At long last, the day has finally arrived. The vector has finally been created.
Okay no, wait, stop. I’m not actually that kind of absurd, rabid fan-creature and will only treat you to the most perfunctory of summaries before returning to my analysis of fan culture . Promise. Also, spoilers follow, although it’s nothing you haven’t seen if you’ve ever been on Tumblr.
Homestuck is a transmedia webcomic created by Andrew Hussie. He began by crafting choose-your-own-adventure and text-based-adventure styled webcomics that relied on fan input to decide on each action characters would take. This led to the creation of three stories before Homestuck debuted, this time directed by Hussie alone although in a similar style, on April 13th 2009. It’s described as “a tale about a boy and his friends and a game they play together,” which, while technically accurate, reveals nothing about the mind-numbing complexities of plot, characterization and imagery that unfold. For example, the climax of Act 1 is the obliteration of Earth, and from there the stakes get exponentially greater. The story also includes so many important characters that it’d make George R. R. Martin nervous, and we still haven’t met them all. As far as sheer density is concerned, Homestuck is over 6,000 pages long and is rapidly approaching the 500,000 word mark, making it the longest webcomic ever and one of the longest stories ever written in any language.
As you’ve probably heard, the Homestuck fandom is frighteningly massive. Many of the fans are a bit on the crazy side, but there’s also incredible creativity here. It was only a matter of time before someone decided mixing alcohol with the iconic images of the comic was a good idea, and thus Cocktailstuck (a common portmanteau of fanworks based on Hussie’s work) was born. While it’s probable that fans were crafting mixed drinks based Homestuck earlier on, it was the Tumblr user Ornerymint who popularized the practice, and who crafted the currently accepted “canon” of cocktails.
While not a unique phenomenon (as The Drunken Moogle demonstrates, predominantly because our culture has devoted entire social spheres to nothing but socializing around drink) each Homestuck character has a specific color palette and set of repeating visual cues associated with them, allowing for highly specific and easily recognized drinks to be crafted. Some characters have specific candies worked into their parts of the storyline, making the base flavors of their drinks fairly obvious–black liquorice or Swedish fish, for example–while other characters are actually associated with a specific brand of soda, which is incorporated into the cocktail.
Additionally, I decided to link to both the Tumblr tag and to Ornerymint’s blog when referencing Cocktailstuck, because as with many of Homestuck’s best fanworks the most fascinating aspect of Cocktailstuck is the way in which other fans adapt the concept and make it their own. On the Tumblr tag you’ll primarily find Ornerymint’s recipes, but there are also fan’s reviews of her drinks and their attempts at crafting her cocktails or creating their own.