Deadpool died a few months ago in a highly publicized event from Marvel Comics, but that isn't stopping him from joining in on the pomp of "All-New All-Different Marvel."
In the new Deadpool series launching this fall, long-time series writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne rejoin the Merc With A Mouth in a new volume for the character ahead of his February 2016 movie.
Marvel so far has been mum on exactly what the new Deadpool series will be about besides the cover art and tagline "More Deadpool than you wanted," but Mke Hawthorne spoke with Newsarama about Wade Wilson recovering from his death earlier this year, the departure of co-writer Brian Posehn, the "gamble" of the new series, and how it fits in with his creator-owned work.
Newsarama: Mike, easy one first -- what can you reveal that you're working on today?
Mike Hawthorne: Today I'm working on a double page spread from Deadpool #2. It's part of a big, multi-player action sequence, the kind I think Gerry Duggan and I are getting known for in the book. They're complicated to plan, but visually fun for me and hopefully the readers. This one is different than my last big action scene, the Kansas massacre, in that it's a closed space - an apartment building in New York's Chinatown. Lots of moving parts in a small area, which actually makes it harder to draw but potentially more fun.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the new Deadpool series as a whole in “All-New All-Different Marvel”?
Hawthorne: I can tell you that the new series is going to make perfect sense in terms of what we've done in the last series. The events of the past arc are not ignored, and everyone important to Wade is going to play a part. I'll also add that the status quo has significantly changed for Wade. I can't get into detail, but much of what you think a Deadpool comic book is will remain but he'll be operating in an entirely different way than he has in the past. He'll find himself in a leadership position that perhaps he was never ready for.
Nrama: Co-writer Brian Posehn, however, will not be continuing on with Deadpool. Can you talk about that from your perspective?
Hawthorne: Brian's going to be missed, no doubt. His being a stand-up comedian I imagine he's got to be on the road a good bit, so I figure that must be affecting his ability to work on a bi-monthly book. He brought a zaniness that would offset some of the serious moments in the book. I hear he will be back at some point, if only for an issue or three. I hope we can get the gang all together again at some point, but the book is in great hands with Gerry!
Nrama: Last time you drew Deadpool, he ended up...well, dead. How are you getting past that?
Hawthorne: I don't think we are totally, in that the events leading up to his death will be intact and affect what happens next for Wade. We're not pretending none of it happened, and Wade is going to have to deal with all of his choices. So will his loved ones. It's a complicated world for Deadpool now, one that we're working really hard to make as interesting as it can be for readers.
Nrama: What do you think personally of the trope of character death being used as a temporary storyline for a character?
Hawthorne: I can see how, if viewed cynically, it can be annoying. I think the difference here is that Gerry, Brian and I never treated this like an "event," but as something that needed to make sense in grand scheme of the story. For instance, even if you cut the actual death of Deadpool scene out of Deadpool #45 it was still meant to be a huge story. Deadpool was going to singlehandedly take out an entire army, and I drew that like each individual page needed to sell the book. Gerry wrote a story that showed just how terrifyingly effective a merc Deadpool really is. So you got your money's worth.
Plus, Gerry and Brian had this planned way in advance and the story was naturally moving in that direction. Ultimatum was always going to be a threat to Wade's family, and that couldn't stand. He had to do what he did, event or no event. So you can kill a character off in a comic, and bring him back, so long as you didn't short change the reader. That's key for me. If the readers are happy, I'm happy.
Nrama: Will Deadpool's "death" have long-lasting ramifications for the character?
Hawthorne: Yes. Deadpool made decisions before his death that are going to diametrically change how he works in the new series. We're doing something with him that I actually think is a little bit of a gamble, but one that I think is in line with what character would do. I wish I didn't have to be so tight lipped with details, but what Deadpool is doing, how he's getting things done, is going to be a surprise for readers. It's all because of events that take place between his taking out Ultimatum and now.
Nrama: You've been working regularly on Deadpool for the past two years. Before that you had several brief stints on other company-owned books, but never quite stuck like this. Why do you think that is?
Hawthorne: I admit, I did jump around a lot, never really wanting to take on an ongoing. I liked playing the field, artistically speaking. But this book, I don't know... everything just seemed to line up perfectly. Gerry has been an absolute dream to work with, writing stuff that is so genuinely smart, well crafted, but leaving room for me to do zany stuff with the art. Jordan White is exactly my kind of editor, steady handed, but trusting me to do my job. Then I hit the jackpot again with Heather Antos who fits in like she's been with us since the beginning. Man, freelance life can be so chaotic that when I found something this perfect I decided I need to stay put.
Plus, you've known my work for a long time, how much like Hysteria is this book?
Nrama: Surprisingly, a lot like Deadpool. That being said, are there other characters in DC or Marvel's toybox you'd want to tackle at some point?
Hawthorne: I like challenges, things that are different than what I've already done. Spider-Man would be fun because of how elastic you can draw him.
Or the Hulk!
Wonder Woman would be fun too! I did recently get to redesign a version of Wonder Woman for DC’s The Multiversity, which Jim Lee used for his book! It was really cool, he even gave me a shout in an interview with you guys - I thought I was above geeking out anymore, but I gotta admit it was a cool thrill to work on something I knew Jim would be using. Last time I reacted like that was getting to work with Harvey Pekar. It's just surreal to get to work with folks whose comics you read as a fan.
Nrama: And outside of that, you had years doing creator-owned work. Any chance you could return to that at some point, either with a past project or something new?
Hawthorne: Absolutely. I've always done both creator owned and work for hire, and that hasn't changed. It's been years since I finished it, and I'd like to get St. Michael's Promise published. That's my current focus on the creator owned side.
Nrama: Unless they were following you very closely back then, they may not remember St. Michael’s Promise as the DC/Vertigo series that never came out. Can you tell us about it?
Hawthorne: St. Michael’s Promise was an autobiographical book that the folks at Vertigo commissioned years ago. Shortly before wrapping up The Unmen, I was in New York with my then-editor Jon Vankin talking about The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which we both loved. I mentioned how I grew up in a Puerto Rican family, having been raised solely by my mother who immigrated here from the Island, and how I had been "cursed" as a child by a Santero. Jon was intrigued and talked me into making it a book. The book really became about the uniquely Puerto Rican experience in America, being a part of the United States mostly in name only.
This was just before the huge “New 52” shake-up, when no one was sure what would happen at Vertigo. Karen left, and the book found itself just not fitting in, which is ironic considering the subject matter. After some wrangling I got the rights back, and we parted on great terms. I'm still a big Vertigo fan and am glad they're finding their feet again. But now I have this book that I've been sitting on for years, and I think it's time I get it out there. I want to find a home for my little island of a book.
I'm also considering a collected Hysteria book, a big omnibus of sorts, which would mean finishing One Man Gang.
Lastly, Stephen Murphy and I are planning a collected release of our Harvey nominated series Umbra. I did a new cover for it, and we're planning around 8 pages of new material for the story.