With the release of Fear Itself #1 just eight days away, readers are not only getting more of a sense of what to expect from that series, but also the various tie-ins to the major Marvel crossover event.
There are the ones you expect — Invincible Iron Man, Secret Avengers — and also ones slightly more off the beaten path, like Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt from writer Sean McKeever, and Fear Itself: Fearsome Four, of which Newsarama just posted an interview with writer Brandon Montclare on Monday.
Fear Itself: Deadpool aims, unsurprisingly, to be the most irreverent of the bunch. It’s a three-issue series starting in June from writer Christopher Hastings, making his Marvel Comics debut, and artist Bong Dazo (no stranger to the Merc with a Mouth following his stint on a series called, well, Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth).Newsarama talked with Hastings — writer and artist of popular webcomic Dr. McNinja, the subject of a recent feature by Zack Smith — for background on when Wade Wilson became his favorite Marvel character, information on how closely this series ties-in with the rest of Fear Itself, and a healthy amount of circa 1991 hip-hop references.
Newsarama: So, Deadpool's getting involved in Fear Itself. In Secret Invasion, Deadpool took the opportunity to act a little more heroic, but here it looks like he's seeing the situation as primarily a money-making opportunity, correct?
Christopher Hastings: Deadpool walks into this story as say… a well-intentioned opportunist. He's not siding with any supervillains or anything. He's trying to protect people from them in fact! But the dude's gotta get paid, you know? But… that becomes a bit of a slippery slope, and he might be dancing around "chaotic neutral,” if you catch my meaning.
Nrama: By all accounts, Fear Itself is a serious tale where lots of important things happen. So is the mission statement here essentially to add some pronounced levity to the whole thing? (The Ryan Stegman-illustrated cover for #1 has Deadpool in M.C. Hammer pants, after all.) And on that same notion, is it fair to assume that this is a pretty "loose" tie-in, as in, fairly separate from the main action of Fear Itself?
Hastings: I think it would be very dangerous to assume anything! As I've stated on Marvel.com, look at that hammer. You know it's gotta be magic! Just like the others! It is definitely 100 percent legit. Perhaps… too legit? … to quit?
But yes, levity is the order of the day! Deadpool has his own hammer to spread destruction with, but he is Marvel's jester, and will act accordingly.
Nrama: And Bong Dazo is on art — it's early still, but what can you about his work on the title? And as an artist yourself, what's it like working strictly as a writer? Fun? Challenging? Exciting? Soothing? All of the above?
Hastings: I have gotten to see all of the pencils for the first issue, and they look amazing. I threw a couple of challenging scenes at him, and he exceeded all expectations every time.
Yes, it is all of those things to be an artist writing for another artist. Honestly, I prefer writing to drawing. If I had unlimited funds to go and hire someone I'd feel comfortable drawing Dr. McNinja, I probably would. So it's quite a pleasure to just make up the story, and hand it off to someone else to make it look pretty.
Nrama: You've gone on record that Deadpool is your favorite Marvel character. When did you first start getting into the character? Was it the Joe Kelly run, as it was for so many of us?
Hastings: Something sticks in my mind actually. When I was… probably just *barely* a teenager, the only Marvel character I cared for at all was Spider-Man. I didn't have a comic shop nearby that I could visit regularly, so I just had a subscription to that and Wizard Magazine. All of my comic purchasing decisions were based on Wizard Magazine declaring a title similar to Spider-Man. So when Wizard said that Robin was like how Spider-Man was when he was a teenager, subscribed. And then when Wizard said that Deadpool was funny like Spider-Man, subscribed. And yes, it turned out to be the Joe Kelly run. I've loved Deadpool since! It made a Joe Kelly fan too, for that matter.
Nrama: But you're not just making your Marvel debut writing your favorite Marvel character, you're also doing it in a tie-in to the major Marvel event series of the year. Do you have any favorite past crossovers of this ilk?
Hastings: Civil War was pretty amazing, eh? I think that was a tremendously brave series, it seemed it was the first time in a while that introduced a genuine and resonating conflict to the Marvel Universe. I still think about it sometimes, when my mind is wandering.
Nrama: Let's end by building a bit of a bridge here — despite tonal similarities, there are probably (possibly?) some Dr. McNinja fans out there who may not be Deadpool fans, or readers of mainstream superhero comics in general. What would you say to these people who may be on the fence about picking this up?
Hastings: Dr. McNinja fans, I assure you that this comic is more of what you enjoy from me, Chris Hastings. It's got punches, explosions, and chuckles. Except the punches and explosions look better, because they have been handled by an exceptional art team. The chuckles have always been top quality, and remain so.
And fans certainly don't need to have read Deadpool before to enjoy the book! Here's the only thing you need to know: Deadpool has healing powers.
That's it! Buy the book knowing you won't feel lost in a sea of continuity! And after you're done, you might just find yourself wanting to read more of the Fear Itself crossover, which I can only recommend.