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Prophets have No Fourth Wall whatsoever. Roy, however, does.

"Here's hoping for a few more decades! I'll get these jerks into college yet."
Dan Shive of El Goonish Shive on the comic's tenth anniversary


Related to Comic-Book Time, Webcomic Time takes place when the events of a serialized story take place over a shorter (in-universe) time than the (real-life) time it takes for the story to be produced.

It's equivalent to Year Outside, Hour Inside, if you consider it as Year Outside (publication time) Week Inside (In-Universe flow of time compared to Real Time).

This occurs because it usually takes more time to create an artistically pleasing depiction of an event happening than it does for the event to actually occur. Drawing a twenty page comic book could take weeks, but all twenty pages of the comic could very well be spent on a single conversation. While this can be counteracted by skipping over large stretches of time between scenes (or, for prose stories, describing scenes very tersely), if events in the story mostly happen one right after the other (and are given any degree of detail) it can be hard to keep this from happening. It's especially common in Webcomics, hence the name.


This can also happen due to the series missing deadlines or going on hiatus and being unable to make up for the lost time.

Over time, this slippage can add up to years; topical references early on may become incredibly dated later, even if it was supposed to take place on the same day. This especially affects Two Gamers on a Couch series, since technological progress can quickly make references to new consoles and top-of-the-line gaming machines obsolete. If Exponential Plot Delay gets involved, things can get really bad. Though remember, Tropes Are Not Bad as this can sometimes benefit the story.

There are several ways authors compensate for this:

  • Backdating stories to match up with the date they are supposed to have occurred.
  • Explicitly setting it in the time the story started.
  • After each Story Arc, explicitly skipping forward over "boring" periods of time.
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  • Implicitly skip forward, by mentioning dates every so often. This mostly applies to less-continuity-based stories.
  • Constantly use Lampshade Hanging on the idea, or outright parody it (sometimes with Medium Awareness).
  • Or, don't compensate, and just use a system similar to Comic-Book Time.

This doesn't (necessarily) apply to stories that are set outside of the present day, except for cases where it does, such as if an in-universe character decides to hang a lampshade on the relation to real time.

In yet another example of Tropes Are Not Bad, Webcomic Time really isn't a problem, just a fun little thing to hang that lampshade on.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In one page of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, at the end of the Chapter Black Saga, Yusuke remarks that he feels "like he's been fighting for a year". It's also used at the end of the Dark Tournament Saga, a series that takes place over the course of a week and lasts for over a year's worth of manga chapters.
  • Bleach:
    • The Soul Society Arc took place over two years and covered around three weeks of in-world time, mostly focused on the last few days.
    • The back-to-back Hueco Mundo and Fake Karakura arcs took over three years in real time, but in-story happened over the course of less than 24 hours.
  • Dragon Ball's sagas are sometimes (the Saiyan saga, and some of the Tournament Arcs are notable exceptions) set over the course of no more than a month. Major events which take a year or more in real-time to draw or animate last maybe one to three days in-story. In an inversion, the Time Skips catch up to the present and then some — 35 years pass over 10-11 years real time.
  • Late in the Rurouni Kenshin manga, a subtle gag Leaning on the Fourth Wall slips in as Sanosuke tries (not too hard) to remember a pair of villains from the beginning of the series.
    Sanosuke: Yeah, I guess I remember that... four years and a half ago, wasn't it?
    Brothers: Half a year!
  • The climax of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, covering almost two years worth of chapters, takes place over a single day.
  • Similarly, in Hellsing, the Millennium invasion of London and the following battle between Hellsing, Iscariot, and Millennium lasts from chapter 35 until the deaths of the Major and the Doktor in chapter 94 -and it all takes place during a single night.
  • One Piece:
    • The entire story in general is subject to both Webcomic Time and Comic-Book Time. It can be gathered that the Straw Hats spent less than 6 months together before the Timeskip despite about 13 years worth of publication at that point. However, even with the logical assumption that at least a few months must have passed, Comic-Book Time takes over as they don't age in the slightest until the 2 year timeskip.
    • Not long before the Time Skip, over a year of real world time was spent depicting a period of approximately 33 hours. Approximately 20 hours of which were mostly skipped while Luffy recovered from Magellan's poison, effectively making it a 13 hour period that was actually covered.
    • The Dressrosa Arc covers events of one day and lasted over two-and-a-half years real time.
  • In Naruto, The Fourth Shinobi World War takes about two years in real time and almost a hundred episodes, by far the longest arc of them all. The whole thing was a couple days long.
  • The first 76 comics of The Word Weary take place over the course of one day even though they took six months to update.
  • The World God Only Knows took six months of chapters to cover three days.
  • In Wandering Son nine years real-world years was only six years in-series. The series tries to stay contemporary for the best of its abilities though. A calendar in volume 11 clearly states "2010", though earlier chapters seem very early 2000s. Characters owning a PlayStation 2 are shown several time within the manga, but it's been a popular console throughout the 2000s so it doesn't date the series to any particular year.
  • Liar Game arcs are usually more than twenty chapters—five or six months in the real world. However, they almost always cover only a day or two. Most obvious in the back-to-back "Epidemic Game" and "Steal-a-Chair Game" arcs (the former game was intended to lower the player count before the latter) which took a year to cover three days of story time.
  • Akagi has spent over a decade (200+ chapters) on the events of a mahjong game that's supposed to have taken place in the span of a single night.
  • The Battle City arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! lasts 88 episodes (covering nearly all of seasons 2 and 3). Said arc encompasses the in-universe Battle City Tournament, which lasts a grand total of less than 72 hours from Kaiba's announcement on the evening before the the tournament's kickoff to the tournament contestants parting ways on the evening of Day 3. Even more extreme: within this arc, Day 2 of the Battle City tournament, which encompasses about 16 hours of onscreen in-universe time (starting with the first duels of the day to the characters going to bed that night on the Duel Disk Blimp) lasts 35 episodes and is packed with a back-to-back conga line of kidnapping, brainwashing, repeated attempted murder, near-drowning, fisticuffs, dinner, partying, scheming, extensive flashbacks and exposition, death matches, getting struck by lightning, nervous breakdowns and transformations, torture and mindrape, ghost apparitions, personal drama, and soul-stealing. Fans understandably nickname Day 2 of the Battle City tournament "The Day That Wouldn't End." Within this arc, there is also a 23-episode Filler Arc at the beginning of Day 3 of the tournament that spans less than a single morning (the characters were trapped in virtual reality, making their perception of the passage of time not exactly in line with real time).
  • The Nurarihyon Alien Mission (also known as the Osaka Arc) in Gantz only takes place during one night in-universe, as any other mission. However, the 54 manga chapters which covers this arc took 2 years to be finished in the real world time.

    Fan Works 
  • Most fanfictions, if you think about it, are like this. Most of the stories take place over the span of a few days to a few months at most. With many of these stories, especially long ones, it takes the author over a year to fully complete it.
  • Averted, and possibly inverted, in the case of Gender Confusion, where the one year anniversary since the first published chapter in real-world time takes place approximately three years after the first chapter in in-universe time. This is likely due to the fact that the author has a tendency to skim over boring parts that she's fairly sure no one will read anyway, and the fact that she updates at least once a week.
  • The Total Drama story, Courtney and the Violin of Despair inverts this trope. It consists of a series of loosely-connected vignettes that cover ten years (200+ years if you count the prologue), but the entire story was posted in a couple of months.
  • The Legend of Total Drama Island gets new chapters bimonthly, but some chapters cover only a few hours' worth of events.
  • The Ranma ½ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ½ started being written in 1997 as a contemporary work. As of 2013, the story has progressed as far as the fall of 1998.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged took several months to get through the Namek arc, which canonically only takes three days. Of course this is lampshaded.
  • Although taking about eight years to complete and involving characters from a dozen independent game canons, the third Ultimate Video Rumble had some flexibility here due to its premise. Namely, the participants could be pulled out of any point in their respective timelines to fight in the Rumble, and returned when done to continue their stories as before. As a result, official plot and character development from after the Rumble started could be ignored as "hasn't happened yet from their perspective" (though it would sometimes be acknowledged through foreshadowing). The writers played further fast and loose as the story progressed by introducing characters who didn't exist when the Rumble started, including one who was key to the finale, and by writing the fighters as using moves from their most recent games (while explicitly noting that the character histories were not also updated).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blood Over Water (viewable here) has a time span of no more than five or six days tops in which everything could have taken place. Mark vanishes on the first narrative day's evening, Aaron discovers the problem at dawn a few hours after, he interviews Chris either the next day or day after that at the very most, gets abducted the same evening, discovers the pond a few hours after that, gets abducted again that same day, and quite possibly discovers where Mark is one evening later. In that one week, however, the weather patterns seem to have shifted from summer to winter rather quickly, as can be evidenced by the actors wearing progressively warmer clothes in each episode. In real life, it took four months to shoot the entire production. Instead of one full movie, it was originally released as a mini-series by TV Practicum class students at Ferris in the fall of 2009. The clothing issue's strain on Willing Suspension of Disbelief is one reason that the video's current promoter has proposed a novel or graphic novel series to reboot the premise, thereby allowing plot elements to take time to develop, so transitions in what characters wear is a tad more believable.
  • Steps Trodden Black has a mild case of this. The movie takes place over the course of three days but took two years to film. Since the cast is comprised of high school aged actors, their facial features slightly vary in age over the course of the film. Other things, like weather and hair length mildly fluctuate, although extreme weather changes are averted due to the film being shot in the subtropics.

  • The first book of the Feliks, Net & Nika series was published in 2004 and covered one school year. However, a book whose plot happened during the 2004 holidays was published in 2005, and then the plots of the next six books (the last of them published in 2011) all happened during the 2004/2005 school year. Two final parts (published 2012 and 2013) happen during the holidays of 2005.
  • The first book of The Familiar was published in 2013, set in 2013. It's at book #4 (of the planned 27), which is set in 2014.
  • Worm is subject to this despite its rock-steady update schedule: the first story part was posted on June 11th, 2011, covering story events of April 8th, 2011; Chapter 16.7, posted on December 15th, 2012, covers the morning of June 19th.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lost has explicitly covered 108 days (not counting flashbacks and flashforwards) in four seasons. Michael and his son Walt were Put on a Bus in season two because the actor playing Walt was growing conspicuously (this is lampshaded at one point in season four when Walt, "but taller," appears to Locke in a vision). An even better indication of this trope: Aaron was played by 57 different infants between the character's birth and leaving the island, because of how quickly the babies grew out of the part. After the three year Time Skip between the fourth and fifth seasons, the remainder of the series consists of a couple of weeks which is a little over a year real-time.
  • Each season of 24, true to its name, takes place over a single 24-hour period, aired over a span of 22 weeks. The series as a whole avoids this trope by having Time Skips between seasons which are longer than the Real Life gaps; the first eight seasons took place over a course of 14 years.
  • Every episode of True Blood takes place over about twenty-four hours with each episode picking up the minute the previous episode ends (with the exception of a two-week time skip in Season 1). The first two seasons take place over 43 days.
  • Breaking Bad: The first four and a half seasons ran from 2008 to 2012, but only covered a period of a little over a year. Lampshaded in the fifth season episode "51", where Walt has his first birthday since the one in the first episode and remarks that with all he's been through it "seems like longer" than a year. This trope ends up being averted for the last half season though, as it takes place over about a year by itself, ending right after Walt's 52nd birthday.
  • In the first couple of seasons of Doctor Who, each episode would end with a Cliffhanger leading straight into the next story — even ones finishing off serials (for instance, "The Edge of Destruction" ends with the TARDIS crew opening the doors to find a footprint in the snow outside, leading directly into the next serial "Marco Polo"), giving the impression of directly consecutive time. Even in places where there is a timeskip (such as the four-month timeskip in "The Romans" and the long timescale of "Marco Polo") it's done in such a way to establish that the crew couldn't have been travelling anywhere else (one of the show's rules at that time is that leaving a place and time means leaving it forever). Still, Ian complains to the Doctor that he's been trying to get him home for three years, the real time elapsed during his story - it is possible to arrive at that figure by Fan Wanking timeskips in certain stories which provide the room for it ("The Daleks" comes to mind), but the real time elapsed seems to be much shorter as most of his adventures take place over the course of a few hours. The Expanded Universe deals with the difficulty of shoehorning in extra adventures for Ian and Barbara by applying Broad Strokes.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Not counting the prologue and epilogue, the first season to the sixth season midseason finale runs from the girls' first day junior year to their senior prom. Particularly egregiously, season three's "This Is a Dark Ride" is set on (senior year) Halloween and season five's "Taking This One to the Grave" is set on Thanksgiving, with 46 episodes between the two, plus the entire run of spinoff Ravenswood. Attempts to fit this to an actual calendar fail spectacularly.
  • The final season of Him & Her takes place on Beta Couple Laura and Paul's wedding day.
  • Holby City appears to take place over the course of a single day, but in Real Time it would take a week to shoot the scenes for location filming. However, it's murky about what timescale the show follows, yet Comic-Book Time does not apply here.
  • The first four seasons of The 100 were broadcast from 2014 to 2017, but take place over the course of less than a year (most seasons covered the events of a single month, with a three month Time Skip between Seasons 2 and 3). By the last scene of Season 4, though, this is counteracted by another Time Skip, this one going six years into the future.
  • Orphan Black's five seasons ran from 2013 to 2017. The most definite anchor for the internal timeline is Helena's pregnancy, as she became pregnant mid-season 2 and gave birth in the series finale. Combined with other statements, it seems the show took place over about 10 months.

    Video Games 
  • In Dwarf Fortress, dwarves only need to eat, drink, and sleep about once or twice per calendar season, and they can spend multiple days just traveling the fortress or fighting a goblin. Scale in general runs more on Rule of Fun than realism, though.
    • Subverted with werebeasts which only transform for a couple of days around full moon, which on larger maps this means they will change back before they even reach the entrance of the fortress and flee in their human/goblin/elf/dwarf form again from the map without any damage done.
    • Averted in Adventure Mode, in which you have actual day and night cycle. It takes less than a day to start getting hungry, thirsty, or tired.
  • The modern day story of the first five Assassin's Creed games take place from September 2, 2012 to December 21, 2012, but the games themselves were released over the course of five years between 2007 and 2012. After Assassin's Creed III, however, the story of the games begins progressing in real-time.
  • Ensemble Stars! has been running and putting out four stories per month since 2015, but almost all stories are set within the same school year, because if the game moved on it'd mess with the complex web of characters and relationships already set up, sending away all of the third years (the most plot-relevant and usually most popular characters) and requiring a whole new year of first-year students.

    Web Animation 
  • The first three seasons of RWBY all take place within the same school year, while they aired from 2013 to 2016.

    Web Comics 
  • For An Epic Comic, it takes about 1-2 weeks for Mario Hyrulia to make a new issue, which focuses on events of at most a single day.
  • As of December 2010, over 40% of the entire run of Dead Winter focused on the events of a single day.
  • Anti Bunny has in ten years managed to move its main story from late Winter to Summer and that's with a timeskip in there.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl had an entire summer arc... that took over a year. Aside from a couple of side stories, the status of the comic is around the end of Winter 2008.
  • Something*Positive sets entire plot arcs on the day the arc is supposed to end. This is usually done for holidays (for example, an arc set on Valentine's Day will start early in February and hopefully end on the 14th).
    • On the other hand, the time between stories runs in real time. Since this comic has run since 2001, and some minor characters only rarely show up, this can lead to some big leaps. The Alt Text of a 2018 comic reminded the readers that Mickey's son, who was born halfway through the comic's lifetime, is indeed the 11 year old boy showing up now.
  • Books Don't Work Here As of Page 60 where this is Lamp Shaded the whole comic has taken place in one day. that same page also mentions that there will be two flashbacks coming before the day is done.
  • Drow Tales from Chapter 3, Page 14 to (as of writing this) Chapter 28 takes place over only a few months of comic time, from the end of the school year to the Moon's End Festival. Faen's fleeing was originally drawn in 2003, which means it took 7 years real time for Ariel to rescue Faen. Talk about "The Longest Wait"!
  • As of November, 2012, all of the posted comics of El Goonish Shive have taken place over about 134 days (just over 4 months). January 21, 2013 was the comic's 11th anniversary.
    • This includes two story arcs ('Painted Black' and 'Grace's Birthday Party') which both took over a year and a half to cover periods of roughly six to eight hours, while the week that lay between them took another eight months to tell. The closest to real-time the comic gets is March of 2003, which took place over about a week. Meanwhile, between May 2007 and March 2009, two days passed.
    • As of Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 we wrapped up the day that began on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009. That's only about 10 real-months for a comic-day.
    • For a complete timeline, check out the Wiki.
    • The month of March starts here and ends here. That is almost seven years to cover a month. It was an eventful month, but still...
    • Even Dan seems to be getting slightly freaked out about it - although we've FINALLY moved on a couple of days (quite rapidly too), both the comic for 18th Aug 2010 and its commentary are part hanging a stadium-size lampshade, part flat out pointing out the time-warp. A scene took place noted as "Last October" (vs the then current in-strip date of "April 7th")... which apparently PRE-DATES — quite significantly — the comic's first storyline... published more than 8 1/2 years earlier. That's a ratio of about 15:1 on AVERAGE...
      • And 15:1 is still pretty tame compared to some more extreme examples below.
    • Webcomic Time is even lampshaded in this comic: "June 7th continues. Again. It will never end."
    • Tedd gets knocked off his feet in the January 22, 2013 page. He lands five comics later. That's a week to depict two thirds of a second. The author lampshades this in the commentary of a subsequent update (where, ironically, we witness a Time Skip that covers six months, which is longer than the entire comic's run up until then).
    • In this case, the problem becomes evident due to the (non-magical) technology available. In March, the wealthiest main character has a flip-phone and complains about her pay-per-text plan, but by April (three real-time years later), phones capable of uploading videos to YouTube are common. The days and dates given indicate that the year could be 2002 or 2013.
    • As of the 'Pandora's Box' arc, the story is well into the month of January again, making it almost an entire in-universe year since the comic started, as opposed to the 12+ years that have passed in real-life.
    • Lampshaded in-story in this installment of the "Squirrel Prophet" story-arc. The Magical Cards tournament started mid-April 2014 which was the beginning of the evening that was still going on end December 2014. Granted, a lot of character development and plot exposition happened but still ...
    Sarah: I just realized how hungry I am.
    Grace: Yeah, it feels like our dinner before the tournament was months ago.
  • Lackadaisy has, after approximately six years, covered about two or three days. This is rather understandable, considering it's an exceptionally detailed, professional-quality comic done in the artist's free time. In addition, mountains of backstory, accompanying art, and silly side-comics have been released in the time between the (roughly monthly) main comic updates.
  • Similarly, five years of MegaTokyo cover just over two months of plot (one day per chapter, plus 52 days for 'Chapter Zero', six weeks of which was skipped over entirely while a main character recovered from injuries).
    • It gets especially bizarre when you consider that, despite ostensibly taking place in 2000, characters will make references to whatever is going on whenever the strip they're in came out. For example, strips that supposedly occur only a few days apart reference Metal Gear Solid II and IV, which came out years apart. Perhaps the most extreme case is Ed (a Sony employee)'s shirt, which promotes the as of then unreleased PS3. When the PS3 finally was released, the logo on the shirt changed to PS4 (which was then announced in early 2013).
    • Parodied in Mac Hall, when Ian and JM are dressed up as Piro and Largo, respectively, for Halloween. "Largo" asks if "Piro" can get him a beer, and "Piro" responds that it'll take at least three months.
    • You've got to give credit to author Fred Gallagher for being aware of this, and keeping the continuity where possible (Yuki's iMac). This even gets lampshaded in Chapter 10 with Yuki's "very old cellphone."
  • Grey is... is released 6 pages a week, however it can sometimes take 60 pages just to get through to get through a single day.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!! seems to progress at an overall rate of a month every two years, but some individual story arcs may take six months or more to cover a few hours.
    • Hilariously explained in this guest strip, nine months into a very, very long day that didn't actually end until the strip was Retooled, seventeen months later.
  • Lampshade Hanging on technology datedness in this cutewendy strip.
  • Comics like PvP and Unshelved avoid this by having all comics (save the rare Story Arc ones) set the day they are posted. Time moves naturally and each strip is a snip from their daily lives in our timeline, allowing the characters to instead inhabit Comic-Book Time.
  • Although Ozy and Millie have celebrated Christmas every year for the past 11 years, the two main characters have only aged two years.
  • Averted with Ciem 1. It is set 20 Minutes into the Future (2019-2021 to be exact.) Possible future anachronisms like CRT monitors aside, the story took two years to make and takes place over the course of three years.
  • Freefall is set in the far future, in a distant starsystem with no stated earth-date, so staying synced to the calendar is no issue, but the story so closely follows its character's lives that one of the in-story days took 250 comics (over a year and a half) to tell. This got pointed out as one of the main characters hit her bed exhausted.
  • Likewise, though Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire doesn't have to be slaved to our calendar, taking place in a different, magical world, occasional jokes about how the characters' several-hour-long adventures "felt like months" crop up.
    • For example, two strips here and again here
  • It's Walky! (as well as its sibling comics Roomies! and Shortpacked!) took place more or less in real time. Occasionally, time would slide forward (for example, a storyline that took four months to cover the space of a couple hours ended, and the next storyline kicked in a few months later, syncing back up more-or-less with the real world.)
    We should gather and remember our favorite moments from Dumbing of Age past. Remember Sunday? And Monday? How about Tuesday? And can you believe Wednesday? Wow. And let’s not even get into Thursday. And, jeez, Friday is still going?

    What a roller coaster ride. Those were some good times.

    May we all live to see Saturday.
    • Dumbing of Age is a particularly egregious example. As of March 27, 2015, the comic has entered its 28th day in-universe, while four and a half years of real-world time have passed, which translates to about two months in the real world for every day in-universe. The 28 days includes a three-day time skip between days 9 and 13 and a two-day timeskip between days 18 and 21, meaning there's actually about three months of real-world time for every written day.
  • Parodied in Tsunami Channel: Experimental Comic Kotone, in which a character causes a Temporal Paradox by buying an iPod Nano even though the story takes place in 2001.
  • Don't think too hard about this one: late in the course of Fans! it's established that before Tim the Fanboy went to CosmoCon, he had abandoned his faith in Islam due to 9/11. The CosmoCon storyline itself was written in 1999. However, Fans! covers about two years of events over the course of six years of writing; in later times the writer slipped in a Retcon that the plot began about two years before the real-time end of the comic. This does, however, leave the 1999-era references in the early days, such as Newt Gingrich as a possible threat, hanging a bit loose.
  • In Questionable Content, the Not a Date between Dora and Marten was established as under a year after their first meeting, almost two years before in real time. The two years since have covered a matter of weeks. This is made stranger by the strip's up-to-the-minute indie music references.
    • QC is remarkable in that nearly every day of story time has a clear beginning and end, shown both by story (daytime vs evening activities) and by changes of t-shirts. As of October 2008 about 58 days have been shown, with gaps of unknown duration. The longest continuous sequence so far was 13 days (strips 396-750, 16 months in real time).
    • Emphasized in the News Post of the first comic of 2009, where the author notes that the comic will soon feature its first change of season in its run. Its five-and-a-half-year run.
    • The breakup between Dora and Marten as of November, 2010 illustrates the problems that occur around this trope; in Webcomic Time, it would count as an Autumn/Winter fling, though in real time they've been together for years. Everyone in the comic is treating it as if it were very much the latter, not the former. This may also have to do with the fact that by the time they broke up, they had already been living together for a while, giving the impression that it was not just a season fling.
  • In Between Failures 488 comics from to March 2007 to July 2009 covered around 1 1/2 days, with the 1st day taking 305 strips.
  • Grrl Power: The first day of this comic took slightly more than four years to cover. In point of fact, the first five comics took place several months afterward, and the entire run since then has been a flashback. As of the end of May, 2015, the comic is still at the beginning of the second day, and still in Flashback Mode.
  • An infamous example was Avalon, which started in November with the beginning of 10th grade, and by the end of December, was synced up so that most days fell somewhere within the storyline showing them. It was meant to run until graduation (three years later in Canada), but during the last year of story time, the author's updates became more and more sporadic, and he began to backdate the comics. Two years past the expected finale, he threw the towel in and described the events that followed in an unusually involved "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • Something of a fourth wall-breaking plot point in Bob and George: During the Mega Man 3 parody storyline, George is tied up and hung from the ceiling of Dr. Wily's fortress. The events of the story take a few days at most, yet George complains that he was hanging from the ceiling for three months: long enough for him to go slightly crazy, then flip out and destroy Wily's fortress upon discovering that he could have gotten himself out at any point.
  • Subversion: In Achewood, Philippe is five years old. He will always be five years old. However, all the other characters are forecasted to eventually age and die.
  • Lampshaded in 1/0, especially near the end of the comic.
  • The first 14 chapters of Gunnerkrigg Court took about two years of real time, and covered Annie's first semester at the Court. Ironically, chapter 14 took the entire (real time) summer of 2007 to show the last day (webcomic time) before summer holiday. The author even noted this as such in Chapter 8 with "that night seemed to go on for months".
  • The Final Boss battle and ending in Adventurers!! might have taken about two to three hours of real time, at most, but covered the last two years of the comic's run.
  • At the start of SupernormalStep the three main characters are Fiona, Jim and Van. They're separated at the end of Book One, and we follow Fiona around for a couple of days. The comic then cuts back to Jim and Van, who in real-world times were last seen in the comic eighteen months ago.
  • Loserz ran over six years (with breaks), but the characters are still in High School.
  • Avoided in a rather novel fashion by The Sins. Each outing can not only take several years of in-comic time, but are told in a non-linear fashion, with some outings taking centuries before or after the preceding arc. This allows the comic to have team members who have retired or died come back without altering continuity. Fans still hope we never see the time period with the new Envy again, though, as he is also the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Replacement Scrappy.
  • Sluggy Freelance is a classic example. One storyline titled "5 Minutes at a Party" took roughly a month. Lampshaded: "You've been gone for 4 weeks but it feels almost like a year! Implicit jump-forwards over boring bits allow keeping the stories' time roughly but explicitly parallel to the real-world date (and bonus stories to be inserted earlier in the continuity retrospectively).
    • Combined with a dash of Comic-Book Time, as once explained by Pete:
      In Sluggy Freelance we often signify the passing holidays, so actual years go by, but are the characters of the strip really a decade older? I have to admit the gang is getting older but maybe not THAT much older.
  • Only a few months have passed so far in Venus Envy, despite the fact that the comic has been running for nearly seven years. In fact, the cast has been working on a school production of Romeo & Juliet since November of 2002.
  • Misfile began in March 2004, and is just in May 2005 in 2019, for a rate of about 1 year = 1 month. Word of God states that the whole comic is slated to end sometime around summer 2005.
  • A particularly epic example: Elf Life's "The Wedding" storyline, chronicling the events of a single day, ran for about two years! It did, however, contain several extended flashbacks.
  • Sabrina Online has been running since 1996, yet the story has progressed (at the most) about two and and half years. This is marked mostly by the growth of Timothy Wolfe; born early on in the strip, he is now approximately 18 months old.
    • Sabrina suddenly announces at one point that she has a college degree, explaining that she studied in the dead time between strips, which is why no-one knew
      • Amy's pregnancy leapt forward in one episode where she woke up, stared at her stomach and asked "how LONG between strips, anyway?"
  • Wigu explicitly covered seven days between January 2002 and April 2005.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Lampshades the fact that ten years passed between the end of its run as a print strip in a club newsletter and its revival as a webcomic by having all its characters get in a fight about the events of the last printed strip.
    • TIAOB recently announced that it will be introducing seasons, that particular strip involving a giant robot knocking over a pile of freshly-raked autumn leaves. It's also notable that Molly the artificial monster is still anticipating her first birthday, despite having been running around in the strip since 2006 (or since 1995, if you count the print comics version). Most of the strip's story arcs (the longest of which lasted a year) appear to take about a day or two.
  • And Shine Heaven Now used to be a "nobody ever grows" strip, until a time-travel storyline published in 2006 retconned the previous strips and set the date definitively at 1997. By the end of 2008, in-strip continuity has reached 1998.
  • YU+ME: dream Part 1 went on for about four and a half years, but the entire story was only about six months long. However, it's got a good excuse, as all of Part 1 was All Just a Dream
  • Tweep spent about 10 months on a single evening where two characters went on a date and three others went to a club. That's not counting the rest of the day before that, which took nearly 6 months.
  • Although not as significant as some of the other examples, it's still very real in Slice of Life comic Gender Swapped. It was even Lamp Shaded on page 34. That's right, not even 50 pages in and the author was cracking Meta.
  • As pointed out by the author, FreakAngels spent the first year of its run (at 6 pages per week!) covering a period of less than 24 hours.
  • Khaos Komix has some odd timeline problems, but according to Word of God, it's intentional, and the timeline isn't set, it's all just happening "right now". Even the flashbacks, and revisiting previous events.
  • On at two separate occasions this has been Lamp Shaded in S.S.D.D when Kingston notices that he doesn't recall anything that happened during a timeskip after a lengthy story arc. The other characters usually attribute it to his massive drug use.
  • In a more egregious example, Agatha Heterodyne, hero of Girl Genius, entered Castle Heterodyne in the spring of 2008. She left the castle in November 2011 after a day or so in-universe, and the act of ringing the Doom Bell, which she ordered the minute she left, took three weeks.
    • Immediately following this, the entirety of the November 2011 strips are being timed in-universe. In the last panel of the November 30th update, exactly two minutes have passed since the October 31st update.
    • The entire webcomic can be considered an example of this, given that it started in 2002 and only covers 2 months and an unspecified number of days. More recently, time skipped forward by three years and a half.
    • An unrelated instance is lampshaded in this strip.
    • Lampshaded again here, five months (of real time) after the aforementioned strip.
  • Emergency Exit plays this one straight; the author has in fact placed reminders to explain when things are taking place.
  • The cast of Sugar Bits have been fighting for well over a year.
  • Beyond Reality suffered a long delay in early 2009, and posted this on its five-year anniversary.
  • The Mansion of E has been updating every day since the summer of 2003... and has finished about twenty-four hours of strip time.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The entire Battle of Azure City takes place in one day, but took 66 comics (and most of 2007) to get from sunrise in #418 to the crescent moon in #484.
    • Then spoofed in the panel at the top of the page, where the all-seeing Oracle knows the difference between Real Time and Webcomic Time, and makes sure the readers do, too. For reference, that strip is from 2008, and the thing he's prophesying will happen "within the year" has yet to come true.
    • Another sequence where we're given the exact time is the whole "Darth Vaarsuuvius" sequence, from strip 634 to 653. According to #667, it took just over 20 minutes. Included was several weeks during which Durkon cast the 10-minute Resurrection spell.
    • And as of strip #842, we've learned that the time between Vaarsuuvius casting Familicide (#639) and the characters reaching Girard's hideout (#839) was about two weeks.
    • Increasing schedule slip had the party stuck in Girard's hideout for nearly a year real-time, while not even a day in-universe. A particularly nasty example hit with comic #863. Sometime shortly after producing this, the author badly cut his hand and couldn't produce any comics for the better part of three months (whereas he usually updates about once a week).
    • Another lampshade is hung in #1136, when Thor points out that Durkon has been dead for five and a half years (real time), and Durkon, puzzled, replies that it's only been a week (in-story).
  • Averted in Multiplex, which progresses in real-time. Characters have even celebrated their birthdays in-comic on the appropriate days.
  • Skin Horse had a ten-month-long arc that took place in three days of webcomic time. Two nights also, since werewolves were involved.
  • In Penny and Aggie, the "Dinner for Six" arc took place mainly over two days, with most of the story covering a couple of hours, but ran for five and a half months. "The Popsicle War," which covered about six weeks in-comic, ran for a year. "Missing Person," which covered less than twenty-four hours, ran for three and a half months.
    • The comic began in 2004 real-world time towards the end of the main characters' first year of high school. The comic ended in 2011 with a storyline depicting their final summer vacation of high school before their senior years started. Writer T Campbell confirmed on the forum that the comic is meant to take place in the current real-world year, though throughout the strip the characters continuously make references to pop culture and real-world events that have happened in the intervening real-world years.
  • Alice:
    • Alice and her friends are implied to be in in 6th and 7th grade from 1999-2005. During that time, they celebrated numerous Christmas and Halloween events as well as Dot's mother having a fifth child.
    • Alice lampshades this here - "Grade Seven seemed to last five years."
  • Averted with the Webcomic version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which takes place in real-time.
  • The Class Menagerie apparently took place over two years, although the summer internship arc took place over a couple weeks.
  • In Flying Man and Friends, the characters begin a journey (with an elephant pulling their house) in this strip, and don't actually seem to go anywhere until nearly a month later.
  • The "VilAnon" chapter of Everyday Heroes had Jane telling her life story over the course of one evening, but took 15 months of real time to complete.
    • The first episode was in 2007; by the five-year mark, in-comic time was about 6 weeks.
  • Homestuck: The first 3 acts take place on April 13, 2009. (Due to excessive time travel, alternate universes and the constant back-and-forth of POV between the characters, almost all of the plot aside from flashbacks has occurred on five or so distinct days in separate universes, which, from the characters' points of view, all occur at the same time. Mind Screw yet?) Naturally this leads to confusion when Real Life holidays start cropping up. So much sweet loot. You'd almost think it was simultaneously your birthday, AND Christmas or something. Of course you know that is ridiculous and could never conceivably happen.
    • Similarly given an epic lampshade here, and here ("HAPPY APRIL 13TH, 2009 EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!"), the latter being posted on Christmas, 2010.
    • Homestuck has to be the token example of this trope. Although there is a lot of time travel, in the actual timeline, less than one day has passed. It is still his birthday, one year later. In fact, if you went on an Archive Binge, the time taken to read through the archives might well be greater than the time depicted onscreen. At the end of Act 5, it finally is no longer his 13th birthday.
    • The entirety of Act Five Act Two takes place over the course of more or less exactly 24 hours. It ran for more than a year from 9/19/10 to 10/25/11.
    • The first three acts of Act Six are a bit strange because while they take place on November 11th, 2011, they're set in an Alternate Universe.
      • It gets a bit weirder. Two characters actually travel between one universe and another by literally Breaking the Fourth Wall. Although they're only in "our" world for a span of three nanoseconds, they subjectively experience about three years. Word of God suggests the possibility that by entering our world they are being forced to make up the difference in time.
      • And then it's revealed that two of the characters in the Act 6 universe are actually living about four hundred years in the future.
      • Act 6 Act 4, which consists of a single Flash, depicts the five months spent by the B2 Universe characters in their session while they wait for the other characters to arrive on, presumably, the date of 4/13/12.
    • In one of the flash game segments, Dave has an entire monologue lampshading this trope, lamenting how (hypothetical) people from a world where the world didn't end in 2009 would feel that his references were growing dated and ending it by wishing that he could see what the world would have been like if it had survived to the (then in-comic time present) of... 2011. (Said flash was released in 2012.) To quote:
      DAVE: remember we are both kind of stuck in 2009
      DAVE: so im like popculturally frozen in that period
      DAVE: all my references feel like they might be getting a little stale
  • An angry mob in Instant Classic shows up in a comic dated September 2007, but doesn't actually do anything until June 2009. "... How long have we been standing out here...?"
  • The entirety of Two Weeks Notice is supposed to take place over a singular period of two weeks but has been running for over a year, even though the author has talked about ending it for more than half of that.
  • In 8-Bit Theater the Light Warriors are given 24 hours to prepare to fight Chaos, which in real life took from October to February of the next year. However, it's then played with when they realize (too late) that it only became night once one of them slept at an inn.
  • Although Scary Go Round was not immune to this trope, it has always managed to even out comic time vs. real time in the end. It remains to be seen to what extent its Spin-Off Bad Machinery will stick to this, considering that the story there starts three years later than the end of SGR, ergo in 2012.
  • It's hard to tell, but it seems like only at most two months have passed in the last seven years of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures.
  • Lampshaded in this Ménage à 3 strip. The creators of the comic freely acknowledge that, even with the occasional time jumps, weeks in the story can take years to pass in the real world; they sometimes adopt a Comic-Book Time approach to this.
  • Due to its very sporadic updates, an arc in Sexy Losers, set during a single day, started in 2004 and ended in 2011.
  • A given Story Arc in Rumors of War takes about three months of real time to cover a couple days worth of in-world events. Then it skips ahead a couple months to the events of the next Story Arc. Recently, there was a Whole Episode Flashback to events that followed the end of the very first story arc.
  • In General Protection Fault, most of the action in the To Thine Own Self arc, which lasted over a year of real time (With some delays), took place over the course of a day, and the climax took place over a few minutes.
  • In The Cartoon Chronicles of Conroy Cat, Doggy is about to get hit by a giant snowball rolling down a hill, and between the days the comic doesn't update, builds a ramp to send the snowball back to where it came.
  • Enjuhneer has lampshaded this as the result of "putting Pocky in a time machine."
  • Think Before You Think, in this comic.
    Julia: It's like every day is several weeks long.
  • A Loonatic's Tale solves the problem by ignoring it. The comic is set more-or-less in the modern day, but in a completely different world, using a calendar that puts the events of the comic somewhere around the year 3000 (by which I mean, they're not using the Gregorian calendar). As of this writing, it's the beginning of summer, but the current story arc is taking place sometime in autumn (except for the bit at the very beginning, which is a flashback to the beginning of summer about twenty years ago).
  • Schlock Mercenary typically maintains a 12:1 ratio of time, so 1 month in the webcomic is about a year in real life. However, this is by no means standard, and there have been a few books that pick up weeks, or even months after the previous one left off.
    • Book 12 has taken almost 11 months, and only a few hours have passed in the comic.
    • Lampshaded in this strip.
    • Also referenced explicitly by the narrator in this one.
    • According to the RPG timeline about three years passed from the beginning of the strip to the book 17 storyline, or about a 1:5 ratio. This includes a few jumps of several months between the later books.
  • Inverted in this Goblin Hollow strip.
  • Lampshaded in Dragon Ball Multiverse, when an annoyed U18 Vegeta mentions that it felt like two years since his fight in the tournament, when only a couple of hours have passed in the comic.
  • The infamous bathroom break from Pawn. The act therein, and the conversation between Baalah and Ayanah occurs in what looks like, the span of a few minutes. The actual progress of the comics release, meant it lasted for almost a year.
  • Red String already had a reasonably slower pace, as it started in 2003 when Miharu and her friends were 10th graders and they've yet to finish their final year of high school. However, it hit a slow point even for that when Miharu's final summer vacation started in the summer of 2009. And even then, the break up arc is still recent in story time, despite having started in the summer of 2008. As of the start of 2012, the end of their summer break is finally in sight. Some of this is related to the author's pregnancy in 2011, which slowed updates to two pages a week for most of the year. Some of this is also due to a broader focus on the supporting cast, which led to many of the summer break stories taking place concurrently, necessitating a slower progression of in-universe time.
  • In Tower of God, the first season took about a month, considering how they skipped a lot of time during the training arc. In real time, it took about one and a half years.
  • The Whiteboard: Lampshaded at least several times:
  • Inverted in Better Days where although the story arcs happens in Webcomic Time, there are large timeskips in between some arcs that result in the comic progressing faster than normal time.
  • The title character of Max Overacts feels time is out of joint in this strip.
  • Commander Kitty has been running for three years now, but the plot seems to have taken place over the course of a single day...except the bus trip.
  • Surf Rat & Spencer began its "Summer Vacation" arc in July of 1999. 13 years of schedule slippage (and possibly outright abandonment of the comic) later the arc is sitting at the spot it was in September of 1999.
  • Zelfia has been running for the better part of a year, and has barely chronicled two full days, and that INCLUDES half a day being covered in a single-comic montage.
  • Fruit Incest avoids this by using multiple characters and storylines that have little to no connection other than being set in the same universe. If it weren't for the many Christmas specials, it would be impossible to tell how much the overall timeline has progressed. Sometimes, individual story arcs can fall victim to this though, with characters disappearing for months at a time only to return in a comic set immediately after their last appearance.
  • The Fox Sister: The one-page-per-week update schedule with occasional Schedule Slip has the story advance by only a few days in-universe in about one and a half years of real time.
  • The Noob: "Already hanging Christmas decorations? It feels like yesterday that we took them down."
  • Vampire Cheerleaders and it's sister comic Paranormal Mystery Squad began in early 2011. So far the two series have covered a period of seven months from approximately September/October 2011 to April/May 2012. The current crossover story arc covered the week leading up to the prom and began in May 2012. As of 5/24/13 the prom night battle has only just ended two weeks ago after taking several months of real time to finish. The arc itself is currently still ongoing.
  • morphE took 94 pages (5 months real time) to get through the first day of events. Though this may be because the first 50 or so pages only had a few clicks per update. Starting about page 70 the updates have started to move a lot more naturally.
  • Matchu lampshades this in a Christmas Filler Strip
    Chu: Nope, it's December! It was September last week and will be September again next Tuesday!
  • Lampshaded in the fantasy theme of Irregular Webcomic!, which references an event that took place only a few days ago in-comic, then has The Rant point out that the original event was two years previously. Then again, most other themes have similarly drawn-out timekeeping, especially when time travel gets involved.
  • The first arc of The Overture is a flashback that takes place three weeks before the prologue. Five months of real time later, and the story has yet to catch up with itself.
  • Vatican Assassins: It's hard to tell just how much time has passed since the beginning of Chapter 1 in 2012 to the present story, as chapters tend to be self-contained, with twice a week updates the story gets through about 3 chapters a year. Some do run into each other, with Chapter 5 taking place directly after 4, and Chapter 7 directly continuing Chapter 6 The only sure thing is that at least 6 weeks had to pass between Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 since Xy broke his leg. Add on to this the fact that the 2014 Advent Calendar takes place "Christmas Last Year" in story. If that's true, then when does the 2013 Advent Calendar, also set on Christmas, happen?
  • Goblins is notorious for its slow pacing. Once a story arc lasted almost 3 years, while it took only one day in the webcomic. A lampshade is also hung on this trope here.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: While individual arcs are all compressed over a few days, the timeskips between two arcs can be considerably larger. The Wormhunter and Players arcs both ended in the same year, but are stated to happen years apart (long enough for Runtherd to go through puberty and start looking for a wife).
  • Kong Tower Lampshades this here
  • Girls with Slingshots ran for ten years. The protagonist had just finished college when it started and is nearly 29 when it ended. According to word of god it's a ratio of 1:1.5 between comic time and real time. Despite that however they still celebrate annual events at the same time every year. On particular example involves a conversation pointing out its Hazel's birthday and later pointing out the current month, which are both different.
  • Zebra Girl: Given a nod in this strip, which was written almost 10 years after the comic debuted:
    Wally: Two years?
    Crystal: Not even that, but it feels like ten to me.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The first story arc ran from November 2013 to September 2018, and, Distant Prologue aside, covered less than two months of in-comic time, even having a Time Skip once in a while.
  • Angel Moxie: "Wow. It feels like it's been months."
  • Shotgun Shuffle has been running since 2009 and seen our protagonist, Ellie Buckingham, go through several jobs and a few hairstyle changes, but it's all taken place over the course of about 8 months so far. Possibly most egregiously displayed by the effects of puberty mixed with Art Evolution resulting in Ellie's youngest sister going from boyishly flat in the first page to one of the bustiest girls in the cast. Made more absurd when Ellie says her growth happened over the course of about 3 weeks in-universe.

    Web Original 
  • Tales of MU has been running since June of '07, the protagonists first semester of college doesn't end until March of '11. Then there is a time skip to the start of her Sophomore year, the first semester of which doesn't end until October of '14. Her week long vacation over winter break still hasn't ended as of March of '15.
  • Over ten years of The Saga of Tuck have produced one calendar year of plot where it is still canonically 1997.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Since the series started in 2004 at an in-universe time of 2006, by 2015, they've gotten all the way to April 2007. With the first Esoteric story, released on March 1st 2016, the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year of Whateley Academy has been shown, and the 2006-2007 Graduations were shown in Pomp and Conspiracy, released on 02 May 2016.
    • Generation 2 (Gen 2), which starts around the 2016-2017 terms of Whateley, had its first release on 28 December 2015 with The Big Apple Comes With Calamari (Part 1), which, in-universe, starts on September 5th, 2016. The release on Halloween 2016, Following the Path of Cute, showcases some of Sept 17th, 2016, in-universe.
  • The Nostalgia Chick's Dark Nella saga was released over two and a half months but seems to only take place over one or two days at most, if that.
  • Played for Laughs in a Liar Town USA post depicting a fictional TV show called Cabin Pressure which appears to be about a single commercial airline flight, but has somehow reached its eighth season. (Of course, if the flight really is a week long, then it could be an example of Real Time instead.)
  • Smash King started in 2008 not long after Super Smash Bros.Brawl was released. In that time it's managed to cover about a month worth of content including a 25ish day time skip.
  • City of Lost Characters
  • This was always bound to occur with PATHCO, being a once-weekly two-hour Pathfinder campaign - however, it became particularly glaring with the 'Sea Storms and Scum Ports' and 'Return to Arbelo' modules. They take up less than 4 or 5 weeks in-game, however, it's taken the players over a year to progress as far as they have.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls is set during the summer of 2012, with the series itself airing from June 2012 to February 2016.
  • The first three seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are heavily implied to take place over the course of a single year, which were about three years in real time.
  • Pepper Ann has all its events take place during the 1997-1998 school year, despite episodes airing over about four years.
  • While Recess ran from 1997 to 2001, it's firmly established in Recess: School's Out that it takes place during the September 1997 - June 1998 school year. Meanwhile, the two Direct-to-Video films in 2003, "Taking the Fifth" and "All Growed Down" take place in the autumns of 1998 and 1993, respectively.
  • South Park has events such as the kids going from 4th grade to 5th grade and Stan's birthday being celebrated. A very rough estimate would be one in-show year for every 10 seasons.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy has its first four seasons take place over a single summer, with the fifth season taking place the following autumn. The Cut Short sixth season would have taken place during the winter, while The Movie that was produced in its place occurs during the next summer. The series aired over the course of ten years.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man starts on the first night of Peter's junior year of high school and was intended to last five seasons, ending when Peter and his classmates Graduate from the Story. As is, it was Screwed by the Lawyers after two seasons, only making it to spring of the first year after a year-and-a-half real time.
  • Steven Universe: The way the series airs roughly matches the time progression in the show. For example, Steven begins the series at age 12 and "Steven's Birthday", which premiered a little over two years later, has him turn 14. However, the show rarely has episodes occur during winter, and forty episodes (from "Catch and Release" in the middle of season two to "Onion Gang" near the middle of season four) take place over the course of two months. "Reunited" is apparently set eight months after "The Answer", which aired two-and-a-half years earlier.
  • The Venture Bros.: It is confirmed in season seven that between "Past Tense" (S01,E11) and "Arrears in Science" (S07,E03), only two years and 17 days have passed, compared to about fourteen years real time. That said, pop culture and mundane technology have remained contemporary with when episodes are written.


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