Fourth Wall Breaking (also known as Cosmic Awareness) is a term referring to an instance in which a character in a work of fiction acknowledges the fact that they are fictional. Typical instances of fourth wall breaking include directly referring to the audience, directly interacting with a visual they wouldn't otherwise be able to see (i.e. word balloons, edges of panels, etc.) among other things.
In the Sonic comic publications, fourth wall breaking occurred mostly during the early, more comedically-aimed era of the series. Today, fourth wall breaking is extremely rare in the main Archieverse, usually being exclusive to comedic characters (such as Bean the Dynamite), however fourth wall breaking occurs often in the comedic Sonic Boom.
Instances of fourth wall breaking are usually considered non-canon (though this is not usually a problem as the majority of fourth wall breaking instances are minor throwaway moments that possess no baring on the overall story) but more extreme cases render the entire story non-canon, particularly stories that rely heavily on fourth wall breaking to drive the plot along.
- Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 1
- Upon hearing the noise being made by Burrobot above Knothole, Sonic exclaims that it's time to show his stuff because "This comic book's still called "Sonic the Hedgehog", isn't it?"
- When Rotor takes out his chainsaw, presumably to free Antoine from the Krudzu, only for to turn out he was only using it to saw off the end of the table, Sonic turns to the reader and asks if they were fooled too.
- When Sally Acorn assures Sonic that he doesn't need to destroy the Krudzu, Sonic insists that he has to save the day because he's "the star".
- Sonic tells the reader to set up their SEGA Genesis and help him get to the Casino Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, or to just turn the page.
- Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 2
- Upon spotting Scratch and Grounder, Sonic instructs Tails to head back to Knothole, to which Tails asks why. Sonic lists three reasons; the third and final reason is "to allow the artist more room to draw".
- As Sonic shoots up through the hole in the sky, he quickly instructs the reader to flip the comic over so he doesn't hit them in the face.
- Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 4
- Sonic asks the reader how their "Genesis skills are coming along", before a caption asks readers to help Sonic collect rings with their SEGA Genesis controller.
- Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 13
- When Knuckles asks how else would Sonic and Tails know about the emerald, Sonic points out that's because he just told them "on the last page of part one".
- Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 33
- Sonic bounces off of the credits box on the first page, directly acknowledging this fact in the process.
Fourth wall breaking is commonplace within this series.
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 1
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 2
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 3
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 4
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 5
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 6
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 7
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 8
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 10
- As Viewtiful Joe and Sexy Sylvia witness Sticks and Axl in battle with Sting Chameleon and Volt Kraken, Sylvia says that they seem to have "wondered into some sort of franchise crossover".
- When Axl asks Sticks how she's suddenly with him in Viewtiful Joe's universe after having just been in the Monster Hunter universe with X earlier in the issue, Sticks says that she "fell through a plothole", though in reality she meant a Genesis Portal.
- When Sticks recruits Joe and Sylvia, Joe agrees because he and Sylvia had "been waiting on their own sequal for a while now". In hearing this, Sticks is estatic to hear that they also break the fourth in this universe, to which Slyvia states it's mainly for "self-referential humour".
- Archie Sonic Boom Issue 11
- When Eggman arrives on Sonic's doorstep and the latter asks him what bad thing he's done, Eggman produces his own copy of this very issue and tells Sonic to read what happened for himself.
- Sonic points out that the concept of there being "animal control" would "be an absurd hypocrisy in this universe", directly acknowledging that he exists in a world of anthropomorphic animals.
- During the montage of him messing things up at Sonic's house, Kyle falls through and shatters Sonic's text bubble.
- Sonic In Your Face
- Rotor directly instructs readers on how to read "The Mirror Zone" (by holding the comic up to a mirror).
- Sonic Triple Trouble
- Sonic directly tells the reader to watch him as he juices through the zones of Sonic Triple Trouble.
- Archie Sonic Universe Issue 64
- During the opening battle, Bean says "Good evening!" while upside down, as a result his word balloon is also upside down. When he begins talking again on the next page (now right side up) his word balloon is stuck in the upside down position. He calls a quick time out because he has to fix it.
Non-canon stories due to Fourth Wall Breaking
- Sonic Live
- "The Last Game Cartridge Hero" has Sonic entering the real world to enlist the help of two kids who are fans of his. In the process, Sonic learns of his status as a fictional character.
- Archie Sonic Super Special Issue 7
- Sonic and co. are acknowledged as being fictional characters within the Image Comics Universe. They are initially believed to be people in costume upon being seen.
- Archie & Friends: A Halloween Tale
- The story sees Sabrina Spellman (of Sabrina the Teenage Witch fame) enter into a copy of Sonic Super Special #7 (which itself is non-canon) and accidentally pull Sonic and Knuckles into the real world in the process. When Sonic and Knuckles go to Cheryl Blossom's Halloween party, they are believed by the guests to be people in costume.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch Issue 28 and Archie Sonic Super Special Issue 10
- This second crossover with Sabrina the Teenage Witch sees Sonic being pulled from Mobius and hypnotized by malicious wizard Echantra to destroy Sabrina. In the story, Salem the Cat confirms that he reads the Sonic the Hedgehog comic books.
- Archie's Weird Mysteries
- In this Halloween story, Sonic and Knuckles are once again pulled from their respective comic books (with numerous other comic heroes) by Sabrina's magic to do battle with a group of monsters.
- The infamous Sonic Live reveals that SEGA discovered Sonic through utilizing a transdimensional-viewing device and used his image as a marketing ploy to make video-games and other media. A fan theory suggests that Sonic and the gang's tendency to sometimes break the 4th wall is a result of them being fully aware that they're being monitored, and are simply messing around.