One of the more attention-getting launches thus far in the Marvel NOW! era is the new Deadpool series, co-written by the team of Gerry Duggan (Image's The Infinite Horizon) and Brian Posehn (comedian and actor known for Mr. Show and The Comedians of Comedy), illustrated by Tony Moore (The Walking Dead, Fear Agent) and with covers from industry veteran Geof Darrow (Hard Boiled, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot). It's not Duggan and Posehn's first time writing comic books together, as they previously collaborated on the Image miniseries The Last Christmas and a Simpsons story for Bongo Comics. They're also dedicated comic book fans (they met at the old Golden Apple location in LA, when Duggan was an employee and Posehn was a customer), quick to express their excitement over making their Marvel debut. Newsarama talked with both Duggan and Posehn, plus Deadpool series editor Jordan D. White, about following Daniel Way's four-year stint and what to expect from the November-debuting book, and that despite the fact that Posehn's last comedy album was titled Fart and Wiener Jokes, readers should expect much more than that from their run (without taking anything away from the merits of a well-executed fart and/or wiener joke).
Newsarama: Gerry, Brian, several of the Marvel NOW! books look to be taking characters like Thor and Captain America and putting them in unfamiliar situations. But a character like Deadpool doesn't really seem to have a typical situation — did that present a challenge at all with relaunching the book?
Gerry Duggan: I think we're in our comfort zone. It can sometimes be a little harder to find something to do with a character like that, maybe, but we're thriving in this world where anything is possible for Deadpool, I think.
Nrama: And it appears that along with unfamiliar situations, we're going to be seeing Deadpool interacting with all-new characters, at least at first, rather than some of the more typical Marvel faces?
Duggan: Deadpool will be very familiar to long-time Deadpool fans. I think people that aren't familiar with Deadpool will get a sense, right away, what he is all about.
There are new faces, at least in the beginning. That's no knock on the old faces — it's just, hey, here are the stories that we pitched to Marvel that they liked. There are new faces in there. And then we'll circle back, I think.Jordan D. White: We've done a lot of cool stories with Hydra Bob and with Taskmaster, and Blind Al. None of us are against those characters, we all love them. Those runs are terrific runs. I would not be surprised if they do show up in the book, but we're definitely focused on going forward and telling some really cool new stories.
Brian Posehn: It just so happened that the first couple of stories that they liked that we pitched were new guys. New foes, and new allies, too.
Duggan: Yeah, because "friends" is a strong word for Deadpool. [Laughs.] New people who aren't trying to kill him right away.
Nrama: Over the years, Deadpool has frequently been shown sort of straddling the line between being more of a cold-blooded mercenary to something of a hero, or at least attempting to be. With your first arc seeing him on a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission, albeit a suitably wacky one targeting zombie presidents, is it safe to say that he's tending more towards the heroic side at the onset?
Posehn: Yeah. Ultimately he wants to belong, and he's going to find out that he really has his place. The other Marvel heroes are reluctant to team up with him, and he does have a place in this world. Especially in this first story — he's the right guy for this mission.
Duggan: Very much so. [Laughs.] These presidents are back, against their will. They're back and they're corrupted. They were summoned for an altruistic, good reason, but it doesn't go that way. It would be very distasteful to have some of the bigger guns of the Marvel Universe handle this, whereas, hey, here's a guy whose approval rating — what the public thinks of him —is low. That's the hook right away for that first run.Nrama: In terms of characterization, Deadpool tends to range between more like how he was when he first appeared — where he made jokes, but was still depicted as an intimidating, threatening dude — to a more goofy, fun character that he's frequently been depicted as over the years. In terms of the new book's approach to the character, where do things generally fall in the spectrum?
Duggan: Deadpool is a little unstable. At different times, he's different things. So you'll see him sort of vacillate from one to the other. We had a moment in the latest issue that we just had approved where Jordan was like, "Oh, wow, I didn't expect him to do that." He was really surprised that there was this level of violence from one moment to the next. I think that's the way that we're approaching him. He's an unstable personality, and that will have some pretty severe consequences for some of the people around him.
White: He's a severely flawed dude. He wants to be better than he is in many ways, but I think his instincts are not necessarily to do the right thing, or the best thing, at all times.
Posehn: That's what Gerry and I love about this character, and what we're having the most fun doing.
Nrama: Brian, Gerry, were you both well-acquainted with Tony Moore before starting work on this series? Just based on the transitive property that you guys worked with Rick Remender on The Last Christmas and he's worked extensively with Moore, I figure you guys are all are probably friendly, though that might be leaping to conclusions.
Duggan: We've been fans of Tony since The Walking Dead #1, if not before. Tony did a cover for us on Last Christmas.
There's a great thing that we all look forward to at these shows — we don't so much look forward to the comic cons themselves, it's more about what happens around them, and the dinners and stuff. The social life is what we all I think look forward to the most, and seeing your comic friends a couple times a year is great.
Posehn: Honestly, this book would not exist if it weren't for hanging out after a Marvel party. If it wouldn't have been for Rick Remender introducing us to Axel [Alonso] a couple of years ago, before he even took the position that he has now, this book never would have happened. It really came about from those friendships, and him seeing that Gerry and I have the passion, and that we also get this character, and that we can write.
Duggan: Having said all that, when Jordan was like, "Hey, what about Tony Moore?" that was not a thing that we even thought would be possible. It was like, "Oh my god, of course!" and that was the end of the discussion.
White: We are really, really lucky that he's into this book, because he is so good, and he is drawing the… hell out of these pages. I don't want to swear. [Laughs.]
Posehn: He's drawing the f*ck c*ck sh*t out of these pages.
Nrama: There likely isn't a lot you can say at this point, but is it safe to assume classic Deadpool elements like his healing factor, which he recently lost in the current series, will be back when the new series starts?
White: I don't want to spoil anything that is going to happen in Dan Way's run, because he's still quite a number of issues left, and he's got a good story planned for them. That being said, we're going to pick Deadpool up at the status quo that Dan leaves him at.
Duggan: What we want to craft is something that a long-time reader of Deadpool can pick up, and see that it's the character that they're invested in. And then also for the new reader who maybe hasn't tried Deadpool, to almost immediately know what this character is about. At the end of issue #1, Tony has a wonderful double-page spread that will guarantee that anyone that tries #1 will stick around for #2 and beyond, I think, to see how this wraps up.
Nrama: Appealing to both existing and new readers is naturally the goal with an effort like this, and is that an easier trick to pull off with a character like Deadpool, who doesn't have decades of a vast mythology of characters and settings strongly associated with him unlike, say, Thor?
White: One thing you can see in the history of Deadpool as a character is that every time he has had a new series, it has been at least a partial reinvention. From the earlier series when they were just starting to introduce him as a character, to the Joe Kelly series which really defined, I think, the Deadpool that we nowadays think of as "the" Deadpool. And the Dan Way series was a different take on him. He came up with a slightly different view on how we can see this character.
I think part of the reason we are doing this as a new relaunch rather than just the next issue of Deadpool is that these guys do have a fresh take on him. Not throwing away anything that went before, not saying none of that happened, or anything like that. Just a real clean take that anybody can jump on and totally appreciate what this is all about.
Posehn: He's still a Merc with a Mouth. The only thing we've changed is that now he can fly — and let me finish — he has a penis that can see the future. Those are the things that everybody loves about Deadpool, right?
Nrama: Seems like a natural direction to take the character. Jordan, as the editor of the series, was there anything specific that you were looking for in a new Deadpool book?White: Not really. I do remember at one point just saying to them, "we are looking to do a new #1 on this. That'll be the end of Dan's run. Give us your ideas for how to start the character fresh, and make sure you have a real clear vision and voice on it," and they definitely did that. All of the ideas that they gave us were really strong entry point Deadpool kind of stories, that made him feel kind of new all over again.
Nrama: Gerry, Brian, you've made it clear in past interviews that you're not aiming to do a simply comedic take on the book, but when the announcement that you'd be co-writing Deadpool first broke and people read "comedy guys take on Deadpool," I think that, for some, painted a specific picture of what they thought the book would be like, fair or not.Deadpool #59
cover.Duggan: Are you telling me that people are assuming something on the Internet about comic books that haven't printed yet? How dare you, sir.
Nrama: Not to besmirch the Internet, but given that, do you feel the need to defy the expectations that some readers might have?
Duggan: I welcome it. "Oh, OK, you think it's just going to be a bunch of dick and fart jokes?" I personally am happy to see us rise to that challenge.
I've been very gratified with the response since the announcement. Most people are saying, "Hey, I'm going to give this a shot." This is a Marvel comic book that Brian and I are doing. It's an action-comedy that Jordan has helped find a real great balance for. If you like Deadpool, and you like big action — and by the way, if you like jokes, too — there's something there for everyone. We're not clearing out things like story and action and character for jokes.
Posehn: Yes, in my stand-up, I talk about my balls and my farting — a lot. But when I write comic books, I write books that I want to read. For me, story and action is the key, and then the other parts come in. The fact that Deadpool is a smartass, he's the perfect character for us to be writing. But the situations, we still want them to be cool, and we still want them to be grounded, and make sense in the Marvel Universe, and we still want them to be big action stories.The way we looked at it is, two of our favorite movies of all time, both of us, are Ghostbusters and Big Trouble in Little China. The reason those movies work is because there's great story, and then there's these cool characters, and they get to be funny, but it's not just joke after joke. All of the jokes in those two movies fit, and that's the way we want this book to work. We want there to be a great story and really cool action, and the jokes are gravy.
Duggan: At the end of our run, maybe some unexpected things will have happened. All we can do is the best work we can, and obviously let the comics be judged on their own. One of the best ways to hurt Deadpool is to challenge his mind. You can knock his arm off, it'll grow back. That's the next pressure point.
Posehn: Yeah, I'm a fan of farts and penis humor, but I'm also really into the dark side. There is a big opportunity for us to get dark with this book, and we're not going to shy away from that when it's right.
Nrama: Which isn't excluding the possibility of fart and penis jokes altogether, right?
Duggan: There's smart laughs, there's maybe some sight gags, maybe some cheap laughs, but I hope readers will read it and find the funny stuff funny and the cool stuff cool. Tony, he's literally drawing his face off on these pages. He's doing the work of his career, I think. I don't mind people going in with those preconceptions, because we'll put them on their ass.
Posehn: I'm used to people having their arms crossed, and frowns on their face, and them going, "You better impress me." I see it every night in the front row. We're ready for that.We are the reader. Gerry and I are two of the biggest fanboys that I know. He and I met at a comic book shop. He was working, and I was the nerd that was there every Wednesday, looking for new stuff. We've been friends for a long time, and our friendship is based on us both having this love, and nerding out over books at this shop that he worked at, and then becoming friends, and then writing together — and writing stuff that we want to read, the whole time. That's why The Last Christmas exists. When we wrote for The Simpsons, we wrote a thing that we really wanted to see. The whole time with Deadpool, whenever we were talking about it, it was always about, "What is the coolest thing we could do with this guy, and what would we sh*t a brick over if we read it?"
Duggan: To get to play in the sandbox is a real dream come true, and Jordan has said yes to a lot of things, and he's said no to the right things, and then helped make a lot of things better. We're plotting and writing well in advance.
I think it's going to be a really fun time. This is a thrill to get to do. If people try it, that's all I want; to come in with an open mind, and hopefully read a fun book. We want to give people a hard decision about their comic buying: We want to go right to the top of the list. We're greedy. Tony is drawing his face off, and Geof's work is Geof's work. There are no words to describe it.
Nrama: Obviously that's a huge get.
Duggan: He's sort of our lucky charm. We punched out of our weight class when we got him to do The Last Christmas cover.
Posehn: Even my wife who doesn't read comic books, sees a piece of Geof Darrow art and just goes, "Holy sh*t, that guy can draw."More from Newsarama:
- New Comedic DEADPOOL Duo Brings Fun & Funny to Marvel NOW!
- Way's DEADPOOL Exit Strategy: Supervillains, Hit-Monkey
- Ryan Reynolds' Busy Schedule Looks to Push DEADPOOL Start