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Call Back / Webcomics

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Call-Backs in webcomics.

  • 8-Bit Theater
    • One of Brian Clevinger's related blog posts read this: Anyone confused by today's comic needs a history lesson. Also counts as Foreshadowing...
    • More recently, the aptly titled strip "Longest set up in webcomic history" has a Call Back to a throwaway line over 1200 pages ago.
  • The most recent, and furthest one in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The McNinja Burger is back! Complete with Flat "What".
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  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, This most definitely shows Justin remembers David.
  • Bob and George: Overlooking all the Running Gags, in an early strip Bob agrees to a suicidal plan with the phrase "Sure, why not, I was tired of living anyway." Fast-forward several years, and Alternate Mega Man and Bass cheerfully use the exact same justification for an equally suicidal plan. (Naturally, this being Bob And George, certain death...isn't as certain as you'd expect.)
  • In Buttersafe's "The Space Dog", references to previous space comics appear in the background as the dog moves through space: a spaceman traveling with a pig, Saddest Turtle and Jolly Octopus on the moon, and a guy next to a eucalyptus tree, also on the moon.
  • Concerned has a lot of these. In one strip Frohman find out he can use the force (that's what he said) to pick stuff up. For most of the rest of the comic, whenever he holds something it floats in front of him.
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  • In Darths & Droids, Episode 1302: How Many Paths Must a Man Walk Down? has Yoda telling Luke that he has only taken two steps on the Path to the Light Side. Earlier scenes from the Return of the Jedi story arc are then shown — I.E. Episode 1237: Passing Similarities (where Luke expresses empathy, the opposite of fear), and Episode 1249: Jump Like Nobody's Watching (where Luke remains calm, the opposite of anger). In the following strip, Episode 1303: Speculative Reflectance, Luke realises that in order to work out the rest of the Path to the Light Side, he needs to know the Path to the Dark Side, which was detailed way back in Episode 137: What Would You Know? You're Just a Puppet, long before Luke's player joined the game.
  • El Goonish Shive
    • An example has Nanase making a reference to a spontaneously changing hair-color gag from six years ago.
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    • Remember that background with dejected Susan and critters, a bunny sitting on her head, back from 2006? In Jule 2010 a scene in the continuity brought it back — and how!
  • In 5 Color Control, Vlad and Dave's match in the Pro Tour intentionally mirrors their earlier games from earlier comics.
  • In General Protection Fault, after Trent sues Fred for libel, Fooker proposes breaking into his house again, like they did to clear Trudy's name. Nick, however, refuses and points out that it comes off in a new light now that they know he's a secret agent. The "To Thine Own Self" arc is based around a universe in which an alternate universe's Nick and Ki enacted a scheme their prime counterparts dreamed about in a brief arc in the early comic and took over the world.
  • Girl Genius:
  • Homestuck is absolutely loaded with Call Backs, from the phrasing of words to reused art panels.
    • Andrew Hussie discusses it here.
    • According to Doc Scratch, Call Backs are a rule of Paradox Space.
    • And Caliborn hates the frequent Call Backs and gets pissed off when Dirk notices that he's repeating phrases that other characters have used, which is a sort of meta-commentary on readers who find this practice irritating.
  • In Housepets!, in the 24th strip in the comic, Grape comments about how pets who look outside of their own species for romance are seen as strange. "It's just a tail or some whiskers now, but next thing you know, you wake up in a puddle of your own vomit from anise overdose, screaming 'I am one with the ferals!' at the top of your lungs." Seven years later, when Bino is trying to pass the wolf test to become a real ~~man~~ wolf, he shouts "I'll be one with the ferals!" only for the wolf who is testing him to comment that it sounds stupid and to never say it again.
  • It's Walky! celebrated its tenth anniversary (and the birth of a new character) with a Call Back to its first two strips.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Seren makes a lighthearted promise to Mifi to let her meet Seren's captive demon lord; 88 pages and almost 2 years later, she finally does.
  • Ménage à 3 and its spinoffs, Sticky Dilly Buns and Sandra on the Rocks, feature a fair number of callbacks, most obviously in the Book-Ends that begin and end each 150-strip volume. Sometimes, there are even callbacks from one comic to another, as when Dillon's throwaway boast in Ménage à 3 about having seduced 27 straight men away from their girlfriends is repeated in Sticky Dilly Buns, but challenged as morally dubious by Ruby on the second occasion (and Dillon's excuse is another callback). Similarly, after Gary hands his stash of Amber-Amber porn over to Amber in Ménage à 3, it's still there to be embarrassingly discovered by Ruby in Sticky Dilly Buns.
  • This strip of minus. mentions several previous one-off gags.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • At one point, Belkar suggests selling a captured female antagonist into slavery because he "knows a guy who knows a guy". Several plot-arcs later, the party runs into said guy-his-guy-knew, Buggy Lou, as he's out catching slaves in the desert.
    • V's raven familiar fails to recognize her/him when s/he is transformed into a lizard. 536 strips later, he learns of his mistake.
    • In an early strip, Durkon lectures Hilgya on dwarves, misery, and duty, telling her how his mother taught him to take feelings like love "and bury them inna a deep dark part o' my soul and nev'r ev'r talk about 'em again." over a thousand strips later, we see his mother teaching him just this lesson, and the circumstances of said lesson.
    • An early strip has a brief intermission gag about movie theater snacks killing each other. A decade later, it turns out that not only do said living movie theater snacks exist in (the past of) the main continuity of the comic, but their existence is a clue to one of the comic's bigger plot revelations about the nature of the setting.
  • A Petty Nuzlocke Challenge: In the HGSS challenge, while trying to search for any secret in a suspicious store, she finds a sign saying not to remove it because there is a hornet behind it, she immediately punches it, knowing there is a button behind, because is the exact same signed used to "hide" another secret in the LeafGreen challenge.
  • ReBoot: Code of Honor: The Code Masters were the focus of the episode "High Code" of the original series, here, they are major players in the plot.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Sept 26 1997 and Sept 15 2011, 4738 days later Bun-bun and Zoe are in the same spot they first met with the same dialog. Also a rare Pet the Dog moment for Bun-bun
  • A Wapsi Square strip from December 2009 featured a reference to the dialogue in the very first strip back in 2001.
  • This strip of The Whiteboard gives a nod back to Sandy's first paintball game, where Rainman suggests reading a pamphlet titled "Coping with loss" after Sandy asks what to do taken out of the match by a hit, with Bandit offering one such pamphlet to a generic player he managed to sneak up on to tag out.
  • Wilde Life: On page 10, Barbara Yaga suggests Oscar to get a bat. Then 588 strips later when attacking Raven's monster form with a metal pole the caption reads, "You should get a bat."
  • xkcd has one strip that connects to another from years earlier when a boomerang that a character threw in that strip returns.
  • Zebra Girl: At the beginning of the comic, when Sandra realizes she has been turned into a demon, she calls herself a freak. Years later, when she is wondering what she exactly is, someone who had disappeared from the radar delivers this line:
    Mr. Chalk: Oh Sandra. You know. You called it on day one. You're a freak.


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