Hello again, folks! This month’s Character Spotlight on idrawdigital features everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth – Deadpool. This creation of Marvel’s tandem of artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza started off as a lampoon of DC Comics Deathstroke – a villain in the Teen Titans series. His popularity amongst fans for his tongue-in-cheek action/comedy themes within the titles he was featured in soared dramatically in the late 90s and early 2000s. Deadpool has now become one of the most entertaining characters in the Marvel lineup.
Deadpool was originally conceived in the early 90s by artist Rob Liefeld. Originally questioned as a mock version of the darker, more serious assassin Deathstroke in the DC Comics Teen Titans series, Deadpool was actually created as an homage, since Liefeld was a huge admirer of the Teen Titans series. As an additional inside joke to the already similar appearance and title, Nicieza used Wade Wilson as the character’s given name – in comparison to Deathstroke’s ‘Slade Wilson,’ as if he was somewhat related.
His first appearance was in New Mutants, where he was hired to attack Cable and the rest of the New Mutants team. He then turned into a recurring character, and due to his quick popularity, began making more appearances in other titles such as The Avengers, Daredevil and Heroes for Hire. Eventually, he character was given his own mini-series called ‘The Circle Chase’ drawn by Joe Madureira.
At the tail of the 90s, Deadpool’s popularity had begun to reach new heights. With starring roles in two feature mini-series, Deadpool was given his own title and was handled by the team of writer Joe Kelly and relative unknown artist Ed McGuinness. It was during this run that the ise-cracking action/comedy was born. As a stark contrast to the anti-hero and brooding superhero writing style that was prevalent in comics at that time, the Deadpool series contained a completely different atmosphere that achieved cult status amongst fans. This slap stick shoot ’em up offering was a unique and refreshing change from the serious tone that most comics had carried for the past few years. With comics series being canceled all over Marvel, Joe Kelly made his stories crazier and more fun since he knew there was nothing to lose. The Deadpool series continued as a whimsical comedy/action series until issue 69, where the title was reworked and the craziness settled down.
With the entire X line of Marvel Comics being completely overhauled, Gail Simone was forced to take a few different routes with the Deadpool character, since he was technically rebranded as Agent X. This character left readers wondering if he actually was Deadpool or a similar character. After Simone’s departure and the critical failure of the rebranding of the X franchises, Deadpool made his return in 2004 in a surprising sidekick series. Teamed up with his old enemy Cable, the Cable & Deadpool series saw the two characters in new adventures, with the wisecracking super-soldier acting as comic relief and the all business attitude of Cable acting as the straight man. After 50 issues, the series was canceld and a new Cable series took its place.
Deadpool made an appearance in Wolverine: Origins, which then led into a new Deadpool series featuring writing by Daniel Way and art by Paco Medina. The series was part of a Secret Invasion tie-in, with a storyline that involved Norman Osborn, the Skrulls and the New Thunderbolts.
Into the Future
Recently, Deadpool has been featured in a number of titles. Beginning with Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth in the summer of 2009, a special anniversary title, and a new Deadpool Team-Up series with the lead character fighting alongside other heroes in the Marvel canon. Original character artist Rob Liefeld and original series writer Joe Kelly worked together to produce the anniversary issue. In addition to these titles, Deadpol is set to join the X-Force, and a new comedy series entitled Deadpool Corps is set to hit newsstands any time now (April 2010)
Deadpool’s popularity has extended from the printed page to the silver screen, where he was played by Ryan Reynolds in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Though his character was altered slightly to fit the film’s adaptation, Deadpool was popular enough to warrant the creation of his own feature length film, with Reynolds reprising his role as the mercenary. In addition to the live action films, Deadpool has made appearances in animations such as Hulk vs. and the X-Men TV series.
Deadpool has also been featured in various Marvel video games such as X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2, and the X-Men Origins: Wolverine game based on the movie.
The character’s past as Wade Wilson is shady at best, but it is widely known that he was a part of the Weapon X project. He has an accelerated healing power that has allowed him to survive from various injuries – some as severe as decapitation, to blade and bullet wounds. His physical features are grossly disfigured due to the scarring left behind from the healing factor, and he has rarely shown his face without his signature mask covering it.
Prior to receiving the gene therapy in the Weapon X program, Wilson was suffering from cancer, and once the accelerated healing factor was developed, it was noted that his cancerous tumors spread just as aggressively. Deadpool’s body is constantly fighting the rapid growth of this disease, killing of cells as quickly as they form. In addition, Deadpool’s brain cells regrow at an instantaneous rate, causing him to suffer from mild dementia and psychological instability. Since his brain cells are constantly in a state of change, he is resistant to any forms of telepathy.
Trained as a deadly assassin, Deadpool works as a mercenary for hire, with little to no regard for any human life. His morality is often in question, and he makes decisions based on convenience to his own conscience. He is an expert with bladed weapons and handguns, and knows various forms of martial arts. In his arsenal, he is often found carrying a teleportation and a holographic imaging device.
Love him or hate him, Deadpool is a popular character who has engaged readers with his ability to break the fourth wall for interaction, and offered a unique spin on the typical super hero / villain archetype we have come to expect. Out of all the characters created in the last few decades, Deadpool has quickly emerged as one of the most memorable.