Sometimes auto-correct brings to my attention that not everyone knows the kinds of terms, phrases, and slang I often use in my writing, especially when it comes to nerdy content. So I thought I would take this time to explain some of it in case it helps anyone. Some of it comes directly from TV Tropes, so feel free to check them out there for more information. There is also a slight chance I could be using some of these terms incorrectly from the way they are explained and used on TV Tropes, but either way, I will explain what these terms mean to me and how I use them. If you get the lingo, awesome, but if you don’t, I hope this helps.
In-universe basically means the opposite of real life or IRL. It is the world or reality that is meant to exist within the story itself, taken at face value. It also varies depending on the story at the time but can be used for any fictional story.
For example, the reason Scott Summers was killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand was because the actor wanted to focus on being in Superman Returns, but in-universe it’s because Jean Grey lost control and killed him.
A ship is shorthand for a relationship. It can be a noun, as in Batman and Catwoman are a worthy ship. It can also be a verb meaning you want certain characters or even people in real life to be in a relationship together. An example is: I ship them together because they have excellent chemistry. It comes in singular or plural. Ships are usually of the romantic or sexual variety, but can also be platonic or otherwise if otherwise indicated. For example, I ship them but as friends.
At the Time of This Posting/Recording/etc.
I give credit where credit is due, and this credit belongs to Sasha Wood, a brilliant comic nerd, and hilarious person. On YouTube she often uses the term: at the time of this recording, to remind the viewer that certain details in comics and fiction are canon at the time she said them, but are always subject to change later. Since YouTube, articles, and various other mediums cannot automatically update, it helps to indicate that certain opinions or facts being discussed at the time are valid, indeed, at the time. Especially comics, superhero, and nerdy content, things are often subject to change, often subtly or completely, at any time.
Sasha typically uses “at the time of this recording” for she usually records video for her YouTube channel, whereas I use the modified “at the time of this posting” because instead of recording, I am posting written articles.
This one can be hard for me to explain, but do my best to do so in my own words without looking up the proper definition. If this explanation doesn’t work for you or is confusing, please feel free to look it up and compare.
Continuity is the universe at hand being discussed or considered. There are many continuities, including our own aka the real world. Each continuity comes with its own set of established rules and qualities that must be considered or adhered to at all times unless the rules are to be changed. The act of changing something in the previously established continuity is a retcon or retroactive continuity. Something that is canon adheres to the rules and aspects of the continuity.
In the nerd world, there are various continuities: for example, the DC Comics Universe is one separate continuity, while the Marvel Comics Universe is another. Things that happen in those worlds do not affect the other because they exist separately. The same can be said of our own, at the very least in the sense that fictional continuities rarely affect our own, but since our reality is the birthplace of such imagined worlds where writers and creatives write and create those worlds, our world inevitably affects those continuities.
Continuity also allows the creator or the audience to easily find and detect creative flaws when the rules are not followed as established by the creator: for example, when it’s said that vampires cannot walk into the sun, but suddenly vampires can do so without explanation, this is either a poorly constructed or unintentional retcon, an error, or a plot hole.
Your Mileage May Vary or YMMV
Simply put it means that the way you feel about a thing, character, story element, etc. might vary depending on how you feel about it. We all come into fandoms and spaces with different points of entry, experience, prior knowledge of concepts or symbols or the like, and various other factors that color our individual experiences.
Our socioeconomic statuses, racial or ethnic identities, sexual orientations and/or gender identities, world views, values, beliefs, religious or political views, and various other countless factors can all play a role in how certain aspects of fiction impact us. At the end of the day, I can claim that Jean Grey is the best X-Man, but depending on who you are and how you feel, your mileage may vary on whether you agree or not.
I haven’t looked it up for sure, and this is my best guess for the term (and I’ve been using it more recently than the rest and learned about it not that long ago)is that it’s a reference for how in some types of cars a certain type of fuel can work excellently and give great mileage, but might not work as well as others or be useless.
DC Comics’ Pre-52/Post Crisis/Post-Crisis On Infinite Earths/Pre-Flashpoint Continuity
I have explained this continuity in DC Comics before. But I will reiterate here in case some folks missed that article. I often simplify it to the Pre-52 continuity. It is the period between 1985-2011 when DC Comics revamped and revolutionized its continuity and characters. This was the period when many nerds of a certain age grew up and came into the fandom and recognize best of all when it comes to DC. Like the Bronze and/or Silver age before it (I’m still not clear if those were separate continuities in the comics or not) and the New 52 continuity after it, some elements remain mostly unchanged throughout, but details and other things did change.
For added context, I was born in 1992, so my entire young life was spent learning and enjoying one continuity before DC decided to change it all again by 2011. As I vastly prefer the Pre-52 and mostly despise the New 52, I often bring up the continuity I care about as much as possible. Fortunately, I was not alone. Many other fans also didn’t love the New 52 to the point where DC soon did a second reboot to restore much of what was established in the Pre-52 and abandoned in the New-52, though not all.
Did any of that help? Was there anything I left out? Be sure to let me know in the comments or on social media if I made any mistakes or if I left out anything that ought to have been included. I can always update these articles.