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Breakthrough Hit

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"When Animal House turned out the way it did, they all rushed to me with barrels of money begging me to make them rich."

This is the very work that practically begins a creator's career and gives them success in their medium. This is the Breakthrough Hit.

For some creators, it could be the very first work they created. For others, it comes only after a series of unsuccessful attempts; these early attempts may end up being Vindicated by History, though. For many of these, creators are often subject to the curse of Tough Act to Follow, as practically every subsequent work may be compared to the breakthrough. More often than not, creators (musicians in particular) often dread the idea of a Black Sheep Hit becoming their breakthrough, as what is intended to be a one-off experiment in other areas may result in the publisher forcing them to follow that style from that point on.

Compare Killer App (equivalent for game systems), Star-Making Role (equivalent for actors), and Gateway Series (equivalent for an entire genre or multimedia franchise). Contrast Creator Killer and One-Hit Wonder.

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Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
Created the property

Did not create the property but first made their name with it


    Live-Action TV 

    Newspaper Comics 


    Radio Drama 

    Tabletop Games 


    Visual Novels 
  • Palmer was the lead developer for Daughter for Dessert, and pretty much built his fan base from this game.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation