Created By: SoItBegins on January 18, 2013

Crack In The Sky

Rents in the sky dramatically indicate total disaster.

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Want to signal to the viewer that 'everything has gone to heck'? Show that the thing the heroes are up against is vast beyond creation?

A Crack In The Sky is a (usually jagged) rent or rift in the sky, as if the atmosphere was a physical dome with a gap in it. If one is seen during the daytime, it's usually black; at night, the crack is instead usually brilliant white. Its appearance typically signals only one thing: whatever caused the break is powerful enough to mess things up on a planetary scale. For extra Nightmare Fuel, have the crack slowly bleeding, turning the rest of the sky color.

In real life, this is functionally impossible (the atmosphere doesn't work that way), but it doesn't prevent it from happening in fiction.

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Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • January 19, 2013
    Literature: the moment in Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens where the Armageddon is poised to begin, as per last book of the Bible. The protaganists look up and see the sky is no longer the sky, but two opposed hosts of Angels, the celestial armies of Heaven and Hell staring each other down like two heavyweight boxers at the weigh-in.
  • January 19, 2013
    Anime and Manga
    • Bleach
      • This can happen when hollows (such as Gillian/Menos Grande) enter the World of the Living (Earth) or the Soul Society from Hueco Mundo.
      • A Garganta is an artificially created gate in the sky that allows passage between Hueco Mundo and other worlds. A mortal (human) who leaves the World of the Living through such a gate is converted to spirit form, like a shinigami or hollow.
  • January 19, 2013
    ... rents?
  • January 19, 2013
  • January 20, 2013
    @Larkmarn: In this case, 'rent' is used in the sense of 'big gaping wound'. Not the financial transaction.
  • January 20, 2013
    I think this should be expanded to include other frightening, definitely apocalyptic celestial phenomena, like skies burning with visible flames (seen in Warcraft II when Draenor was going to be shattered, or in Oblivion when approaching an Oblivion Gate), or huge, obvious incoming asteroids. The Good Omens example is already apocalyptic but not a crack.
  • January 20, 2013
    • Order Of The Stick has the rifts, holes in reality which lead to a prison dimension built by the gods to imprison The Snarl. One particularly impressive/terrifying exmple can be seen in this strip.
  • January 20, 2013
    In Futurama, the multiple Benders all waking up at once causes a rip in the sky to another dimension. Everyone just stands around staring at it for about a month or more.
  • January 20, 2013
    The coming of Zuul in Ghostbusters, while not quite literally a crack in the sky, might qualify (cf aurura369's comment about more general apocalyptic phenomena)? Likewise the coming of the other-dimensional creatures in Hellboy.

  • January 20, 2013
    I think "rent" as used here is archaic. I vote for a different word being used.
  • January 20, 2013
    In Super Paper Mario, by the marriage of Bowser and Peach, It Makes Sense In Context, a multidimensional black hole called the Void is summoned. It floats in the sky of every outdoor level, growing bigger throughout the story...
  • January 20, 2013
    • In the Green Lantern The Animated Series episode, "Steam Lantern", a steampunk scientist created a giant ray to open a rift to another (our) universe in order to save his world from the Anti-Monitor; this remained visible in the planet's sky as a tear in the sky.

    • In The Bible (specifically the Book of Revelation), it is said that in the last days the sky will "roll up like a scroll." Not sure if that would count.
  • January 20, 2013
    ^ Revelation has a lot of imaginative language in it, I'm not sure it counts.

    (Might even make for a good page image.)

    • A Story Arc in Doctor Who involved "cracks in time" that manifested as visible cracks, though usually against a solid surface (like a wall). The cause? The future destruction of the Doctor's own TARDIS, which was gradually erasing all of time and space.
  • January 20, 2013
    In Loom, the sky rips open at the end of the game, but it's not really a disaster, but dramatically nevertheless at it marks the new boundary between the land, one part ruled by Chaos and one part by the Weavers.
  • January 20, 2013
    • Huge tears in the sky and landscape are seen in the Drawn series of casual adventure games. Justified because the game takes place inside a Magical Girl's living paintings, which have been damaged.
  • January 20, 2013
    • In the Doctor Who story "The Sound of Drums", alien invaders arrive through a massive crack in the sky.
  • January 21, 2013
    Compare the Good Omens example with the book of Revelations.
  • January 21, 2013
    • Magic The Gathering:
      • In the Time Spiral Cycle, the central conflict revolves around giant time rifts that have appeared all over Dominaria and are sucking the mana out of the land and threatening the total destruction of the space-time continuum.
      • In the Ravnica Cycle, a dimensional rift above the Utvara region is a main plot point. (It turns out to be related to Dominaria's time rifts, too.)
      • The trope appears on a variety of individual cards, such as AEther Rift and Wargate.
    • In The Golden Compass, Lord Asriel devises a plan to intentionally split open the sky in an attempt to create a portal into a parallel universe.