Memento Essay Ideas For Apollos Outcasts

"Man, do you remember that article we wrote about framing devices?"
"That was a damn good article. How did it go again?"
"Well, I believe it went something like this..."The Framing Device is a narrative technique in which a story is surrounded ("framed") by a secondary story, creating a story within a story, often through Separate Scene Storytelling. The inner story is usually the bulk of the work. The framing device places the inside story within a different context. Framing devices typically involve outer-story characters as the audience of the inner story, such as a parent reading a bedtime story to a child. Other times, the outer-story character is the author of, or a performer in, the inner story. Occasionally, the inner story is a hallucination or delusion experienced by one of the outer-story characters. The inner story does not need to be a work of fiction from an frame-story character's point of view: letters, journals, and memoirs can also be used as framing devices, often in the form of Day in the Life. Anthologies and Clip Shows often use framing devices to connect the unrelated elements into a unified whole. The earlier "Treehouse of Horror" specials of The Simpsons use a framing device in this way, though the practice was eventually abandoned. Occasionally, an entire series can use a persistent Framing Device, such as Cro, which was framed by a recently thawed mammoth, who was telling the stories which composed the bulk of each episode. A noteworthy example from the days of radio is Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, whose stories were told in the form of explanations to a private detective's expense account. To a lesser extent, devices such as the Captain's Log can be viewed as a Framing Device, especially when (as in many Star Trek: The Original Series episodes) they appear to have been written after the fact. The Framing Device is Older Than Dirt: It goes right back to the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt with the "Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor", c. 2300-2100 BC. Sometimes the trope is written using nested framing devices that are several layers deep, as in the Arabian Nights. Frankenstein is framed by a story of an arctic expedition coming across the dying Dr. Frankenstein; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is framed by the mariner foisting his story on an unwilling wedding guest. One of the first (if not the first) examples in film is from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which (on a suggestion from Fritz Lang) framed the original story as a flashback in an asylum. The technique sometimes seems to be a byproduct of an ancient notion that it was improper to waste people's time with lengthy fabrications. This is frequently used as a technique to highlight that the narrator of the framed story is not the actual author, and so draw attention to the possibility of an Unreliable Narrator. See Whole Episode Flashback, Storybook Opening, How We Got Here and Nostalgic Narrator for more specific examples. When framing devices are stacked on top of each other, they create a Nested Story. If a framing device is set up and is later forgotten by the end of the story, it becomes a Forgotten Framing Device. If the existence of a framing device is used as a Plot Twist, we're dealing with a Nested Story Reveal. If the framing story is "I came across this story and decided to publish it", the author is invoking the Literary Agent Hypothesis. Compare Intro-Only Point of View.

"Hmm, not bad, not bad at all. But can you give me a few examples of it?"

"Maybe one or two..."

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    Anime and Manga 

  • A particularly ingenious version of this is used in Martian Successor Nadesico, in an inversion of its Show Within a Show relationship with Gekiganger 3 — it airs as an episode of Gekiganger in which its characters are watching Nadesico. It manages to lampshade the Recap Episode when one of the Gekiganger characters complains that nothing new happens in them, and it's an excuse for the production company to take a break.
  • Tenchi Muyo! Extra Chapter: Galaxy Police Mihoshi's Space Adventure (a.k.a. Mihoshi Special) is framed by Mihoshi telling the story to the other characters from the original OAV series. Most of the characters in the "inner" story are Alternate Continuity versions of them.
  • Baccano!! uses this both in the anime and the first of the Light Novels, though in different ways. The anime starts with the Vice President of the Daily Days and his young assistant trying to make sense the bizarre history of the last three years. The book starts with the conta è oro of the Martillo family (eventually revealed to be Firo rather than the assumed Maiza) relaying the 1930 story to a Japanese tourist in the present.
  • Monster opens with a passage from Revelations which puts the actions of the series it parallels in a very different context.
  • The story of the manga Not Simple is told as a reporter named Jim writes a book (also titled Not Simple) detailing the many trials of the protagonist's life.
  • King of Bandit Jing: Seventh Heaven is a 3-episode OVA series in which the first and third episodes act as a frame for the second one.
  • The first half of Episode 14 of Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Clip Show with SEELE discussing the events that played out up to that point framing the segment.
  • Similarly, Samurai Champloo has a recap episode framed via Mugen (surreptitiously) reading Fuu's diary entries.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo frequently has a theater (conveniently placed in the main character's head) which plays various films, directly cutting into plot points in the middle of episodes, done mainly for the Rule of Funny.
  • The movie adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was set up as Reinforce Zwei talking about the events that eventually led to her creation, as recounted by Hayate and the Wolkenritter.

    Comic Books 

  • Conan by Dark Horse Comics. The actual stories are framed by the tale of an Eastern Prince of a less ancient (but still pre-Gutenberg) era that discovers the Nemedian Chronicles (maybe the "Know, o Prince" line gave them the idea). The one reading the tales of Conan to the Prince (who cannot read) is his vizier, a wizened old man dressed in Stygian garb...
  • Many horror comics had framing devices in which the comic had a "host" who would welcome the reader into their domain, and start to tell this month's story. EC Comics was best known for this, with their most famous being the Cryptkeeper. DC Comics used the device a lot, with most of their hosts going on to become supporting characters in The Sandman.
  • The Sandman itself used this a few times, most notably in the "World's End" arc, which featured a framing device of characters swapping stories in an Inn Between the Worlds.
  • In All Fall Down, chapter two's funeral service frames a flashback to the heroes and villains' last hour of glory.
  • Many Astro City flashback stories use framing devices of one of the participants telling of their experiences many years later, notably "Shining Armor" and "The Dark Ages".
  • The story of Circles is told mostly from Paulie's point of view as he writes in a diary, but his is not the pure point of view, since we see many things to which he is not privy. Paulie's diary segments are a Framing Device used to introduce the subject of that season's problem.
  • In Gotham Academy, the Endgame tie-in and the Yearbook storyline both feature a premise involving the main characters telling stories. In the former, the students are housed together following a power outage caused by the Joker's Endgame, so naturally the main characters take the chance to share Joker-themed ghost stories while the main plot is explored. In Yearbook, Maps is comforted by Olive when her idea for a yearbook club is rejected, leading to a multitude of side-stories featuring (mis)adventures several of the Academy cast had undertaken, all removed from the main plot of the entire book.
  • The first volume of Back to the Future is framed as stories that Doc Brown tells his sons while constructing the time train in the Old West.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The second series is framed as a story told by one of Wismerhill's daughters to her own daughter about how grandfather became the emperor of this strange new world.
  • Arawn is a Start of Darkness story on how the title character became an Evil Overlord after being abandoned and betrayed by all those he knew and losing the only woman he loved, being narrated by Arawn himself to one of his victims.
  • Über is narrated as a historical document in alternate timeline where the Nazis developed super-soldiers at the brink of the Reich's defeat in World War II.
  • Each issue of Plutona runs with the main narrative but jumps to a traditional comic style for a few pages at the end to explore Plutona's backstory.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 

  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Episode of Bardock reveals at the end that all of the events were part of a story told to Gohan by his father in a dream. The other movies that don't fall into canon are stated or implied at various times to be movies, written by Krillin, produced by Nappa, and watched on TV by Vegeta.
  • Total Drama:
    • In Legacy, Heather and Duncan at Camp Wawanakwa comprise the frame story, and their reminiscences comprise the inner story.
    • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, Brett learns that he will be a contestant on the the newly revived Total Drama Island: The Next Generation and learns that his mother was a contestant on the first season of the original Total Drama Island, so he asks her to tell him all about her experience. Her tales comprise the inner story, with the byplay between Brett and his mother comprising the frame story.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • The Mass Effect fic The Translation in Blood frames the backstory of Rear Admiral Hannah Shepard (Commander Shepard's mother if you chose the Spacer background) and Councilor Sparatus as Hannah, during the early days of the Reaper War in Mass Effect 3, looking back on the First Contact War 35 years earlier. The fic switches back to the present for the last quarter or so of the story.
  • The Infinite Loops began when the multiverse computer system suffered a system crash and necessitated the induction of time loops while the admins scrambled to repair things. The actual STORY is really a bunch of people screwing with their own canon in any way they see fit.
  • The story The Quiet Fox is predominantly told in flashback with each flashback chapter narrated by a different character. Sasuke's chapter is particularly memorable.
  • Redaction Of The Golden Witch is presented as a critical analysis of an unpopular Forgery based off the events of Umineko: When They Cry. The author personally believes that the reason this particular Forgery breaks from established storytelling patterns is because it's actually a confession related to another incident that occurred on the island in 1996.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • From Bajor to the Black frames vignettes of Eleya becoming first a Bajoran Militia NCO, then a Starfleet officer, and finally a commanding officer, with Eleya answering unheard interview questions from journalist Jake Sisko.
    • "Remembrance of the Fallen": Tiana Lanstar visits her wife Sobaru's grave on the Bajoran Day of Remembrance, and reminisces about an encounter with Kanril Eleya at Starfleet Academy ten years earlier and how they celebrated the Day of Remembrance together.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of Britannia starts every chapter with a Fictional Document of some variety
  • Fairy Without Wings has each chapter start and end with a quote that falls in line with the context of the chapter. The quote can be said by a character of eitherfandom or a pre-existing one. Sometimes it's song lyrics.
  • In The Story To End All Stories, each chapter ends with a cutaway to Mike and the Bots discussing what they've just seen.
  • Doctor Whooves – The SeriesChristmas EpisodeA Hearth's Warming Tale is framed as Luna telling the story to three little fillies, with comments and discussion from the kids.
  • The main installments of the Twice Upon An Age series are presented as being adapted from the official Chantry historical record concerning the Second Inquisition of Thedas. The author is a "Chantry scholar" turning the formal records into a story, assisted by her editor, Varric Tethras. There are also a few side volumes which have their own related but separate framing devices.
  • MCU Rewrites: The events of Black Widow are told through flashbacks with narration from Natasha Romanov\Black Widow as she is on trial now that the entire world knows her past crimes after she leaked both SHIELD and HYDRA on the Internet during Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

    Film — Animated 

  • Aladdin begins with a peddler selling a magic lamp and proceeding to tell the story of the fortune it brought its previous owner. The third film, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, ends with the same peddler bidding the viewers farewell with a reprise of Aladdin's opening song, "Arabian Nights".
    • One of the proposed endings of the framing device was revealing that the peddler was in fact the Genie, which explains why only these two are four-fingered when everyone else is five: because they were the same character. It also explains why the peddler has the lamp, as obviously Aladdin wouldn't have sold or thrown away a memento of his best friend.
  • The children's movie Balto begins and ends with live-action sequences, where a grandmother is explaining to her granddaughter about the diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, and how it led to the 1925 dog-sled serum run. The end sequence, where they visit the statue erected to honor the dogs who heroically brought the medicine the town needed, reveals that the grandmother is actually Rosie, the little girl who almost died.
  • Used often in direct-to-video Barbie movies.
  • The main story of The Book of Life is told to a group of schoolchildren by a museum tour guide reading from the Book of Life. Tellingly, though, La Muerte and Xibalba look exactly as they did in the main story when they reveal themselves in the end.
  • The Care Bears Movie is told by an elder Nicholas about how the Care Bears helped him.
  • Heathcliff: The Movie (released in 1986) is made up of "stories" he tells to his nephews, which are actually select episodes taken from the TV show's first season (premiered in 1984).
  • The movie based off the 1980's Dennis the Menace cartoon had a framing device of Dennis trying to help recover Mr. Wilson's memory by telling him about some of their past adventures.
  • In Heavy Metal, the first segment has the Loc-Nar appearing to the little girl: the subsequent segments are the stories it tells her.
  • The Lion King 1½ has Timon and Pumbaa watching the original movie as this.
  • Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol has the title character performing in a Broadway production of the Dickens story.
  • The Chuck Jones version of Peter and the Wolf had live action segments in between some of the cartoon ones, even crossing Roger Rabbit Effect territory at least one time.
  • Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw took place in the fifties but was told as a story by characters in the eighties.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, a band of live-action pirates (rathermaniacally) run into a movie theater to watch it.
  • The Town Santa Forgot opens and ends with an old man (who it turns out is the now-elderly main character) telling the story to his grandchildren.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • 300 uses this coupled with Unreliable Narrator and possibly a kind of unreliable listener, as the events depicted in the Flashbacks are very over the top. The story is told by the sole surviving member of Leonidas' 300 Spartans, who was sent back to Sparta to tell the tale before the Final Battle. At the beginning we see him telling the story at a campfire before a group of Spartans, missing an eye (which he still has in the flashbacks). At the end we find he was telling it to inspire his men before the Battle of Plataea.
  • The story of the Bell family in An American Haunting is told through a letter written in the 1800s that is found more than a century later.
  • The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was framed by segments of Ernie and Bert talking to the audience about what they are about to see and to encourage them to interact with the film. They would also interrupt the movie at certain points.
  • The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman is another interview-framed film. The interview takes place in 1962, when Miss Pittman is 110 years old. Her memories extend back to before the American Civil War.
  • The script in Bad Education. The inner story is about Ignacio's past and history with Father Manolo and his time as a transvestite. The outer story is about Ángel in the present trying to get Enrique to adapt his script to film.
  • Similar to the SpongeBob example, Barney's Great Adventure began with the main characters getting ready watch the film in a theater.
  • Big Trouble in Little China begins with old Egg Shen telling the entire story to a lawyer, but it's a pretty pointless sequence that has no consequences on the rest of the plot.
  • Broadway Danny Rose is told this way. A group of people has gathered around a table, recalling the events that make up the movie.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the first example of this in film, and carries the interesting little twist that the story Francis is telling the old man on the bench is a complete hallucination.
  • Citizen Kane frames the story of Charles Foster Kane's life with the reporter's search to find out who or what "Rosebud" was.
  • The very strange and fortunately all but forgotten Martin Short film Clifford is framed by Short made up as a very old man being describing his childhood. The main story thus framed involves the bratty prepubescent child, played by Martin Short.
  • Ever After: The movie is about one of Cinderella's descendants telling The Brothers Grimm about her real life.
  • Evidence is essentially a found-footage horror movie framed by police investigators viewing the footage to try and determine who the killer was.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom was implied by its trailer and promotional material to be a kung fu film set in ancient China, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li. It was, in part. It was also a Journey to the West inspired story, starring a modern day South Bostonerlearning to defend himself and getting character development through a dream. Or Was It a Dream?
  • Forrest Gump is mostly framed by Forrest telling his life story to random strangers while waiting for the bus, which also servers as a very long How We Got Here.
  • The Hobbit film trilogy seems to use this technique by using Bilbo's writing down of his adventure to the Lonely Mountain into the Red Book on his 110th birthday. It cleverly uses it to help establish the relationship between Frodo and Bilbo and the fact that they live together, which was never really done in the The Lord of the Rings.
  • In The Imitation Game, the main story is framed by the protagonist in a holding cell, telling the police officer his entire story, and leaving it to him (and by extension, the audience) to pass judgment on what exactly he is.
  • Iron Man 3 is framed as Tony recounting the events of the film from When It All Began to how it ended. As it turns out, he was telling the story to Bruce Banner, attempting to play the role of psychiatrist, even though Bruce isn't that kind of doctor.
  • 1915 silent film The Italian includes a seemingly pointless framing device in which lead actor George Beban, playing himself, is reading a novel called The Italian. Then the story proper, with Beban playing the lead character, begins. The film ends with Beban-as-Beban finishing the book.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets is framed by the main character writing his memoirs as he waits in prison to be executed for a murder he did not commit. The memoir details the eight murders he did commit.
  • The Last Command begins and ends with filming a Show Within a Show - movie about the Russian Revolution. Main character is an extra in this movie and a former general of Russian Empire. Main part of the film is his flashback to the Revolution, remembering How We Got Here.
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman is framed by a letter that is sent to Stefan, a musician.
  • Little Big Man is framed by the very elderly main character, Jack Crabb, being interviewed (in a nursing home) by a collector of oral histories, about his younger life.

This is the end of the Savage Critics.

Really, this is entirely because I am a complete idiot; in about sixteen different ways.

To start with, I've always been the world's most unreasonable collaborator.  I expect people to do shit exactly like I want it, but I'm not very good about expressing what that exactly is BEFORE I expect the thing.  In practice, that's almost barely workable in my physical stores, but it's never ever worked with anything even slightly open like the internet.

Savage Critics started back from the old CompuServe days, where I would read an entire week's worth of comics, and give one word (or up to a sentence, maybe) reviews.  I was young, and (well, I thought) very clever, so making snap judgements publicly seemed entertaining to me (at least).  Once gated communities like CompuServe became passe (well, until Facebook, at least), I thought it might be cool to do the same thing on the internet as a stand alone blog.  It was the Wild West back then, and this was an early blog (I think Tom Spurgeon called it "foundational" at one point?) of commentary and criticism.

I had a decent run, I think, of doing the snap review thing -- a couple of years where I was mostly weekly, but eventually I started to flag.  I thought I could bring in Jeff Lester to make up for me flaking, but in reality that mostly meant trying to offshore everything on to Jeff.  And then we added Graeme, and it became the same thing even more.  Even Graeme's lovely wife Kate got sucked in, redesigning the site, and ending up with me thinking "Ah, she's handling all the backstage stuff forever, right?"

Even our big expansions, where I tried to invite lots of wonderful, active, smart bloggers to come be part of this "brand", it was mostly me trying to avoid work myself -- if I have 7 guys each posting weekly, then I can post a lot less, right?  Hell, this continues to this very day where the utterly fantastic John K (UK) basically single-handedly keeps this thing running with real content.  All I ever do is say "Hey! I wrote another TILTING".  Even the weekly shipping list thread?  It has my NAME on it, but its been written by my manager Doug Slayton for like the last three years.

Most recently I tortured the awesome Thom Venier (who redesigned the general Comix Experience site) with a lot of unreasonable demands to get Sav Crit off of Wordpress and on to something that wasn't spam injected and gross and horrible.  He has done, in my opinion, not only an excellent job, but did so way above and beyond anything I deserve, trying to do stuff that only ever existed in my mind, and wasn't on the "old Sav Crit" site for probably a half-decade.  I was an ass to him about a lot of it, and I apologize here publicly: I am sorry Thom.

My main goal was to preserve the decade or so of content -- there's some EXCELLENT writing on here... virtually none of it mine.  And its here, and all of the tags and everything are all still there, so its at least somewhat searchable.  Long-time internet searches are probably going to be fucked up now, but hopefully the search engines will find things again.  (Seriously, Type "Jog" into that side searchbar, and get lost in dozens of excellent pieces!  Or go read the thrilling "The Case Against Dan Didio" -- the categories, the tags... you should be able to find lots of cool stuff)

So I apologize for being a shitty leader, and not at all appreciative enough over the years to Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan.  To Kate McMillan.  To Abhay Kholsa and Jordan Smith and John Kane.  To Sean Collins, Chris Eckert, Joe McCulloch, Tucker Stone, David Uzumeri, and Douglas Wolk.  To Doug Slayton.  To Thom Venier.  To all of you I am really sorry.

And you, dear reader -- there are still scores of you who have followed this thing through thick and thin.  All of our regular commenters -- esp Peter, Thelonious_Nick, MBunge, John D,  Davids O, and T, Corey (Ottawa) and Chris Hero.

To me, Savage Critic is NOT Comix Experience, but the nature of the Squarespace account means it has to have the branding on it, but that totally shreds my last bits of interest in being "Savage".  There's a place for snark, but a commercial businesses site is kind of not that place, and so I'm going to call this blog here and now -- I've saved all of the past content, and I'll keep paying for the domain name as long as we keep the store going so as to keep it alive, but this is the functional end of Savage Critics.

I intend to build a NEW blog for Comix Experience in the next few days (before next week's new comics announcements, for sure), so we can continue to post the shipping lists, and any news of note, and I'll put that URL here as soon as I build it, and I hope those of you who have fun sharing your "What looks good to you?" answers each week will continue to do that there.

The new Comix Experience blog (with shipping lists, etc.) is here:

Again, thank you everyone I named above, as well as everyone that I didn't, and I really do sincerely apologize for my failures of leadership over the years.


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