Before this blog ends, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a mighty shout out to Strong Bad, the strongest, baddest, and probably funniest dude on the Internet. In the video above, Strong Bad vandalizes a picture book, greatly improving it.
Strong Bad hails from Homestar Runner, a series of homemade cartoons that conquered the Internet back in the early aughts. In a time when the Internet was still figuring itself out, Homestar Runner used it as a self-publishing platform, making its cartoons freely available to anyone with an Internet connection—and good gosh, what cartoons they were.
Homestar Runner is a unique blend of snark, silliness, pop culture references, surreal humor, and self-aware jokes, all delivered in good-natured fun. Homestar himself is nominally the protagonist of the series, but Strong Bad is the real star, and he knows it. This self-proclaimed cool dude, who wears a luchador-style wrestling mask and boxing gloves at all times, brought us everything from Trogdor the Burninator, one of my favorite dragons, to the legendary “bear holding a shark,” seen below:
Homestar Runner emerged in a time of change for the Internet. In spite of the Y2K problem, with its minor programming issues and major panic, the Internet survived the year 2000 and continued to evolve. Dial-up connections and modems gradually disappeared, along with their characteristic audio tones, which Dave Barry described as “a noise like a duck choking on a kazoo.” Wireless connections and Wi-Fi became standard. The Internet entered a new age of digital splendor, but around seven years ago, lost the Homestar Runner series, and became poorer for it.
Homestar Runner stopped updating regularly around 2009, and has updated only a handful of times since. (The storybook video at the start of this post is one of these rare, relatively recent cartoons.) Its creators moved on to other things—including writing and acting for Gravity Falls, one of my all-time favorite animated shows—leaving behind a legacy the Internet will never forget.
Strong Bad, the true star of Homestar Runner, represents the Internet in so many ways: outspoken, zany, sarcastic, saturated in pop culture, and frequently mean-spirited, yet having a softer side. Here’s to you, Strong Bad. How do you type in boxing gloves, anyway?