|Finally, a 'webcomic' I'm very familiar with.
Cute, cartoony, bright and colourful. For being made in flash, the art direction is amazingly clean, slick, and refreshing. The animation is cut-out manipulation, but it's so well done and smooth it's hard to notice. A definitely recognizeable style. The presentation is very noteworthy. Currently, the site has 23 different main page styles, each one a takeoff of a toon. Each button highlighted creates an amusing effect on Homestar, or his environment. They're lovingly done and a joy to play with.
I don't really 'know' the history of Homestar Runner, but according to toons and some of the sketches onsite, Homestar Runner originally started as a children's book, where Homestar is 'A Great Athlete' and is trying to win a competition. His competitor is a nasty guy called Strong Bad, who frequently collaborates with a yellow spotted furry animal aptly named 'The Cheat' in order to win. (I may be a little fuzzy on the details here, feel free to correct me.) This is the basic premise of the book, and it carries over onto the site. There isn't much continuity between toons; it's basically like a day-by-day take of the whole gang. There's nothing wrong with this; in fact, it's probably one of the reasons why it's so endearing.
This is where Homestar Runner really shines. It has great, memorable characters, and they're all hilarious. We have Homestar, our capable but clueless protaganist. We have Strong Bad, who constantly tries to prove his awesomeness. We have The Cheat, who speaks unintelligably but is delightfully amusing as Strong Bad's sidekick. Also, Strong Mad, Strong Bad's less intelligent but incredibly strong brother, and Strong Sad, probably disowned from the Strong Family for being chronically depressed. There are many other characters worth mentioning, and all have their unique personalities.
The Homestar Runner Site, aside from having a number of incredibly funny toons, also hosts several unique and inspired games. These are more fun than you'd expect them to be. Many stem from the toon series "Strong Bad E-mail", wherein Strong Bad replies to a weekly e-mail in outrageous and amusing ways. So outrageous, in fact, that Strong Bad is already on his 3rd computer, having managed to destroy his previous two.
In fact, Homestar is responsible for several fad quips (Most well-known of them being 'Trogdor the Burninator'). So popular was Trogdor that it now has two games to it's name (that game 'Trogdor' and Peasant's Quest) and even, if we're lucky, a home-made Peasant's Quest live-action movie.
Adding to the site content are occasional Puppet Shows with Homestar, The Cheat and Strong Bad puppets, amusing fan-related images, and a Quote of the Week. Homestar has even collaborated with Alternative Rock group They Might Be Giants for an animated music video.
I still remember the first line I ever heard when I visited the site for the first time:
"Before I drink a tall glass of Melonade..."
No contest. Homestar Runner is a top notch site. One of the funniest I've ever been to, and from the looks of things, it'll stay that way for a long time. From the antics of Strong Bad to the incomprehensible Teen Girl Squad, it is entertainment all the way.
5 out of 5.