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Stable Time Loop / Webcomics

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  • In this hilarious xkcd comic, Hitler is actually killed. However, the man who kills him only goes back to 1945, and murders him in his bunker at the end of the war.
  • This Questionable Content guest strip. VERY SPOILERIFFIC!
  • In the Dominic Deegan, Oracle For Hire arc "The Storm of Souls", Dominic researches the creation and death of the first Acibek at the advice of Klo Tark, who met Dominic for the first time when he saw him several thousand years ago watching the death of Acibek.
  • These happen so often in Bob and George that characters declaring "I hate time travel" became a Running Gag.
  • In Wicked Powered, time travel incidents result in the protagonist being his own father AND his own mother.
  • In Stickman and Cube, Cube purchases a time machine on eBay. The time machine then travels to the future by itself, and when it returns, Cube sends it back. Through time. To before they bought it. The guy who sold them the time machine finds it, and, having no other use for it, puts it on eBay...
  • Breakpoint City has one here.
  • In probably one of the shortest and most succinct versions of the trope, Fuzzy of Sam & Fuzzy engages in a Stable Time Loop in this strip.
  • Equally as short is this Faulty Logic page, on why you shouldn't rob your future self.
  • Nuklear Power is fond of this trope.
    • this one from 8-Bit Theater where Black Mage witnesses himself saying something in the future, wonders out loud why he will say it, and then says it in response to Red Mage's explanation in the space of three "panels". In the following strip, Red Mage raises the question of where these words are actually coming from. "Information cannot erupt into being from nothingness! It's a paradox!"
      Red Mage: I try not to think about it.
      • Here's another 8-Bit Theater example. In a previous comic, Thief stole his class change from his future self. In the linked strip, the other three Light Warriors get their class changes reversed while fighting Sarda. Thief remarks on how that "worked out okay." Cue his class change getting stolen by his past self.
        Thief: Well. I deserve this.
        Sarda: What you deserve is so much worse.
      • 8-Bit Theater is revealed to be one giant time loop. Here's how it goes; A child named Sarda loses his family and is traumatized- several times- by Black Mage and the Light Warriors. Sarda grows up to be the most powerful wizard in existence, and uses his power to go back to the beginning of the universe to become its master and prevent the Light Warriors from existing. When he gets there, a White Mage beat him to it and now the universe obeys her commands, with Sarda stuck in the past. As the world forms around him, Sarda vows to keep White Mage from going back by putting her into a pocket dimension- which turns out to be the universe's birth. Meanwhile, Sarda decides to send the Light Warriors on quests so that they become heroes of legend, and when they're at their strongest, destroy them for added humiliation, and in doing so they cause many of the trauma kid Sarda experienced. As Red Mage points out, Sarda is just as responsible for his suffering as they are, as he could have stopped them beforehand. He retorts with;
        Sarda: No one can unmake the past. It's already happened, there's no "undo". Similarly, the future already happened. we just haven't reached it yet.
        Black Mage: Okay, I have a theory. It's called: I never knew it possible to care less about time travel.
      • The party is so baffled by the logic of the situation, that Black Mage just tries to blast him into oblivion and no one tries to argue further with the logic.
      • Sarda assumes that changing history is impossible out of sheer ego: he tried it once and failed, so that has to be just because nobody could possibly do it, rather than because he personally made a mistake. It's implied that time can sometimes be changed, but the probability is really low even with god-like intelligence.
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    • The Dreaded: The Shu Stone is an epic artifact that gives its wielder the power to see the future exactly as it happened or will happen. Turns out that ninjas have taken steps to subvert this power, like obscuring context and "f***-tons of amnesia powder". And of course, sending messages through the Shu Stone by listening to them and then declaring the message to open air about two minutes into the future.
  • Atomic Robo: H. P. Lovecraft's literal worst nightmare eats his head and materializes as a giant monster. Robo attempts to drive a bomb into the monster, only to realize that since it lives in multiple dimensions, the other future-robos are there as well and ready to explain to him that he needs to learn electrodynamics and multi-dimensional quantum physics in the future in order to upgrade the bomb to "Eldritch Exploder" status. Lovecraft's partner agrees with the explanation.
  • The Space theme of Irregular Webcomic! was stuck in a complex one in which the characters constantly revenge their own actions to themselves. It ended taking up most of the other themes, and (as expected) ended in a Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies at the end of that year.
    • Of course, parts of the time loop were unstable, as Iki Piki's Splanch is now, theoretically, infinitely old.
  • This Starslip Crisis strip is utterly shameless and straight-faced about this trope. When strips had individual names it thanked Heinlein
  • The entire Surreptitious Machinations story arc of General Protection Fault was ultimately about stopping a Stable Time Loop that a tyrant was using to stay in power.
  • Occurs in Sluggy Freelance during the "Oceans Unmoving" Story Arc, thanks to a godlike who decides "Life's SO much funner with the paradox rules turned off!note "
  • The ultimate fate of Unicornmotorcycle Sparkelord in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, as he is thrown into a portal that strips him of his memories and sends him into a pyramid, where he is discovered by the antiques dealer who first rode him at the beginning of the comic, takes up with Dr. McNinja again, is thrown back in the portal, and repeat.
    • Sparklelord is unique in that he's half-unicorn exiled from another dimension, half-motorcycle stuck in a time loop. Something like that, anyway.
  • Every instance of time travel in Umlaut House.
  • It's pretty safe to say that the majority of the plot of Homestuck is built out of Stable Time Loops, both intentionally and accidentally created. To describe all of them would probably take up most of this page.
    • See the Time shenanigans page on the MSPA Wiki (massive spoilers). The most prominent examples being John receiving the same bunny for his birthday thrice, and an ectobiology session where John basically creates himself, his friends, and their guardians, who are sent to Earth at different points of time by meteor-defense-portal-displacement.
      • Best of all, the latter actually leads to the former. After Dave gives John the first bunny, John gives it to baby Rose, who fixes it with her sewing needles thirteen years into the future and gives it back to John, who then gives it to baby Jade. Jade has it taken from her accidentally by an Alternate Universe version of her grandfather, named Jake. He then fixes it up again, and tunes it up to be incredibly dangerous, before sending it back to her. It gets waylaid on the way, allowing Jack Noir to take it and use the Black Queen's Ring of Orbs Fourfold to horribly mess up John's session. The bunny eventually gets back to John a third time, just in time to save him from Jack Noir, but not before things become so irreparably damaged that they need to restart their universe, through an apocalypse of at ''least'' Class X-4 to fix it. And best of all? The restarted time line is the one Jake comes from.
    GC: "L1ST3N TH3 UN1V3RS3 W1LL 34T P4R4DOX3S FOR BR34KF4ST... G3T US3D TO 1T"
    • The Green Sun, born of the destruction of two universes. Yet the power of the Green Sun is what destroyed them.
      • To clarify: Doc Scratch, a being powered by the Green Sun, set forth a plan that would end in Earth and Alternia being destroyed. Earth was destroyed by the Sovereign Slayer, another being powered by the Green Sun, while Doc Scratch personally manipulated events on Alternia to lead to the destruction of the universe. The circumstantially simultaneous destructions activated the Tumor, a giant bomb that, when activated, will create the Green Sun. Ironically, the people who put the Tumor in place thought they were trying to destroy the sun...
      • On top of all this, the Green Sun is located at the center of the Furthest Ring, where distance and time interact in incomprehensible ways, so that you have to know the proper route to not only ensure you end up where you're going, but you get there at the right time too; going three feet to your left could rocket you a million years into the future, and you'd never even notice until you got there.
      • Not to mention the fact that their attempt to destroy the Green Sun, due to the nature of the Furthest Ring, ended up making them travel back in time to create it, thereby setting in motion the events that would lead to them trying to destroy it (in other words, the events of the entire comic).
    • A more minor example, which still emphasises the nature of Weird Time Shit, is when Present-Karkat is on his bulletin board, having an argument with Future-Karkat. Eventually Future-Karkat logs off, having left Present-Karkat in precisely the right state of mind not to take any crap from Past-Karkat when he logs in. (Not only that, but Present-Karkat changes his typing colour from grey to candy-red to make a point because Future-Karkat is "already" doing it.)
      • and honestly, that kind of stuff happens pretty much every time Karkat uses the bulletin board system, this just happens to be pretty much the least confusing example.
    • As Knight of Time, this is Dave's general modus operandi. He uses multiple short loops in combat to copy himself, and a complex network of longer ones for a Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit in just a few hours.
      • The big bad of the series has similar powers. He uses stable time loops to ensure his own existence.
    • Jujus, special magical items, are so rare that only one can exist anywhere in the multiverse at any one time. It turns out that all jujus we have seen in the series are ontological paradoxes, they are passed from one person to the next, and due to time travel come into the possession of the original owner.
    • This one's a doozy: The juju that granted John retcon powers that supposedly let him make real changes in the timeline? An attempt to use it to defeat Caliborn before he becomes Lord English is what turns him into Lord English. Furthermore, that battle was what turned Caliborn's original soul-stealing juju into the juju that gave John his retcon powers.
    • An even bigger doozy: Lil' Cal is a Juju that contains the soul of Lord English. The events that lead it to become so involves two dimensions and multiple time loops. First, Gamzee uses his powers to manifest Lil' Cal inside of Dave's dreams as a nightmare. Lil' Cal manages to end up on the meteor where the kids and their guardians were created, and is given to Bro/Dirk. Due to the universe having to reset itself, the puppet ends up going into two dimensions, with Lord English's soul going to the pre-reset universe, while the other universe gets an "empty" puppet. The puppet eventually ends up with Jack Noir, who takes it with him when he leaves the universe for the Troll's session, where it ends up being tossed into a time portal to the Troll's old universe, where it's used as a component in creating Lord English's Dragon, Doc Scratch. Doc Scratch then sets into motion events to destroy the Troll's universe so that he can die and thus allow Lord English to manifest, while Lil' Cal ends up with Gamzee, which influences him to manifest Lil' Cal inside Dave's dreams. Eventually both Lil' Cal's end up being given to Caliborn, Lord English's younger self. The puppet with the soul gets sent to another Jack Noir and ends up transferring the soul into Jack, destroying the doll in the process, while the empty doll remains with Caliborn until his soul, and several others, are sealed inside the puppet, which is then banished into the void, thus creating Lord English and giving him the means of manifesting as a nightmare in the first place.
    • Ever wonder why a time-travelling, omnipotent, invincible demon would call himself "Lord English"? It turns out that he chose the name after the one time in his life he was ever overpowered through sheer strength (that was before he became omnipotent), by a boy named Jake English. However, Jake's surname came from his grandmother, Jade English, who in turn chose that name as a way to spite the woman who raised her, naming herself after the being that woman feared above all else: Lord English.
  • Meimu, the Big Bad of the "Rethinking the Natural Law" arc in Touhou Nekokayou, creates one by accident when trying to Set Right What Once Wasn't All About Me.
  • A major one in Two Evil Scientists occurs when Tails attempts to bring Sonic and Mega Man back from the time periods Quint sent them to, only to accidentally rescue the titular scientists from their former self-destructing fortress, after which they suddenly became dangerous — which was the primary reason Tails was trying to bring Sonic and Mega Man back.
  • Shelly of Wapsi Square managed to take advantage of time loops and places where time flows in different directions to arrange the Vision Quest gone wrong in her childhood that had a huge influence on her character.
  • Lampshaded in The Omega Key when the characters discover that they themselves, via time travel, were (accidentally) responsible for the destruction that they thought they were wrongly accused of.
    Adam: Oh, no! I hate time travel.
  • Girl Genius:
    • This probably happens in this strip. The time window that Bang sees the first time happens after the second one from the point of view of the characters in the window. Gil calls Bang a maniac in the first one, probably because she pointed a gun on them in the second one, which she did because "earlier" he insulted her.
    • In the sidestory ''The homecoming king" (from here to here) some students summon the Ht'rok'dyn (the first Heterodyne) from the past. He learns that he has descendants who created a big empire, so he goes back in time to make sure it happens.
    • This trope also happens in a much larger scale. At the very beginning of the comic, a mysterious creature appears, causing some kind of electric anomaly. This leads to chaos on the streets, which results in Agatha having her locket stolen, which results in her spark coming up, starting the whole story. Much later, after several adventures, she is exploring the old workshop of Van Rijn, hudden under Paris. There she sets loose the Muse of Time, who looks just like the mysterious creature that appeared at the beginning.
  • Faulty Logic: Fox travels to the future to steal a comic idea from his future self. When he gets back, his past self snatches the page out of hand and disappears.
    Fox: That's like the eighth time that's happened!
  • The 2011 time travel Story Arc in The Packrat explains why Buchla modular synthesizers have no keyboard: Packrat scared and angered Don Buchla and destroyed his synth prototype with his time machine keytar.
  • Subnormality has "The Mission".
  • In Frankie and Stein, it appears as if the arc for Chapter 4 is this. Stein and Shelly go the future where the teenage versions of themselves are waiting. Future Shelly comments that this experience has happened to them in their past.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Defied. When dealing with an exploding galactic core, a missile with exactly the same ID signature as one which already exists is detected. It turns out it came from the future, which gives Kevyn the idea and means to travel back in time and prevent the problem from ever occurring, and also save Tagon's life. However, rather than first send the missile back to give him the idea, Kevyn destroys the present version of the missile to prove that the universe does not enforce one. After all, if it did, there would be no point in what he's about to try.
    • Later, Alternate Future!Kevyn pretends to build a machine which can send messages through time, claiming they follow this trope. It's just a fake to buy time to be rescued.
  • Sonichu did this once. Author Avatar Chris and his companions return to the point where Chris would get smacked with a basketball in high school and be inspired to create "Bionic". However, it turns out that the ball was actually one of the Sonichu-whatever-it-is-being-called-at-this-point and, to make sure it ended up this way, Chris swaps the two.
  • Narya and Miji of Dark Legacy Comics invented a time machine. Hilarity Ensued. The time machine has been used several times, first resulting in a meta joke where they meet their past (poorly drawn) selves. More recently, Narya happens upon Miji, apparently crushed and dying, so he takes the time machine, and, well... This actually begins a story arc that results in an even more bizarre example.
  • Bug Martini combines this with Breaking the Fourth Wall here.
    "Is he still back in panel one?!"
  • Once in Housepets! Peanut ended up in one thanks to a booth at a Psychic's Convention.
  • In Goblins Minmax has the sword Oblivious which he can exchange between his future/past self. While this is happening, he can actually talk with said self, causing this trope.
  • In Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc: Usagi, now reincarnated as Sailor Chibi Chibi, goes back in time to convince her past self to destroy the Galaxy Cauldron instead of merging with it like in canon. This ends up leading to the canon events anyway, as Sailor Moon causes Chibi Chibi to see the error of her ways.
  • Time travel in the Bobbinsverse — mostly seen in Scary Go Round — tends to create stable loops, though not always. Notably, the "Hard Yards" storyline in 2017 involves a Retcon that implies that much of the history of these comics was generated by a really bad case of You Can't Fight Fate.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things a future Commmander Badass travels back in time to beat up his past self and steal his coffee. After getting beat up the present Commander immediately begins to travel through time. The best part: they're doing it to impress Jonesy. Note the title of the comic: "We all peacock in our own way".


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