Tragically defunct (as of August 2007) American absurdist/parody supermarket tabloid. Published deeply weird, tongue-in-cheek 'news' about bizarre 'science', astrology, Atlantis, Bigfoot, aliens, Elvis, vampires, the Loch Ness Monster etc. Famous for recurring stories about 'Bat Boy', a pop cultural icon that inspired a hit off-Broadway musical.
Weekly World News defiantly remained focused on its own brand of weirdness when most of its competitors had switched to mindless celebrity drivel, which sadly might account for its decline in popularity and eventual disappearance from the shelves. Another possible contributor to its demise would be the direction the paper was taken after the 2007 buyout, when its sales really went in the toilet.
A huge online collection of old Weekly World News issues can be found at Google Books
Trivia note: After the National Enquirer switched to color, its publisher started the Weekly World News as a way to keep using their old black-and-white presses.
The Weekly World News provides examples of:
- Author Appeal: A majority of the stories involved either psychics or space aliens in some way.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Self-explanatory.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Almost every issue had at least one story about a sighting, capture or sexual conquest of one or all of them.
- Crazy Cat Lady: Parodied and inverted with a headline of a "Fat Cat Who Owns 23 Old Ladies".
- Dan Browned: Of course, it's all part of the parody.
- Elvis Lives: The Trope Codifier, if not the Trope Maker.
- Evil Mentor: "Dear Dotti", a hilarious Evil Counterpart to Dear Abby, giving advise on taking petty revenge and getting away with cheating, among other things. Or just giving a written "The Reason You Suck" Speech to anyone confessing to a wrong they committed and asking what to do.
- Harmless Freezing: In one issue a lifeboat full of survivors of the sinking of the Titanic was found frozen in a block of Atlantic ice. When unfrozen the survivors of course came back to life.
- Hurricane of Puns: Particularly after the Executive Meddling.
- Kayfabe: They never, ever, ever broke character or included a disclaimer that the "newspaper" was a parody, even when publishing stories that could potentially get them sued for libel.
- This was perhaps lampshaded during a "Guess the Fake Story" contest they ran featuring four real 'weird news' articles and one fake. In the description they wrote "While it's not like us to print a fake story, we're making an exception for our latest crazy contest."
- In One Ear, Out the Other: They ran several stories using this trope, ranging from a man with transparent brain tissue (so one could shine a light in one ear and have it come out the other), to a Dumb Blonde woman who discovered someone blowing in her ear would result in a breeze coming out the other side to a dimwitted Californian surfer dude who was cleaning his ear with a q-tip, and "not finding much resistance" decided to see how far it could go (right out the other ear it turns out, which the surfer found "way cool").
- The Lava Caves of New York: One story was about a family on a trip that accidentally drove into an active volcano. They drove around lost before finding an exit as the tube glowed red behind them. It wisely withheld exactly where this family was at the time.
- Lurid Tales of Doom: The entire magazine.
- Meaningful Name: Ed Anger was pretty angry.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Two target audiences - people who actually believed it, and the larger group of people who thought it was funny.
- Negative Continuity: Among other things, the magazine predicted the end of the world more times than a doomsday cult.
- Page Three Stunna: Page 5 usually had a girl in a swimsuit.
- Poe's Law: Especially in its website incarnation. For example, when it declared that Facebook was going to be shut down, a lot of people who found the article via a web search and didn't know anything about Weekly World News thought it was real and panicked.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: They once ran a story about a construction worker who watched too many cartoons. Over time he developed Four-Fingered Hands and started to astonishingly follow Toon Physics, resulting in much Construction Zone Calamity on the job.
- The July 11, 2005 edition ran a story about anime fans slowly morphing into animated anime versions of themselves due to being so obsessed.
- Rule of Sexy: Sabrina, "America's Sexiest Psychic," did a fortune telling column. She was also kind of their resident Page Three Stunna, she seemed to require a bikini for her job more often than is standard in the news industry.
- Shout-Out / Ascended Meme: Some media specializing in the strange, including Supernatural and Men in Black, cite WWN as being a reputable, informative news source.
- Strawman Political: Ed Anger's extremely right-wing editorial page "My America" veered into this territory. Ed Anger himself was a very obvious Stealth Parody.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: He was quite the industrious fellow, based on how many stories about him showed up.
- Take That!: Several. Notably, the ones toward the Bush Administration disappeared after the Meddling.