Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Steven Padnick let me know about this term, which is not really a comic book term, per se, but more just a literature term that also applies to comic book writing as well as it applies to any other literary medium (Stephen actually used the alternate term, “hang a lantern”).
It refers to the practice in stories of addressing reader’s questions about the story yourself IN the story. Like if the reader is thinking, “Why didn’t they just do ____?,” have a character say why they didn’t do ____. Or if a reader is thinking, “Boy, that is implausible,” have the character remark, “Man, if I didn’t see that for myself, I doubt I’d believe it actually happened!” Or if a reader is thinking, “This is just like that one time on ____,” have a character remark, “Wow, this is just like that one time on _____.” Essentially, address the person’s “arguments” before they make them.
Probably the most notable example of hanging a lampshade is when characters acknowledge that what is happening to them seems like something that would happen in a TV show/movie/comic, and that’s where the story is actually happening.
It differs in my mind from a “Cousin Larry trick” because hanging a lampshade is an intentional admittance of reader concerns, while a Cousin Larry trick is an after-the-fact attempt to deflect legitimate concern.
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.