In this feature 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." Here is an archive of the past installments!
Today, based on a suggestion by reader Earl Y., we take a look at Joe Madureira taking issue over an artist swiping his work one time too many.
I actually featured this in Comic Book Legends Revealed over five years ago, but when Earl wrote in to suggest it for this column I figured, eh, it fits this column just as well as it did Comic Book Legends Revealed, so I might as well feature it here, too.
Right off the bat, let me note that Roger Cruz has grown into a fine comic book artist. He's now in his early 40s and he is quite good (and has been for some time now - his X-Men: First Class work was first rate). Here are some pages from an American Vampire fill-in issue he did a couple of years ago...
He's a good artist and an original one, at that.
When he was just starting out nearly 20 years ago, though, his work tended to be filled with "swipes" of other artists, most notably former X-Men artist Jim Lee and the then-popular (and still popular now, as well, of course) X-Men artist Joe Madureira.
Cruz swiping Madureira stood out a bit more since Madureira's art itself stood out from the pack at Marvel Comics at the time, so when someone else began drawing just like him, it drew a lot of attention. Similarly, since Madureira did not have a large output of comics at the time, it was easier to find the swipes when Cruz did them, since he often had to go to the same Madureira panel for different comics.
In any event, the nifty blog, ADLO! Novelti Librari cataloged a series of notable swipes of Madureira by Cruz (in each intance, Madureira's art is first and Cruz is second):
This last one is a great example of how swiping usually works - Cruz here takes panels from FOUR different comic pages and combines them to form one comic page.
In October 1995's Uncanny X-Men #325, Madureira decided to have a little fun with Cruz's swiping by taking a swipe of his own at Cruz.
Check out the following page...
Notice what the paper says?
Reader Earl (the guy who suggested this one) told me he had asked Madureira about it years ago and Madureira told him that soon after the issue came out, Cruz (through "his people") got into contact with Madureira and they settled any problem Madureira might have had with Cruz. Heck, just recently, Madureira shared a link to Roger Cruz's work on his (Madureira's) Facebook page.
Nice of Joe to let bygones be bygones!
Thanks to Earl for the suggestion! If YOU have a suggestion for a future edition of Meta-Messages, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.