THE DEVIL is touching up a few notes on his SULPHURIC TABLATURE.
He documents a tale which was last updated in the TOME OF WAYFARING SOULS by a now rather preoccupied Death.
When Death had finished his last entry, DMK had just exposed his second face, Team Sleuth had invoked their GAMBIT SCHEMAS, HD and NB had begun wandering through the SLEAZY BROTHEL IN THE SKY, and AD was embarking upon a game of LIFE with DEATH.
It is that game where we pick up again.
The match began as a friendly one but became quickly reduced to a series of boorish tactics by AD, who stole all of Death's money while he was distracted. They pursued each other in their GAME PIECES, but AD struck a defenseless woman who was crossing the street. AD pleaded with Death to spare her life, but Death was nowhere to be seen. Miraculously, the woman survived, and then AD and WIFEHEARST became married.
With WIFEHEARST, AD sired the adorable SONHEARST. As a family they enjoyed years of peaceful, prosperous life, as AD built an empire on various illicit LEGITIMATE ESTABLISHMENTS. This activity caught the prying eye of some THUGS, who were none too pleased with AD muscling in on their boss's racket.
One day while taking a walk, AD's family was gunned down by the THUGS. AD AUTO-PARRIED a bullet to save SONHEARST, but WIFEHEARST was not so lucky and perished. This prompted the surviving family to seek vengeance as vigilantes. They became BATHEARST and PUNISHER DICK. Unfortunately the WHEEL OF LIFE had different plans for them. Rather than fighting crime, they would be heading WEST to the open frontier.
Tragically, BATHEARST drowned while they attempted to ford the river in their wagon. AD was inconsolable with grief and wandered the countryside, heartbroken and alone. Eventually he found a GUN underneath a TREE STUMP and shot himself.
With each successive misfortune befalling AD, DMK's EMOTIONS level increased, causing him to be susceptible to physical attacks. This allowed PS to inflict major damage through his GAMBIT SCHEMA -> CANDY CORN VAMPIRE, with its heightened attributes such as increased strength, endurance, and VAMPIRE FASTNESS.
His first move was to invoke COMBAT OPERANDI -> ARMISTYX, summoning Death, who was called away from his game of Life with AD. Death gave PS his SCYTHE to wield against DMK. PS utilized the SCYTHE in its various forms, culminating with the A-BOMB SCYTHE, completely wiping out one of DMK's two health meters, and well as permanently destroying the SCYTHE much to Death's sorrow.
Concurrently to this battle, HD and NB were trapped in the BROTHEL, equipped with a couple of special CORSETS. They were confronted with a very large FAN PLUG which they needed to find a way to plug in for some reason. This lead them on a journey through the brothel which involved conducting sultry performances in a series of PRIVATE BOOTHS, which involved using items on hand to either remove a small MURAL from a wall, or conceal it with a coat of paint, or generally deface it in a rather seductive fashion.
The performances were much to the delight of three GENTLEMAN, a MANNERLY HIGHBROW, a DAPPER SWAIN, and a CHURLISH TOFF, who each sat in their respective coin-operated viewing booths. Once the coin-op slot's time had expired, or became disabled in some way, the WINDOW no longer served to display the other side of the booth. Instead the windows served as portals to various TRUCKS, including a BREAD TRUCK, a CHEESE TRUCK, and a HAM TRUCK, and allowed someone to either exit the rear of the truck, or enter the cabin of the truck, depending on which side of the booth one enters from. This rear exit/cabin entrance polarity was controlled by a series of SWITCHES on the ceiling just out side the booths, accessible only to one with a significant HEIGHT attribute.
NB used these portals to thread the FAN PLUG through them, and out the backs of their corresponding trucks. Stepping through the differently shaped portals, as well as making adjustments to her ASPECT CORSET, served to modify her proportions as well as her VIM attribute, which was at times useful for carrying the plug. She also helped the Highbrow to drive the BREAD TRUCK, while HD also drove the CHEESE TRUCK with the Swain to various destinations to facilitate the threading process, at one point threading the cord through the eye of the HAM NEEDLE.
Finally, they used the HAM TRUCK to deliver the FAN PLUG to the GUTTERPIPE PROJECTS, and fed it through the pipe and out the lens of the MOTION PICTURE PROJECTOR, which projected the plug at a normal scale which could fit into an outlet, and projected HD and NB at a diminutive scale. HD used her SCALE BODICE to bring her scale back to normal, and entered the door of MM's STUDIO. NB remained small, and simply walked through the MOUSE HOLE with the plug.
In the STUDIO, NB used her corset to become very tall to plug in the fan. The outlet however supplied no power, since it was controlled by a SWITCH in the DOLLHOUSE ATTIC. HD encountered an enraged MM. NB then entered the FOYER of the DOLLHOUSE, and then entered the STUDIO from the other side, with her dimensions restored to normal. HD and NB clashed with MM using their weapons of burlesque seduction on the Madame.
Meanwhile, FAD had grown tired of the stuggle with DMK and decided to go mess up MK's fort directly. He rode it like a MECHANICAL BULL and promptly crushed it with his impressive WEIGHT attribute. This sparked a wild chase through the greater facility, sending them down the DUMBWAITER SHAFT, into the SPEAKEASY, crashing through the SPEAKEASY FLOOR, into the SPEAKEASY again while shattering an OBOE, and out the exit AND into MK's LEGITIMATE ESTABLISHMENT.
They exited this establishment to find themselves on WHORE ISLAND, with a view of the CLOCK TOWER OF CARTESIAN ALIGNMENT, whose hands crept toward the strike of the WITCHING HOUR. SPEAKEASY PATRONS loitered in a crowd while DMK tried to blend in by swapping HATS with a nearby gentleman. FAD eventually discovered him, in the process thefting a TOPHAT from a man, leaving him HATLESS.
The two entered the SLEAZY BROTHEL, through the THEATER, and fought their way through MM'S STUDIO where HD, NB and MM were just about to clash. They fought their way through the DOLLHOUSE FOYER, and then into the PANTRY where they continued the struggle by the LAZY SUSAN OF ENDOWMENT.
Meanwhile, the following more tangential events transpired:
- On the deck of the CHICAGO OVERCOAT, PI inched toward a large ANCHOR, hampered by his FRANKENSTEIN SLOWNESS.
- At the behest of PS earlier, FOUR HEROES from the KINGDOMS climbed the 66,666 levels in the CATHEDRAL OF SYNDETIC ASCENSION, besting foes along the way.
- The Dapper Swain found his way through the PROJECTOR, and was crushed by MK's careless foot. He recovered though to give a valiant peeping effort through his PERSONAL GAWCULAR LENS. Eventually, all three GENTLEMEN would end up in MM'S STUDIO in a diminutive state.
After suffering a series of attacks, MM retreated into the DOLLHOUSE FOYER to equip her CORSET. She discovered it had been stolen though. Her assailants pursued her, and she fought back using her SKELETON BRUSH and PALETTE.
On the ship, an IMPETUS COMB was completed just as PI reached the ANCHOR. He was about to use a pretty lame COMB RAVE that possibly involved an achor, when MK swapped SUCKLE RECEPTACLES in the PANTRY to steal the rave for DMK. DMK then used his ridiculously powerful attack, FILL 'EM WITH DAYLIGHT. PI dropped the ANCHOR overboard, hooked it on to the CATHEDRAL, causing the ship to swing around out of range of the attack just in time.
DMK's attack ripped the UNIVERSE in half, exposing the EXTRA-DIMENSIONAL COSMIC SUPERSTRING STRATA. Meanwhile the FOUR HEROES reached the top of the CATHEDRAL, which had also split in half, and they remained suspended in the middle. GPI seeing his creation in peril, was spurred to rare action to repair the damage. He invoked DEUS EX SEWING MACHINA, picked up the HAM NEEDLE with the FAN CORD threaded through it, and affixed it to his SEWING MACHINA. He sewed his creation back together, stretching the cord across the entire length of the UNIVERSE, and depositing the HAM NEEDLE back where it was.
The FOUR HEROES, having floated to the other side of the CATHEDRAL, together turned a CRANK, which caused the cathedral's eye to zoom into the face of the CLOCK TOWER, which was at the strike of midnight, locally known as the WITCHING HOUR. This revealed the very large CHRONOSCOPE OF AXIAL CONJUGATION extending from the eye, pointing at the distant clock.
At the strike of the WITCHING HOUR, PS, who was manning the ship's WHEEL, noticed that the wheel in fact served as a viewport from the clock's vantage. He simply reached into the wheel, reached across the great void of space, and plucked the CHRONOSCOPE from the CATHEDRAL, and pulled it out of the wheel as a normal-sized telescope, deactivating the WHEEL in the process.
He threw the CHRONOSCOPE to the highly immobile PI, who then affixed the scope to his SNIPER RIFLE, which caused the CLOCK TOWER to transform into the CLOCK TOWER SNIPER CANNON, a weapon operated from afar by the SNIPER RIFLE itself. He used the cannon to deal a great deal of damage to DMK, all of which was rapidly regenerated. But the salvo over time released enough PANG NECTAR to produce three very large IMPETUS COMBS, the three biggest ones, dwarfed only by the eighth and final comb yet to be prepared.
The three combs were applied to the following characters and their corresponding COMB RAVES.
- HD: COMB RAVE -> ROLLING THUNDER
- NB: COMB RAVE -> HIGHLY FLAMMABLE CASE OF THE VAPORS
- PFPI+FFPI: COMB RAVE -> TEMPORAL REPLICOLLISION
The first two were used in tandem in the final stand versus MM, completely defeating her. She wound up in the AFTERLIFE, where she and others would be cajoled by Death to play a variety of games. Other characters would arrive in the AFTERLIFE in this manner over the greater course of events, including WIFEHEARST and BATHEARST who died in the game of LIFE as previously described.
Also winding up in the AFTERLIFE would be FAD, when during his scuffle in the PANTRY, MK swallowed him whole by reversing his BELLY OF THE WHALE attack on him through the method of EXTORSION. This caused MK to absorb FAD's essence and become FMK, a much larger, heavier version of himself.
It had also become apparent that MK was the one who stole MM's corset, the GRAVITY BRASSIER, as he was wearing it at the time of this incident. To restore his former size, he simply pulled on the VOLUME DRAWSTRINGS to decrease his volume. This concentrated his weight to a smaller patch of the floor, which he caused to collapse and fall through. He landed underneath the DOLLHOUSE TABLE, beneath which the three diminutively sized GENTLEMEN had gathered.
The FOUR HEROES would eventually gather there as well, as they had since ascended/descended the other side of the CATHEDRAL to the city streets, and jumped through the PROJECTOR. This group eventually included all of the SPEAKEASY PATRONS after the WITCHING HOUR expired, including a HATLESS MAN who managed to obtain the INK OF SQUID PRO QUO for later ill-advised consumption.
After slaying MM, HD and NB acquired the SKELETON KEY to unlock the door to the upper floors. They ascended, freeing several WHORES, and recovering BEN STILLER'S SUNGLASSES. They reached the ATTIC and flipped the SWITCH, supplying power to the outlet. The FAN however did not receive power right away, since the electric current now needed to travel the entire length of the UNIVERSE, a journey which would take LIGHT approximately 32 BILLION YEARS round trip, and would take current through a copper wire even longer.
Below the DOLLHOUSE TABLE, the GENTLEMEN aggressed FMK foppishly, which caused him tighten his GRAVITY BRASSIER to increase his MASS while decreasing his VOLUME, augmenting his gravitational pull overall. This pull caused HD, NB and the liberated WHORES to fall through the floors and under the table, where they, the GENTLEMEN, and the FOUR HEROES would battle what had become DMMK.
They fought DMMK to no avail, as his gravitational field absorbed each attack. The Highbrow playfully used the small kingpin with his LV. 4 HOOPTECH -> DMMK KATAMARI BALL, and began rolling up everyone in the room into a ball, stuck together by his gravitational field. Angered, DMMK pulled his drawstrings even further, increasing his mass and falling through the bottom of WHORE ISLAND altogether. The jumble of characters fell through the sky for some time while below the others dueled with DMK.
ZAD used COMBAT OPERANDI -> CHECK YO'SELF JONAH to summon a WHALE, which he commanded as a mount. It was quickly shot by the SNIPER CANNON. ZAD and the whale fell onto a PRISON BUILDING below, where the whale died on the roof, while ZAD crashed through numerous floors and became trapped in a cell with a PRISONER. Eventually, ZAD, the whale and the prisoner wound up in the AFTERLIFE too.
PFPI used the penultimate COMB RAVE, TEMPORAL REPLICOLLISION, in conjunction with his future self FFPI, who finally appeared from FPI's previous use of TEMPORAL REPLICSIMILE. The two accelerated through the TRAFFIC LIGHT PORTALS and collided together, intersecting with DMK. This attack depleted the remainder of DMK's health and caused him to descend. It also killed PFPI and FFPI in the process, and the PART-PICKLE COLLISION created the short-lived HIGGS BONEHEAD in the process.
Meanwhile everyone in the AFTERLIFE was developing the habit of coming and going through DEATH'S DOOR at will, much to the dismay of Death. It was at this point when AD shot himself in the game of LIFE, emerged from the game unharmed, and reunited with his family, which set DMK's EMOTIONS to be maxed out in time to be dealt massive damage by the REPLICOLLISION.
The cluster of people falling with DMMK eventually landed in the game of LIFE on DMK's HAT. All characters except for DMMK exited LIFE'S DOOR, opposite DEATH'S DOOR, for a large reunion with the deceased characters on top of the HAT.
PS turned the ship's WHEEL causing the large BARREL to fall and bounce of PI's head, down to the VULNERABULB below. It struck the bulb, depleting DMK's SPUNK MYRRH. The bulb closed, DMK ascended and soon revealed his third and final face. PI's GAMBIT SCHEMA finally wore off when the RIPENESS ATTRIBUTE was finally depleted, completely rotting the SCHEMA PUMPKIN, which may never have existed in the first place anyway.
DMMK in the game of LIFE pulled his drawstrings hard enough to collapse into a BLACK HOLE, becoming BHMK. BHMK sucked in his two groveling thugs, the entire game of LIFE, all the characters on the HAT (sans Death, MM, the whale, the Bonehead, and all imaginary PIs, who obediently remained in the afterlife). LIFE'S DOOR and DEATH'S DOOR were sucked in too.
They all landed on top of BHMK'S HAT inside the BLACK HOLE, greeted by the DEMIMONDE GODDESS and 1000 COURTESAN ANGELS, with no apparent means of escape.
DMK's new form quickly ensnared PS and PI in his BRIER OF CRUELTY. PS had recently obtained the INK OF SQUID PRO QUO dropped by the HATLESS MAN, but has yet to discover a weapon to wield against DMK.
In space looms the biggest comb of all, nearing completion. Orbiting it is a MOON, about which itself orbits the CANDY MECHA LEGS, which support the precious CAPTAIN SNOOP BUST.
Also, on GPI's instruction, PPI, FPI, PFPI, and FFPI just became all the subatomic particles that ever existed in the universe, and always comprised every character and every physical location all along.
The Devil wonders why he's even bothering with this useless exercise in the self-evident.
I've been thinking this over for the last few weeks, and I've decided now is the best time to suspend all regular updates until I've finished the story, rather than pausing just before I start on the final animation. When I'm done, I'll post it all at once. There are a lot of reasons why I think this is the best strategy.
Primarily, it's about efficiency, and being able to work on the remaining (and likely the most difficult parts) of the story without distractions, or the added challenge of having to crank out the next serial update as fast as possible, which means I always have to stay totally linear with the work. This way I can produce the rest of it more comprehensively, prepare animation assets in advance, do more stuff in parallel, etc. It will go faster. And ultimately, I think it'll read better as one thing, rather than as a sequence tortuously spread out over time, as has been the norm for years. I think it's close enough to the end now to safely retire Homestuck as a serial reading experience. There's nothing to be gained from that presentation anymore, in my view. It's just time to bear down and get it done.
I guess we're breaking for a long time on a big cliffhanger, but there's no way around that. Actually, pausing at any point later would probably be even worse, as it keeps pushing into endgame territory. That's why I'm stopping now instead of later. With such a big readership, the reactions will only get crazier, and the demand for new updates will get more intense. Over time, knowing so many people are slamming refresh many times per day starts to be more of an omnipresent distraction than anything. I think there is sort of a perception that I am creatively feeding off the hysteria surrounding the comic, but on a very practical level this is not true. Creating entertainment is not really a lifestyle of madcap shenanigans. It is a very sober, often dull process that requires a huge amount of time and concentration. It will be better to disarm the hype machine while I get the hard stuff done.
So what is the itinerary? Need to finish A663 through A666, and then A7. Keep in mind that these sub acts can be literally any length, even onepage. There's a good bit of ground to cover, but most of the effort will be tied up in animation chores.
I don't really have a time estimate here, and am not sure there's any real advantage in coming up with one. It'll just be a while. I also have to allocate some time to work on the Kickstarter game. That didn't stop being a thing I have to do. It's coming along. I'll probably have a more substantive update on that before the end of the year. There hasn't been much to report yet since it's mostly been in a high level planning and writing phase. And firming up tons of legal minutiae. Stuff like that.
But I will say there is something new to watch out for next month. Kind of a secret project I'm involved with, unrelated to MSPA or the KS game. Well, it's technically not that secret. It's only secret if you don't know about it yet. Meditate on those profound words, and keep an eye out for news on this in coming weeks.
Oh yeah. Almost forgot, I'll have to take some time to port the site to a new server. Obviously it hasn't been cutting it the last couple months. So we'll work on that soon. Hopefully the new service will be able to handle the massive heart attack the next batch up updates will represent.
During the gigapause, there should still be plenty to see here in the news section. Whether it's about the aforementioned projects, or new product releases, there'll be a lot going on. Trust me, the coolest stuff at What Pumpkin this season has yet to be released.
2014 What Pumpkin Convention Schedule ... over there! ->
The What Pumpkin crew will be quite active on the con circuit this year. 11 cons by my count (for now). Take a look at the schedule, and make your plans accordingly!
What Pumpkin will be setting up a booth in all these cons where you can buy stuff and meet some friendly WP folk. I personally will only be attending two or three of these. I'm not sure which ones yet. I don't think I can lock myself into anything definite yet, since all that traveling is incredibly time consuming and tends to derail work. That's sort of what happened last year. I traveled way too much, and it really messed me up! So work schedule permitting, I'll probably pick a couple of these later and make some "surprise appearances". That way, if you happen to see me at a convention, you can be 100% certain that our encounter will be a result of PURE DESTINY.
It's almost over, right? Um, no, sorry. I still have no time estimate, or specific date I am shooting for. 4/13 would be the COOLEST date to shoot for, right? I doubt that's realistic though. Because in spite of my most religious wishes every single day, magic keeps on being fake. THANKS, "god".
What is the status, then? The status is this. Since pausing, basically all I have been doing is writing. No drawing or animation yet. Writing, writing, writing. Writing for Homestuck, and writing for the adventure game. More time has been allocated to the latter. The game is a big, big project. Let's not kid ourselves here. It's like this whole new major story and everything, fueled by millions of dollars. That's a very different situation from Homestuck, which is usually fueled by approximately zero dollars.
Homestuck probably needs another month of writing before I can start making panels. Not even to speak of Flash work. And of course, game development looms over everything as well. This feels totally different from the usual routine of write-draw-post, write-draw-post, write-draw-post, ad infinitum. Writing everything out beforehand is peculiar. And by peculiar I mean "totally conventional", in most other creative contexts. Let's see how that approach pans out. (You go out on a limb and guess it will result in the same silly bullshit as always.)
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
Kickstarter - Speaking of the game, I sent out a backer update just before the newd year. The same update just went out to paypal backers too (it took a while to set up a system for that). If you backed the project but didn't notice an update, you might want to check your email. If you didn't back it, sorry these updates are <shhhh>secret</shhhh>. I mean, not really. The info gets "leaked" everywhere, if you know where to look. The point is, *I'M* technically not supposed to be the one tell you. Get it? Oh. You don't? Me neither.
One question I feel like I should answer out in the open even though I kinda thought it was obvious (there is no such thing as obvious) since I see it come up so much: yes, you will be able to purchase the game, even if you did not back the Kickstarter!
Contest - In the near future, I'm going to be putting out some neat things through We Love Fine. WLF is a cool company that makes a lot of nice stuff, that you will find particularly interesting if you are into "the fandoms". Do you like fandoms? When I was a kid we didn't even have those. All we had were shitty Atari games, and spankings.
But before they formally launch any Homestuck stuff, they're running a fun shirt design contest. There are sweet cash prizes. Hey, only participate if you think is sounds fun though. Most people won't win, because that's what a contest is, according to the way that common word is classically defined. I ain't out to waste anyone's time! I do hope plenty of people submit designs though. There's some nutty stuff rolling in. People will laugh at me if I pick the naked Gamzee shirt. DON'T MAKE ME PICK THE NAKED GAMZEE SHIRT!
Another Secret Project - Remember a while ago, I mysteriously mumbled something about a secret project? And then it came along, and it turned out to be Namco High? This is like that again. Except it's not a dating sim. Or a game, or anything like that. Also, it doesn't involve video game characters you've never heard of. It is a much more Homestuck-focused thing. That's all I'm gonna say! Ok, I lied, I will say one more thing: it's going to be really cool, and you will wonder where it has been all your life.
Vinyl Figures - These are up in the store now! For actual sale. Hehe... look at em!
Homestuck book 3 and Problem Sleuth book 5 are here! The Homestuck book contains Act 3. The Problem Sleuth book is the final volume of the series.
(The cover of PS5 glows in the dark by the way.)
And now that the Problem Sleuth series is wrapped up, you can get the full set. Dedicating this much paper to three cartoon detectives trying to leave an office should be illegal. But it isn't, and we are exploiting that fact to our advantage here.