The past year or so has been an unprecedented boom period for Deadpool — Marvel Comics is scheduled to release four different comic books starring the character in September alone. One of them, Deadpool: Pulp, takes the beloved Merc with a Mouth away from his familiar trappings of the present-day Marvel Universe and into a 1950s pulp fiction caper. The four-issue miniseries, launching with #1 on Wednesday, casts Deadpool as a CIA agent, hunting down a rogue colleague amid the threat of nuclear terror. While the time and place may be different, Wade Wilson’s gleeful insanity remains familiar.The series is co-written by Mike Benson and Adam Glass, no strangers to Deadpool after their work on Deadpool: Suicide Kings, and no strangers to placing Marvel characters in different settings after Luke Cage: Noir. They’re joined on art by Laurence Campbell (Punisher MAX), with Jae Lee on covers. Newsarama talked with Benson and Glass via e-mail to find out what it’s like to write a Deadpool in an era before Bea Arthur jokes. Newsarama: You two co-wrote Luke Cage: Noir, and now Deadpool: Pulp, two comics where you've worked with Marvel characters in bygone eras. What's appealing about that challenge, from your standpoints as writers? Adam Glass: We love taking an archetype character such as Deadpool or Luke Cage and putting them in a different setting. Because at the end of the day, both Luke and Wade are timeless characters who can fit in any time, mostly because at their core they live by a code. In Luke's case, he will do the right thing at the cost of his own well-being. In Deadpool's case, he'll do what's best for him first and in the process might accidentally do the right thing. Nrama: And maybe even more so than Luke Cage, Deadpool seems to be a very distinct product of his time — he’s known for his constant pop culture references. So in a way, is putting him in this new context sort of stripping away Deadpool from those more familiar trappings and getting to the "root" of the character? Mike Benson: Interesting question. Wade is still Wade. At his core, he’s still the same guy. His references will be different but don’t put it past him to not to comment on iconic characters from his era. For Adam and I it was important to keep the character’s essence. What we set out to do was write a more serious book than what we’ve seen, rely less on his quirkiness, but not remove it. Nrama: Deadpool is a character with a very specific personality, but this is a different Deadpool. Just how different is he — and is there concern that perhaps he might be too different from the standard Deadpool that the clearly very loyal Deadpool audience might not “recognize” the character? Benson: There will always be readers who are not open to change, that said, Adam and I are fans of the character and that’s how we approached this book. Keeping Wade true to who he is at his core but throwing him into a very different environment and seeing how he will react. Glass: We kept saying to ourselves, can we do a darker and more real version of Deadpool. This setting allowed us to do just that. And we think it kicks ass. Nrama: And, another more conceptual-type question — from your perspective, having worked on Suicide Kings and now this, what's your take on why Deadpool has experienced this explosion of popularity lately? This seems to be the first real "test" of the character to see if he's an archetype that can work outside of his normal setting. Glass/Benson: Funny, we've said in other interviews that Deadpool's success has a lot to do with being the right hero for our time, but in writing Deadpool: Pulp we've learned that it's not just about our time. It's that Deadpool can do or say whatever he wants. If Deadpool's boss pisses him off he kills him. How many people wish they could actually do that? He's the Eminem of superheroes. A guy who makes his own rules. Everyone loves a rebel. Even one that is certifiably insane. Nrama: Getting to the more nuts and bolts of the comic itself, what can you tell us about the plot of the four issues? It’s known that it deals with a rogue CIA agent, but what kind of threats will this Deadpool encounter? Glass: We both really liked what they did with the Daniel Craig Bond reboots. They showed us an intricate look into a killing machine. We took that idea and ran with it. This has plenty of balls-to-the-wall action, but it also has a lot of character stuff too. It's not easy to be a killing machine, they have feelings too, you know? And we explore that. If we told you anything else we might get ganked by Marvel. Nrama: Is Deadpool the only character to get the "Pulp" treatment in this book, or will we see re-imagined versions of other familiar characters? Benson: We use many characters from Deadpool's history. Most are re-imagined for the story but at their core they are very much the same. Nrama: And obviously there are new characters being introduced — what can you tell us about who Deadpool will be interacting with in the series? Glass: The fun of doing a book like this is playing around with history and historical characters, let's just say Deadpool is going to run into some of the most famous characters of the ‘50s in some very interesting places. Nrama: Tonally, this seems to not be as much straight comedy as a lot of Deadpool comics are, but it also seems a bit more "fun" than some of the bleaker Noir books. Where does it fall in that sort of continuum? Glass: Mike and I have always believed that the best comedy comes from conflict, not jokes. This book has plenty of conflict and from that dark place we're able to mine some truly twisted and funny stuff. I'd say this book walks a fine line between comedy, tragedy and some good old pulp. Nrama: Also, the comic was previewed first in Time.com's Techland blog, which reaches a different audience than just hardcore comic book fans. What was it like to get that kind of exposure so early on in the project? Glass/Benson: We were blown away that they even asked. It goes to show you that comics continue to reach beyond the everyday fan base. A buddy of ours was recently over seas and he was blown away by how many Deadpool tee-shirts he saw. So it seems our plan is working, first Deadpool will take over America — then the world. Nrama: How has working on this project with artist Laurence Campbell been? Glass: There are artists and then there are artists. We are truly in awe of his work. Adam and I call each other like school girls giggling when we see his pages. He has really breathed life into this story. You feel like these characters are about to jump off the page and choke you out. He's truly on a whole other level. We want to be Laurence Campbell when we grow up. Benson: For the record, Laurence has a restraining order against us. Glass: Tattoo a guys art to your chest and they call you crazy. Benson: I think it was more about you sitting across his house in that white van. Glass: Says the guy that collects kites. Benson: What wrong with kites? Glass: Where would you like me to begin?
Benson and Glass on DEADPOOL: PULP
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