Now comes an extremely memorable humorous pesterlog where Dave owns a troll like there’s no tomorrow.

AT: hEYYY,
AT: fIRST, oK, i THINK YOU’RE AWFUL,
AT: lET’S PUT THAT FACT ON THE TABLE WHERE WE CAN BOTH SEE IT,
AT: nOW YOU HAVE BEEN PRIMED FOR THE DIGESTIVE RUINATION THAT’S ABOUT TO TAKE PLACE, aND THE COMPREHENSIVE SOILING OF THE LAUNDRY ENVELOPING YOUR PERSON,
TG: oh my god you type like a tool


The trolls’ typing quirks are innocuous so far, all things considered; the later ones take much more getting used to. I can’t help but notice that the first few trolls we hear from in the comic type simply with different capitalization and punctuation from the kids. Later trolls introduced have much wilder typing quirks directly based on their zodiac signs, which goes to show how much more the trolls’ arc was thought up on the spot than the kids’ storyline. Feferi in paricular had a typing quirk so hard on the eyes that it probably cost her narrative relevance; Meenah’s typing quirk is one of many ways her character is taking a second shot at a Pisces troll.

AT: yEAHHH,
AT: nOW YOU’RE GETTING IT, wHAT YOU ARE IN FOR,
AT: aRE YOU READY TO BE TROLLLLLED,
AT: wITHIN AN INCH OF YOUR MISERABLE HUMAN CORTEX,
TG: this is so weak im almost getting tired of wasting good material on you guys
TG: its like
TG: youve got nothing
TG: its always one of you sprouting up and ranting about how hard im about to get trolled
TG: with no ensuing substance
TG: you dont even know anything about us
TG: one of you fuckers thought i was a girl
AT: oK, yEAH, bUT,
AT: tHE THING IS, tHAT i DON’T CARE,
AT: aBOUT YOUR ANATOMICAL DETAILS, aND THINGS LIKE THAT,
AT: i KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE,
AT: oR WILL DO, aCTUALLY,
AT: iT’S THE MOST AWFUL THING, tHE WORST YOU CAN EVER DO,


Tavros’s first impression is interesting knowing what’s later revealed about him. He was probably conceived simply as an example of a troll who’s not very good at trolling, but since he was one of the trolls we got to know before the trolls’ arc started, fans had plenty of time to come up with headcanons about what sort of person he must be, especially involving his unseen legs. It’s kind of weird to think that Tavros’s tragic backstory came to be simply because he was one of the first trolls to speak in the comic.

TG: sorry i wouldnt cyber with you dude
TG: in the future or whatever
AT: wHAT, wAIT,
AT: oH,
AT: oK, yOU’RE THE ONE WHO LIKES TO SUBMIT INNUENDO,
TG: human innuendo
AT: yES, hUMAN iNNUENDO,
AT: sORRY FOR THE LACK OF CLARITY,
TG: so at what point in the future am i supposed to look forward to you whipping up this titanic hankerin for my knob
AT: uH,
TG: be honest with me
TG: cause im busy
TG: and i want to know exactly when i got to clear some space in my calendar for when some fuckwit blunders out of a magical phone booth and makes a ballad-inspiring play for my throbbing beef truncheon
AT: sHOULD i BE PERTURBED BY THESE ALLUSIONS,
TG: no man
TG: look
TG: i just need to know when to be there
TG: when the stars come into alignment and your flux capacitor lets you finally sate your meteoric greed for crotch-dachshund
TG: i wouldnt want to miss it and cause a paradox or something
TG: itd suck if the universe blew up on account of you missing your window of opportunity to help yourself to a pubescent boy’s naked spam porpoise


Dave Strider is not a homosexual. <- BLATANT LIES

Dave Strider was obviously intended not to be a homosexual until the retcon happened. <- ALSO BLATANT LIES

This pesterlog is hilarious after all this time and is an absolute highlight of Homestuck’s early acts. <- BLATANT TRUTH

AT: uHHH,
AT: oK, THIS IS SORT OF STARTING TO UPSET ME,
TG: jesus you are such a shitty troll
AT: i GUESS i’LL LEAVE YOU ALONE,
AT: aND FIND ANOTHER POINT IN TIME TO BOTHER YOU,
AT: wHEN, i GUESS,
AT: yOU ARE MORE EMOTIONALLY SUSCEPTIBLE, aND DON’T HAVE ALL THESE BEES IN YOUR BONNET,
AT: aBOUT YOUR HUMAN SEXUALITY,


I used to be in a huge weird shitty denial that these lines tied in directly with Dave’s sexuality arc. Even Tavros can tell that Dave has a lot of issues to sort out regarding his human sexuality. <- BLATANT TRUTH

What the FUCK was I thinking years back in this blog either awkwardly tiptoeing around or complaining about the sexuality arc?! <- QUESTION I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO

TG: oh no
TG: no dude
TG: you sassed me up
TG: we are in THE SHIT now
TG: together
TG: for the long haul
AT: i,
AT: wHAT,
TG: we’re motherfuckin entrenched in this bitch
TG: you and me
TG: welcome to nam
TG: now grab my hand and shimmy your soggy ass off that muddy bank before charlie gets the fuckin drop
AT: uHHH, wHO,
AT: wHO’S CHARLIE,
TG: hes the guy whos gonna read our vows
TG: im feeling pretty friggin MATRIMONIAL all a sudden
TG: take a look down by your foot see that little bottle
TG: stomp on that shit like its on fire
TG: noisy ethnic dudes are flipping the fuck out and waving us around on chairs til someone gets hurt
TG: im your 300 pound matronly freight-train
TG: and my gaping furnace is hungry for coal so get goddamn shoveling


This pesterlog is fucking amazing. <- FACT WE CAN HOPEFULLY ALL AGREE ON

This pesterlog is a very early stage of Dave coming to terms with sexuality issues. <- FACT WE CAN AGAIN HOPEFULLY ALL AGREE ON

AT: oH MY GOD,
TG: bro look in my eyes
TG: that twinkle
TG: that be DEVOTION you herniated pro wrestlers sweaty purple taint
TG: sparklin like a visit from your fairy fuckin godmother
TG: shit be PURE AND TRUE
TG: thats what you see
TG: a kaleidoscopic supernova of all your hopes and dreams all swishin together
TG: radially effevescing arms of more little boy peckers than you can imagine
TG: turning out insane corkscrew haymakers of a billion dancing vienna sausages strong


Writing commentary followed by a left arrow and an all-caps noun phrase. <- THING I WILL STOP DOING

I don’t know how much Hussie intended when writing this pesterlog to seriously consider Dave’s sexuality. But I can tell that he had a lot of fun looking back on homoerotic dialogue like this and trying to figure out what it means about his comic in retrospect. This pesterlog gets a GLORIOUS callback towards the end of the Meat Epilogue when Dirk tries to get Dave and Karkat to kiss; only fitting because that scene is the grand beautiful conclusion to Dave’s sexuality arc.

TG: this is how we do this
TG: this shits more real than kraft mayo

— adiosToreador [AT] blocked turntechGodhead [TG] —


And so, the conversation ends with Tavros blocking Dave instead of the other way around. A simple but powerful line that shows us exactly why Dave is such a beloved character.

I’m ending this post here. See you next time as I finish Act 3 for real, with a few more plot resolutions and a glorious flash I love to death.

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