Writer, producer, comedian and jack of all trades Gerry Duggan has a lot going on. Whether it’s writing “Deadpool” and “Nova” for Marvel or helping to write this year’s Independent Spirit Awards ceremony with fellow comedian Patton Oswalt, he’s got his hand in many aspects of the entertainment industry. Duggan visited the CBR Speakeasy in Los Angeles to discuss his current slate of projects, including the experience writing comedy with Oswalt, the changes in his life and career over the last 7 years, the upcoming “Deadpool” wedding issue and his passion for Sam Alexander, the new Nova.
On writing comedy with Patton Oswalt: The truth is that both [Patton Oswalt and “Deadpool” co-writer Brian Posehn] are so funny that in that situation — the goals are a little different. With Patton, we’re writing for him and there’s nothing that I’ve ever written that he hasn’t immediately made better just by being in his mouth and coming out of his mouth. He just makes you look good. With Brian, we’re writing the longer-form stuff, and that’s a little bit of a battle back-and-forth sometimes. Whereas, if Patton likes something — great. If he doesn’t like it, it’s like, “We’re spiking it, we’re moving on to do another take on something.” But he has all the answers. In that situation for me, it’s like a Tony Soprano no-show garbage job where it’s like, “He’s going to be great. I just get to be adjacent to that greatness.”
On the changes in the last 7 years since his first appearance on CBR TV: I was writing a lot of live TV, and — it’s great because it just makes you not have a memory. You do your show, you work really hard and then that hour is gone, and the next day, no matter how great or terrible it was, you have to restart. You just refill the hour, you try to make it great, and then you’re done. It was exhausting. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world, because I think it made me a better writer, but the thing that I really wanted to do after that was — it was very disposable and I wanted to do something that would be around long after my pill death or scotch death — something that someone could point to and say, “He existed.” So, comics and some of the stuff I’ve been able to write recently has been a very pleasant itch to scratch. I was married and I’ve had a son in that time, so we have a lot of fun. I didn’t know I’d ever love going to Disney or building LEGOs — that’s the best part of my life.
On the popularity of the “Deadpool” wedding concept: I think I mentioned this, and if I haven’t — it was a little bit of a joke, where we thought, “Hey, we’re going to marry him off.” Then, Jordan [White], the editor, said, “If you do it, you really have to commit to doing it.” It was a great note and we said, “Let’s think about this for a minute before we really do want to do it. It made story sense for us because we have really stripped him down in a way that — he was looking to, after “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” find a way to reboot and jumpstart his life. He’s fought a cow, so a quick shotgun wedding — that’s no problem. “Of course I’m going to get married to a woman that I just met!” We tried to keep that a big secret for a while, but then we decided to plant the flag and just let everyone know it’s a new character named Shiklah, who is in the … Infinite Comic. It’s a lot of plates to keep spinning, because I think we have five artists going right now. … So, I credit the editors for keeping us running on time. It’s been a hoot.
The back of the wedding book is crazy — Dan Way, Joe Kelly’s back, Gail Simone’s back, Mark Waid — basically, your Deadpool, whatever Deadpool you love, I can guarantee is going to be in that book.
On working in the Infinite Comic format: Infinite Comics — it’s a wonderful gateway drug. There’s no more newsstand comics, there’s no real place to put a comic in front of somebody that might be an impulse buy except for the Internet. We jumped right in, and said, “We want to make this a clean place to get on board — if you haven’t read Deadpool, to try it.” It allows me to be a little bit lazier because I can make those transitions at any point, I don’t have to wait for an even page turn. The way that the [Infinite Comic] moves. It’s not animation, it’s sort of a comic on steroids, and Reilly Brown has done a great job of — when I need something to be obscured in darkness or tight on a frame, and that comic either moves or contracts, it’s wonderful. It’s a very unique experience. I think Marvel’s going to publish that as a trade paperback eventually, but I think you’re robbing yourself of a fun experience on the tablet or computer.
On his passion for “Nova”: It’s a unique opportunity to play with a character who does not know how to be the hero that he wants to be. That inexperience, I cherish that stuff. When Sam screws up, it’s an opportunity to make a bigger mess for him to clean up — and it’s also an opportunity for fun, it’s an opportunity for comedy. The tone is different than “Deadpool,” but it’s a unique opportunity to be asked to write a character that doesn’t have 10 omnibuses — omnibi? — of back-catalogue where it’s an almost fresh slate, so to be able to follow [Jeph] Loeb and [Zeb] Wells — and credit to the editors to not make it feel like it was the third creative team in a year. I’m really proud of the work. I think there’s something — my wife finally read them, she likes reading them in the collections, and she’s going to read them out loud to my son. He’s five, but he’s interested in comics, and there’s something fun about Sam. He’s an underdog and I think you want to root for him.