6 Comic Book Easter Eggs That Stuck It to The Man

#3. Artist Calls Out Another Artist for Stealing

In the comic book world, there is a common practice known as swiping, which is taking a completed panel from a released comic, changing some details and claiming it as your own. It's like how all the dumb kids would copy the nerd's homework in school and then intentionally make one answer wrong just to throw off the teacher.

It looks a little something like this:

So yeah, those aren't the same images, but the artist on the right clearly used the picture of Storm as a basis and just deleted like, what, eight feet of hair? Nine?

Most of the time, swipes are taken from classic artists who have a lot of panels, are highly regarded and just don't care because they're already at the top of the game. But in 1994, Roger Cruz stole the above panel from Joe Madureira, the artist for X-Men. Madureira was only in his 20s and therefore had only about half a dozen finished comics to swipe from, making it pretty obvious when something of his got stolen.

Here are a few more to show how blatant the whole thing can really be:

Madureira wasn't too pleased about it, and since he knew Cruz was obviously reading everything he drew, he called him out on it in an issue of X-Men. Note the newspaper headline:

Oddly enough, Cruz never tried to swipe this page, or many others afterward by all accounts, so apparently Madureira got the message across that he was going to start ratting him out if he didn't quit stealing his shit, a technique that has been masterfully employed by big sisters throughout time.

#2. Iron Man Prints a Former Staff Member's Resignation Letter

An issue in the Iron Man comic books that is not touched on very heavily in the movies is Tony Stark's raging alcoholism. Seriously, in the comics, the suit basically functions off the smell of whiskey that comes off Tony. This functioning alcoholism was the basis of one of Iron Man's most famous stories, "Demon In A Bottle."

In the story, Tony stumbles into Avengers Mansion blind drunk one night, showing a random hooker-like female companion all the top-secret shit that the Avengers use to fight crime, like fucking Iron Man needs to do anything at all to impress a chick other than exist. Anyway, after Tony's butler, Jarvis (who is a human in the comics, not a robot), tries to tell him how whores shouldn't play with the laser beams, Tony verbally bitch-slaps Jarvis back into his place for speaking out.

The next day Jarvis, hands a hung-over Tony his resignation letter, a perfectly normal thing for a disgruntled butler to do after having to clean up Iron Man's vomit of self-destruction every night. But it was the text of the letter that left quite a few sharp-eyed readers wondering what the fuck Jarvis was talking about.

The letter read as follows:

This is to notify you that I am tendering my resignation from my position. This resignation is to take effect immediately.

I am leaving because this is no longer the team-spirited "one big happy family" I once loved working for. Over the past year or so I have watched Avengers' morale disintegrate to the point that, rather than being a team or a family, it is now a large collection of unhappy individuals simmering in their own personal stew of repressed anger, resentment and frustration. I have seen a lot of my friends silently enduring unfair, malicious or vindictive treatment.

My personal grievances are relatively slight by comparison to some, but I don't intend to silently endure. I've watched the Avengers be disbanded, uprooted and shuffled around. I've become firmly convinced that this was done with the idea of 'showing the hired help who's Boss.'

So what the hell is going on at Avengers Mansion that Jarvis is quitting on behalf of his repressed friends and not Tony freaking out at him? And why do the world's mightiest superheroes feel the need to make a point of "showing the hired help who's boss" -- especially considering that the hired help consisted entirely of just Jarvis? Well, the answer lies in the fact that this was not Jarvis' resignation letter, but the actual resignation letter of long time Marvel artist and staff member Dave Cockrum, who had resigned a few months before this.

Cockrum left his position for the reasons stated above in his letter and started doing freelance work for both Marvel and DC, which is like sleeping with the enemy, for money, and then charging you the same price.

Obviously, someone working on Iron Man was bitter about Cockrum's resignation and printed the letter as a not-too-subtle "screw you," making it as insulting as possible by making it the resignation of a butler, the lowest of the low in terms of characters in the Marvel, or any other, universe.

So the writer obviously got a chuckle printing the letter, and the reader was left thinking that the Avengers abused the shit out of their staff, and that should have been the end of it. If the incident was never pointed out again, it might have remained as a simple prank that only the writer, and Cockrum, would ever know about, leaving the rest of the world ignorant of the sweet burn that had been inflicted on Cockrum.

But apparently the writer realized that sweet insults are no good if no one knows about them, so three issues later in the letter section, the writers printed the following. Though framed as a kind of retraction, it's really more of a "just so you all know how awesome we are."

#1. The Word "Sex" Is Hidden on Every Page of an Issue of X-Men

Now, when we say the word "sex" is on every page, we don't mean the word "sex" was mentioned in the dialogue of an issue entirely about a mutant sex orgy. No, we're talking about New X-Men #118 where artist Ethan Van Sciver subtly hid the word "sex" in the images instead.

He also managed to make Cyclops even more douchy than usual.

Once he got the idea, Sciver wasn't about to hide the word in the issue a measly one time, like The Lion King did. No, instead Sciver included it on every single page, hidden everywhere. Maybe you were innocently checking out Jean's awesomely tousled hair? Bam: sex.

Perhaps admiring that bush behind Emma Frost, as we all tend to do? Well, you probably like it because of the sex.

Thinking that bottle of whiskey looks delicious and you could sure go for some of that yourself? Oops. Sex.

Enjoying that image of a glowing, needle-filled brain? Hope you like it with ... sex!

So, what the hell was with all the sex? Theories abounded that it was done on purpose, as the villain of the issue was named Sublime, a form of the word "subliminal," so sneaking in the word "sex" on every page made sense in a deep, meta sort of way.

Some thought it was a clue to the blossoming romance between Emma Frost and Cyclops. And some logical people out there not living on X-Men message boards thought it meant nothing at all, and not surprisingly, those people were right. Sciver admitted that he had been irked with Marvel at the time for some reason that he can't remember and "wanted to pull some shit." He mustn't have been too upset, since he just hid the word "sex" instead of something like "DESTROY THE JEWS." Probably would have been too many letters anyway.

Research for this article would not have been possible with out the awesome and exhaustive Brian Cronin's Comic Book Legends Revealed. Check it out.

The secrets don't stop here, learn more in the brand new Cracked.com book, now a New York Times Bestseller (really).

For more Easter eggs, check out 10 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Albums and 7 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Works of Art.

And stop by Linkstorm to discover the secret we hid on the Internet.

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