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.
Can also be used for a joke in an article, in which case it's Note From Ed.
If you're reading a webcomic, the Alt Text may double as this.
- Used a lot in the Archie Sonic and Mega Man 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 Cosmic Retcon that rewrote Sonic's world at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide.
- Subverted in the first issue 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! has it frequently given its reliance on Continuity Nods, specially 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)
- One set of House of Leaves' footnotes is of this sort.
- Some of the old Doctor Who Novelizations have footnotes explaining Call Backs and Continuity Nods.
- 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.
- 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.
- One Narbonic strip had these in every panel. The first panel of the next strip had one which Helen interrupted with a minor fourth wall breakage.
- 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.
- During the various Global Guardians PBEM campaigns, this was used quite often when game masters had to reference events that occurred in their campaigns years prior, sometimes to players and characters who just weren't around when those events occurred.
- One Cracked article had a Leaning on the Fourth Wall moment where the writer started an argument with "Ed".
- SCREW YOU, Ed!!