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 we look at Todd McFarlane giving a hard time to…Todd McFarlane?
Throughout Todd McFarlane’s run on Amazing Spider-Man, he liked to have fun, with hidden spiders in nearly every issue and also hidden Felix the Cats. He also did cover homages, as well. Routinely he would use background newspapers to make little jokes, often at his own expense.
But what I’m specifically referring to today is how McFarlane handled his exit from Amazing Spider-Man to launch his own Spider-Man title that he would WRITE as well as draw. That was a big deal at the time. Artists got to transition to writers all the time, but they would almost never get the chance on a brand-new comic book series, especially not with such a major character like Spider-Man.
So on his last few issues (which came out after the news had been announced), McFarlane poked a little fun at the news.
In Amazing Spider-Man #325, he had a whole bit about how egotistical he was…
Here’s the page…
And here’s the detail…
And in Amazing Spider-Man #328, he calls himself cocky and makes a joke about how him becoming a writer is a shot at comic book writers in general, with the “Who’s Alan Moore?” riff…
That’s a very fun piece of self-deprecating humor on McFarlane’s part (while, of course, I presume intending to show the absurdity of some actual people’s reactions, which weren’t too off from McFarlane’s hyperbolic jokes).
In the future, I’ll try to do a piece collecting all of McFarlane’s easter eggs into one column!
If you have a suggestion for a future edition of Meta-Messages, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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