Elongating his characters like a an overused Stretch Armstrong action figure, the mysterious Henry creates leggy caricatures of cartoons like Wolverine, Doctor Eggman, and the Justice Friends. Where traditional comics use word bubbles to get their message across, Henry animates particular elements of his comics to accentuate the mood of each piece.
One moment you’re taking a flying leap off a swing. The next, you’re landing in the middle of hell, face to face with Satan, and he’s pissed about the leak in his roof.
That’s the premise behind the “Portal to Hell,” a collaborative series of comics that draws upon popular GIFs of people falling into things and continues the story after they land—in hell.
As it winged its way across two major social network platforms, a single funny GIF of a girl falling off a swing evolved from a nifty bit of Reddit Photoshopping to a piece of fanart to a Tumblr meme. It continues to draw on endless funny GIFs to keep itself going. It’s a perfect ouroboros of memes, fandom, and the GIF culture that keeps on giving.
Nearly a year ago, Reddit user oenoneshore unknowingly sowed the seeds for the meme. She posted a GIF her friend made of her hilariously falling off a swing. From there, several Redditors took the challenge to take that image and make it seem as though she had actually fallen into a hellmouth, swallowed whole by an abyss-hiding mud puddle.
The gag could have ended there, but for Tumblr. The GIF was, of course, reblogged on the behemoth network, and as it made the rounds, garnering over 800,000 notes, someone remarked that it looked like a portal to Satan’s lair.
In early November, Tumblr user pumpkinlore commented that the “gateway to Satan’s Lair” comment made her imagine
Satan just sitting on his throne of skulls chilling when suddenly this girl plops in from above and he goes “What the fuck?” while sipping his blood-of-the-innocents martini, or…?
Inevitably someone—in this case the artist hrmphfft—took pumpkinlore’s image and drew a 3-panel comic depicting Satan as described, nonplussed at the new arrival from earth.
The “leak” iteration of the meme caused the original post to garner hundreds of thousands of Tumblr notes, as users reblogged it to add on variations to it featuring other similar GIFs—and subsequent fanart of Satan getting bombarded by unexpected visitors to hell.
Cult webcomic Homestuck is drawing to a close. Maybe.
It seems fitting for the end of Homestuck to be just as mysterious as it’s content. Famously impossible to explain to outsiders, the Homestuck phenomenon mixes MS Paint illustrations, flash animation, video game terminology and a super-involved fanbase to create something that goes beyond the simple genre of “webcomic”. Its seemingly impenetrable complexity has led to it being described as the Ulysses of the internet, but its fans are enthusiastic enough to support a $2.5 million Kickstarter and an immediately recognisable presence at geek culture conventions.
While there is no official end date for Homestuck, many fans think its final update will come on April 13, 2013. In a story with heavy apocalyptic themes, this date is Homestuck’s Y2K. The webcomic’s creator, Andrew Hussie, has supposedly named 2013 as the final year for the comic, but even that is uncertain because Hussie is known for trolling his audiences — not to mention extending Homestuck well beyond its original run of one year.
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Tumblr curated by Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso), Aja Romano (@ajaromano) Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn), and Logan Youree (@loganwtf).