Favorite Quotes

"The fact that you think you are a person is a socially induced hallucination. There is not such thing as a person."
- D. Chopra, Playboy March 2011 interview

Friday, December 16, 2011

Metafiction 101

One of my favorite extra bits that comic book creators put into their stories are the metafictions.  Metafiction has been defined as "a type of fiction which self-consciously addresses the devices of fiction".  In comics, this can be everything from a street sign with the artists name to a creator appearing in the story.  This used to be more rare in the past than it is today.  I especially appreciate the subtle ones that do not detract from the story or call attention to themselves.  If you do not know the reference, then it passes right by the reader like an inside joke.

Today's example isn't subtle, but it is old.  And it would have been on the newsstand today in 1941.
Blue Ribbon Comics v1 #9 (February 1941) [M.L.J. Magazines Inc.]

In the Corporal Collins Infantryman story in this issue, the lead character runs into an old friend of his, Sergeant Boyle, who just happens to have a comic strip in another MLJ comic book, Pep Comics.  Their side kicks, Slappsie and Twerp also appear.  As becomes typical in character crossovers, they get into a fight and then team up to defeat the Nazis.  When they meet:
The metafiction is of course: "You're even in the wrong comic strip", as Corporal Collins acknowledges they are in a comic strip.  Then in the last panel of the strip Collins talks directly to the reader, breaking the fourth wall.
MLJ didn't wait to hear if the readers wanted to see Collins and Boyle together again as they both appeared the same month in Pep Comics #12.  They shared the same strip in several later issues too, in Blue Ribbon, Pep, and Jackpot Comics.

Expect more of these in the future.

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