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.

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 10 Rewritten: Scene Hops and Father Revelations


Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 >

Pages 836-951 (MSPA: 2736-2851)

Act 3, Part 2 of 5

Link to old version

Previously on Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Rewritten:

See you next time as we frantically switch back and forth between a whole bunch of different characters like the Easter Bunny running late for his annual job of delivering candy and eggs to the world’s children, this time during an actually fitting time of year. I wish I could say I had planned my post schedule to make the Easter joke work, but nope, just an incredibly lucky coincidence.

*clears throat*
*puts on pretentious narrator voice*

The day is June 5, 2019, and the Easter Bunny is displeased. He got so distracted reading and rereading the Homestuck Epilogues that he’s now over a month late for his annual job of delivering candy and eggs to the world’s children!!! So late, in fact, that a monkey took over Easter this year and delivered yummy bananas instead. Kids all around the world now eagerly await the Easter Monkey next year, much to the Easter Bunny’s contempt. The Easter Bunny shall exert revenge on this frisky little monkey by, um…

by…

writing more blog posts about Homestuck?

In this blog post, I am the Easter Bunny. It’s me. And I am going to announce that I think I’m now ready to resume my Homestuck blog post series. Maybe not on a custom web domain just yet, that’ll have to be in the future. I’ll just dive right in, conveniently avoiding the fact that I’m procrastinating on the post with the Unite Synchronization flashes and Caliborn: Enter.

It’s time for Dave’s guardian strife! And it’s not interactive this time. Rather, it’s a full-out flash of Bro Strider flash-stepping and puppeting Lil’ Cal, who ends the flash flailing his legs over Dave.

My reaction to this flash when I got to it in my original Homestuck post series really sticks out in my head and probably happened because it hadn’t been all that long since the grand Dave/Dirk reunion update. I was floored and breathless at how aggressive adult Dirk is. Is there a word for standing with an open mouth and breath held while watching something tense and aggressive? If there isn’t, then that’s one more reason to hate the English language.


Next up is a Jade/Rose pesterlog that takes place before Rose was properly introduced.

… Yeah, Rose and Jade’s styles badly clash as usual. Same thoughts as when I last analyzed their conversation where it’s kind of a stretch to call them friends. The plot stuff in this pesterlog is of note though.

TT: I require a font of frighteningly accurate yet infuriatingly nonspecific information. 
TT: Do you know where I can find a wellspring of this sort? 
GG: hahaha yes ok but we cant talk for long!!! 
TT: You have plans? 
GG: well yes i do but its just that you will lose your internet connection soon!!!!! 
GG: and we wont talk again for a pretty long time 
GG: not until you enter! 
TT: Enter? 
GG: yeah! 
TT: This is what I was talking about. 
TT: This was the itch that needed scratching. 
TT: My avarice for the inscrutable. It is limitless. 
GG: lol what did you want to know? 
TT: You’ve been insisting today was the big day. 
TT: We would all play a game you didn’t know the name of. 
TT: A game you said I’d get in the mail, and did. 
TT: One that would help me answer some questions. 
TT: But Strider is being obtuse, I can’t catch John at his computer, you don’t even have the game yourself, and on top of all that, my internet is unstable. 
TT: So are you sure today is the day? 


This is basically more casual reveals that Jade was behind a bit more than we knew at first. It’s kind of cool seeing a flashback conversation with Jade hinting at stuff we already knew, rather than her hinting at stuff we badly want explained in ways that aren’t imbecilic.

GG: there sure are a lot of challenges but yes i am sure!! 
GG: dave is cool, you know he will come around when the time is right 
GG: he just has a lot of work to do first 
GG: and so do you! 
GG: youll need to keep searching for a stable signal and power source, it will be hard but dont give up!!! 
GG: and dont worry about me either, focus on playing with john first 
GG: it all starts with you two! 
TT: Is there nothing else you can say to prepare me for this? 
TT: I’m sure you think little of blithely upsetting dark forces with Grandpa Moreau over there on Hellmurder Island, but honestly I’ve only read a few books on it. 


Maybe it’s because I’ve read the epilogues over and over again, but I think Rose talks almost like an actor with Jade. Exaggerating her poetic talk to the point where she’s hard to properly converse with. I think it’s fair to say she had broken the ice with Dave and John and can now talk to them like a regular person, but is still an absolute weirdo to Jade.

Oh yeah Rose mentions Hellmurder Island, blah blah blah foreshadowing. Was the foreshadowing intentional? Hell if I know. I would say no, but the phrase “hellmurder island” is dropped outright in Act 6 Act 1 which makes me think Hussie waited a long time to say it.

GG: haha dark? thats ridiculous! 
GG: i dont really know what to tell you other than its not going to be what you think it is 
GG: and most importantly you will have your questions answered, but they will be the ones you havent thought to ask yet! 
GG: just be patient and be brave youll see 
GG: it will be fun!!!!!! 
GG: uh oh looks like youve got to go 
GG: take care rose! <3<3<3 


In the old version of this post, I pointed out that this passage “[has] been cited as a quote that essentially tells new readers what reading Homestuck will be like”. At the time, that was just another thing I shamelessly stole from TV Tropes. But now, rereading it in 2019 I really feel that comparison. When I read these lines just now, I got the exact feeling you get when a friend tries to assure you that Homestuck is a good read. I’d argue it’s even more applicable to the Homestuck Epilogues—certainly not what I thought it was going to be, and answered many questions I hadn’t thought to ask yet, for better or for worse. And it definitely requires a lot of patience to fully consume the epilogues—perhaps also bravery to read along despite things you may not like (i.e. despite Gamzee).

oh my god this is good art


Here’s where the scene hops start getting a bit absurd. After the long stretch of pages focusing on Jade, now we can’t go more than three pages without switching to someone else. Harmless, welcome even, when reading for the first time; slightly annoying when writing long blog posts. I think the scene hops are a necessary step between the overly slow Act 2 and the ideal pace of Act 4.

We switch to Jade but not for long; her reminders transition us to a flash where John and Nannasprite fight two ogres. Using reminders as a transition device is fine I guess? Not much to write home about compared to some of the comic’s beautiful transitions later on.

Not shown: PM the mail lady existing. Holy shit, I miss the exiles.


Now it’s John’s turn to contribute to Rose’s walkthrough. And he actually displays a competent understanding of computer science! He professes “amazing hacker skillz” and “leet haxxor cred” which is just as funny to me now as it was almost four years ago holy shit has it been that long.

I suppose now’s a good time to talk about Roxy, an expert programmer who is also John’s number one love interest.* Even though they got together in the Candy Epilogue, Roxy did not teach John programming or anything like that, nor did she do very much with John that many fans (including me) had badly hoped. Their romantic tale in Candy is a story of OOF OW MY HEART. The two doing cool things together with their common interests is still a super fun thought though, and I wouldn’t doubt that their dynamic would approach its ideal form once more following their grand reconciliation at 39 years old.

Anyway, John’s walkthrough provides some genuine insight and humor. I highly recommend reading it if you had previously skimmed the walkthrough pages. It’s much more readable than Rose’s walkthrough, I promise.

* or was, until Terezi came along.


> Rose: Look for mad scientists.


There are no scientists to be found, mad or otherwise. Or anyone for that matter. The lab appears to be deserted. 

Come on, Rose. Do you really expect to encounter a single mad scientist in a webcomic called Homestuck? Background characters are an absolute no-go in the early acts and whoever submitted this command should feel bad for not having already realized that.


Oh my god, it’s a chessboard. I like the way this grid is designed; you might not notice it’s a chessboard right away until maybe you take a closer look. This simple chess design should be enough to pique readers’ curiosity at this mysterious lab.

The numbers in parentheses are my count of patterns Jade breaks, in case you forgot.


Jade goes down her stairs and (10) we get to know Grandpa Harley’s wide array of interests, which is much unlike the other three guardians’ singular obsessions. The flashing colors in each of these images are sneaky proof that Hussie planned out the alpha kids by this point. I really love that he foreshadowed them in such subtle but retrospectively obvious ways, with the bonus of answering the question of when he conceived of the alpha kids.

I’m obligated to mention that each of Grandpa’s four interests connects to one of the alpha kids. Should be obvious which is which.


And here’s, uh, the blue ladies. Not totally sure what to say about them other than that I imagine many readers who got to this page immediately remembered that Nannasprite is blue. Cool foreshadowing, I suppose? I like how Hussie seemed to put two and two together after he decided to make James Cameron’s Avatar one of Jake’s favorite movies.

This is your grandfather’s collection of what he refers to as his BEAUTIES. No lovely lady will be fit for his collection unless her portrait has spent at least 20 years bleaching in the front window of a beauty parlor, a sort of establishment he’s plundered no less frequently than ancient tombs. 


You guess they were sort of like your sisters while growing up, and you were always encouraged to look up to them. They are all awfully pretty ladies you suppose, but it was always hard to get as excited about them as grandpa. 

In the early acts, the beta kids referring to siblings in any capacity strikes me as a little odd. Maybe it makes sense here because Jade was raised on an island in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t understand a lot of basic social norms, like the concept of “sisters”. I don’t know, just a thought. A plus side of Hussie working with a team to write the epilogues is that one writer extrapolated upon Jade’s societal isolation in creative ways.

“Jade, study hard and keep your rifle at the ready. When adventure summons, I know you will rise to the task and take your rightful place among the DAUGHTERS OF ECLECTICA.” 

That old coot sure is a bag of wind!

Only now did it occur to me that maybe at some indeterminate point in time Hussie had some sort of conception of a place called “Eclectica”. I’m a bit miffed that I don’t live in a timeline where Eclectica is a major concept in Homestuck like Prospit or Skaia.


The Typheus minion exists? I think? I discussed it a tiny bit in this post, when Jade refers to it by name and talks about it with John.


Looks like someone’s pestering you. 

Even though you thought you logged off… ?

Oh hell, it’s TROLL TIME. This little line is a vague hint that Homestuck deals with people from another dimension, which would be way cooler if most people who know about Homestuck didn’t already know it had trolls.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] began trolling gardenGnostic [GG] at 13:04 

CG: HI AGAIN, IDIOT. 
GG: oh nooooooo 
CG: SO I GUESS TODAY IS FINALLY THE DAY YOU FUCK EVERYTHING UP.
GG: >:O 
CG: IS THERE NOTHING I CAN DO TO CHANGE YOUR MIND? 
GG: you can leave me alone!!!!! 
GG: how can you even be talking to me after i blocked you…. 
GG: AND after i logged out???? 
CG: YOU DON’T GET THAT I AM BETTER AND SMARTER THAN YOU IN EVERY WAY, FOREVER. 
CG: YOU DON’T GET THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE INCREDIBLY STUPID. 
GG: i get that youre a jerk and you should shut up! 
GG: goodbye you jerk!!!!!!!!! 

gardenGnostic [GG] blocked carcinoGeneticist [CG] at 13:06 


OK, that’s the end of TROLL TIME. This pesterlog does what it needs to and nothing more: showcasing a new character with apparently some future knowledge without revealing anything about who it is. I won’t pretend I have much else to say about Karkat’s first impression.


At the center, you find a little stage that looks perfect for supporting a spectacularly silly dance. Or it would if standing on it didn’t make you a little nervous, and also if that didn’t sound like a retarded idea given the circumstances. 

It looks sort of like the various contraptions you’ve been deploying in John’s house. You wonder what it does?

Rose is quick to catch onto patterns as usual. She doesn’t seem to make much of this resemblance to Sburb technology, but on the inside it’s safe to say she’s already started formulating a fresh new batch of theories.


Rose’s concern for structural elegance is at an all-time low, as is my concern for sylladex antics. But this panel above looks cool enough that I’ll show it regardless.


In a sequence of panels not shown here, PM gets her own equivalent to WV: Ascend. We already know all the plot twists and exile station mechanisms, so no need for another giant flash. A simple set of panels showing similar events is good enough.

Dave’s second round of Bro strife is much more face-to-face and even more terrifying/thrilling. For the most part, this flash is scary as ever when rereading and really drills down how scary Dave’s childhood was. This feeling reaches its climax when Bro bounces Dave off himself through some precise flash-stepping and puppetry, until suddenly:

SBaHJ references are a foolproof way to take a big hard smelly crap over any moment of horror or trauma. These references are so funny I can never stay mad at any of them; my personal favorite is the “are you next?” right after Kanaya is tragically murdered. This particular gag has some greater significance though: it leaks a bit that Dave’s life had yet to succumb to Cerebus syndrome.


Hussie you absolute fucking madman. Forget the meteor impact map or any of that nonsense. Instead, take a close look at one of the diagrams to the right. It’s a depiction of an eight-player session that conclusively proves Hussie had devised the alpha kids by this act. Bragging rights, anyone??? I think people aiming to write complex and long-winded stories should look up to Problem Sleuth and early Homestuck-era Hussie.


Back to the meteor map, Rose zooms in on her location and then zooms out to Dave and Jade’s locations. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to tell that John and his three friends are the “chosen ones” and that they will all play Sburb, with each player’s entry more grandiose and dramatic than the last. It’s always a pleasure to see foreshadowing that ends up true to the letter.

Having reconnected to the Internet, Rose opens Sburb on her laptop which transitions us to the second half of John’s ogre strife. Sburb as a transition device is pretty cool actually, and is used for quite a few elegant transitions in the early acts.


With help from Nannasprite, the battle ends with a cheerful victory dance and a triumphant high-five.

TT: Good work, John! 
EB: oh, hey! 
EB: you’re back. 
TT: For now. I’ll have to leave again shortly. 
TT: It looks like there’s another large meteor headed for… 
TT: My present location. 
EB: oh, so you mean dave connected with you? 
TT: Not yet. 
TT: I’ll explain later. 
TT: But I think I’ve determined that activating the timer in the game is not directly responsible for summoning a meteor to your location. 
TT: The countdown seems merely to exist as a kind of warning to the player. 
TT: As well as a strange coincidence. 


This short passage between John and Rose is good for getting less attentive readers up to speed. It clarifies that the countdowns exist as a warning, in case readers hadn’t figured that out yet.

EB: um, ok. 
EB: i don’t really think i get it. 
EB: is this relevant? 
TT: Probably not at the moment. And certainly not to you. 
TT: I have to go. 
EB: ok, later! 
TT: P.S. Try not to waste too much of that grist while I’m gone. 


John is a good obedient boy who listens to Rose’s words. He stays frugal with his grist until he figures more things out.

Not shown: John leveling up to the legendary BOY-SKYLARK rung.


JOHN: hey, nanna? 
NANNASPRITE: Yes, dear? 
JOHN: since i am trying to get up to that gate, and since you can sort of conjure floating beds and throw me around and all… 
JOHN: couldn’t you just throw me up to the gate? 
NANNASPRITE: Yes, of course, John! 
NANNASPRITE: But that would not serve your purpose well! 
NANNASPRITE: There is a very good reason why you should build up to it. And then keep building! 


Another case of the game refusing to allow obvious exploits. Sburb seems well-programmed at first, with care taken to prevent bypasses and skips. But that won’t last much longer. With trolls from another universe added to the mix, Sburb can and will be broken in all the best ways. We’ll see a lot of that in Act 4, get hyped.

NANNASPRITE: When you pass through the first gate, everything will change. You will find the place where the constellations dance beneath the clouds. And then your true work may begin. 

I can’t even keep track of these poetic phrases anymore. Hussie cranked out so many of them and the one quoted above is one of the most memorable.


Oh boy, it’s worldbuilding time. Derse is a planet that exists or something, I don’t really know what to say.


Look at the glorious Dad Egbert though. It feels so refreshing to see what he’s up to and very heartwarming to see the Egbert family all tackle these creatures.


Did he just…

punch a giant hole through a wall?

This guy’s absurd strength is one of the most underrated things about Homestuck. Please stop and take a moment to appreciate it before going on.

Skipped over the teaser of Jack Noir. I’ll have more to say about him next post.


Next we finally get to play as PM, the second exile. The narration firmly shows she’s obsessed with mail, treating it as a vital pillar of civilization and all that is good.


PM turns on Jade’s exile screen, the same screen WV chose not to turn on. And boy are we in for a surprise. The image itself invites a heap of questions already. Why is it snowing around Jade now? What’s this electric green interference?

Greetings.
Don’t I know you?


As we can see here, the image itself was just the tip of the iceberg. Why does PM recognize Jade? How did the green interference move to the command station itself?

I’d count this as a pattern broken, but I think it’s better saved for when this scene is revisited in Act 5 Act 2.


OH FUCK

WV was wise not to turn on Jade’s command screen. It would have caused the entire command station to explode! The exile screens’ serial escalation is done so perfectly, ending with a massive unexplained surprise whose true meaning nobody at this point could possibly guess.


Back to the Skaianet lab arc. While exploring the lab, Rose comes across some kind of little girl’s room? If you see through the garish bright pink, you’ll notice wizard and cat plushes abound, plus a bright pink version of the cat logo seen a few times in Rose’s residence, and might guess that this is where Rose’s mom grew up. This conclusion is way more obvious if you reread the comic knowing who Roxy is; it also shows how little Rose actually knew her mother.

You are accosted by a friendly MUTANT KITTEN.


This page needs no commentary. I included it out of obligation, because who in the world would want to read commentary on Homestuck if it ignores this wonderful page?

Not shown: John descending into his father’s room.


Holy SHIT. This image is a wham shot if I’ve ever seen one. Stuffed heads of Sburb underlings, a picture of Jade arranged like a memorial, and a structure colored like Prospit and Derse??? This picture asks so many questions, all through simple details.

As Jade prepares to face her grandpa, you may notice a set of four dolls representing his variety of interests. It’s only natural that since Grandpa has a multitude of salient interests, (11) he has a multitude of dolls to symbolize them instead of just one. And just like how Jade has one true fetch modus and one true shirt symbol, one could consider the blue lady Jade’s true “corresponding doll”. It’s the same doll that would almost get prototyped into her sprite until a certain someone interferes.


Jade finally faces off against her grandpa!!! And it turns out he was dead this whole time because Jade is a filthy stinking liar. (12) Jade’s grandpa is not her true guardian, as this joke flash shows us.

I’m really at a loss for words at this bait-and-switch. It isn’t even cleverly hidden or anything, it’s an outright lie. There’s no way you could read Jade’s descriptions of her grandfather before this page and not assume he’s alive.

I do think it’s worth pointing out that Jade’s imaginary interactions with her grandpa get Cerebus syndromed in Act 5 Act 2, where Tavros proudly reveals how her grandpa died and then hits on her. That scene isn’t talked about much which is a shame; it’s beautifully written and excels in “what the fuck” factor.

He was so much easier to deal with when he was alive.


This page hammers in that Jade’s grandpa is dead, if it wasn’t obvious already. Done right without seeming out of place.

Another pattern broken: (13) Jade goes outside without a misattributed quote coming to mind. Her misattributed quote is saved for when she enters the Medium. I’m suddenly sad now that we STILL don’t know the in-comic story behind Charles Dutton like we do with Harry Anderson or Barack Obama or Guy Fieri. The first Act 5 Act 2 book is coming in October; maybe Hussie will have a few words to say about Dutton there?


Let’s take a moment to appreciate the Sentry Worm. Nobody ever talks about this guy, what a shame.

I refuse to acknowledge that any reader could have possibly thought Rose would refuse to acknowledge the mutant kitten.

You can’t say no to cats, that’s a fact of life.


Rose encounters an appearifier styled like an arcade for some reason. Roxy is quite the fan of old video games so maybe it’s easy to imagine her pre-scratch self took an arcade and reprogrammed it to appearify things? I’m liking these obtuse hints at what kind of person Rose’s mother really is, all of which painfully fly over Rose’s head.


You mess with the controls… 

Hey, Jaspers is alive!!! 


Or, at least he was in the past. According to the time-stamp this was almost nine years ago. 

Rose is momentarily excited to see her cat alive before she reverts to her usual stoicism. Are you ready for something adorable?


Four-year-old Rose is sitting calmly in an oversized chair, patiently jotting down notes about her mysterious little cat. My god, look at her. It’s so cute to see that Rose has been a dedicated psychoanalyst since she was a baby.

It looks like you and Jaspers were having one of your sessions. You weren’t making a lot of progress though, because Jaspers was no doubt being characteristically recalcitrant. You possibly jotted this phrase down in your pad. It’s hard to remember though. 

It’s also adorable that Rose’s narration describes Jaspers as “characteristically recalcitrant”, instead of words that a normal 13-year-old would use.

Look at this cute little cat, playing with Rose’s scarf.


In the present, Rose tries to appearify Jaspers but ends up demonstrating the mysterious workings of ectobiology instead. As the book commentary states, this scene is something of a tutorial to prepare us for the scene where John creates the beta and alpha kids.

Whoever was operating this machine in the past may have been making unsuccessful attempts to perfect the science of ECTOBIOLOGY

“Whoever was operating this machine in the past”? Jeez, I wonder who that could be. It probably isn’t Rose’s mother or anything, that would be ridiculous.

Jokes aside, I think I’ve made my point by now that this scene reads way differently if you’re rereading. Rereading the comic is a necessity if you want to understand even a fraction of it and this scene is no exception. Mom Lalonde’s backstory is right in your face once you know who post-scratch Roxy is.


Back to the conveniently viewable flashback, Jaspers tells little Rose a secret and promptly vanishes and OH MY GOD, look at Rose’s expression!!! She’s stunned and beyond confused. I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I first read Homestuck but I never stopped to appreciate four-year-old Rose—smell the roses, if you will (oh my god that’s a fucking terrible pun I’m so sorry).


After two weeks gone missing where not even the appearifier can show where he is, little Rose finds Jaspers dead. What follows is a gloomy flash fast-forwarding to the present.

Little Rose continues to make the cutest expressions. She can never disguise sadness at the loss of a loved one.

Then Rose’s mother does what all versions of Roxy are predisposed to do: hold an elaborate overdramatic funeral to exert her grief. Even as a young child, I’d bet Rose obsessively psychoanalyzed her “spiteful” and “ironic” mother. She probably spent the whole funeral wrapped up in intense maternal psychoanalysis rather than mourning their beloved cat.


IT’S JASPERS. HE’S ALIVE. 

Well ok, he’s still dead. But his body is intact. Turns out it wasn’t some kind of DISINTEGRATIFICATOR like you thought. 

It’s more like… 

AN ESCAPILIZER.

The flash ends with an image showing Jaspers’ body is intact, accompanied by some amusing narration quoted above. As before, Rose lets her sugary inner self leak out a bit before remembering the cat is still dead and going back to her usual philosophizing.


And with ten seconds to spare, Rose appearifies Jaspers’ body and leaves the lab. The story’s impromptu coinings of complicated Sburb-style words always make me smile.


As Jade goes outside to find her elusive dog, we get a small flash of the same electrical energy that blew up PM’s exile station. Together with the silhouette of Becquerel’s face, all I can say is that’s some damn cool foreshadowing.


John arrives in his dad’s room and it’s not at all what he expected it to be. It’s a room full of ties, pipes, and.. business documents?

I still love that this flash’s music is reprised in a much more horrifying context about halfway through [S] Caliborn: Enter.


Suffice to say, John doesn’t have an easy time processing this. He promptly has a mental breakdown in a flash with dramatic music, as if this was some kind of terrifying revelation that uproots everything John thought he knew and now he can never see the world the same way ever again.


Except this actually is a terrifying revelation that uproots everything John thought he knew and now he can never see the world the same way ever again.

Look at poor John. He’s trying to understand his father to the best of his 13-year-old ability.


So all those years, while you believed he was out busking up the corners with hilarious antics, he was working as an ordinary business man all along. He was just a man trying to make a good honest living for his son. Maybe he was too embarrassed to tell you the truth? Or maybe it was just that you’d never bothered to ask? 

You guess you always just assumed…

A natural part of John being “homestuck” is that he’s stuck in childish assumptions on what his father does for a living. If you’re a little kid, maybe it’s understandable if to some degree you genuinely think your dad is secretly a hilarious clown, but by the time you turn thirteen you should really know the truth or at least infer it from context.


All that said, just because Dad Egbert isn’t quite the clown lunatic John thought he was doesn’t mean he isn’t an absolute badass. This transition from son to father is done so well.

The next page is where we get to know Jack Noir, which makes for a good stopping point. See you next time as Rose puts her psychoanalysis skills to the best use imaginable.

Next => Part 11: Magical Dreams and Retroactive Clowns

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 6 Rewritten: Imp Madness and Can Openers

Introduction / Schedule <- please read!

Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 >


Act 2, Part 3 of 5

Pages 429-561 (MSPA: 2329-2461)

Link to old version / Link to new version

Again, I don’t have any good ideas for a new post title so I’m using the old one.

I considered “The Can Opener Dilemma” but then I realized that’s just a discount version of the old title.



My week without writing Homestuck posts was pretty nice, now back to business. I worked on some cool projects, but not the ones I originally intended to work on. And read some books. And also wrote this post over the course of one weekend.


Oh God dammit, that’s just what you need. More baked goods.
“thats classic john though he doesnt get pissed about anything except for the absolute dumbest shit” —Dave Strider


Where we left off, John was punched cold in the face by the revelation that he is not going to save the world. This massive twist caused John to go full circle, all the way back to freaking out just because he’s a little overexposed to baked goods. Whenever John has a mental breakdown or is upset by something, he finds something mundane and takes out all his anger on it.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate what Rose is sitting on.

Let’s also take a moment to appreciate Rose in general.


Perhaps you will take this spare moment to contemplate the Nannasprite’s strange tale. 

Yeah, still have no idea how Rose heard every word of Nannasprite’s story just like John did. I guess it’s not an important detail; sprites do whatever the story wants them to.

It may also behoove you to record your thoughts on these developments in your GameFaqs walkthrough/journal. It can be hard finding time to update it. In fact, you’re not even sure where you found the time to write what’s already there!

I think it makes perfect sense in Homestuck’s world that Rose can write massive walls of text no matter what constraints she’s facing. By questioning Rose’s ability to write this much, this passage is breaking some form of the fourth wall. If I had to choose one form of fourth wall it’s breaking, it would be the second fourth wall. This system of various fourth walls isn’t actually that complicated; the only important parts are the first fourth wall (the media vs. the audience) and the second fourth wall (the kids as playable characters vs. the kids as regular people).

For more rambles: starting in Act 3, I will discuss how villains in Homestuck connect to and break the first fourth wall based on a snippet of Hussie’s book commentary. As for the second fourth wall, Rose’s character is all about screwing with that wall. Now the third fourth wall (the wall between paradox space and Hussiespace), Jade is the only character other than Hussie’s self-insert that’s connected to it at all.

… What’s that look on your face? Are you telling me there’s another character with mind control powers who also messes with multiple fourth walls? One that has a contentious relationship with Hussie’s self-insert (and pretty much everyone for that matter)? Haha, you. Let’s talk about her another time, OK? I’d rather focus on important characters.

I suspect stuffing your face with a pillow wasn’t really “Rose’s” thing just yet.


I’m reading the book commentary along with this and OH MY GOD HUSSIE DID YOU JUST READ MY MIND OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

Notice how the game engine is flexible enough to switch between speaking in first person and second person voice. It will refer to the character as “you” most of the time, but will refer to him as “John” when the guy who is typing (WV) insists on addressing John directly. At that point, the “you” becomes the one who is typing, and John is just John. This metalogic is perforating one of the walls, but it’s hard to say which one. It is perhaps a wall that is shaped like a fractal, existing somewhere between the 3rd and the 4th.

I AM HAPPY I CAN DECIPHER PRETTY MUCH ALL OF HUSSIE’S MOTIVES NOW, I HAVE MASTERED HOMESTUCK, NOW GIVE ME THE EPILOGUE ALREADY I DESERVE IT, I PROMISE I WON’T LEAK IT TO ANYONE ELSE

AAAAAAAAAAAAA YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

HUSSIE IF YOU’RE READING THIS CAN YOU MAKE JOHN AND ROXY TALK AGAIN, OR SOMETHING, SURELY YOU’RE READING MY POSTS RIGHT NOW RIGHT?


Oh hey it’s John flipping the bird at WV who was ordering him to get cookies.

Hey WV, maybe it’s not the best idea to hassle someone in the middle of a mental breakdown?

to make Karkat a good character again

please Hussie? I know you have it in there somewhere…


This breakdown transitions us to a peek at WV, who slipped his finger and accidentally turned off caps lock. I have two things to talk about here.

First off, typos in Homestuck are a funny phenomenon. Typos as in characters making typos and acknowledging them, not the occasional actual errors in the comic. In real life, when talking to people online you’ll probably slip your fingers and accidentally misspell words quite a few times. But in Homestuck, typos are only done when used for a plot point (doesn’t have to be a big one, Jegus started out as a typo on Dave’s part) or when a character is drunk. In this case, WV’s accidental pressing of caps lock brings us to the second thing I want to talk about.


The second thing I want to talk about is shown above: WV pressing caps lock opens a capsule with food inside. This is a very minor pattern that the author seems to have had fun playing with: puns based on the names of keys on the keyboard. It’s a bit similar to the kids’ fetch modi based on data structures; one can see it as that pattern being subtly replicated in the exiles’ arc, but with something that the average person is more likely to understand.

If you’re intrigued by Rose’s character, maybe give cool and new web comic a read?

There’s really no character in Homestuck quite like Rose.


This next bit of Rose’s walkthrough is more of what we had before: a gigantic wall of words that’s completely useless to anyone left on Earth but a priceless resource for a group of alien kids.

It does have some interesting bits this time around. Rose deduces that her session of Sburb isn’t just two players, but rather a quartet of players. Clues in Nanna’s exposition, both in text and in visuals, add up to that conclusion. Patient readers willing to slog through Rose’s words get rewarded with some extra clarification. And that extra clarification invites a gigantic load of questions that these more patient readers would surely brim with ideas on.


This unfinished bit at the end is so funny to me. Not sure what to say about it, other than that I can’t imagine any other work of media where such a thing could exist. “But perhaps you don’t need to know any of this” is a brilliantly constructed phrase that I couldn’t imagine in anything other than a draft of Rose’s writing. On both sides of the scratch, I like to think that drafts of Complacency of the Learned are full of oddball phrases like this.


Through asking the “player” to leave her alone, Rose again breaks the second fourth wall. Wait, maybe it’s actually just the first fourth wall. Hussie you’re reading this, right? Be glad I supplied you with an easy-to-use wall nomenclature.

… Oh who am I kidding. I’m shouting into the void here, as usual.


Moving on, next we have the very first flashback scene in the comic. It takes place months in the past, on Rose’s birthday. An unwritten rule of Homestuck storytelling goes like this: if it’s not John’s birthday, then it better be someone else’s birthday or we’re not going to show it.


Something is different about Rose’s room, and not just the lighting. Where’s her mess of purple clothes and knitting supplies? 

Hussie said in his book commentary that Rose and Jade’s text colors look weird together, and I think I agree with him.

There’s just something off-putting about a wall of purple and green text compared to, say, red and blue, or blue and green.


As shown here, Rose got knitting supplies as a birthday present from John. Not enough people appreciate how much John has done to benefit his friends. As with John’s present to Dave, this present is touched upon here and then revisited when we read John’s letter to her.

On this page, we get the first of rather few Rose/Jade pesterlogs. Some people theorize that Rose and Jade don’t actually like each other all that much, or at least have the weakest friendship out of any pair of beta kids. Those theories make a lot of sense to me and thanks to them, I buy into this idea that Rose and Jade aren’t really friends. There’s a really good Reddit post theorizing about Rose and Jade’s relationship; read that and then go on. Most of my analysis of this pesterlog is inspired by that Reddit post.

GG: hi happy birthday rose!!! ❤ 
TT: Hello, and thanks. 
GG: did you get johns present yet? 
TT: I just opened it this very moment. What a stunning coincidence you would ask about it now. I am stunned. 
GG: yeah i know!! 
GG: what will you make with it? 
TT: And who said it was something from which something else could be made? 
GG: well john did tell me what it was duh….. 
TT: I suppose I’ll take a stab at learning the craft. 
TT: It’s the least I can do in response to the subtle dig concealed in his gesture. 
TT: He often tells me I “need a new hobby” when I make perfectly reasonable analytical remarks. 
GG: oh but rose i dont think he meant anything like that by it!! 
GG: you see not everybody always means the opposite of what they say the way you and dave always do 


It’s already clear that Rose doesn’t roll off Jade well. John is easygoing around Jade, while Dave opens up an inner flirty self with her around. It’s hard to call Rose and Jade “friends” though. They both seem to find each other a bit weird and annoying. The comic doesn’t even talk much about what they think of each other; it just roughly shows them not really getting along. How little their relationship is looked at says just as much as when their relationship is looked at.

TT: So, shall I expect a green package dropped to my house via airmail from whatever screwball cranny of the globe you’re tucked into? 
GG: err……. 
GG: no 😦 
GG: sorry but you are sort of hard shop for <_< 


Jade mostly acts the same to Rose as she does to John and Dave, but this line that Rose is “hard [to] shop for” shows that she doesn’t know Rose as well as she does the other two. Just a tiny hint at this lack of friendship from Jade’s perspective.

GG: besides i have something for you today that i think you will like better than some thing in a box! 
TT: Oh? 
GG: it is a tip!!!! 
TT: This is already intriguing enough to compensate for the grave scarcity of lavish gifts parachuting from the sky. Please go on. 
GG: did you have a pet a long time ago that died? 
TT: Yes. 
GG: ok well how did you feel about your cat, did you love him a lot? 
TT: “ok well”, I didn’t mention it was a cat, or that it was a male. Let’s pretend I’m surprised and you’re embarrassed and move on. 


Rose would never mockingly say “ok well” to John or Dave. Also, she seems to be long over playing along with Jade’s confusing nonsense. At this point, she sees Jade as just a confusing kid who tells her confusing things.

“ok well”, in all fairness this scene is a flashback, before Rose became a passionate knitter. One could speculate that Rose and Jade’s friendship improved past this point and this flashback scene is just back before they could be called “friends”. But their further conversations are just as cold as this one. If I notice any differences in Rose and Jade’s later conversations, I’ll be sure to compare them against this one.

TT: To answer your question, I would describe my feelings toward the animal as lukewarm. 
GG: ummmmm ok…. 
GG: thats fine!!! 
GG: it doesnt really matter i think, just….. 


Rose gives a characteristically cold response to Jade’s question and she is taken aback, stuttering for a moment before her next point. That’s another thing Rose is much less likely to do around John or Dave. She’s formed a deeper friendship with those two beyond her cold exterior, but not with Jade. It’s very unusual for Jade to be caught off guard like this when giving her friends bits of advice.

With this Rose/Jade relationship analysis mostly done, I can now analyze the wham line that immediately follows:

GG: what if someone told you you could play a game that would bring him back to life? 

This line alone carries a great deal of importance to the story. It is our very first indication that Jade isn’t just some goofy kid that knows the future: she is behind much more than we had realized. I’ve said plenty in prior posts that a common theme of the early acts is that the kids are all stuck in their little bubbles rather than the outside world. It only makes sense that Jade, the oddball among their group of friends, is behind how they started this whole adventure; their story confines everything to those four whenever possible. I’ll revisit this thought when we learn though a letter from John that Jade is the one who got their group of friends together.

TT: If someone told me that, I would regard the remark with a great deal of skepticism. 
TT: If that someone was you, on the other hand, then I would have to ask preemptively: 
TT: Is that someone you? 
GG: yes that someone is me!!!!!!!! 
GG: i just thought you might find it interesting 
TT: So what is this game? 
GG: oh i dont know 
GG: im just saying is all 
GG: i think youll hear about it later and maybe you can talk to john and dave about it 
GG: they are way more into all that stuff than i am!!!! 
TT: I’ll see what the word on the street is about it. In due time. 


This conversation shows an early hint at how predestination tends to work in Homestuck. When something is predestined, the story’s forces nudge things in the right direction; just barely enough to fulfill what’s supposed to happen. The subtlety of predestination’s forces helps make the story more engaging and complex, even if it might make more sense for predestination to be straightforward.

TT: For now I should probably order a copy of Knitting for Assholes. It would be a shame if I ran late with John’s present. 

This last line is one last indication that Rose and Jade don’t mesh well. Dave would snark about how horrible the “for Assholes” books are, while John would chat about his programming books in that series. Jade just doesn’t have anything she can add to that.

It’s also an indication that whatever Rose’s present to John is, it involves some form of knitting.

Only in Homestuck could there be a logical reason Snoop Dogg lyrics would be attributed to English romantic poet John Keats.


After this flashback we switch back to Dave, and his “stepping outside with vivid poetry and a misattributed quote” flash is really worth analyzing. His location is purportedly Houston, Texas but only marginally resembles what it looks like in real life. The title of Homestuck is more obvious than ever here: as far as Dave’s concerned, he doesn’t live in an awesome, bustling city, just a sea of generic apartments that look exactly like his.

This discussion reminds me of Sollux’s home, which is a troll replication of Dave’s complete with a city of identical buildings. Maybe Sollux’s hometown is an accurate representation of how Dave perceives the city of Houston? Or maybe it’s actually a colorful city and Sollux just can’t see it that way? Hiveswap definitely seems to give us a more colorful representation of Alternia than the comic proper does.


Next we see this orange swirly arc symbol, reflected in Dave’s shades. Unlike John and Rose’s meteor pictures, this is an arc symbol that expands way beyond the early acts; it’s mirrored in the trolls’ and cherubs’ storylines.

The opposite of irony, summarized in one picture.


What’s the first thing we see when Dave enters his living room? It’s uh…

What the hell is that?


Oh, haha, that’s right! It’s just a cute and silly little Mr. T puppet! It’s even handcuffed to an equally cute and silly Chuck Norris puppet!!!

The escalation in weirdness is obvious once again. John entering his living room was simple, Rose entering her living room was more unusual with a sudden appearance of a giant wizard statue, and Dave’s living room throws away everything we thought we knew by with whatever the hell these puppets are supposed to be. They’re ten levels of irony or something? Dave’s bro definitely doesn’t have any sort of strange problem or fetish.

Keep in mind that Bro Strider really is obsessed with being ironic, as Dirk’s character indicates. Just not quite in the way Dave thinks. And his puppets are completely unironic.


As Dave explores further, we see a mess of video game controllers, wires, Game Bro magazines, and some nude puppets. The way the guardians’ collections are distributed get more and more extreme for each of the beta kids. Puppets are littered all around this guy’s house for some reason.

Note the wizard puppet on the top right.

Were Roxy and Dirk longtime friends in this universe?


The video game pause screen on Dave’s TV can be seen as a callback to the Hi-C commercial that played on John’s TV. Again, the TV shows something more eccentric and over the top this time around.


Lil’ Cal suddenly appears! Dave is caught off guard but immediately convinces himself everything’s cool. His guardian’s entrance is yet another thing done in the strangest way that isn’t an outright pattern breaker.

Most of the video games I played as a kid were just as garbage as this.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Who needs Mario and Zelda???


Every so often, the story will take a moment to parody video games through in-story video games (Sburb doesn’t count), not the comic’s usual interface. And those scenes are quite the treasure. It’s so funny seeing Hussie show his perception of what old mediocre video games are like, just like with old mediocre movies. I connect to being inundated in old mediocre video games on a very personal level. Well, old mediocre video games and Sonic 2.


Dave takes a moment to give Cal a fistbump, and this panel somehow looks a bit endearing. Out of context it could be seen as him genuinely looking up to these wacky puppets.


Dave logs onto Bro’s computer, entering the password “lilcal”.

On the desktop is a hodgepodge of unnamed folders to store all the stuff he’s working on. No one can decipher his organization system but him. 

I think these folders might be a metaphor for how Dave perceives Bro vs. how he actually is. Dave thinks his guardian is ironic again and deliberately overcomplicates things, but my guess is that all these unnamed folders show that Bro is buried deep within his weird computer projects and doesn’t take care to organize things like a normal person. He can remember where everything is on his computer because he’s just that obsessive with maintaining his projects.

I miss the old Internet.

Well, who doesn’t?


The Complete Bullshit application is certainly a product of its time. Everything here screams 2009 Internet. Today everything’s so much more confined to chat clients and social media sites.

Most of the websites in this window are about puppets and video games. The odd one out here is Skaianet’s website. It’s an early hint for attentive readers that the guardians know more than they let on and were secretly involved with Sburb, which is expanded on when Rose explores the Skaianet lab.


Interestingly, some of the Complete Bullshit tabs relate to SBaHJ and Dave’s other work, as shown here. It’s stated that Dave and Bro keeps tabs on each other’s creative work; Bro might even show a bit of fondness for Dave’s work. If the comic went just a tad different, more positive aspects of Dave and Bro’s relationship could have been explored and reflected on. There’s just a few hints that adult Dirk might even be proud of his son/brother, shown in obtuse ways. But rather than expanding on this idea directly, any hints of proudness are taken away from adult Dirk and moved into teenage Dirk. And this method of transferring characters actually works well and makes for good scenes, even if it neglects hints of positivity on Dave’s side of things.

The chatbots mirror the businessmen in Dad Egbert’s Serious Business app.

It’s only natural that in Dave’s case, they aren’t real people.


When we check out one of Bro’s websites, it’s clear that he puts unfathomable amounts of work into making money from these puppets. He programs chatbots and puts together elaborate videos, all to get people mysteriously transfixed on puppet ass. Business as usual in the Homestuck world, yeah it makes perfect sense.

The bucket on top of the door is the most efficient way possible to establish what point in time we’re at.


Dave gets creeped out a bit by these puppets, so he pesters John to ease his nerves, saying that puppets are cool and awesome as usual. Poor John is on the receiving end of Dave’s hidden nervous breakdown, all just because Dave loves him. Or he would be if he wasn’t totally distracted by a bucket.


Dave and Rose’s conversation about puppets doesn’t read much differently from Dave’s perspective. It’s a foregone conclusion that Dave is in denial about the puppets, and now we see firsthand that Dave will freely disclose the truth to Rose but not to John.

TG: i mean dont get me wrong i think its cool and all 
TG: the semi-ironic puppet thing or whatever 
TG: or semi-semi ironic 
TG: man i dont even know 
TG: im just starting to think some of this shit is going a little far and its kind of fucked up 
TT: I’ve seen his websites. 
TT: I like them. 
TG: haha yeah well YOU WOULD 


Oh yeah, this passage still exists. It’s now more clear than ever that Rose would have loved to be raised by this weirdo just as much as Dave would like to have a mother. The book commentary even remarks as such:

Rose likes bro’s puppet porn sites. It’s almost like they would have similar styles and would get along pretty well if bro was her age. Oh well, that’s the end of that fruitless hypothetical reverie.

The Acts 1-3 books were made before Homestuck ended, and as such a few of Hussie’s plans that didn’t come to be leak out a bit. It’s so obvious that he intended Rose and Dirk to have a conversation but sort of canned it near the end, after the retcon happened and after he decided not to have any more dialogue after Collide.

… Please tell me Hussie still remembers how to write these characters. Not like how painfully out-of-character Karkat was near the end. I need my Rose/Dirk conversation already!!!

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that 
TG: with those dead eyes jesus 
TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 


This bit of information about Dave’s dreams could have been easily written as narration rather than a pesterlog. It’s a surprisingly good choice to put it in a pesterlog, emphasizing that he’s leaking things to Rose that we aren’t supposed to know yet. But now we know and there’s no going back.

“Seconds in the future, but not many…” establishes that Dave is almost caught up with the present.


Rose deploys the Punch Designix and I’m still burnt out on discussing Sburb mechanics. I’ve already gone over the important stuff anyway.

The imp pogo ride is another one of those early attempts at interactive pages that doesn’t accomplish much.

As before, it’s a necessary part of Hussie finding a form of interactive pages that works with the story.


After a short weird mini-game where we play as an imp on John’s pogo ride, Rose drops the piano and kills the imp. I’ve always found the piano’s destruction to be a deeply upsetting scene, especially with John’s reaction.

TT: You’ll need to pick up the spoils in person. I can’t interact with the grist. 
EB: so… 
EB: that means i have to go out the back door? 
TT: Yes. Is there a problem? 
EB: well it may sound dumb, but i was hoping to avoid nanna and her spooky ghost cookies. 
TT: You’re right, that does sound dumb. 


Towards the end of Act 1, Rose tries to decipher John’s motives when he snuck around and carelessly messed with his dad’s possessions, leading to some very strange pesterlogs. This idea returns here, but this time John too admits it sounds dumb to sneak around to avoid baked goods. Or maybe he only knows Rose thinks it’s dumb. Unlike Jade, John has an unbreakably strong bond with Rose.


Since Rose isn’t a force of predestination, she understands and caters to John’s strange issues. This leads to creative uses of Sburb mechanics which I always love.

EB: well, what are you building? 
TT: Stairs. 
TT: They are fairly expensive actually. 
EB: oh man… 
EB: i could have warned you about stairs, rose! 


Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The first ever SBaHJ reference used in-comic. I discussed the role of SBaHJ in the story last post, but I think I have some new insight to share. John is the obvious uniting force of the kids through seeing the best in everyone despite their weirdnesses, while Dave is another strong uniting force because all three enjoy making memes out of his comics. John and Dave both know how to get along with everyone. I think it makes sense that Rose and Jade, the only pair of characters that doesn’t involve the “uniting force” characters, don’t have anything resembling a strong relationship.

TT: Consider me fully briefed on the matter of stairs. 
TT: Now if you don’t mind, it’s hard enough to concentrate on this without immersing ourselves in Strider’s non sequitur. 
EB: did you know he thinks puppets are cool? 
TT: Does he? 
EB: he’s so dumb!! 


John is actually aware Dave is in denial. He just doesn’t know that he’s aware. Just one of many cases where John doesn’t fully know something about himself.


John looks under his sink, which hasn’t been done before. It’s probably a bit unexpected that under there are no hilarious clowns, just a bunch of shaving cream. I’m not sure to what degree this is an intentional hint at his dad’s true nature; shaving cream is a running gag in the comic after all. This page definitely establishes the shaving cream gag and may or may not establish his father’s hidden depths.

I already explained last post that sprite powers are whatever the story wants. No need to repeat that.


John’s living room is now a giant mess of imps. Not much to say about this and probably most of the fighting scenes, other than that I find the crazy art with imps messing around to be very fun and charming.


John fighting the imps in his room is super fun and goofy. Maybe I’ll have more to say about it as he alchemizes cooler weapons.



> well done, john. polite congratulations.

For some reason you feel a sense of positive reinforcement. Wherever that feeling is coming from, it sure is a welcome change from your erratic moods earlier.

Through this time, WV has given John polite lowercase commands thanks to his book of human etiquette. These commands are phrased strangely, with terms like “sir boy”. But the etiquette WV learned worked perfectly! Hussie speculates in his book commentary that the etiquette book was written by a carapacian, which makes sense because this method of politeness is mechanical but does exactly what it needs to.

More creative use of game mechanics. Lifting the safe up his high really catches you by surprise.



In a small funny moment, WV’s commands lead John to wonder where he can find a can opener. Exile commands messing with people’s heads is so much fun, I wish it was done more often. It culminates in the scene with AR commanding Dave, which is one of the most side-splitting parts of the entire comic.


When we peek into WV’s book on politeness, I can see why Hussie imagined a carapacian wrote it. It’s the most obtuse and technical thing we’ve seen yet.


Rose’s walkthrough continues with a series of screencaps. A few of them have interesting bits:


This screencap is useful to those that may not have explored every nook and cranny of the walkaround game. It answers the question of how John still has electricity in a way slightly more explicit than before. It’s interesting that the author felt the need to clarify how John’s house is still powered.

Most of the other screencaps are recapping what we saw from John’s perspective, but narrated in Rose’s style. This one above is odd though. It teases the mystery of John’s father and touches on narrative weirdness, where Rose is only allowed to see what John has seen. Rose is crazy quick to catch that their game is playing off of narrative tropes and what’s logical in a story. And boy does she screw with everything about that idea.


At this point the pattern’s obvious: Rose drops John’s possessions around the house to kill imps. These two panels take advantage of how obvious it is: we don’t need to see the Sburb cursor drop the shelf of clowns, and as an added bonus, this lack of cursor conveys that John is distracted by can opener antics.

The velvet pillow is under Rose’s chin now.

How endearing.


Dave isn’t quite caught up with the present yet. We’re at another pesterlog which makes no sense out of context. Hilarious from one side, horrifying from the other. It makes sense that it’s hilarious the first time around because it’s the second pesterlog lifted from Hussie’s real-life conversations.

TG: ok wait hold on why am i getting this stupid game for you 
TG: youre the one who should be wrist deep in puppet ass 
TT: What is the specific problem? 
TG: the problem is i am up to my goddamn neck in fucking puppet dong 
TT: You know you like the mannequin dick. Accept it. 
TG: i am enrobed in chafing, wriggling god fucking damned puppet pelvis 
TG: an obscenely long, coarse kermit cock is being dragged across my anguished face 
TT: Let’s put this into perspective. You put up with the puppet prostate because you love it. 
TT: Also, coarse is a good word. 
TG: you dont seem to harbor any sympathy for the fact that ive burrowed fuck deep into lively, fluffy muppet buttock 


This is gold. I have no idea how Hussie could have possibly had the idea to take some real conversation where he wrote down lengthy metaphors about puppet ass and then use his comic to make that conversation literal. It’s one of the most genius things he’s ever done.

TG: im whirling in the terrible cyclone at the epicenter of my own personal holocaust of twitching foam noses 
TG: its like a fucking apocalypse of perky proboscis here 
TG: like 
TG: the proboscalypse i guess 
TT: Are you going to start rapping about this? 
TG: what no 
TG: no listen 
TT: Prong of flesh bereft of home 
TT: Found solace ‘twixt a cleft of foam. 
TG: no oh jesus 
TT: Of apocalypse your thoughts eclipse 
TT: A painted pair of parted lips 
TT: That dare through kiss to stir the air 
TT: That teases tufts of orange hair. 
TT: And though faces flush in lovers’ fits, 
TT: Hands snug in plush as gloves befit. 


The humor is cranked up even more when Rose takes the role of the rapper. How could I have possibly forgotten that this is one of the best pesterlogs in all of Homestuck? It’s a great feeling when a character grows on you when rereading something, as is going on for me with Rose.

TG: ok dickinson if you can shut your perfumey trap for a half second 
TG: this is serious 
TG: i am just saying 
TG: if i see one more soft bulbous bottom being like 
TG: kind of jutting out and impudent or whatever 
TG: im gonna fly off the handle 
TG: im gonna do some sort of acrobatic fucking PIROUETTE off the handle and win like a medal or some shit 
TT: Then let’s hope there will be a squishy derriere somewhere below the handle to break your fall. 


And here’s the birth of the “acrobatic fucking pirouette” running gag. Every use of this gag from here on out isn’t there just for fun; it’s to deliberately call back to this moment and toy with it. Every time this moment is toyed with is worthy of its own merit.

Another case where Homestuck is a product of its time.

I’m glad warped text captchas aren’t much of a thing anymore. Though I fucking hate “select all images that contain ___” with a passion.


Here’s where we revisit captchalogue cards, specifically the “captcha” part. Many readers probably wonder why it’s called “captchalogue” at first and forget about it, but are then surprised to find the real reason for that word. I’m not surprised that according to the book commentary, Hussie planned the captcha feature from the start.


John may be airheaded sometimes, but he’s far from stupid. He quickly learns that this captcha mechanic is useful. I might even say he’s pretty good with computers but a little misguided in learning to code. Now when is he going to talk about programming with Roxy like Dave said he would? Come on Hussie, fulfilling these promises isn’t that hard.


Here’s a bit of book commentary I have something interesting to say about:

And now his Cirque du Soleil poster got creamed by a bathtub? That’s it, he’s grounded for life.

The first few Homestuck books were originally released around 2013, some point in early to mid Act 6. Hussie saying that John would be grounded for life reminds me of how Jane is grounded after messing with her house. I’ve already talked a lot about how Act 6 Act 1 is something of a modernized version of Act 1; considering Hussie’s use of the phrase “grounded for life”, I really think he modernized Act 1 largely on an unconscious level.

TG: PUPPETS 
TG: AWESOME 
TG: THATS REALLY ALL THERE IS TO SAY ON THE MATTER 
— turntechGodhead [TG] changed his mood to RANCOROUS — 

TT: John, I’m about to throw a bath tub through your wall. 
TT: Watch out. 


Both Dave and Rose go a bit off the rails if they go long enough without talking to John.


This image above is interesting. It shows the hole in Dad’s room above the hole in John’s study. The gray colored area probably looks like simple shading at a glance, but if you look closely having reread the comic you can tell that the gray color hints more at what’s really inside that room. John and Rose discuss that mysterious room accordingly, with John unaware of what he’s in for.


It’s another copy of COLONEL SASSACRE’S DAUNTING TEXT OF MAGICAL FRIVOLITY AND PRACTICAL JAPERY. This one looks really old, perhaps an original printing. Could it be the same one involved with your grandmother’s unfortunate accident on that fateful day? DAD would never speak a word about it, but maybe NANNA wouldn’t be so tight-lipped?

You give it a cursory perusal. It appears to be similar to your reprinting, listing all the japes and chicanery you have come to know and love. You captchalogue it, thinking you may give it a closer look later. 

As with Bro’s Skaianet website, we get another hint that the guardians know more than they let on. We don’t know the story behind this book yet, but the narration slightly hints that some time travel is involved. A very subtle hint when reading for the first time; a slightly clearer hint when rereading.

On the other side of the scratch, Jane’s copy of Sassacre’s is abridged and clearly different from the copy John was born with. Helps her avoid coming to any conclusion that they are the same book or that any broader time travel is involved.

Can we stop and appreciate that in the Homestuck universe, giant books about shaving are a normal thing that exists?


The Fatherly Gent’s Shaving Almanac is locked inside that safe, which is all that’s needed to establish that John was meant to open this safe as a celebration of adulthood. Just because Mr. Egbert planned things out in advance doesn’t mean he knew anything close to the full picture.


It seems he has been collecting scraps from the news over the years. These articles go back decades.

Now THIS is a strong hint that Dad Egbert knows more than he lets on. If you’re rereading, you’ll quickly catch a pattern that the guardians all know bits and pieces of stuff about the game.

The most interesting part of these papers is the date on top: April 13, 199X. The date is enough to hint that these meteors relate to the game’s broader story, but not enough for us to know for a fact the story of John’s birth and Nanna’s death. One could say the same about the “[Betty] Crocker Facility Leveled” headline; a small hint that Crocker has broader relevance to the story beyond being a company John hates. All this foreshadows stuff the author had surely planned by this point. I’d guess that this was also around the time he planned out the kids’ family tree.


The note on the side of the wall tells us once again that John’s father knew secrets related to the story behind Sburb, but not everything about its true purpose. He probably read his mother’s note in the book and concluded from it that his son was meant to read it the moment he hit adulthood. As such, he added in newspapers explaining the story behind Nanna’s death, and also a shaving almanac. Dad’s idea that John would grow up to be strong enough to lift a heavy safe doesn’t make any sense until we see him easily lift a heavy safe. After that point, if you think back to John’s safe it’s clearer than ever that Dad Egbert had the strange idea that his son would grow up to be just like him.

Now the blank captchalogue card on the floor, I don’t think has much of a deep story behind it. If anything, I’d imagine it returns to the comic’s roots in riffing off of adventure games, hiding free blank cards in unexpected places with no explanation.

After the copy of Sassacre’s slays the imp, we get more RPG exaggerations in a series of three entities gaining levels: Colonel Sassacre levels up, the bathtub levels up, and the slain safe is carried to Vaulthalla. These are all very silly and I can tell Hussie had fun coming up with rung names. If you’ve ever wasted hours on TV Tropes, you’d know that the bit with Vaulthalla would qualify as a “big-lipped alligator moment”. But as the book commentary suggests, Vaulthalla doesn’t completely go to waste; this art style is quite clearly a proto-Alternia, which may or may not have been on a conscious level. 


Next a brand new teaser emerges: a creature much bigger and more fearsome than imps. I’m going to stop here.

See you next time as an obscenely long, coarse Kermit cock is dragged across Dave’s anguished face.

Next => Part 7: What Sword?

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 76: The Weirdest Apocalypse Ever Told

Introduction

Part 75 | Part 76 | Part 77 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 2 of 8 or so

Pages 4841-4861 (MSPA: 6741-6761)

NOTE: The title isn’t that fitting because I haven’t even gotten to the part about juggalos yet. But I kind of came up with it at the last minute because I finally figured out that there’s no use in delaying these posts more than I already have. Also I’m bad at post titles regardless.

NOTE 2: I hope this is the only time such a gigantic delay ever happens.

Jake lying unconscious in the frog temple transitions us to another dream bubble scene which is mostly this huge worldbuilding and exposition dump, but not before an introductory section of sorts to set the stage pretty much.

timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT] 
TT: Happy 13th, bro. 
TT: I have something for you. 
GT: Whoa nelly! 
GT: You are too kind my friend. What is it? 
TT: It’s no big deal, since it’s nothin’ I wasn’t planning on giving you anyway. 
TT: I just sort of happened to finish it today. 
GT: I think i catch your drift. 
GT: So my new tin comrade finally gets a head on his shoulders eh? 
TT: Yeah, assuming I can actually send it today without another untimely paradoxification. 
TT: If not, then hey, you get a sick grill full of birthday slime instead. 
GT: Oh hell no. HELL no man. 
GT: Well listen. If youre going to send anything to me slime or otherwise can you please at least not make the shit appear directly over my head this time? 

I think my uncertainty about what stuff with Dirk’s sendificator was predestined might be answered now? This conversation reveals that several times prior Dirk tried to send Jake parts of Brobot but destination wouldn’t let him. But now, later on Dirk successfully sends Jake the robot’s head in a way that makes it seem like a birthday present, which ends up causing those regular robot strife battles to happen. And it turns out that stuff served the ultimate purpose of driving the rabbit subplot which we basically already saw now.

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