Wade Wilson is about to embark on a whole new career path in Deadpool #1 - monster hunter. With giant monsters coming to Staten Island from all over the Marvel Universe, Deadpool will take on a contract to kill the "King of the Monsters." And signing the contract with him are writer Kelly Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo, who set Deadpool on his new vocation.
As Deadpool sets his sights on a kaiju-sized contract, he'll run afoul of veteran monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone and a host of new and classic Marvel monsters.
But before all that, Newsarama spoke with Thompson ahead of Deadpool #1's November 20 release to open the door on this new chapter in Wade Wilson's wacky adventures and to dial in on who the Merc With a Mouth actually is at his core.
Newsarama: Kelly, this new volume of Deadpool is a little different from anything Wade’s done before - he’s gotta take on the “King of Monster Island.” What can you tell us about this big contract?
Kelly Thompson: Well, I take that as a wonderful compliment, because certainly one of the challenges of writing Deadpool is finding something he hasn’t done before.
He’s a very bendy character and he’s done and been everything under the sun, so that was a worry from go – what could we do with him that was both a fit for the character and the kind of stories we wanted to tell but that felt like breaking new ground for him. I can’t say much about the contract except that with most things in Deadpool’s life it’s not what it seems and it goes pear-shaped immediately.
Nrama: For that matter, what can you tell us about the King of Monster Island?
Thompson: Well…before or after Deadpool arrives on the scene? Because those are very different answers! [laughs]
Nrama: Monster Island is a Marvel location with decades-deep roots – but this is something different. How does Monster Island come to Staten Island?
Thompson: So part of the conceit of this story is that Monsters from all over the world (including Monster Island and Monsteropolis) are migrating to Staten Island because their new King has acted on a centuries old agreement in which early peoples made a deal with old monsters to give them Staten Island as payment for…something. So basically the monsters are finally coming to collect on that contract.
Nrama: Elsa Bloodstone is also along for the ride here. What’s the relationship between Elsa and Wade like?
Thompson: It’s pretty adversarial initially as they sort of push and pull to figure out where they each stand. Given the monster-ness of this story, it makes a ton of sense for Elsa to be there – and not necessarily as an ally. But they’re really interesting to write together and I think people are gonna be won over.
Nrama: Deadpool is known as the Merc With a Mouth – and his writers are often gauged by their sense of humor. What do you look to for inspiration to write his infamous jokes?
Thompson: Obviously you want your Deadpool book to be funny, but to be honest I think you need to have a lot more layers there in order to have a successful book, because humor is such a fine line—not all jokes land, not all senses of humor are the same. So if there’s not something deeper to grab onto as a reader, it’s dangerous to rely on it just being funny.
I think we have a lot of layers. I think you can do a lot with Wade so long as you can tap into that sort of quintessential voice then I think there are a lot of variations you can play with.
Nrama: On that note, Deadpool occupies a weird chaotic/neutral space in the Marvel Universe – but that mercurial nature means he rarely has the same adventure twice. What do you see as the core tenets of who Wade Wilson actually is?
Thompson: Wade is tragedy and horror and action and comedy…he wears all the hats. But his comedy, while it comes from a genuine place, is also an obvious mask to cover up that tragedy and horror that is his existence.
And of course he is also incredibly deadly, which sometimes gets lost in the comedy I think. Our arc definitely starts with the action slightly buried because of the circumstances Wade finds himself in…but I promise you, by the end of the arc he will have kicked so much ass and reminded everyone it’s not all fun and games.
Nrama: You’re working with Chris Bachalo here. That’s almost ‘Nuff Said, but we’ll say it – what’s it like working with an iconic artist like Chris?
Thompson: He’s incredible, as expected. It’s been a dream come true – I’ve been a super fan of his since I was literally a teenager (which is a weird thing to say as it makes him seem older than he is – but he was a superstar very young) so it’s not as dramatic as it seems!
Like with any new collaboration there’s a learning curve and I think it’s a bit steeper for me with Chris than some other collaborators, in part just because he’s so good and he has a very specific style and I want him to be him and do his genius thing and I don’t want to get in his way. So there’s a push and a pull as we figure out the right mix for us. It’s terribly exciting.
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing about his take on Deadpool and what he’s drawn so far?
Thompson: Well, one of the many things that Chris is a master of, is body language and expression, and even in that mask he is able to wring so much character from Wade. Using everything at his disposal, including those big costume eyes, Chris’s Wade is just wonderfully alive. Makes it easy to find and write Deadpool’s voice when you have such inspiring images. Also his Jeff The Landshark is equal parts adorable and grouchy looking and I love him so much.
Nrama: Since you’re going to Monster Island, there must be some crazy kaiju involved. How do you design a fight between a guy the size of a Deadpool and a giant monster the size of a skyscraper? How integral are Chris and the rest of the art team in that process?
Thompson: Wade is definitely gonna fight a big crazy Kaiju guy, of course. Ironically that will be in issue #5 which is a standalone story and not drawn by Chris.
But Chris has more than delivered on tons of crazy monsters – both new creations of ours and new takes on classics – so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Honestly, the art team’s contribution to this book cannot be overstated. Making any comic takes a village, but our village had to do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to design and chaos and world building.
Nrama: What makes this volume of Deadpool a must-read for his ever-growing army of fans?
Thompson: I hope what we have to offer is something that captures what’s essential about Deadpool and thus feels familiar, but that breaks new ground in what we try to do and how we try to do it. So…jokes, violence, existential angst, baby land sharks, giant kaiju, sexy monster hunters, trash monsters, fart monsters…we got it all. C’mon down, kids!