DANIEL WAY Hits The Two-Year Mark With DEADPOOL


When Daniel Way's first issue of Deadpool came out in September 2008, the character was a few months removed from Cable & Deadpool, a team-up book that ended with issue #50.

The strategy at the time was to break up the two characters into individual ongoing series, thinking they'd be stronger apart than together. Two years later, not only is the Deadpool title — the character's second solo ongoing — still running with Way at the helm, the Merc with a Mouth has gone from a wisecracking fan favorite to a major player in the Mavel Universe (but still with plenty of jokes).

Since Way took over the regular monthly adventures of Wade Wilson, readers have seen various creators produce Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War, Deadpool Corps, Deadpool: Team-Up, Lady Deadpool, Deadpool: Suicide Kings, and Deadpool Pulp — not to mention Deadpool's stint in the October-debuting Uncanny X-Force and the upcoming DeadpoolMAX mature readers series.

In Way's book — first with artist Paco Medina and now with Carlo Barberi in tow — Deadpool has worked with Nick Fury, gone after Norman Osborn and the Thunderbolts and made the dubious decision to try and transform himself from amoral mercenary to full-fledged superhero. With the 20 year anniversary of the character's first appearance in New Mutants #98 approching, Newsarama talked with Way over the phone to lean more about Deadpool's future, and figure out how he's become so inescapably popular as of late.

Newsarama: The solicitation copy thus far for the impending “I’m Your Man” arc has been pretty vague, probably purposefully so, and the preview pages released last week didn’t elucidate much further. What can you say about what the conflict is and what readers can expect about the arc starting this week with Deadpool #26?

Daniel Way: Steve Rogers has this thing going with the Secret Avengers now, where they’re kind of below the radar, doing behind-the-scenes funny business. A job comes up that Deadpool is perfect for, and he gets the nod. It turns out Wade Wilson as a kid was actually a huge admirer of Captain America. So this is kind of a dream come true — but it’s the same old problem with Deadpool. When you give him what he wants, he never does what he’s supposed to do with it. Hijinks ensue. There’s a pretty major twist going on that happens in the story, can’t really talk about that quite yet.

Nrama: Understandable! Can you talk, though, about the nature of the job Steve Rogers assigns to Deadpool?

Way: Fighting terror! It’s all about fighting terror, wherever it may be. It’s homegrown terror. This is in our own backyard.

Nrama: And Doctor Bong is in the arc, too …

Way: I waited to use Doctor Bong as long as I could. I had to pull the trigger on that guy.

Nrama: And he has a history with Deadpool.

Way: Yeah, he was Deadpool’s therapist.

Nrama: So is that going to play into it?

Way: Yes it does. Very much.

Nrama: When Deadpool started about two years ago, Deadpool was coming off the Cable & Deadpool series, which a lot of people liked but wasn’t a huge seller. Now there’s four or five Deadpool comics out every month. From your informed opinion, what do you ascribe the boom in popularity to?

Way: I think we had the right character at the right time. All of Marvel’s comics were kind of grim and gritty; I didn’t want to get completely away from that. I wanted to keep a lot of those elements, but go a different way with it. That’s kind of where I came up with how I would approach Deadpool. This is a massively violent book, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Usually action/comedies have lame action and lame comedy. I tried to do my best attempt to have a good representation of both of those genres in one book. Luckily, I have a character that can pull off those things. Readers recognize that Deadpool can be funny, but he’s also kind of a psycho killer. You have a TV series like Dexter, where you have a lovable serial killer. Just seemed like the right time.

Nrama: Dexter and Deadpool both have their own twisted nobility in the way they approach what they do, too.

Way: The thing with Deadpool is, you can’t really hold much of the bad stuff against him. He’s always moving on to the next thing. He’s a very temporary person, because he’s so uneasy with himself. He never lingers for very long. He’s kind of like this Baby Huey with no sense of memory. We know he comes from a very bad place. You kind of give him some slack — sit back and watch it. Go-go-go.

Nrama: So when first coming onto this book, was this explosion in popularity anything you were able to foresee?

Way: Hell no. There was nobody waiting for a Deadpool book. The book had just died, and immediately we were going to do it again. I think a lot of the lack of fear I had is because there was no expectation for the book. We got it together, we pitched the idea, and everybody’s like, “Alright, can’t hurt.” We just threw it out there.

When Nick Fury reaches out to Deadpool [in the opening arc of the current onging series], that was kind of us bringing the reality of comic publishing into our stories. And then of course once he got in there, he tried to make more of the mission than what it actually was. And that’s what we were doing with the book.

Nrama: So for you, seeing how much the character’s grown in visibility since you started on the book, is there a sense of pride there?

Way: I’m proud that we’ve done some really cool stories. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do to make a book popular. There is so much voodoo involved, you never know what’s going to catch on. I never would have guessed that Daken would catch on. I knew there would be a firestorm, but I didn’t know if the character would survive it. If I knew how to systematically build a hit character, I would do that every weekend, and I’d be so rich.

At the end of the day, it’s fans and retailers. They’re the ones that propped this book up. They supported it, they voted for it with their dollars, and it hit. So congratulations to them. They got the book they wanted.

Nrama: Given that Deadpool has a much higher profile role in the Marvel Universe now than he did, and there are several other books that feature him, does that change your job or the way you approach the book at all?

Way: Because of the fact that I’m writing the flagship book, I get first dibs. I never get told, “Deadpool can’t be doing that because he’s doing this.”

When we’re doing crossover stuff, sometimes it can get a bit dicey. Me and another writer will talk about maybe crossing over the books, and then we’ll realize that some of these characters have already interacted. He’s out there a lot — he’s in a lot of books right now.

Cover of October's Deadpool #28.

Nrama: At this rate, it’ll soon be pretty tough to find characters he hasn’t interacted with.

Way: Right now Deadpool wants to be the good guy. Very soon, he’s going to decide that’s now extremely boring, then he’s going to go back to his badass routes. That happens two arcs down the road. Now that we’re in the "Heroic Age," Deadpool’s gonna zag.

Nrama: Another major recent development is the news that the previously team-averse Deadpool will be part of the Uncanny X-Force team starting with next month’s issue #1, written by Rick Remender. What was your reaction upon hearing the decision — or were you involved in the decision?

Way: It’s something that we talked about at one of the creative summits. Marketing-wise, it makes a hell of a lot of sense. I trust Rick. You have to know how this is structured to see how it makes sense that Deadpool would be part of it.

Cover of November's Deadpool #29.

Nrama: What else is coming up in the series that you can share?

Way: There’s the “I’m Your Man” arc, which is kind of mind-bending. Then we go into a vampire story, called, “I Rule, You Suck.” That’s also really bizarre. Towards the end of that, he’s going to have a moment where he realizes that he’s just been going the wrong way. You’ve got to take the dream back. Instead of worrying about being the “world’s best mercenary,” find your “inner mercenary.”

Nrama: So does the vampire stuff tie in to what’s been going on in X-Men?

Way: Yeah! The vampire stuff that we’ve got going on is cool. Axel Alonso was really at the forefront of this: “We’re going to build up vampires.”

I’m such a huge genre fan anyway. I think it’s rad that a lot of those horror characters are going to finally be able to put down some roots and stick around, and not be just relegated to the sidelines. It’s like we took the Marvel playbook and moved it into Hammer films.

How do you explain Deadpool's rise in popularity in the last two years?

Twitter activity