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Medium Awareness / Webcomics

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  • In the webcomic, Soopah, the character and his opponent encounter a motion line from one of their punches. Confused, Soopah asks what it is, to which the other responds, "I think it's the punchline."
  • While characters in A Moment of Peace mostly exist in their own universe, they occasionally acknowledge the fourth wall in a casual way, going so far as to use it as a slide at one point.
  • In the OldSkooled strip "Newton vs. Organized Society, Part One", the bartender draws attention to how video games have stopped using wraparound screens.
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  • In this Cyanide & Happiness strip, the characters are aware of the limited number of panels and necessity of a punchline.
  • Roomies also has the narrator directly interact with the cast. The plot device to explain this is he is a disembodied spirit of some kind. (Not to be confused with the other webcomic named Roomies, which evolved into It's Walky!, or the other other webcomic named Roomies)
    • Of course, David Willis' Roomies briefly toyed with genre awareness as well, mostly for laughs.
  • In Monster of the Week, after Scully finally accepts that supernatural is real in this 'verse, both she and Mulder become Genre Savvy, recognizing the foreshadowing and commenting on how incredulous/stupid/weird this episode is. Summed up by Mulder once, when Scully started acting as if it was real life:
    Mulder: Are you even aware you're in TV show?
  • Narbonic did this a few times.
  • In this non-canon intermission page of Girl Genius, Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! reacts to the narrator's foreshadowing.
  • The Order of the Stick sometimes refers to lengths of time in "Strips", and the characters sometimes mention that their main purpose in life is to make jokes about the rules of Dungeons & Dragons. In an interesting twist, they also often display an awareness that they're Player Characters in a game of D&D. Which they're not, really, that's just part of the strip. This is your brain on fictional metafiction...
    Belkar: Hey! If we don't stop the weepy melodrama I'm going to start dropping pop culture references, and I don't think anyone wants that!
    • In this strip, they plan to sneak in during the darkness, but have all day to wait. Haley invokes the standard RPG trope by declaring "Later, that evening..." and night falls.
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    • During a fight, Haley is shot by a spell that blasts out of the comic's box. In the first panel of the next says 'At least I landed back in the panel.'
    • A couple times they've done some Lampshade Hanging on this, with characters saying it's okay to use No Fourth Wall terms like "+5 sword" or "red-and-black speech balloon" to newer characters awkwardly trying to avoid breaking the wall.
    • In the collected edition, Dungeon Crawlin' Fools, one of the bonus strips has Roy siccing a dangerous monster on the Narrator (a guy with a microphone who'd been standing 'just out of the frame') to get them both out of their way.
    • In the volume, War and [XPs], a book-exclusive extra strip shows Julio Scoundrel's daring escape from Cliffport; Elan comments that it was pretty exciting "for a bonus comic!"
    • And in this strip, one of the characters realises that they're about to be attacked due to a sudden cutaway panel.
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    • And then there's the time Haley climbed the sidebar of the strip's Web page so she could make her way to the illustrated cast biography and steal the diamond she she was holding in her profile, which has since been replaced with a note reading "I.O. Me One big-ass diamond".
    • In this strip, Sabine needs to explain to Thog how time can pass in comic strip panels.
    • And there's also the time when they needed to feed the monster in the darkness, and Belkar complained that he couldn't do it because "I told you that in one of the Dragon comics, so I'm not even sure if that's the same continuity..."
    • Don't spell Xykon's name wrong in your speech bubble. He can tell if you do.
    • Thog will always treasure thog's adventure with talky-man. it featured non-traditional panel layout.
    Roy Greenhilt: What about the dozens of civilians you killed to lure them there?
    Thog: actually, thog hazy on that. did thog kill them off-panel?
    • And the time that Tarquin realizes that that since he's talking openly about Malack being a vampire, that must mean it was already revealed to the heroes (and thus the readers); otherwise he would've been restricted to vaguely alluding to it even though everyone actually in the scene already knew.
    • The trope is conversed by Thor and Durkon, when Thor explains that their world was designed by gods as self-aware stick-figure fantasy parody, followed by response
    Durkon: I wanna be offended by tha, but it explains so much.
  • Schlock Mercenary used to go way over the top with this, to the point of a character pulling aside an orange narration box to get a good look at a grisly wound, or a commander calling out an underling for her use of italics in the previous panel. The use has gradually reduced over time, though the narrator is still occasionally treated as a separate character.
    • The cartoonist also likes to show characters holding on to the panel borders when leaning into frame.
  • Bob and George
  • In the Bob and George hosted Metroid: Third Derivative, Samus comments on the specific background music that accompanies fights with space pirates in all three Metroid Prime games (when you defeat all the pirates in the room, the music changes back to normal). Ie, "Music is fading, I got the last one".
  • On this page of Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony (narrating from some point in the future), tells the readers that the skipped scene would have made a very amusing Makeover Montage.
  • Scene changes are commented on in this strip of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures.
  • This strip of Casey and Andy has the titular characters treat the borders of the comic panels as visible edges of the space-time continuum, with disastrous results.
  • The narrator starts messing with T-Rex in this strip of Dinosaur Comics.
  • Played hilariously in one strip of 8-Bit Theater, where Sarda demonstrates his omnipotent powers by rewriting Black Mage's speech bubbles.
    • In an earlier strip, the Light Warriors were trapped in a place where causality and space-time were twisted in on themselves, and could actually see alternate-time versions of themselves above, below, and to either side in other comic panels, and were commenting on each other's comments.
  • Warmage has built up a plot point around characters who gain "webcomic awareness". It's played as a serious dramatic point without any exploration of the nature of the medium, or the nature of fiction, not even a light-hearted Lampshade Hanging. The people who realize they're in a webcomic are still Genre Blind fools carrying the Villain Ball.
  • Fancomic Pokémon Yellow Comics has the main character pointing out whenever the color changes in different areas.
  • Occasionally in Sluggy Freelance
    • As one example from the many in the normal strips, in "Sluggy of the Living Freelance", there's a "MOOOO" sound effect after someone saying "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" The characters wonder what it was and comment that it was probably supposed to be an ominous sound of thunder, and that the comic needs a new sound-guy.
    • Sometimes the characters look at a script as if they were the comic version of Animated Actors.
    • A one-shot guest strip had Riff discover that time was separated by "panels," and invent a device to travel between them. He accidentally hits Sasha with it and is very worried when she falls through the ground, but everything turns out fine when she falls from the sky thirty seconds later on the next row. Coincidentally, another guest strip on the same page also has the characters talking about and interacting with the panels, this time in terms of using a time machine to make them run backwards.
    • Debatably Epileptic Trees, there's a theory that Torg has a mild Medium Awareness - he's always the one to realise it's a guest week or the art style has changed, possibly tying in with the fact that he's stated to be unusually psychically sensitive within the strip's setting.
    • Riff also has some Medium Awareness going on in the early strips, like when he comments that "This strip needs women" or complains about the poor choice of sound effects.
  • In the Insecticomics, the panel lines seem to be akin to dimensional barriers. Sideways (by virtue of being a sentient chaos virus), can just walk out of the panel onto the rest of the webpage, Kickback fishes for Vok with a fishing line extending past the bottom panel, and Override's cannon is so powerful that it blasts Dreadmoon and Thrust out of the comic entirely.
  • On this page of Rice Boy, Golgo's robot eye was able to see the speech bubbles from Rice Boy and T-O-E's conversation. One could interpret this as a way to show that the robot eye made an audio recording, but Word of God confirms the Medium Awareness interpretation.
  • 1/0 never really had a fourth wall to begin with (except when certain characters were given a fourth wall), but one moment that stands out as Medium Awareness is when they're messing with the camera angles due to the rule about not showing the jar and Marcus complains that nobody even knows he's there because of how short he is. Ghanny replies that they would if they've memorized the characters' text Fonts by now.
  • Dungeons & Denizens did this a fair number of times, but my favorite has got to be this strip, in which Zerelda complains that Seidistika has planned out her Training Montage in advance.
  • The first book of Erfworld was built around this trope in a sense. The main character Parson was pulled in from reality and is aware that it's a wargame, though while everyone else is aware of the rules, they don't get the context. If Parson understands that Erfworld has game-like rules, he still hasn't gotten the fact that he's in a webcomic.
  • K, the protagonist of Antagonist is Genre Savvy and very medium aware, typically looking straight at the fourth wall and talking to an audience that no one else can see. Another character even references his speech bubbles at one point, though he seems to regard them as a delusion or mental image. K's sarcastic response? "This isn't a comic book."
  • Precocious:
  • In The Way of the Metagamer, the characters can read each other's speech bubbles.
  • The Fey in Keychain of Creation are explicitly aware that they live in a webcomic based around the rules of Exalted. This befuddles most of the other characters, who 'know' that they live directly in Exalted. In this case, it is because the Fey in the aforementioned game have an utterly alien mindset, and this was an easy way to represent that. The Sidereals seem to have a little bit of this too, with moves that rely upon breaking perspective and knocking people through the box boundaries - which is kind of what Sidereal Martial Arts normally do.
  • Girls with Slingshots:
  • This Subnormality strip somehow manages to go even more meta with this concept than usual.
  • At least one XKCD comic references this. One or two of the early ones do it a way that could be seen as terrifying - the comic panels (and thus their whole world) begins to crumble and fall apart.
  • Art and Leaf of Apple Valley frequently make references to the fact that they are in a webcomic, something most of the other characters either ignore or don't notice. The author has justified that, since this is their fourth webcomic (following The Apple of Discord and two previous comics) they've more than had enough time to figure out what's going on.
  • In Problem Sleuth, Sleuth ends up attacking and destroying DMK's health bars directly, after he starts regenerating any damage taken instantly.
  • In The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, God exhibits this.
  • Sinfest:
  • Woo apparently knows Sandra and Woo's update schedule.
  • In Rusty and Co., Mimic, being a D&D adventurer, knows tetanus is not a danger because it's not in the source books.
  • Robin from Shortpacked! has a freak out when she sees the Matrix.
  • The Daily Derp: Derpy is confused by being drawn on a whiteboard, and panics as she sees a sponge beginning to erase the comic.
  • Jack has two characters who know they're in a comic: the Devil himself and Todd.
  • Honestly, it would be quicker to list the characters who aren't medium-aware in Sketch Comedy.
  • Ditto for Redd.
  • The Buildingverse in general. It's a 'verse of Meta Fics with questionable fourth wall hardness. Main characters begin at the level of Meta Guy and Fourth Wall Observers are not rare either (verse native charcters might go lower, but it's hard to keep insisting on being real after your friends showed you your movie/book/etc.). For direct examples: James knowing the release schedule and page numbers (Roommates), Sarah complainng about the day going on for [P]ages (Girls Next Door) etc..
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • Dork Tower: This exchange.
    Weather Report: Highs today in the single digits...
    Igor: (covering Matt's hand to prevent him from Flipping the Bird) Kids are reading this kids are reading this.
    • Dork Tower does this a lot. At one point, the characters even snark that the author is "as organised as a mound of wet marmots".
  • This page of A:TLA fan comic "Kyoshi - The Undiscovered Avatar" has troops fleeing the very panel they're in to the one below over the space between them from Kyoshi in the Avatar State.
  • Irrelevator has this from comic one.
  • Jerkcity has Atandt reading Pants's thought balloons while attempting to prove to him that he is in a comic strip.
  • Shortpacked! gets a pretty big one when Lucy becomes the new Amazi-Girl.
    Schtick-Shift: ...the hell do you think you are?
    Lucy: I'm the new Amazi-Girl.
    Robin: [from off-panel] psst, say it like it's a logo
    Lucy: What?
    Robin: like in comic books. say it like it's a logo
    Lucy: Robin, this isn't a comic book. You can tell because I'm a woman with agency.
    Robin: doooo eeeet
    Lucy: ...I'm the new AMAZI-GIRL?
    Robin: muy bueno
    Lucy: I said it the same way.
  • In this page of Subnormality, a ninja shuriken is essently made into an asterisk, which the characters use to read the note on the end of strip.
  • This Diesel Sweeties strip, where one of the characters laments that they're just standing around talking about Star Wars
    "My God, we're living in a webcomic."
    "This is nothing like a comic! You're a girl."
  • Charles Bogle loves to do this in Hello Cleveland!. Examples range from Newt resting his hands on the edge of the panel to Newt removing the panel divide.
  • In Nobody Scores! Raoul reads and comments on the title of the strip.
  • Bob the Angry Flower is rescued from a hopeless situation by a friend who spots a text box narrating how his rescue attempt will fail. He shoots the letters clean off it and they escape.
  • Dark Legacy Comics: has the midgets discovering the panels. They then stab, smack, and break the panels in such a way that they affect the past and future.
  • Several strips from The Petri Dish have the characters tell off the cartoonist.
  • Apricot Cookie(s)!:
    • A gag in chapter 2 has Butter and Apricot meeting a foreign tourist asking for directions in English. Apricot can't manage to speak to him in English, even though her word bubbles are in English. Eventually, they "turn off" the translation, but they can't communicate because it just puts all the word bubbles in Japanese. At the end, they just dismiss him because he's not story-relevant.
    • During her first (failed) Transformation Sequence, Apricot gets motion sickness from the background behind her.
    • When Cream Tea asks what an "OL" is, you can see someone else's finger pointing to the translation footnote below the panel.
    • When asked who told her a particular thing, she answers that it was someone in "a previous chapter".

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