History Main / CrypticBackgroundReference

12th Nov '16 4:39:39 PM Zubon
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* ''Literature/Worm'' has many cryptic references, some of which receive later explanations or story arcs. The Sleeper is the most prominent example that remains cryptic, an S-class threat whose presence causes ''an entire dimension'' to be written off for reasons that are so obvious to everyone that the reader gets no explanation.
30th Oct '16 3:02:46 PM nombretomado
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* Creator/MercedesLackey's ''HeraldsOfValdemar'' novels have a handy store of ancient history at which to hint. Some characters (Vanyel, Lavan Firestorm) have had their own books, but she claims "Windrider" and "Sun and Shadow" likely will not, since they work better as distant legends.

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* Creator/MercedesLackey's ''HeraldsOfValdemar'' ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' novels have a handy store of ancient history at which to hint. Some characters (Vanyel, Lavan Firestorm) have had their own books, but she claims "Windrider" and "Sun and Shadow" likely will not, since they work better as distant legends.
29th Sep '16 1:17:12 PM FurryKef
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* Scrooge [=McDuck=] made many such references in comics by Creator/CarlBarks, which were intended as pure throwaway references to give the impression that Scrooge has lived a long, exciting life as an adventurer and businessman. Many years later, Creator/DonRosa took many of Barks's offhand references and used them as the basis of ''ComicBook/TheLifeAndTimesOfScroogeMcDuck''.
24th Sep '16 8:10:53 AM Generality
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->"''Part of the attraction of ''[The Lord of the Rings]'' is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas arVoe again revealed.''"

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->"''Part of the attraction of ''[The Lord of the Rings]'' is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas arVoe are again revealed.''"
23rd Sep '16 10:08:38 AM StFan
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->"''Part of the attraction of ''[The Lord of the Rings]'' is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are again revealed.''"

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->"''Part of the attraction of ''[The Lord of the Rings]'' is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are arVoe again revealed.''"



* C.S. Lewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' had a few of these. For instance, in ''TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' the children meet a magician, who is later revealed to be personified star who was sent to earth as a punishment. On being asked what possible crime a star could commit, they are simply told: "it is not for you, a Son of Adam, to know what faults a star can commit." The reference gets even more cryptic when Eustace comments that in their world stars are balls of flaming gas and is told that even in our world, that is not what stars ''are'', but only what they are ''made of''.

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* C.S. Lewis's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' had has a few of these. For instance, in ''TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'', the children meet a magician, who is later revealed to be personified star who was sent to earth as a punishment. On being asked what possible crime a star could commit, they are simply told: "it is not for you, a Son of Adam, to know what faults a star can commit." The reference gets even more cryptic when Eustace comments that in their world stars are balls of flaming gas and is told that even in our world, that is not what stars ''are'', but only what they are ''made of''.



** the ''Tryadine Effect case'' which was solved by Veckert before the events told in ''Chapter 1 - La Notte che Cammina'' and resulted in the opening of the dome of St. Patrick SHIELD is ''never'' explained in details - only hinted at;

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** the ''Tryadine Effect case'' which was solved by Veckert before the events told in ''Chapter 1 - La Notte che Cammina'' and resulted in the opening of the dome of St. Patrick SHIELD is ''never'' explained in details - -- only hinted at;
4th Sep '16 3:58:04 PM leraluna
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** The series is full [[CrypticBackgroundReference cryptic background references]] to various events (the tragedy at Summerhall, "The Rains of Castamere," the Blackfyre rebellion, the Ninepenny Kings, the Doom of Valyria, etc). As the series moves on, some of them have been at least partially explained.

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** The series is full [[CrypticBackgroundReference cryptic background references]] to various events (the tragedy at Summerhall, the Tower of Joy, "The Rains of Castamere," the Blackfyre rebellion, the Ninepenny Kings, the Doom of Valyria, etc). As the series moves on, some of them have been at least partially explained.
2nd Sep '16 11:19:08 AM Scorntex
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* ''ComicBook/NewAvengers2015:'' During issue 6, the Avengers of the future mention the "Eternity Wars", which had some part to play in Hulking becoming what they proclaim "King of Space", before adding that it's apparently some time away. Then Collapsar hurriedly asks Sunspot to forget he ever heard anything.
1st Sep '16 3:40:52 PM 1810072342
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* Several of these in ''Webcomic/TheSanityCircus'', such as references to other, as-yet-unmet Scarecrows. Luther and Steven have also made reference to other Instrumen they know called March and Jupiter.
29th Aug '16 10:01:26 PM PaulA
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Compare to the closely-related NoodleIncident, CanonFodder, NarrativeFiligree, WhatHappenedToTheMouse and MysteriousPast. UnknownCharacter, GreatOffscreenWar and CataclysmBackstory are commonly played as sub-tropes of this, as is FamousFamousFictional. See HufflepuffHouse for organizations with this treatment more referred to than seen. If the reference in question is actually explained later on, it becomes {{Foreshadowing}}, ChekhovsGun, or BrickJoke. If not, it becomes a NoodleIncident. Interestingly, if you start following a LongRunner series from the middle (rather than [[ArchiveBinge from the start]]), every ContinuityNod in it effectively becomes a Cryptic Background Reference for you, so it's all just a matter of perspective, really.

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Compare to the closely-related NoodleIncident, CanonFodder, NarrativeFiligree, WhatHappenedToTheMouse and MysteriousPast. UnknownCharacter, GreatOffscreenWar and CataclysmBackstory are commonly played as sub-tropes of this, as is FamousFamousFictional. See HufflepuffHouse for organizations with this treatment more referred to than seen. If the reference in question is actually explained later on, it becomes {{Foreshadowing}}, ChekhovsGun, or BrickJoke. If not, it becomes a NoodleIncident. Interestingly, if you start following a LongRunner long-running series from the middle (rather than [[ArchiveBinge from the start]]), every ContinuityNod in it effectively becomes a Cryptic Background Reference for you, so it's all just a matter of perspective, really.
23rd Aug '16 3:30:39 AM StFan
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[[folder: Anime & Manga]]

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[[folder: Anime [[folder:Anime & Manga]]



* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' does this all the time, sometimes without even directly saying anything. It oftentimes does this with the main plot and character traits - e.g. [[TeamPet Ein]] is a 'data dog', something apparently important and rare which is only vaguely explained, even in the episode where it's mentioned. This is subtly {{lampshaded}} - Jet angrily asks Spike why he's running off to kill a man from his past. Spike pointedly (even cynically) asks him how he lost his arm, causing Jet to clam up. [[spoiler:The circumstances behind Spike's pursuit of the man and Jet's lost arm are eventually revealed.]]
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' features the characters spouting a lot of {{Engrish}} phrases that won't mean anything until a good twenty episodes later. It gets pretty confusing when half of the spoken terms have no meaning to the viewer.

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* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' does this all the time, sometimes without even directly saying anything. It oftentimes does this with the main plot and character traits - -- e.g. [[TeamPet Ein]] is a 'data dog', "data dog", something apparently important and rare which is only vaguely explained, even in the episode where it's mentioned. This is subtly {{lampshaded}} - -- Jet angrily asks Spike why he's running off to kill a man from his past. Spike pointedly (even cynically) asks him how he lost his arm, causing Jet to clam up. [[spoiler:The circumstances behind Spike's pursuit of the man and Jet's lost arm are eventually revealed.]]
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' ''Anime/EurekaSeven'':
** This anime
features the characters spouting a lot of {{Engrish}} phrases that won't mean anything until a good twenty episodes later. It gets pretty confusing when half of the spoken terms have no meaning to the viewer.



* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has a visual one: in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v01/c001/10.html This]] splash page from the first chapter of the manga, look closely at the center. Zazie Rainyday [[http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j43/StarfireandSakura/zazieclaw.png has claws.]] 250+ chapters later, this is still unexplained, as is everything regarding Zazie. [[spoiler: It finally appears in the story proper in ''[[BrickJoke chapter 298]]''.]]

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* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has a ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** A
visual one: in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v01/c001/10.html This]] the splash page from the first chapter of the manga, manga]], look closely at the center. Zazie Rainyday [[http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j43/StarfireandSakura/zazieclaw.png has claws.]] 250+ chapters later, this is still unexplained, as is everything regarding Zazie. [[spoiler: It [[spoiler:It finally appears in the story proper in ''[[BrickJoke chapter 298]]''.]]



* A very subtle one in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''. When Mami explains why Witches are bad, she mentioned them luring people to suicide and causing fights to break out in certain places. The second type of bad influence is never seen in the anime.
** It's also hinted that she knew [[spoiler: Kyoko, and Kyoko's past]] - but this is actually confirmed in [[AllThereInTheManual a Drama CD]].

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* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'':
**
A very subtle one in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''.one. When Mami explains why Witches are bad, she mentioned them luring people to suicide and causing fights to break out in certain places. The second type of bad influence is never seen in the anime.
** It's also hinted that she knew [[spoiler: Kyoko, and Kyoko's past]] - -- but this is actually confirmed in [[AllThereInTheManual a Drama CD]].



* ''ComicBook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' does this constantly to fill in the gaps between the novels that the characters first appeared in and the actual ''[=LoEG=]'' comics themselves.
** To the point where a reference guide for all of the bits in the first collected comic was three times the thickness of the comic itself. One panel could have two pages worth of 'This is the X from Y', especially in their museum base.

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* ''ComicBook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' does this constantly to fill in the gaps between the novels that the characters first appeared in and the actual ''[=LoEG=]'' comics themselves.
**
themselves. To the point where a reference guide for all of the bits in the first collected comic was three times the thickness of the comic itself. One panel could have two pages worth of 'This is the X from Y', especially in their museum base.



[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]



* ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean''[='s=] Jack Sparrow made several ''non sequitur'' references to his past exploits (e.g., "And then they made me their chief.", "Clearly you've never been to Singapore.") that enriched his character. The sequels tried to tie the movies together by creating plot points out of them.

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* ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean''[='s=] ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'':
**
Jack Sparrow made makes several ''non sequitur'' references to his past exploits (e.g., "And then they made me their chief.", "Clearly you've never been to Singapore.") that enriched enrich his character. The sequels tried try to tie the movies together by creating plot points out of them.



* Upon its original release, ''Franchise/StarWars'' was a prime example of this, full of name-drops that had nothing to do with the plot but which combined to make the fictional world feel boundless and lived-in. References to the Imperial Senate, the Old Republic, 'big Corellian ships' and the spice mines of Kessel are a few examples. Scenes that were cut in the original release, such as Han's confrontation with Jabba the Hutt, also made things like Greedo's confronting Han over something he did to wrong Jabba seem bigger. Every single throwaway line has been since filled in to ridiculous levels of detail by either the {{prequel}}s or the ExpandedUniverse.

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* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
**
Upon its original release, ''Franchise/StarWars'' ''Film/ANewHope'' was a prime example of this, full of name-drops that had have nothing to do with the plot but which combined combine to make the fictional world feel boundless and lived-in. References to the Imperial Senate, the Old Republic, 'big "big Corellian ships' ships" and the spice mines of Kessel are a few examples. Scenes that were cut in the original release, such as Han's confrontation with Jabba the Hutt, also made make things like Greedo's confronting Han over something he did to wrong Jabba seem bigger. Every single throwaway line has been since filled in to ridiculous levels of detail by either the {{prequel}}s or the ExpandedUniverse.



-->'''Lando:''' She's as safe now as she's ever likely to be. Don't worry about that.\\
'''Han:''' You know, that's almost exactly the same thing you said back on Boordii. That botched dolfrima run - remember? You said, 'It'll be fine; don't worry about it.'\\

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-->'''Lando:''' --->'''Lando:''' She's as safe now as she's ever likely to be. Don't worry about that.\\
'''Han:''' You know, that's almost exactly the same thing you said back on Boordii. That botched dolfrima run - -- remember? You said, 'It'll be fine; don't worry about it.'\\



* While ''Film/JupiterAscending'' is actually pretty good at world-building with background references and a surprisingly interesting universe, one reference in particular feels cryptic. Caine, the part-wolf part-human super soldier, is said to have ripped the throat out of an Entitled, yet he doesn't remember the incident taking place and apparently was informed of its occurrence by his mentor, Stinger. The only indication that it actually happened is that he was court-martialled for the crime, and is no longer a skyjacker. Who the Entitled was, the reasons for it occurring, and why Caine is said to have done it in a fit of rage when we never see him acting out of rage at any point in the movie, is never expanded upon.

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* While ''Film/JupiterAscending'' is actually pretty good at world-building with background references and a surprisingly interesting universe, one reference in particular feels cryptic. Caine, the part-wolf part-human super soldier, is said to have ripped the throat out of an Entitled, yet he doesn't remember the incident taking place and apparently was informed of its occurrence by his mentor, Stinger. The only indication that it actually happened is that he was court-martialled court-martialed for the crime, and is no longer a skyjacker. Who the Entitled was, the reasons for it occurring, and why Caine is said to have done it in a fit of rage when we never see him acting out of rage at any point in the movie, is never expanded upon.



--> '''Christy:''' Today is kind of a D-Day. "D" for decision, I guess. About divorce.
--> '''Annie''': That'd be two D's, wouldn't it?
--> '''Christy''': I stand corrected.

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--> '''Christy:''' -->'''Christy:''' Today is kind of a D-Day. "D" for decision, I guess. About divorce.
--> '''Annie''':
divorce.\\
'''Annie:'''
That'd be two D's, wouldn't it?
--> '''Christy''':
it?\\
'''Christy:'''
I stand corrected.



** One thing Tolkien knew from his studies as a linguist and English teacher is that some of the old myths recreate the CrypticBackgroundReference effect ''entirely by accident'', when the relevant poems or stories are lost -- the medieval Finns probably had an explanation of what [[Literature/TheKalevala a Sa]][[TheSampo mpo]] is, for example, but it didn't survive the Middle Ages.

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** One thing Tolkien knew from his studies as a linguist and English teacher is that some of the old myths recreate the CrypticBackgroundReference effect ''entirely by accident'', when the relevant poems or stories are lost -- the medieval Finns probably had an explanation of what [[Literature/TheKalevala a Sa]][[TheSampo mpo]] [[TheSampo Sampo]] (from ''Literature/TheKalevala'') is, for example, but it didn't survive the Middle Ages.



** Half of fun of reading Tolkien is this. Go read ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' and go back and read ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. Now revel in all the references most people didn't get the first time around. That part of the song Aragorn sings in the Fellowship of the Ring about Beren and Lúthien? Now you know the whole story. Bilbo's song about Eärendil that Aragorn seemed to find so cheeky to sing in Rivendell? It was about Elrond's father (and mother) who he hasn't seen in five thousand years and probably dredged up some bad memories about the ransacking of his home when he was a child by the sons of Fëanor. The list goes on.
** The Second Prophecy of Mandos, which describes what the end of the world will be like, is referenced (though not by name) in virtually all of the canonical stories of Middle-earth. However, the prophecy itself does not appear in canon - only in Tolkien's earlier drafts for ''The Silmarillion''.

to:

** Half of fun of reading Tolkien is this. Go read ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' and go back and read ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. Now revel in all the references most people didn't get the first time around. That part of the song Aragorn sings in the ''The Fellowship of the Ring Ring'' about Beren and Lúthien? Now you know the whole story. Bilbo's song about Eärendil that Aragorn seemed to find so cheeky to sing in Rivendell? It was about Elrond's father (and mother) who he hasn't seen in five thousand years and probably dredged up some bad memories about the ransacking of his home when he was a child by the sons of Fëanor. The list goes on.
** The Second Prophecy of Mandos, which describes what the end of the world will be like, is referenced (though not by name) in virtually all of the canonical stories of Middle-earth. However, the prophecy itself does not appear in canon - -- only in Tolkien's earlier drafts for ''The Silmarillion''.



* {{Lampshaded}} continually in the ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' series in the form of Textual Sieves. Roughly every other time they're mentioned, someone asks what they do, and are told that no one knows, since they're so sparsely described. Thursday asks [[Literature/GreatExpectations Miss Havisham]], and in turn Thursday5 asks Thursday how textual sieves work and the given explanation is "[[HandWave it's never properly explained]]."

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* ''Literature/ThursdayNext'':
**
{{Lampshaded}} continually in the ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' series in the form of Textual Sieves. Roughly every other time they're mentioned, someone asks what they do, and are told that no one knows, since they're so sparsely described. Thursday asks [[Literature/GreatExpectations Miss Havisham]], and in turn Thursday5 asks Thursday how textual sieves work and the given explanation is "[[HandWave it's never properly explained]]."



* In the Mad Tea-Party scene from ''[[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice's Adventures in Wonderland]]'', TheMadHatter proposes the riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" Some time passes before Alice, the Hatter and the March Hare all admit that they can't find the answer. This did nothing to stop readers from persistently trying to find answers such as "Creator/EdgarAllanPoe wrote on both." Although Carroll himself eventually came up with the answer "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are ''very'' flat; and it is [[SdrawkcabName nevar]] put with the wrong end in front!"
** Or "They both have inky quills"

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* In the Mad Tea-Party scene from ''[[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice's Adventures in Wonderland]]'', TheMadHatter proposes the riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" Some time passes before Alice, the Hatter and the March Hare all admit that they can't find the answer. This did nothing to stop readers from persistently trying to find answers such as "Creator/EdgarAllanPoe wrote on both." Although Carroll himself eventually came up with the answer "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are ''very'' flat; and it is [[SdrawkcabName nevar]] put with the wrong end in front!"
**
front!" Or "They both have inky quills"



* Much like the Sherlock Holmes example, the Literature/NeroWolfe series by Rex Stout begins on terms of false familiarity, and vaguely references past cases that are never fully explained.
* ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' is full of this. Particularly the BigBad's motivation for [[spoiler: sinking Atlantis. All we get is him shouting "THEY DESERVED IT!"]]
** Creator/NeilGaiman's work has tons of this, but ''Neverwhere'' and ''{{Stardust}}'' are particularly big examples.

to:

* Much like the Sherlock Holmes example, the Literature/NeroWolfe ''Literature/NeroWolfe'' series by Rex Stout begins on terms of false familiarity, and vaguely references past cases that are never fully explained.
* ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' is full of this. Particularly the BigBad's motivation for [[spoiler: sinking Atlantis. All we get is him shouting "THEY DESERVED IT!"]]
**
IT!"]] Creator/NeilGaiman's work has tons of this, but ''Neverwhere'' and ''{{Stardust}}'' ''Literature/{{Stardust}}'' are particularly big examples.



* Used fairly frequently in Herbie Brennan's ''TheFaerieWarsChronicles''. Since most of the series is set in a fantasy realm with only two non-native characters present, references to simbala parlours, power outrages, border Redcaps, or The Reindeer King of Crippenmas are pretty commonplace. Some of these are given explanations in the glossaries, and a few end up connecting to the plots of later books, but many are left entirely unexplained.

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* Used fairly frequently in Herbie Brennan's ''TheFaerieWarsChronicles''.''Literature/TheFaerieWarsChronicles''. Since most of the series is set in a fantasy realm with only two non-native characters present, references to simbala parlours, power outrages, border Redcaps, or The Reindeer King of Crippenmas are pretty commonplace. Some of these are given explanations in the glossaries, and a few end up connecting to the plots of later books, but many are left entirely unexplained.



* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' does this a lot, helping to give the sense that it's an alternate history defined by the presence of {{mad scientist}}s. Among the more notable are references to what things were like before [[AntiVillain Baron Wulfenbach]] took over Europe, what the places ruled by less pleasant Sparks are like, and the fact that there are multiple popes.

to:

* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' does this a lot, helping to give the sense that it's an alternate history defined by the presence of {{mad scientist}}s. scientist}}s.
**
Among the more notable are references to what things were like before [[AntiVillain Baron Wulfenbach]] took over Europe, what the places ruled by less pleasant Sparks are like, and the fact that there are multiple popes.



* All over the place in the WhateleyUniverse, because the authors have a huge bible they're working from. So there are references to superheroes and super-teams we haven't met yet, and supervillains who are 'A-level threats' according to an international scale we haven't had explained either, and also tons of references to real-world things to show how close that universe it to ours.
** Some of these are AllThereInTheManual. A B-List is world-threatening, but your average supergroup can still maybe win. Maybe. If they're lucky. An A-list, you have to call in EVERYONE. An A-list is the kinda guy you have for a CrisisCrossover.

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* All over the place in the WhateleyUniverse, ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'', because the authors have a huge bible they're working from. So there are references to superheroes and super-teams we haven't met yet, and supervillains who are 'A-level threats' according to an international scale we haven't had explained either, and also tons of references to real-world things to show how close that universe it to ours.
**
ours. Some of these are AllThereInTheManual. A B-List is world-threatening, but your average supergroup can still maybe win. Maybe. If they're lucky. An A-list, you have to call in EVERYONE. An A-list is the kinda guy you have for a CrisisCrossover.
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