There is these characters that go beyond the place that had been imagined by their authors and transcend the barriers of their original medium, to become real elements of popular culture. And that is precisely the case of Deadpool, who arrives February 10th cinema.
Deadpool is a character in comic books of the Marvel Universe, created in 1991 by writer Fabian Nicieza and controversial artist Rob Liefeld. From a pure mercenary having a minor bad guy role kicked by the New Mutants , Deadpool will quickly evolve into a delirious and crazy anti-hero.
Liefeld is best known for his love of small leather pockets and graphical inconsistency as for his creative talents, it is not surprising that Deadpool is initially a crude plagiarism of Deathstroke, the mercenary swordsman of DC (you know, direct competition from Marvel).
The copy does not stop at the name and the look of the character, but goes as far as copypaste its core business and his passion for weapons. Nicieza & Liefeld are even pushing up the vice by calling Deadpool “Wade Wilson” when Deathstroke is called … Slade Wilson. Liefeld will later defend himself through a tribute; “everyone is free to make its own opinion”. Nice defense man.
Deadpool will then make a few furtive appearances in other series such as Hulk or Heroes for Hire (Luke Cage and Iron Fist), and will even get two mini-series. The first scripted by Nicieza himself and illustrated by Joe Madureira, and the second written by Mark Waid and drawn this time by Ian Churchill. But it is really in 1997 that everything will change when author Joe Kelly joins the artist Ed McGuinness to propose the series named Deadpool (why make it complicated …), which will lay the foundations of the character he is know for nowaday.
Convinced that their series will be canceled overnight, and knowing that nobody at Marvel really red each releasebefore the press departure, they allowed everything and anything imagination can imagine which gives its so special skills & personality to the character.
Deadpool is a parody of all that has been done in the comic book market during the 90s, giving life to all of its protagonists, more incredible and absurd adventure each time. We discover many second roles, such as Wade’s best friend Weasel, and Blind Al, a small blind granny, that Deadpool kidnapped, and with whom he has a rather odd mother-son relationship.
But it is especially here that we will find the level of the character’s madness, his schizophrenia issue, the origins of his disorders and the extent of his capabilities.
Initially, Wade Wilson is not a superhero. He’s just an average guy , with an average life, a pretty girl … and a generalized cancer (you can not have everything). This is also because of this cancer that he agrees to be the guinea pig for an experiment conducted by the Weapon X project, the same who gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton. Doctors promise him that it will cure his cancer with the healing factor, and Wade agrees.
And as Murphy’s Law is never far away, experience shitthefloor; the healing factor fits perfectly into the DNA of Wade, but assumes that his cancer is “normal” and thus accelerates its development , covering its entire body and caregiver as well cancer cells than healthy cells. The beautiful Wade is then transformed into a bad cosplay musty emmental and goes crazy because of too rapid regeneration of his brain cells.
This healing factor also enable him to be virtually immortal and immune against any form of poison or disease. It is technically more efficient than that of Wolverine, as it allowed for example Deadpool to regenerate after being decapitated or reduced to the state of ashes. In One Shot X-Force / Cable Messiah War include Deadpool still alive, 800 years in the future.
If being virtually immortal can quickly become a curse (that’s what says Thanos -the big bad guy of The Avengers- during one of their meetings), Deadpool seems to be accommodated to it in his everyday life, to the point where he use this invincibility to bring chaos to his opponents. Of course you must be damn crossed to amputate yourself a leg to impersonate a cul-de-bowl, but it’s good, Deadpool has not all of hif boxes filled.
Besides that, he is not alone in his head. Literally. Hi is regularly seen having conversations with three while he is alone, each of his voice with its own personality.
This madness is also a major advantage, since it makes it completely unpredictable, so that the Taskmaster, this super villain capable of assimilating the fighting style of anyone in the Marvel Universe, has never managed to understand Deadpool.
And then, of course, the friend Wade is a highly trained mercenary, a sniper, a knives expert , and speaks several languages, including sign language.
So how to channel this madness? Look for no answer, it’s not a real question.
The thing that we have not yet spoken, but who defines more Deadpool than his madness or his healing factor is the fact that he is aware of being a character in a comic book. This gives opportunity to new situations and gives the character a unique place in the Marvel Universe. He criticizes other character who wants to grab the spotlight in his OWN comic, it can defeat an enemy by claiming to have red the previous volumes or can even skip pages by cutting them with the katana, Deadpool does not care about fully established codes.
Sometimes ruthless mercenary for the highest payer, sometimes heroic savior of the whole universe, Deadpool is rarely where we expect him to be, and this is precisely what makes him and his comic books such unpredictable adventures. We know it is going to be a big mess and that people will die badly in unpleasant ways.
We can not be sure about the state of mind in which he will be, or which of his inner voices he will decide to follow … if indeed he follows one.
In a world where characters evolve actually quite little, Deadpool has the luxury of constantly amaze and surprise. Despite a fairly minimal risk taking.
Deadpool is the paroxysm of the anti-hero, well beyond Spiderman and Wolverine, who remain generally fairly constant on what is to expect of them (one with its jokes and the other with his hot temper). It is clear that initially, Deadpool is a perfect blend of the two most popular characters of Marvel Comics.
This is even more evident when one takes some key elements of the profile:
1 He participated in the Weapon X program, such as Wolverine, with whom he shares a healing factor and Canadian origins (and no, it is not bound, all Canadians have not healing factor), a love about knives and a willing to resolve every conflicts through hyper-violence.
2 Always like Wolverine, Deadpool is not all black or white, but in shades of gray (no, not these shades…).
3 His costume is a clear homage to that of Spider-man, which he is also a fan of, and with whom he regularly seeks to team.
4 And as Spider-man, he can not help but commenting out loud everything he does and jokes about his opponent in quantity. And although Spider-man does so to relieve stress (and now probably out of habit), Deadpool does it out of pure fun. But the parallel is there.
So naturally, seen like that, when we concentrate on both the most loved and most used characters in the Marvel Universe, there are chances that the chemistry works. Even if we imagine that all mixtures have not been that successful (like Captain America and Howard The Duck, or Namor and Hawk) …
No, what makes Deadpool please so many people (or displease, because feelings are usually quite settled about him), does not come easy plagiarism. We must look further. And that’s good, that’s why we will conclude with this.
In fact, what works with Deadpool is that it is unique. In a world of conformity and regulations governed by Manichean laws, as may be the Marvel Universe, a decidedly unpredictable character and not attached to any group is a real breath of fresh air. Certainly, many heroes and villains have deeper or rarest motivations (Daredevil, the Punisher, Thanos, Dr. Doom and many others …), but their personalities are usually the result of a long story arc. Deadpool alone is capable of killing an innocent man with a bullet in the head, then to save a kitten and then decide to give a hand to a superhero before undermine an alien invasion during only a few pages of one release.
And this is why some purists comic book classic with defined codes do not like him. Because he does not follow a straight line, because he is inconsistent, because he is neither a superhero nor a villain.
To these people, I would like to remind that there are more than 50 years born the Fantastic 4, Spider-Man and Hulk, all anti-hero beset by doubts and gray areas quite important back then. The success of a good comic book character is precisely to be neither completely good nor completely bad. Just human. Just like us. And Deadpool is like us.
And don’t forget to come check our new Deadpool clothing designs following the launch of the movie at The Higher Shop !