(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized all-purpose baking utensil.)
Homestuck has been undeniably awesome so far… but reading a recent Tumblr post of Hussie’s, it’s also exhibited an example of something not to do.
Aspiring Webcomickers Everywhere, do not bend your story just to do something you think is cool. Do a side strip, or do a non-canon intermission, or something, but if you’re doing a story-heavy comic, everything that happens in your comic should serve the needs of the story, not the other way around. And certainly don’t change the basic cornerstones of how the story goes in order to do something cool.
Hussie knows this – the Midnight Crew, the dark counterparts of the Problem Sleuthers, never appeared in PS proper, instead sticking to bonus material before becoming key figures in Homestuck – and he mentions coming up with this idea about two years ago, or almost as far back as the age of the comic itself. But two years ago, Homestuck was already in the midst of Act 3, and Hussie mentions the idea spinning out of the ectobiological origins of the kids and guardians, suggesting at least some of the comic was already established by that point.
I’m hopeful these new kids will prove to be important enough to the plot we’ve been following for the last five acts that their value will be more than just Hussie wanting to do something cool, that Hussie will prove a good enough writer to integrate them at least as seamlessly as he did the trolls – and in fact there’s evidence that Jake, who we’re meeting now, is the penpal who helped Jade make the “ultimate bunny” (but if that’s the case, why don’t I recognize his old-timey dialogue from his notes to John?) – but I’m going to be reading cautiously until then, if I decide to read at all before we get back to the plot.