Things I did today:
- Drew the last two portraits for the sponsors page of the Rita book and laid out the title/publisher info/dedication pages.
- Wrote a brief appreciation of “Homestuck” as outsider art.
- Got some e-mail telling me that I didn’t make the cut for the first round of contestant selection for the Penny Arcade “Strip Search” project.
- Bought a ten-pack of ISBNs and put one on the back of the Rita book. Wondered if this is why the previous thing happened.
- Went to an aikido class and really sucked in the same interesting way I did when starting burlesque. Pretty soon I’m gonna have trouble properly expressing kismesissitude when Rik visits unless I start passing a bit of it on to him.
I was originally intending to do one little tweak to the book cover – I have to adjust the spine width to match what the printer says it should be – then send it off to the printer for the first proof, but after running part of the way to aikido class, then rolling around for an hour and walking back, I’m PRETTY POOPED and think I’m just gonna curl up wit the iPad and the last episode of the previous season of Doctor Who.
Also here is the appreciation of Homestuck, cut and paste from the reply I made on a comics creator forum elsewhere after a thread about the Homestuck RPG Kickstarter passing its $700k goal in a little more than 24 hours showed up:
Andrew Hussie deserves an Eisner for what he’s doing with the format. And not a “best digital comic” ghetto Eisner, either.
I read the whole archive in a couple of days when I first ran across it sometime last year. When the trolls showed up and started flooding the text blocks with l33tsp33k, I very quickly started skimming. Hard. I can’t really say I know more than the broad outlines of it any more. Especially after he introduced another set of four kids playing the game, who are maybe the ancestors of the first four we met, maybe their clone-parents, maybe I don’t know what. And then there’s the crappy webcomic one of the characters in the strip makes, that occasionally comments on recent or forthcoming events. It is a big sprawling mess that I simply don’t have the time to really decode.
I’m not even entirely sure it’s a good story. Given that it’s deliberately modeled after the terrible stories found in adventure games, I’m not even sure I can apply the normal standards of “good” and “bad” writing.
But then again, the rhythms I use in some parts of my own comic are directly influenced by the way Hussie uses big blocks of instant message exchange; there’s an immediacy to short bits of it that really feels fresh and modern.
I don’t know if he’s done a lot of thinking about the traditional craft of comics. He keeps the words and pictures largely separate. He never really does what you’d call “panel layouts”. Just a couple drawings, possibly slightly-animated, one after the other. It’s outsider comics. But it is definitely comics, more so than most attempts by people who’re highly educated in the craft of comics to play with animation and sound and interactivity.
I keep coming back to see what crazy thing Hussie’s going to do next.
If you are interested in the formal concerns at all, you owe it to yourself to read Homestuck. All of it. Online, over a few weekends. Immerse yourself in it and experience its completely alien rhythms. Consider it research, if you must. Because Hussie is doing something completely different and it is something that works.