Courtesy MS Paint Adventures

The young man you see before you is one of the main characters in the longest-running comic on the site MS Paint Adventures. I must, however, use the term ‘comic’ somewhat loosely. While the story unfolds in a visual medium mixed with text, it’s driven by an interface reminiscent of old text adventure games, adds elements of music and Flash animation, and quickly evolves beyond somewhat humble beginnings into a story I can only describe properly as ‘epic’.

I know, ‘epic’ is a term that gets bandied about quite a bit. Especially among gamers, it’s used as loosely as ‘awesome’. However, Homestuck is a definite example of a proper use of the word. Our young protagonist is thrust into an adventure that changes absolutely everything. For him, it brings acute focus to his life and that of his friends in the midst of truly harrowing peril. For us, it shows us how the mixed media of the Internet can be used to take storytelling to a new level.

The creator of Homestuck, Andrew Hussie, demonstrates both comedic and dramatic timing in his work. Laughs and groans from his humor often come quickly before or after surprise revelations. The universe he creates is steeped in metaphor and meaning, with subtle references woven into his words and images. Some webcomics are content with blatantly up-front humor and lackluster plotting that demonstrates slipshod world-building, but not Homestuck.

Okay, Hussie gives us the occasional pie-in-the-face moment, but who doesn’t like that now and again?

On a few occasions, the story becomes a little self-indulgent. There’s author insertion at a point or two but mostly this is for the sake of humor. Homestuck has a lot of backstory, and as the main plot progresses Hussie feels obligated to clue us into the background of certain characters and their origins. While this does add a great deal of depth and meaning to the goings-on, these digressions can be a bit tedious for some. I find such expansion of a world and its characters fascinating, but that’s me coming from the perspective of a storyteller.

Regardless, this long-running narrative is definitely worth your time, and you should check it out. You won’t regret the time you’ve invested in it, and you may find yourself going back to moments you want to experience again. If that isn’t good storytelling, I don’t know what is.