A Painting the Medium
and Medium Awareness
trope, where characters interact with the confines of the scene. For example, interacting with borders around comic strip panels by crashing through the side or falling out the bottom. In live action media, it might be implied that two characters are in two completely different locations, only to subvert this by having one of them reach into the other scene.
of Odd-Shaped Panel
and Ninja Prop
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Anime & Manga
- In an early Dragon Ball chapter, Goku hits Yamcha so hard he flies into the top frame of the page and cracks it.
- Obligatory Mahou Sensei Negima! example: Negi, Blue with Shock, holds on to the frame in a "Kilroy was here" pose when he contemplates what Evangeline's going to do to him for losing the ring she gave him.
- When a character is formally introduced in One Piece, they often stand outside the panel, overlapping it.
- She-Hulk did it once or twice in her Genre Savvy days. One issue of She-Hulk has her ripping through two pages of ads to go after a villain.
- Ambush Bug once jumped back several pages to rescue Cheeks.
- X-Men: Kitty Pryde, in some comics, can phase through panels.
- An issue of Superboy has Doomsday (actually a clone of him) smash through the entire bottom half of a page in attacking Superboy, destroying the frames in the process.
- Has been used in The Beano a number of times and in the Beano Video as well.
- In part 10 of the Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide crossover, Duo does this when he flies off to fight the Chaos Devil.
- "Little Sammy Sneeze" by Winsor McCay used this as early as the 1900's.
- Little Nemo used this on occasion. In one strip, Flip tears off the bottom frame of a panel and uses it to knock down letters from the comic's logo.
- Pearls Before Swine:
- Done fairly often; sometimes the characters sit on the top of the panels, sometimes the panels are tilted, causing issues in-strip, as well as "Panel Walking" into other comics.
- Pearls occasionally has jokes that work best if the comics page happens to be laid out just right:
- The Family Circus has Billy denying that he was spilling sunflower seeds in the kitchen. The Pearls strip that day has Rat throwing sunflower seeds down and out of the panel. When positioned directly above The Family Circus, Rat's abuse of the long-running comic became apparent.
- Another has Rat comment about being able to see up Blondie's skirt. Obviously the joke worked best when Pearls was immediately beneath Blondie.
- Every so often a character in Pogo would literally lean on the fourth wall this way (or at least against the frame border); on occasion Albert would use it to strike a match for his trademark cigars.
- Liberty Meadows occasionally featured things like Ralph trying to hold onto the panel borders while Brandy drags him off to therapy. *SNAP* "Stupid cheap panel borders!"
- One Monty Python's Flying Circus animation had a Comic Book superhero bouncing off the walls of his panel in an attempt to escape.
- Quiz show University Challenge always shows the two teams in split-screen, one above the other (in reality they're sitting at desks next to each other). This was parodied on The Young Ones when its characters appeared on the show, and Vyvyan kicked through the "floor" to attack the opposing team.
- The sprite comic Double-U Tea F features King Lyger jumping into frame and kicking Mikau through the outer panel. A few issuess later, Mikau collides with the outside frame, which startles the characters in the comic.
- Casey and Andy comic #6.
- Only the outsiders of Project 0 break panel to show that they aren't bound by reality.
- The Order of the Stick plays with this sometimes. Haley gets knocked into the next strip in the fight with Tsukiko. (The strip in question is called "At Least It Wasn't the Fourth Wall This Time.")
- In the Art Shift chapter of Welcome To The Convenience Store.
- In a strip of Square Root of Minus Garfield, Garfield breaks through all the panels to get a cookie jar that's just two seconds out-of-sync.
- Cyanide and Happiness has a few examples:
- The Book of Biff: [[thebookofbiff.com/2010/04/12/1000-grow/ One panel]] and all the others that same week have Biff end up as a giant who towers above the comic panel.
- Apelad's Laugh-Out-Loud Cats.
- Pushing or pulling on the frame: #523, #865, #1210, #1256, #1359, #1645.
- Outside the frame: #350, #504, #1197.
- Frame destruction: #402, #495, #616, #1416, #1508-1510 #1651, #1654.
- From Keychain of Creation: Nemen Yi is a master of Infinite Canvas Style. High-level Exalted are just that good. Including using part of the frame as throwing knife.
- Gunnerkrigg Court:
- A more subtle variant with a little incident.
- A massive fire spreads beyond the panel borders, and even onto the following page (an effect that will presumably be more impressive in the print version).
- Rock, Paper, Cynic
- Panel-breaking is used as a version of two-dimensional time travel in the comic, "Time Travel".
- We see a similar trick in "Free", where a stickman tries to dig his way out of the frame.
- The Way of the Metagamer does this. A lot. Looking at previous and future panels, climbing between panels, and even pulling a section out of a panel are common occurrences.
- Footloose may provide the most triumphant example. Faerie pirates cast a spell that lets them fire a cannon through the side of the panel and into the next.
- The aliens in the webcomic One Small Step grab the corners of the panel so they can pull apart from being stuck.
- Schlock Mercenary likes to show characters leaning into frame and holding onto the panel borders.
- Tally Ho: paws on the frame to address us.
- In Unbound, events sometimes spill over the sides of the comic. In one case a fire spreads to the 'paper' of the website's background, leaving it blackened once the fire is out.
- In Unsounded, weird supernatural stuff—like certain fires, or metaphorical snake skeletons—extend off the page. When the characters walk through a dark tomb, the entire webpage is darkened.
- Bob and George. During the Mega Man 5 parody, the protagonists split up and the comic began running two strips per day so the plots for both groups could update concurrently. After about a month of these updates, the characters in the bottom strip began wondering how their allies were doing, so they climbed into the strip above them to ask.
- In Mixed Myth, Tamit learns the secret of Time Travel, and it involves seeing the comic panels. She then demonstrates her mastery by reaching through time (i.e. across the panel borders) to poke someone in an adjacent panel.
- In a strip of Out at Home, Penny bats a speech balloon from one frame to another.
- Gavin, the main villain of The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon, here tries to trap the titular hero in a shrinking panel frame, and Jack has to break it to escape.
- In El Goonish Shive, a flashback panel featured Grace holding onto the "pop-up" panel she's coming out of in one instance and pointing at the flashback in another instance.
- Done beautifully by Caliborn in Homestuck. See here.
- In The Fairly Oddparents, when Timmy magically goes into the Crimson Chin comic book, he's able to jump from frame to frame (and time travel by doing so).
- In the intro of The Beano Video we see numerous instances of this, including Teacher being used by the Bash Street Kids as a battering ram.