After his appearance 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool received a second chance at life and blossomed in comics with a multitude of one-shots, miniseries and ongoing titles. In the years since the proliferation of Deadpool titles has ‘died’ down to just his primary self-titled ongoing series and a spot on Uncanny X-Force, but the jokes just keep on rolling… rolling straight into a new one-shot parody melding Deadpool with a drastically different character part of the larger Disney family: Winnie The Pooh.
This March, San Antonio-based publisher Antarctic Press are planning to release a one-shot comic special titled Dead Pooh that merges - obviously - the creations of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza with that of noted children’s author A.A. Milne. Originally created by Sean Davis as a prank t-shirt worn at Comic-Con International: San Diego in 2011, the positive fan reaction to the Dead Pooh concept compelled Davis to pursue a comic story. Enlisting his cousin Al Sharpe - who works as a defense contractor and serves in the California Army National Guard - to write it, they came up with a story to fill out a Dead Pooh one-shot that ended up different than just a straight up homage.
“The only commonality between Winnie the Pooh, Wade Wilson and Dead Pooh is the use of the word 'Pooh' and the red costume Dead Pooh uses,” Sharpe explains.
There have been numerous stories in the headlines recently about the legality of artists profiting off the selling of un-authorized fan art of copyrighted characters, but Dead Pooh falls into the category of parody that in some cases is legal according to copyright law. Antarctic Press has published parodies before, but was recently sued for a zombie rendition of the kids book Diary of A Wimpy Kid. At this time there’s been no lawsuits filed by either Deadpool or Winnie The Pooh’s copyright holders about the Dead Pooh, although none of the parties responded to Newsarama’s inquiries.
In Dead Pooh, the titular character is neither a mercenary nor a jovial forest dweller but a sanitation worker / crime fighter.
“Dead Pooh is a vigilante who is a trash collector by day and a crime fighter at night. His parents were falsely imprisoned, which is his motivation for using his talents to battle evil.”
The pudgy vigilante known as Dead Pooh battles evil in his hometown of Woodland City, and in this Antarctic Press one-shot he goes after a new crime lord making a move on the animal denizens of the town. While both Deadpool and Winnie the Pooh have their own unique – and far-removed – attitudes towards life, Dead Pooh isn’t like either according to Sharpe.
“Dead Pooh is more into pummeling criminals than acting goofy,” says the writer. “That is not to say that his character won’t develop further as time goes by.”
After developing a cohesive story for the Dead Pooh comic, Sharpe and Davis set out to find just the right artist to draw this project, and they did in frequent Liefeld associate, artist Marat Mychaels.
“I get my new comics at a comic swap meet for lack of a better term her in Southern California called Frank and Son's. I was introduced to Sean Davis, creator of Dead Pooh, through a mutual friend,” Mychaels tells Newsarama. “He told me he wanted to find an artist who had worked on Deadpool to pencil his parody book. I was coming off my run on Deadpool Corps and thought it was an awesome idea so I jumped at the chance once we where able to work out the finances of it all.”
Mychaels is well-known for his ties to Rob Liefeld, going all the way back to the early 90s where he worked under Liefeld as an art assistant even back during the formation of Deadpool in The New Mutants.
“I remember the day Rob started telling me this idea he had for a new character to fight the New Mutants. When he showed me the initial sketch, I was floored. Deadpool was just cool,” Mychaels revealed. “I remember spotting the blacks on the first page Rob drew with him on it, you just kind of knew the character was gonna resonate with the fans.”
Mychaels went on to draw Liefeld’s Image series Brigade in the mid-90s, and has continued to do work connected with Liefeld through the years. Although Mychaels says he hasn’t talked specifically to Liefeld about Dead Pooh, both Sharpe and the artist say Liefeld is aware of the project. When asked to comment on Dead Pooh for this article, Liefeld declined.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!