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Referencing Real Things
Posted Oct 22, 2013 - 13:03:44

UnCONventional Homestuck

So a recent story line in UnCONventional involved a group of Homestuck cosplayers. This did present me with a particular challenge: even though I see hordes of Homestuck cosplayers at every con I go to these days, I don't actually follow Homestuck. While I know generally what the most popular characters look like, I'm not actually sure what the characters look like exactly. This meant... I had to do research.

In the end I think it turned out well, as I created stick figure interpretations of cosplays which are interpretations of a different simplified art style. The very use of this joke though leads me with a problem.

I've instantly dated the strip.

See, I normally avoid commenting on actual properties and characters. I use fake voice actors, reference fictional webcomics and just overall attempt to create analogs whenever possible. The reasoning is simple - things that are popular now aren't likely to remain popular. I didn't always take this policy, which is why you'll see moments like this back in the (much more poorly drawn) first chapter of the comic:

I made a few cheap "L" jokes back in the first year, and they don't age well. We no longer face an epidemic of people dressed as L entering cosplay contests and wandering the halls. I want UnCONventional to be timeless, and I ruined that effect by making the direct reference to a property which is no longer as popular as it once was.

I admittedly made another jab at L cosplayers in the third year too, but it's loss of popularity was also part of the joke as well (at least from my point of view).

You'll notice in that scene that Veronica was wearing a cosplay from "Wage Project" - a fictional anime series that I usually place in too.

But I couldn't do that in the case with Homestuck. I mean, seriously, a horde of gray teenagers is a unique phenomenon, and I can't imagine any fake thing I made up not just being an obvious rip off anyway.

So I had to use actual Homestuck.
- Traegorn

Post a Comment
Well, it started me reading homestuck. It goes a long while before you see the gray kids. Anyway, worse has happened :-)
Trae, your whole comic is sooner or later going to be dated. It happens to all the web comics. It's like anything. Look at every popular tv show to ever exist, they all are dated in some way. So even if jokes are timeless, they'll still be dated in some way. So don't feel bad it was bound the happen eventually. Anime fads come and go. I remember there being more Naruto cosplayers than there are now. Hetalia has come and went. Homestuck will come and go too. But still your comic was going to show it's age at some point anyway.
But there are ways that things can age poorly or well - DS9 aged better than Babylon 5 for instance
never realised the lack of date element, until you say it now. Homestuck may be the 21st Century Ulysees.

Trae Dorn
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