When Marvel Mocked Their Own Former Employee

In "Meta-Messages," I explore the context behind (using reader danjack's term) "meta-messages." A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I'll give you the context behind one such "meta-message."

Today, we look at a suggestion by Tobias F. about how Dave Cockrum's resignation letter was put into an issue of "Iron Man" to tease his resignation.

"Iron Man" #127 (by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and John Romita Jr.) featured Tony Stark's spiral into alcoholism. He treated his longtime butler, Edwin Jarvis, like a total jerk. This led to Jarvis quitting.

Now, the letter there in the panel is an ACTUAL letter...

Written by Dave Cockrum, the letter was his resignation from his staff position at Marvel (he continued to work for them as a freelance artist, though). He says some nasty stuff about Editor-in-Chief Jim shooter and the overall environment at Marvel at the time. Someone (not either of the two writers on the book, Bob Layton and David Michelinie) put the letter into the comic just to have a laugh at Cockrum's expense.

Honestly, all said and done, it was a pretty benign piece of teasing. It's unlikely that it would have gone any further (well, I mean, it would have definitely confused people, but I'm sure they would have moved on), except that David Michelinie wanted to explain what happened in the letter column to "Iron Man" #130 because he didn't like that it happened. He apologized and promised that something like that wouldn't happen again.

Okay, thanks for the suggestion, Tobias! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future "Meta-Messages," drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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