How did Homestuck get such a bad reputation?
I actually put some research into this particular blog post, because I was curious. I’d seen Homestuck cosplayers at conventions, but hadn’t thought too much about it. I even had a friend who cosplayed one of the characters. Since I really didn’t understand, I thought I’d do some research to find out. After searching around on the internet for a while, as well as talking to some fellow cosplayers, the following points are what I’ve come up with. I’ll state my bias toward or against Homestuck at the end, so that it doesn’t affect what you think as you read this.
The fanbase reputation seems to stem from two major places—the internet, and conventions. Many people act badly on the internet, and bad manners is certainly not something only pertaining to Homestuck fans. Conventions, on the other hand, are another matter. There are several issues here that I will examine.
1) The Cos-plague. A cos-plague is when a certain fandom is overly popular at cons. Pretty much every fandom that went through a cos-plague got a bad reputation. Examples include Naruto, Hetalia (which I will elaborate on later), and Death Note. Because there are so many fans, there are plenty of crazies within the group who will do something stupid, thus earning the entire group a bad name. This can be the case with any fandom. Aside from this, there seems to be a general irritation among cosplayers over the fact that Homestuck is not an anime. (“So why are they at an anime convention?”) This, of course, wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t so popular. Cosplay of things that do not qualify as anime is quite common, but and is generally considered acceptable. However, it seems many cosplayers view the cos-plague as “taking over the convention,” leading to not as many true anime costumes.
2) Horror Stories. Again, you get these with any really popular fandom. Homestuck cosplayers have a reputation for being insensitive, rude, elitist and sometimes unintelligent. Probably the most popular Homestuck horror story is about a group of cosplayers who shared a room with a girl they didn’t know very well. Apparently, she locked herself in the bathroom for several hours and they eventually had to pry the door open, only to find a disaster mess. She’d tried to die herself gray in the bathtub with a mixture of sharpie and 70% alchohol. The entire bathroom was wrecked, costing over $700 in fines, and the girl got skin poisoning.
3) Overly In-Character. This point kind of goes along with the last one, but needs to be addressed somewhat separately. Many cosplayers take the role of being “in-character” too seriously, or they over-exaggerate it. The characters in Homestuck, especially the trolls, can be quite rude. Being “in-character” is never an excuse for bad manners or any other sort of inappropriate behavior. Nobody is going to like you if you treat them badly. That’s the way things work. It’s simple, and I find it hard to understand why people can’t grasp that concept. On that note, throwing buckets at people’s faces is never okay. Yes, it may have been funny, but it is unacceptable on more than one level. Firstly, didn’t your mother ever teach you not to throw things at people? It’s rude. Secondly, you might hurt someone—in fact, it’s quite likely. One horror story of a bucket-throwing victim ended in a broken nose. And thirdly, the implications are inappropriate for most situations. Even though we are humans and pails don’t have the same implications here that they do on Alternia, the reason it’s funny is because of those implications, and knowing what it means to trolls, you are essentially using it in that sense. This is like propositioning someone. Even if they don’t realize that, it is not acceptable.
4) War with the Hetalia fandom. The Homestuck and Hetalia fandom have been fueding for quite some time. No one knows exactly why this is. There are several possible reasons. One is that they are clashing cos-plagues, since both cos-plagues seem to have happened/are happening around the same time (But if that were the case, why not the Kuroshitsuji fans, too?) Whatever the case, the war seems to be dying down and there are actually a lot of people who are fans of both.
5) Lack of Understanding. Many people just don’t know what Homestuck is, or why these people are dying their skin gray. In some cases, people try to read it and don’t understand it or find it boring. I’ve found that many people attempt to read Homestuck and don’t get very far before they give up, bored. Some Homestuck fans will say that these people simply aren’t smart enough, and that is the kind of rude behavior that earns them a bad reputation.
Conclusion: Don’t be rude. I know there are plenty of wonderful Homestuck fans.
Now to state my bias—Yes, I am a Homestuck fan. However, at this point, I don’t plan on involving myself very much in the fandom because of the reputation it wields. I will, however, review the webcomic in an upcoming blog post.