Cover of Amazing Spider-man #611Joe Kelly and Deadpool were a winning combination during the writer's run on the series in the late '90s.
Joe Kelly and Spider-Man have been among the highlights of the new Amazing Spider-Man team's run.
Now, Marvel is putting all those names together in Amazing Spider-Man #611, a one-shot issue that pairs the two superheroes in a story by Kelly and artist Eric Canete, with a comical cover by Skottie Young.
"Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters from childhood and I have a real heart-felt love for that character. And it's the same, but in a twisted, nasty way for Deadpool," Kelly told Newsarama of the pairing. "It was the cornerstone of my career. It's where I got my chops and it was the first thing I really felt like I had some real input on. I loved Deadpool, so to have the chance to come back and work on him is really great."
The story will tie into the upcoming series of stories under the banner, "The Gauntlet," which sees the return of many of Spider-Man's more traditional villains to the title.
"You know, at first, it was really just putting them together and having it degenerate into an insult war. But it ended up that it does have a real story," Kelly said of the way the Amazing Spider-Man story evolved into being part of The Gauntlet. "It certainly works as a stand-alone story, but basically, somebody needs to keep Spider-Man occupied for a certain period of time, and Deadpool is the obstacle that's going to be there and entertain Spidey when he could be somewhere else.
"I like doing one-shot stories, but I'd rather feed some of these bigger subplots, especially when we work in the Spidey office, because things are just so far ahead," Kelly said. "Even with the Black Cat story, I can make sure that little subplots are dropped for things that I know are coming further down the road."
Kelly said the idea to do something combining Deadpool and Spider-Man has been floating around the Spidey team for awhile, but the writer hesitated to return to the character after all these years because he avoids going back to something he feels is in the past.
"I love Deadpool. But traditionally, and partly because I bounced between companies, it's pretty rare that I go back to work on something I've done before," he said. "It's not that I have some kind of code or something like that, but my focus gets pulled elsewhere and it's hard to re-open the box.
"When I started working over at Marvel, there was a little talk about working on Deadpool, but I was like, oh, I don't know. Maybe we shouldn't," he said. "[Marvel editor] Steve [Wacker] actually had talked to me and had a very funny suggestion for a bigger Spider-Man/Deadpool thing. And he started planting the seed. And I thought it would be funny to do something like that again. It did come from Steve suggesting that since there seemed to be a lot of Deadpool projects, maybe now would be a good time for a one-issue story with Spidey. And at that point, I just couldn't say no."
Because he has a "tendency not to look back," Kelly said he has to admit he's not as well-versed in everything related to Deadpool as he probably should be. But as fans of Kelly's work know, he's got a knack for writing humorous dialogue between characters – and with two banter-infused characters like Spider-Man and Deadpool, readers can expect the dialogue to be more than a little snappy.
"There is a little bit of 'who's the bigger smart-ass' element to this story. But I describe it as, you go to a comedy club, and you get a comic up there that's pretty good, but you can tell he's trying to stay clean. But then you get a heckler going after him who can say whatever he wants. That brings the comic who's on stage down really fast. And all of the sudden, they're both in the gutter, and it quickly gets very nasty and very funny," Kelly said. "And I'm thinking there might be a similar relationship between Deadpool and Spidey. 'Cause Deadpool would say the things Spidey would want to say. But being around that guy? All of the sudden he's just going to say it. It's like somebody just poking you and poking you and poking you, and I don't think Spidey has the endurance to deal with Deadpool for very long without sort of going to that blue place."
Kelly said his strength for writing fun dialogue probably relates to the fact that he just loves doing it.
"It's always hard to talk about comedy, because then it's immediately not funny. But I love dialogue. I love characters. Even as a kid, I loved characters like Bugs Bunny. I really do generally love comedy," he said. "With Deadpool, we could do anything we wanted because everybody just expected the book to be canceled every five seconds, so nobody was paying attention. And we could get away with it. In Spidey, it's a little different. It's kind of the kinder version of comedy.
"But yeah, I really love that stuff. And I find that it works well for me, because I kind of need it as counterpoint to all that heavy-duty stuff that goes on in these kinds of stories. I just love dialogue. I'm always kind of collecting people's voices in my head," he said. "With Deadpool specifically, I've always kind of cultivated it. I was always looking for bad jokes and things like 'Your Mama' jokes and tucking them into a file. It's always been a part of my repertoire, I guess. I think my baseline writing style is usually to go a little bit dark and a little bit funny and collide those things, because I think you get the best sort of drama out of it. "
While Spider-Man and Deadpool may have clever dialogue in common, the similarities aren't going to make them fast friends in one issue, Kelly said. However, he admitted that, given time, a longer story could end up in them functioning somewhat as "buddies."
"They would make a really good pair for, like, one of those '80s 'buddies' movies," Kelly laughed. "But in this first 'hang-out,' I don't think it's going to go very well. But it really depends on what the body count will be on Wade's part, you know? That's a pretty big turn-off for Spidey."
But don't count out the possibility for that longer story happening, because Marvel is already open to the idea.
"There has been some loose talk about doing something longer than just one issue with the two of them. If we did that, it would be a lot of fun, but I think you'd see a lot more depth of their relationship and how they do balance each other out," he said. "Obviously, Deadpool can be looked at as the dark Spidey, or what Spider-Man could become. And it's also sort of liberating, when you're working so hard to be the responsible one, to see somebody who's just letting it all hang out. So I think their dynamic could be great to play with in a longer piece, but probably not so much in this first one. In this one, it's just round one."
Whether it turns into something longer or not, Kelly said the idea of Spider-Man and Deadpool having an adventure together just seems to make sense.
"It's like two great tastes that taste great together," he laughed.