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Breaking The Fourth Wall / Comic Books

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Examples of Breaking the Fourth Wall in Comic Books.


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  • In the French-Belgian comic Achille Talon, the fourth wall is regularly broken. In the one-page gags it's more a case of No Fourth Wall and Medium Awareness, as the title character gives conferences on how to be a comic book character, but the full book stories tend to break the wall regularly. One example is a story interrupted every 4 pages or so by the chief accountant advertising the other books of the series, and ending up with the whole cast chasing him at the end.
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  • Amelia Rules! is narrated by Amelia, who frequently speaks directly to the reader, even when her friends are present:
    Reggie: Who are you talking to?
  • In The Beano and Dandy comics, the characters sometimes talk to the artist, and frequently talk to the readers. Occasionally the artist even shows up in the actual comic strip. Also, the "readers" themselves are given lines of dialogue, marked with a speech bubble coming from off panel labelled "Reader's voice".
  • In Duncan and Mallory: The Bar None Ranch the main characters take turns tearing up the fourth wall.
  • Empowered talks about how annoying it can be in one volume.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers had a story where Fat Freddy is alarmed to find themselves in a comic book. Phineas ponders the metaphysical implications - "We could be erased at any moment!". Franklin gets them to change their look so they won't be associated with those losers. Then, after their transformations, they're chagrined to find themselves in a bar holding a Freak Brothers lookalike contest.
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  • Internally breaking the fourth wall, and, it could be argued, breaking ours as well in The Filth, where agents of the Hand go down into a comic book in order to mine it for fantastic weapons.
  • In a Futurama promotional comic explaining the in-universe reason why the series was cancelled then returned for the movies (available as a bonus feature with full cast voiceover on the Bender's Big Score DVD) nearly Breaking the Fourth Wall becomes a Running Gag (someone mentions "episodes" only to clarify that by that they mean missions, and so on). Even the reruns are given an in-universe explanation of a time warp.
    • The first episode of the series reboot had Fry mention how he felt like he'd been in limbo for years.
  • In the comic continuation to Gargoyles, a time-travelling Brooklyn addresses the audience in regards to his ignorance about Scottish history:
    Mary: "Don't you know what is going to happen?"
  • At the end of Lori Lovecraft: Back to the Garden, Allen tells the reader to "amscray" and turns the page so he and Lori can have some privacy. This is the only time in the series when a character acknowledges they are in a comic book.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón:
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    • Happens occasionally. The most prominent example is in "Robots bestiajos", where Mortadelo directly addressing the reader to turn the comic sideways so they could easily walk up the side of a building. Another example has a character comment on events he couldn't possibly see by looking in the panel next to his.
    • In some stories, when a particularly violent or bloody scene is supposed to be happening (for instance, the duo being attacked by lions or huge guardian dogs, or receiving a severe beating by a big thug), Ibáñez himself will turn a corner of the panel so the image is hidden and warn: "Don't look, don't look! It's something frightening, believe me!".
  • My Little Pony Micro Series:
    • At the end Issue #3, both Flax Seed and Rarity pull this.
    Flax Seed: Like, the end!
    Rarity: (Appearing from behind a rolled up comic page) Peace out!
    • Unsurprisingly, Pinkie Pie does this fairly regularly in the IDW Pony comics. During the "Reflections" arc, she chastises Twilight Sparkle for trying to make sense of an Alternate Universe by saying that their own reality doesn't make sense and that continuity is overrated. Later, during a battle between two other characters, she admonishes them for doing something not allowed in a children's comic book.
  • The Franco-Belgian Comic Philémon does this regularly. The position of individual panels is frequently abused and manipulated for its surreal effect, such as a character climbing down from one panel to another or liquid pouring out of the frame onto panels below.
    • An extreme example occurs in during Volume 6 when the plot fails to progress forward and the protagonist can't figure out why they keep passing the same tree over and over again. Turns out the panel containing the next sequence has fallen over and needs to be straightened.
  • Done several times in Quantum and Woody, once to explain using the word "noogie" to replace "the N-Word", and a second time at the end of issue #17 when the comic was abruptly canceled.
  • Scott Pilgrim breaks the fourth wall every now and then. Kim Pine, one of Scott's friends, is told several times to "read the book" when she asks about plot points that have happened previously, and when Ramona and Scott are discussing past jobs, Scott says that he'd like to save the story of his last job for a later volume.
    • A major plot point in the final book relies on a Chekhov's Gun that Scott picked up in a previous volume. Just in case readers forgot, Scott's sister Stacy calls their mother, mom then mentions Scott got the item in volume four.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Done from time to time in the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comic books back in the 90's, before the onset of the title's Cerebus Syndrome. For example, in Super Sonic Vs. Hyper Knuckles, Tails at some point tells Sally that "Knuckles will punch Sonic on Page 7". Guess what happens...
    • The first Sonic the Comic annual published in the UK in 1993 featured a story where Robotnik adds a turbo booster to his Egg-O-Matic and chases Sonic throughout the Spring Yard Zone. Eventually he cranks the device to full power, and promptly crashes through the edge of the panel and out of the comic itself. Sonic then joins in the fun by talking to the reader directly!
  • Superlópez: Regularly and recurrently, sometimes bordering on No Fourth Wall.
  • At the end of The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin informs the reader (much to the surprise of Captain Haddock) that the next part of the adventure will be told in Red Rackham's Treasure.
    • A lot of what Snowy says in the series is breaking the fourth wall, or at least purely for the reader's benefit, since it's usually made clear that the other characters can't hear him. At one point, he looks at the reader and says "I could have told them that. But nobody would have listened to me!"
    • A bizarre instance occurs in Cigars of the Pharaoh, when Tintin meets Sheikh Patrash Pasha. The Sheikh knew of Tintin by reading of his adventures, and he actually shows Tintin one of the real-world Tintin albums, complete with cover art. (This actually makes a kind of in-universe sense - Tintin is meant to be a reporter who submits his stories as cartoon strips, supposedly to the newspaper they were originally serialised in.)
  • Some of the characters in Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories had No Fourth Wall to start with, but despite addressing the reader at the end of the story, Jack B. Quick isn't usually one of them. However, in his last adventure, he makes a pair of time-travelling shoes, heading back though history as he crosses town. But it goes wrong and he passes back before the formation of life, and even the start of time, then back to his first issue until he's left drifting in a blank white void, before the comic started. As there's no panel borders to keep them apart, he can talk to the other Jack B. Quicks on the page.
  • Brainstorm in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye invented a Metafictional Bomb that causes anyone exposed to it to believe that they're just a fictional character, ultimately causing them to lose the will to live. When Swerve was exposed to it, he immediately began breaking the fourth wall (for example, stating that he must have activated the bomb off-panel). This eventually led to him having an existential crisis in the second season, due to being Out of Focus. The other characters were only able to save him by convincing him that he was still one of the main characters.
  • Iznogoud: The characters, Iznogoud and Wa'at Alahf especially, regularly turn to address the reader directly or have conversations with the narration or otherwise acknowledge that they are comic book characters. For example, at the end of "The Caliph's Sceptre", Iznogoud is left trapped in the password-protected chamber containing the title object, unable to remember the correct password. He finally turns to the readers and asks if they remember it - "And no turning back pages!"
  • In Asterix in Belgium, when Chief Vitalstatistix calls a meeting of the village council, Obelix says he thought it was going to be a banquet, and Asterix replies that it can't be, the story's only just started.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): After an Offscreen Moment of Awesome car chase, the Meeseeks tells the reader they should put it on the wiki.
  • At the beginning of the fifth chapter in Democracy, Athena, Apollo and Dionysus appear wearing modern-day clothes, dancing a traditional Greek dance and making a lecture about history and mortals' fate, specifically intended to the audience.

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