Deadpool and Wolverine have fought side-by-side and fought each other more times than most readers can count - but Deadpool and the "cranky" Old Man Logan?
Hold that beer.
Former Deadpool artist Declan Shalvey is reuniting for Wade Wilson and the one-time Wolverine in the new five-issue miniseries Old Man Logan, which debuts October 18. Shalvey, working this time as a writer fresh off his OGN Savage Town, will create the series with Nailbiter artist Mike Henderson.
So what brings these two hero(ish) characters together? A new Omega-level mutant has popped up on Cerebro with little control over her powers - and even less of an idea how to defend herself against a group who wants to weaponize it. In comes Logan, looking to make up for that tragic massacre which flipped his switch from Wolverine to Old Man Logan.
Newsarama spoke with Shalvey about this new series, handing the art reins to another, and proverbially using those blades both heroes carry to cut to the bone on what makes Old Man Logan different from Wolverine.
Newsarama: Dec, you have a history with Deadpool - what brought you to pairing him up with Old Man Logan?
Declan Shalvey: You're correct, a few years ago I drew and arc of Deadpool written by Gerry Duggan that featured Wolverine and Captain America, but I've always kept a foot in the Deadpool office since by doing some covers here and there. That arc I drew, “The Good The Bad and The Ugly,” was really rewarding and has received a lot of praise from fans since. It's great to know I contributed to a story that's so loved by Deadpool fans.
What specifically brought me back to Deadpool was editors Jordan White and Heather Antos. I worked with Jordan on that Deadpool story, and I've worked on a lot of variant covers for Heather. They reached out to see if I'd be interested in writing and drawing this mini. I was very interested (love both those characters) but there was no way I could work that drawing commitment into my schedule. I could take on the writing commitment though, so I asked if it would still be possible to write for another artist. I sent on the first chapter of a creator-owned graphic novel I was working on *cough* Savage Town out now in all good shops *cough* just to show them it was something I could do. Thankfully, they were open to it! I also asked for Mike Henderson to draw it, as I loved his work on Nailbiter for Image, and I felt a big, action packed superhero mini would be something he could really sink his teeth into - Nailbiter-related pun intended.
Nrama: This story is about Wade and Logan trying to rescue a newly-powered mutant named Maddie. They're hero (ish), but why do they want to help in this specific situation?
Shalvey: Well really, it's Logan who wants to help this new mutant. He's learned she's an Omega-level mutant and left unchecked, could be potentially dangerous. Deadpool has different motives for getting mixed up in all this, which are naturally far more petty. So, while they're both trying to save this young mutant, they have very different motives for doing so and as a result end up competing with each other. Multiple stabbings ensue.
Nrama: You've drawn Wolverine before, but this is Old Man Logan - how is he different to you, as a writer?
Shalvey: That's a good question; a large difference between both characters is how Old Man Logan is a product of twisty time/universe travel, but that's not something I really wanted to get into. Old Man Logan to me, is a hyper-take on Logan, a version of Logan that has loved more, suffered more and lost more. He's a character who has nothing left to lose and is far more ruthless as a result. He's more cranky too, which is fun to write.
I also like that Old Man Logan has a different relationship with Deadpool than the original Logan does. Deadpool and Logan had a rocky relationship, but especially after “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” I felt there was a mutual respect, Wade looks up to Logan a little. His opinion matters to him. There's no such relationship between Old Man Logan and Deadpool. This Logan doesn't give a toss about Deadpool and vice versa. What connects them I feel though, is that they're both fathers. Or at least, were fathers. It may not be apparent in the first issue, but that's a theme that goes to the heart of this mini.
Nrama: Who is Maddie, this new character being introduced?
Shalvey: Maddie is a new mutant with powers that will be revealed in the story. She's at a stage in her development where her powers are levelling-up - which could be very, very dangerous. Deadpool and Old Man Logan are trying to help her, but unfortunately she wants nothing to do with them. We meet her as she's on the run, but we don't know exactly what she's running from at this stage.
Nrama: What is Gen-Form, the group that is after her?
Shalvey: I'm going to be annoying and dodge the hell out of this question. I will say that they're a shadowy militaristic organization that have a particular interest some mutants, and making weapons of them. That's not something Deadpool or Old Man Logan would have any experience with, right?
Nrama: As you mentioned, you're working on this with Mike Henderson. From your time drawing others' scripts, are there any secret things you do to make your scripts the best they can be for an artist?
Shalvey: Yeah, Mike has been playing an absolute blinder on this mini. Looking at his work, I knew that given the right project, his talents could really sing at Marvel. I wanted to give an artist the same opportunity to showcase their work like Gerry did for me on Deadpool or Warren did for me on Moon Knight, and man, Mike certainly has lived up to his potential. If I were Marvel I'd lock him down A.S.A.P.
Regarding writing the scripts, in general I just tried writing a story that I would like to draw. I think Mike and myself have similar sensibilities, so I felt quite comfortable constructing the pace and visuals in a way that would suit me if I were drawing it. I love seeing Mike hand in layouts, as there'll be some compositions a lot like what I would have done, and others that are very different from I would do. It's always so interesting to see how that plays out. The important thing for me though, was to make sure Mike didn't feel art-directed by me. It was my hope the script would work with his tastes and give him the opportunity to try big and bold stuff. Mainly, I just tried to give him the most space I could to bring more Mike Henderson to the table. I knew he'd draw a great Old Man Logan, but I was unprepared for just how good his Deadpool is. I think Mike is a much better cartoonist than I am, and he's really honed that skill on this mini-series.
Nrama: Have you had a chance to speak with Mike directly about this? If so, what was said?
Shalvey: We had a brief chat about it. I asked what kinds of panel counts he was comfortable with, if he wanted to draw lots of mutants or plain mercenary-types, etc. Mike is a pretty chill guy, I think he was just excited in general about doing a big superhero book. After so many Nailbiter pages, I think he wanted to cut loose on something more 'epic', so I really tried to make sure he got the opportunity to do so. Again, the fact that we had substantial crossover in our approach made it a very easy collaboration. I'm so glad he was up for drawing this. I don't know why he was interested in working with me, but whatever the reasons, I'm grateful for them.
Nrama: What are your big goals with Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan?
Shalvey: My simple aim is to tell a big, action-packed superhero book that entertains. To push these characters to their limits (which are very extreme), while exploiting their natural differences in humorous ways. If possible, pull a few heart strings too. Deadpool and Old Man Logan are such fun characters that naturally clash against each other, I could have easily written another five issues worth of content. I only had five issues though, so I really wanted each issue to deliver, while building the tension as the series progresses. As a personal goal, I wanted to do a 'VS' series that stood out from the rest, from the cover treatment to the trade tress to the interior art. I didn't want this to feel like a 'VS' book, I wanted to try make this feel like a brand new mini, and I have to thank editor Heather Antos for helping me to do.