Webcomic Beacon #148: The Tropecast #2: Breaking the 4th Wall

In this Tropecast, Jules Rivera (Marsh Rocket) joins Adam and Alex to discuss the trope Breaking the 4th Wall! Mainly as a basic introduction to the basic forms of breaking the fourth wall, complete with examples. This is a simple idea, but can expand into a multitude of additional points of interest and discussion (of which we’ll save for later!).

TV Tropes: “Breaking The 4th Wall“, “No Fourth Wall“, “Sliding Scale of 4th Wall Hardness


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Also, you missed out an interesting example of “leaning on the fourth wall”. Ever noticed that in DC Comics, The Joker is the only one to interact with caption boxes? He leans on them, sits on them, etc (the extent to which he interacts with them depends on the writer, of course). It’s pretty clear that he’s aware that he’s in a comic, but the comic hardly ever makes a fuss over this.

Sorry, but Turtles forever was awesome!

the 80s Turtles is yet one of those cartoons that you THINK you remember fondly, but once you watch it again, you are like: “… why the hell did I like that? This is terrible.”

The only redeeming quality of those old 80s cartoons is that they are so bad and terrible, and it’s almost humorous to watch. However, I still cringe at watching them. I shun my younger self for unironically enjoying them.

80s cartoons now only have the excuse of nostalgia, from a time we didn’t know better, nor recognized terrible, terrible voice acting, animation, and writing.

90s toons kicked ass, and pushed tons of envelopes… unfortunately things started getting safety-capped since the late 90s…. 🙁

I still say the Turtles were okay…but G.I. Joe meets all the criteria you mentioned, as does Transformers. The 90’s shows were better overall…The Tick, Pinky & The Brain, Freakazoid, Batman, Beavis & Butt-Head for just a few examples.

Although we may be able to agree on one thing: No matter what you think of 80’s cartoons, the 70’s were far worse. Other than Scooby, it was pretty wretched. Jay Ward’s cereal commercials were better than most of the actual cartoons!

Nice EP, but… kinda feels rushed, especially since you actually mention that the subject could give you enough material to do a full size episode. Why do an EP then? Oh, and I can’t BELIEVE you spoke about the fourth wall in comics and did not mention Animal Man.

I appreciate the feedback, and do feel what you are getting at. The EPs, Newscasts, and Tropecasts are still in development, so there’s room to improve. However, there are still a few stipulations for them, one is a time limit (30 min), the other is prime focal point (no news, no tangents). The reasoning is to have a definite seperation of show styling between EPs and the Core programming. (Expanding programming without changing it).

The EP here is really an introductory episode for future 4th Wall related EPs. Because going into all of the many aspects and possiblities, would be way too much for a single episode, in one sitting.

We only touched on a little of what you should not do with 4th wall breaking, and very little on what you can do (when its appropriate). An EP on dos and don’ts could easily be done. Novel/Webcomic Awareness was briefly mentioned, but is a whole idea on its own, but still related to the 4th wall. Journal comics, and the like, were mentioned. While the 4th wall is involved with those, they stand to be they’re own topic.

So this just goes over the basics of the 4th wall. One thing EPs are about, are easily digestable episodes. Helps organize large, tangentable topics. And of course, the Tropecasts are basically for introduction and example.

I do appologize for the rushedness you felt of the show. The 4th wall, and breaking it, is certainly a large and involved subject. I’m proud we stayed mostly of prime topic, and that I kept my mouth shut for nearly all of it!

We coulda covered a lot more in a core episode, but we’d still have to go over time, or make a 2 parter. I’ve other things to schedule for those times. Trying to get guests and such.

So, I’m not trying to make excuses… I’m just saying that this was the thought process for this episode. Again, always room for improvement, and we’re still finding the groove for the new programming.

I’m super behind on listening to the podcasts, but I just heard the one where you were talking about the Fifth Wall! I think it’s pretty neat, but fourth wall (and beyond) is hard to do well.

Also, may I humbly suggest adding in the wordpress plugin that allows commenters to be notified of replies? Makes it easier to know if a comment has been replied to than going through all the episodes every day to see if there’s been another comment.

Do you know the name of said plugin?

Anyway, yeah, the 5th wall is something only to do if you more or less know what you are doing. In my comic, and others, during The Crossover Wars, we played it out as though authors could actually enter the comic world. Not merely as a joke or 4th wall breaking, but that the webcomic multiverse was another dimension. This is kinda done in other comics as self-insertion (not to the extreme of the Crossover Wars).

The point is, that the 5th wall would then be the actual me-me making the comic, admitting its all fiction. Versus “4th wall me” is playing along within the comic.

The trick with this is that in my comic, and others, esp from the main players of the Crossover Wars, is that this is fully or partially canon to the comic (though level may vary).

@Timethief To further what Fes already said, we’re trying to keep these “Tropecasts” and other EP featurettes informative, entertaining, and (hopefully) brief. The problem is that conversations like these, by their very nature, tend to perform almost a verbal “wiki-hop”… it’s just that instead of winding up with 20 tabs open on your browser, we wind up with 20 fragments of things we really *could* have also talked about but didn’t. The longer time limit of the normal Beacon episodes allows for a lot more “housekeeping” for those topics cast to the wayside.

Ideally, a few times a year we can take one of the bigger Trope Topics and invade a full-sized Beacon episode. For instance, I wanted to cover tropes spawned by Star Trek, since so many of them show up in comics… but instead of dicing them up and doing a Redshirt here and a Romulan Ale there, we’re hoping to do a big full-sized episode to let us really run wild with the references.

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