Frame Break

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frame_break_618.png

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.

A Sub-Trope of Odd-Shaped Panel and Ninja Prop.


Examples:

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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.

    Comic Books 
  • She-Hulk did it once or twice. 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.
  • 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.
  • Astérix:
    • The characters sometimes use the comic's panel dividers to support themselves.
    • Asterix and the Secret Weapon features a bird being bothered by noises in the forest and flying straight into the next panel, which is at sea, where a seagull looks at it in surprise.
  • Issue #17 of The Unbelievable Gwenpool is mostly composed of Gwen going How Do I Shot Web? over her new Ninja Prop wielding abilities which culminate into her not only touching the panel border, but pushing a pencil through it, then breaking into her future (the next panel), and finally falling through the hole out of the comic.

    Comic Strips 
  • "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!"

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Ghostbusters (2016) had some scenes in the 3D version where characters and elements would protrude over the black letterbox bars. When Erin saves Abby from falling into a dimensional portal, the whole movie expands over those bars. On DVD and Blu-Ray, the 2D version also features these protrusions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Though it was a split screen in this case, one segment of "Formidable Opponent" on The Colbert Report (where two Stephens would debate via chroma-key tricks) had Stephen Al-Bert (his terrorist counterpart) blowing up the split-screen at the end of the segment with a rocket launcher; when the smoke clears, the image is mainly broken like glass and all three Stephens have vanished.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons "Monster Manual", the border around the fire elemental is burning up due to the close proximity. Similarly, the rust monster is corroding its border.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • In the Strong Bad Email "Virus", one of the effects of the virus is that the frame does not scroll when Strong Bad walks, causing him to pop out of the video and into the blackness surrounding it.
    Strong Bad: Woah! It's cold out here...

    Web Comics 
  • 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 & Happiness has a few examples:
  • The Book of Biff: 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.
  • 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.
  • xkcd:
  • 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.
  • Homestuck
    • Late into the comic's sixth act, a villainous (and metafictional character discovers a magical Crowbar and proceeds to use it to beat a harmless, if unsettling, clown. The narrator is disgusted and plays terrible music to punish the villain, but the Anti-Magic gives the crowbar the ability to attack the website's format, and send links across the page flying around. He uses this to keep the narrator in-line and protest any story development he objects to.[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/007395/ here
    • Cans clocking powers allow him to punch characters out of panels into the default background of MS Paint Adventures. This escalates in the End of Act 6 animation, where his powers have him chasing a character across and through multiple panels until they start fighting on top of one!
  • Dark Legacy Comics #421 features a whole page full of increasingly broken frames (eventually collapsing onto each other, with objects sticking from one frame to the next) as a result of Narya and Miji mining the frame sides to make "white platinum". #411 features the clones attacking each other (accidentally) through the panel borders, even between rows in a strange form of time travel.
  • L's Empire has this as part of a Wham Shot when Temporary Dark Samus jumps out of the frame of the comic, taking one of the authors with him.
  • Near the end of the original series of Star Mares, the background ponies are trying to reach the top of the Empress's tower, but are trapped in an adjacent shaft with no way through. Maple Leaf, after having spent the entire comic telling everypony not to break the fourth wall, uses her party cannon to bust through the frame (it being more easily broken than the wall would be).

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Panel Break

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FrameBreak