This April, two of Marvel’s craziest leading men are being led into a face-off of epic proportions. The sinister characters of Deadpool and Carnage – both products of the dark and extreme era of the 1990s – are colliding in a four issue series titled, aptly enough, Deadpool Vs. Carnage. Series writer Cullen Bunn compares this one-on-one showdown to King Kong vs. Godzilla – but this one has a lot less hair, a lot less scales, and a lot more blood.
Newsarama spoke with Bunn and artist Salvador Espin about this series pitting the maniac Carnage versus the manic Deadpool, and along the way we learned that sometimes comic creators can get too close to their fictional characters.
Newsarama: Deadpool vs. Carnage – what a battle this could be. First question – who’s crazier?
Salvador Espin: Uf! It´s very very difficult to say, especially because right now I´m drawing a lot of crazy stuff for both sides. I think that the readers will be the ones who decide!
Cullen Bunn: Yes, the reader will have to make their own psychiatric determinations for these characters. To me, they’re both dangerously crazy… just in very different ways. And they’re not the only crazy characters in the series. Throughout the series, we’ll show that the world is a much crazier place than anyone realizes… and all the crazy is connected.
The real question is “who’s tougher” and the answer is Carnage.
But what Carnage doesn’t realize is that Deadpool gets stronger every time he’s struck by lightning, so… Never mind. That’s the story of King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Nrama: What can people expect from Deadpool Vs. Carnage come April?
Bunn: Human sacrifice!
Deadpool becomes an offering to a deity who dwells in the center of a volcano, and… Oops. Sorry. That’s Joe vs. the Volcano.
Readers will get a lot of action and bloodshed as Carnage and Deadpool both try to one-up each other in their own special way. There will, of course, be some twists and turns along the way, and I think the idea of the “insanity wave” that Deadpool sees himself surfing brings something a little different to the series.
Also… there will be human sacrifice, I guess, as Carnage makes offerings to his one true master—chaos!
Espin: As a teenage song says: “The Best of Both Worlds” (but with blood, katanas and super-powers in our affair). And as a fan of both characters I can say that drawing a series like this is a dream come true.
Nrama: A fight between Carnage and Deadpool could take up a whole miniseries on its own, but there’s got to be some other characters in the mix here – even just to be unfortunate victims. Who else is in this series?
Bunn: There are lots of additional characters, because in order for Deadpool to date Carnage, he must defeat his evil exes… Ah. Nope. That’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
But there are a few guest stars. Some of them are hapless victims. Some will be new allies. Some will be characters you have seen before, mostly from the Carnage camp, and some of them will become hapless victims, too!
Nrama: The preview pages released recently really show Salva having fun with this. Salva, what do you like most about doing this series?
Espin: One of the things I love about drawing Deadpool is I can use cartoon features to accompany the humor of the scripts. In this series we have the plus of Carnage, who guarantees an adventure full of bloody action.
Nrama: Any unexpected surprises when you came onto this series and started drawing the pages?
Espin: Tons of surprises! It´s a great challenge to draw the crazy and wild scenes that Cullen is writing. This guys are using –really- crazy things to kill each other!
Nrama: I really enjoy the way you’re drawing Carnage and the way the symbiote works on him. How’d you go about getting it right?
Espin: Like many artists, there are three things about Carnage that interest me: his sharp teeth, his claws and how the symbiote drips and makes black spots all the time. (and I spend a lot of time detailing all of those points)
Nrama: Cullen, how does this connect with your Superior Carnage Annual you’re also doing this year?
Bunn: At the end of Superior Carnage Annual, Carnage is forgotten… only a dream… and he needs Deadpool to put the fear of God into the kids of Elm Street in order to…
Sorry. Freddy vs. Jason.
The annual serves as a bit of a bridge between the previous Carnage mini and this book. As the annual ends, Carnage has a new attitude and a new mission. This series sees Carnage knee deep in the execution (pun intended) of his plans.
Nrama: What does Deadpool think of a guy like Carnage, and vice versa what do Cletus and the symbiote think of Wade?
Bunn: The two might be able to salvage their relationship if they would stop making vicious character assassinations on the stand. Wait. Kramer vs. Kramer.
In this story, Deadpool feels as though he’s got Carnage figured out. He thinks he knows what makes this insane killer tick. He’s wrong, of course. Carnage is much more vile than Deadpool could possibly imagine. And that realization will be a slap in the face. Carnage, on the other hand, is completely taken aback by Deadpool. To him, Deadpool is absolutely bonkers. And when Carnage thinks you’re crazy, you might have problems.
Nrama: Both Deadpool and Carnage were created in the same unique period of time for comics, and each now sit in a unique spot in Marvel continuity – they’re in the mix, but so unpredictable and explosive that Marvel writers might be hesitant to bring them into the major events. How would you compare the two and their roles in Marvel?
Bunn: One is a famous cowboy outlaw and the other is the king of vampires. Or is that Billy the Kid vs. Dracula?
For me, Carnage represents the deepest, darkest parts of the Marvel universe. I know this because I’ve been asked more than once to tone down the darkness and violence when I’m writing him. I think he just takes my mind to some dark places. That’s what he represents in the Marvel Universe. He’s as bad as it can get.
Deadpool, though, is reflective of the inherent fun of reading a comic. He’s portrayed in such a goofy light, you can’t help but have fun with him on his adventures. He also represents, for me, that absolutely anything can happen in a comic. There are some stories, even though they are 100% in the Marvel Universe, that readers simply wouldn’t accept without Deadpool at the helm.
Nrama: Salva, Deadpool and Carnage have each been drawn by host of great artists. When you’re drawing them him, what previous artists come to mine as the ideal artists for them in your opinion? Who informs your version of Carnage and Deadpool the most?
Espin: For Carnage I love the 90´s versions of artists like Mark Bagley. Oh! And the modern version of Clayton Crain it´s a great reference too.
For Deadpool, uf! Many artists should be named here! But I always have on my mind the Deadpool of one of the comic-books more important for me: the Joe Madureira´s Deadpool (one of the first series that my father gifted me!)
Nrama: So what makes these two such an ideal pairing?
Bunn: They’re a great match-up because one is just an evil version of the other, created when an incantation was improperly spoken.
What? That’s Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness? Moving on.
What really makes them such a great pairing… and what draws them together in this story in the first place… is that they’re both insane, but their various neuroses and psychoses manifest in such different ways. The comparisons and differences are fun to play off one another. When it comes to the fight itself, you’ll see Carnage and Deadpool each putting their best (or worst) foot forward, escalating the violence in their own way.
That said, after the dust has settled, I say Marvel should just go ahead and launch the Carnage/Deadpool team-up book, because if these crazy kids can just put their differences aside, they might be the only hope for the world!