Comics trope for any long-running serialized story with an intact continuity. An event mentioned in dialog or captions has an asterisk next to it, and down near the panel border is a little message, saying something like, "See Volume 4, Issue 3 - Ed." Sometimes, in shared universe titles, it may be an issue of a completely different comic series.
Some comics fans, especially young ones, may wonder who this Ed, the enormously helpful man at the comics company, must be. Of course, most of the older fans figure out that this is in fact "the editor". This little footnote also entices the reader to seek out the back issue that includes the story in question. Or, if they don't have the issue, it's an incentive to go out and buy it.
Use of these notes has been dissuaded by companies today (and they are allegedly all but banned at Marvel to "hide" the Continuity Snarls), but they are starting to make a comeback.
- Used a lot in the Archie Sonic and Mega Man (Archie Comics) comics, even using it as a method of MST in some parts. One in Mega Man #13 doubled as Product Placement for an upcoming graphic novel of the previous arc, which was due in several months after that issue's release. Another in Sonic the Hedgehog #252 had the Ed. about to point out in which issue an event that never happened before took place before going "Wait a minute...", realizing the scale of the Continuity Reboot caused by the Cosmic Retcon at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide.
- Subverted in the second issue of Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom, in which the clues all refer to comics that have never existed.
- This photoshopped page◊ (originally from Civil War) starts off with a very good example of how editorial footnotes used to be used, and then goes on to parody Marvel's current-day reluctance to use them as fictional versions of Mark Millar and Joe Quesada enter in their own editorial boxes to try and throw Stan Lee's old-school notations out (and him).
- DC Comics blundered themselves into a minor flackstorm of criticism regarding editorial footnotes. When asked why Countdown, which was absolutely dense with references to events from other comics to the point where it was pretty much unreadable on its own (okay, it was pretty much unreadable, period), had no editorial footnote boxes, DC responded that "that's what the Internet is for". The Internet was not amused. DC started putting the boxes in.
- This was sometimes Played With during Stan Lee's tenure as editor, where an event from a past comic would be mentioned, and there would be an associated note, seemingly to inform which issue it happened in... only for Stan to note that while the readers may remember, he sure as hell didn't. - Shamefaced Stan
- Parodied by 101 Ways to End the Clone Saga, with the editor forgetting what S.H.I.E.L.D. means when it's mentioned, having to return several panels later without prompting from the dialogue.
- The Mighty Thor: Marvel is infamous for its overuse of the "Midgard = Earth" caption whenever Thor is in a comic. Many have asked why not just translate it into Earth then, or why make that note when people can just Google it these days. Nevertheless, they have kept doing it, with at least one case reading "Earth, because we're obligated to do this in every comic Thor appears in."
- Used very sparsely in Hellboy, generally to point you towards a cool event that was just mentioned. They are not attributed to an editor.
- Done in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #699, as it's Boom's first run of the series which had been not running for about a year, and dealing with Disney Superheroes that American audiences wouldn't be expected to be familiar with (except maybe Super Goof). They decide to turn it into a running gag, pointing out things that should be really obvious. (hence the name "-Obvious Aaron")
- Italian Disney comics regulatly do it too. In later years some writers started to use them to actually call out the reader for not remembering the story (or stories) they're calling back to, asking them to stop reading the current story until they don't finish to read the older one(s).
- The Amalgam era of Marvel/DC used these, but more often than not subverted this by referring to comics that didn't exist.
- 2000 AD's Editor-In-Chief Tharg the Mighty always refers to these as "Tharg Notes."
- Often parodied in Deadpool comics: for example, when a character makes a reference to something that happened during the Onslaught event, the clue box refuses to admit it ever happened. Another time the box blatantly admits that there's no good reason to remember the villain from an earlier appearance in another comic, as it wasn't very good.
- Also parodied with fake references in the MAX Wisdom miniseries.
- Frequent occurrences in Tintin, and quite helpful at that since all the stories have names, and therefore it's easy to recall in what context the character/event/general happening last made an appearance. Of course, it also helps that there are only 23 albums.
- Chick Tracts does this with Bible verses. They don't always have a clear connection with the events of the panel. In some comics they will also cite more recent books, often those they published.
- Parodied in at least one Calvin and Hobbes where we see one of the comic books Calvin is reading, though with no attribution to "Ed." or anyone else.
- When Quicksilver revealed his new power of flight in X-Men Vol 1 #44, a box added "As peerlessly portrayed in The Avengers #?? —Sorry-About-That-Stan". (It was #43.)
- The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye and its sister series The Transformers: Robots in Disguise do this sometimes, although only to events before they started (mostly from the previous ongoing). They aren't labeled "Ed", though.
- Parodied in the newest Howard the Duck series, with multiple heroes referencing past events having to do with Howard, and the clue box mentioning completely fake comics. There was also a genuine direction to Howard the Duck #1, which got into a whole thing about which #1 it meant (not the current series, and not the original series, but the series that had started the previous year, before being reset).
- Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! has it frequently given its reliance on Continuity Nods, especially to Hellcat's tenure in The Defenders in the 1970s. And given it's a comedic title, more often than not the thing mentioned is so weird that it warrants a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
- Al Ewing's Marvel work is very heavy on continuity nods so his comics tend to include a lot of editor's notes this was even lapmshaded in Loki: Agent of Asgard #12 when after one too many:
** Loki already knows! See Angela: Asgard's Assassin #2! - Wil (Last one! Promise)
- Crime Syndicate (2021) features clue boxes directing the readers to the Syndicaters' solo titles, and snarking about the fact they don't exist and it therefore isn't possible for the reader to purchase and read them.
- One set of House of Leaves' footnotes is of this sort.
- Some of the old Doctor Who Novelisations have footnotes explaining Call Backs and Continuity Nods. The novelisation of The Day of the Doctor has two referring to the novelisations of "Silence in the Library" and "Listen" ... which sadly don't exist in this universe.
- The second and third James Bond novels, Live and Let Die and Moonraker, have footnotes for the first reference to the previous novel.
- Some non-English versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy contain editorial footnotes to explain jokes that do not survive Cultural Translation. Befitting the written style of the books, these notes are often informal and conversational in tone and wouldn't be out of place within the actual Guide.
- Shonen Jump tends to do this to explain cultural terms or Japanese writing. One issue of Karakuridouji Ultimo got stupid with it, though, when a character said he was a bodyguard of the nobility, and the footnote explained that bodyguard meant "a bodyguard of the nobility".
- Dragon Ball's English translation is an interesting example due to the Sequel Displacement caused by the Z anime, whose popularity convinced VIZ Media to re-title those chapters as Dragon Ball Z. Fans picking up the first volume of Z will find a few notes mentioning that certain, unexplained things such as previous adventures and characters were established in Dragon Ball and that you should read that if you want to know more.
- "Logic and Hime-chan's Punch", one of the comics in the Hoshiiro Girldrop anthology, is covered with Clues from Ed. While it focuses on the relationship between two of the characters, all the events they reference are footnoted by nonexistent previous chapters.
- Used in the "iFanboy" podcast to refer to earlier episodes or make corrections to misspeakings by the hosts.
- Parodied in a Penny Arcade comic about Tycho's hatred of the undead. The print version takes it a little farther, referring to the strip's "Kool-Aid thin continuity".
- Parodied on this page of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
- Also here.
Honestly, why haven't you read all of D.A.R.E. by this point? I've given you plenty of notice. What is wrong with you? - Ed
- Also here.
- The "Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil" storyline in Narbonic beginning strips had these in every panel as a Footnote Fever gag. Interrupted by Helen through the fourth wall breakage, see page image.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Tom Siddell made this subtle piece of satire◊ as a response to the fans who were confused by the Flash Back on the original version of page 437.
- Parodied in this Dinosaur Comics strip.
- Axe Cop links some seemingly out-of-place facts to the Fourth-Wall Mail Slot or printed media.
- Rather than clutter up the page itself, El Goonish Shive always starts off The Rant with a list of links to mentioned events.
- Mentions of previous Huckleberry chapters get this treatment. Characters can have custom asterisks in their speech bubble, such as Huckleberry's small berry.