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Giorgio Busi Rizzi - It’s a bird... it’s a plane... it’s a videogame... it’s a digital comic: Homestuck and the Irresistible Appeal of (Retro)Remediation

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posted on 29.06.2020, 15:51 by Giorgio Busi Rizzi

03/07/2020 15:00 Room 1 #itscdp


The dedicated Wikipedia page describes Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck as centering “on a group of teenagers who unwittingly bring about the end of the world through the installation of a beta copy of an upcoming computer game. The comic consists of a combination of static images, animated GIFs and instant message logs, as well as animations and games made with Adobe Flash. It has been noted for its complex plot and considerable length: over 8000 pages and 800,000 words”.

This short outline should already explain what makes Homestuck such a stimulating subject. My contribution will hence try to condensate, untangle and discuss its key aspects: its reliance on the hybrid mediality that characterizes digital comics, which puts it at the crossroad between traditional comics and videogames – and hypertext fiction; its length and the depth of its plot, which have met the interest of a most passionate and active fan community, offering a very interesting example of participatory culture; its origin in, and connection to, geek culture, which keeps everything together through a process that I propose to call retro-remediation, drawing from both the aesthetics and the mechanisms of old adventure games; and its book adaptation, published from 2018 to present.

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Biography

Giorgio Busi Rizzi is a BOF post-doctoral fellow at Ghent University, and a member of the ACME Comics Research Group. He holds a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies with a joint supervision by the Universities of Bologna and Leuven, focusing on nostalgia in graphic novels. He is interested in comics studies, TV series, digital humanities, humour theory and translation.

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