Many, many years ago, when I worked for The Comics Journal, I created a feature called "Swipe File." In it, we exposed examples of when one comics artist had swiped an image from somewhere else (usually another comics artist). This is a really common practice. Sometimes it's just a matter of using a striking visual solution that another comics artist came up with instead of trying to come up with one of your own. (Deadlines often cause comics artists to resort to such matters.) But sometimes, the swipes were deliberate homages to artistic influences and inspirations. In the art world, this is called appropriation, and there are all sorts of theoretical justifications for it. Not so much in the comics world--it's considered a misdemeanor at worst, and is generally slightly frowned on. Anyway, Swipe File was our response to the phenomenon. So when I noticed this (see below), I decided to revive Swipe File.
left: Matt Messinger, Popeye, Black and white gesso and charcoal pencil on found linen on canvas, undated. right: Tom Neely, Doppelganger excerpt, page from a 16-page minicomic, undated
I saw the Matt Messinger painting at a show earlier this summer. We know this painting must therefore date from July of this year or earlier. Tom Neely is a very talented and creative cartoonist, but I have no idea when he drew this comic. I can't tell, therefore, if Messinger copied Neely, or if Neely copied Messinger, or if the two of them copied some third party. (It seems pretty unlikely that they both came up with this concept individually--the drawings are too similar for that.) So someone committed the artistic misdemeanor of swiping--but the question is, who?
UPDATE: I ran into Matt Messinger the other night and asked him the origin of the Popeye "tornado of arms" image. He told me it was from one of the old cartoons (presumably the Fleischer Bros. cartoons. So it appears that both Messinger and Neely "swiped" this image.