Marvel’s epic “Secret Wars” event begins in May, and the remnants of the Marvel Multiverse will suddenly exist side by side on a patchwork planet known as Battleworld. Shepherded by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic, the event pays off numerous plot threads running through Hickman’s “Avengers” titles and pays homage to the original “Secret Wars” maxi-series by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and Bob Layton which ran from 1984 to 1985 and found teams of heroes and villains facing off on the original Battleworld, a place constructed by the all-powerful cosmic being known as the Beyonder.
During the original “Secret Wars,” many epic and monumental events occurred including Spider-Man’s discovery of the symbiote costume that would later become Venom and the Hulk saving his fellow heroes from being crushed by holding up an entire mountain. This May, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Matteo Lolli will take readers back the original Battleworld to reveal something readers never know about the original “Secret Wars”– the role the Merc With a Mouth played in the epic storyline!
To find out just Wade Wilson was up to on Battleworld twenty years ago, CBR News spoke with Bunn about “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars,” his affinity for the 1980s event, what it’s like bouncing Deadpool off its cast of heroes and villains, and the difficulty of reexamining a 12-issue maxi-series as a four-issue miniseries.
CBR News: In your “Killogy” and in the monthly “Deadpool” series written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, over the last few years Deadpool has been thrust into existing worlds and events he wasn’t a part of in their original forms. That certainly lays the groundwork for this “Secret Wars” series, but what’s the appeal of telling these types of stories? Is it simply just the idea of letting a metaphorical bull loose in a china shop or is there more to it than that?
Cullen Bunn: Part of it is absolutely the thrill of just cutting loose with a character like Deadpool and turning those existing storylines upside down. Another part of it, for me, is messing around with continuity in a way that only Deadpool can. But, beyond the seemingly gimmicky high concept, there’s a chance to tell a story that has a lot of emotional resonance for the character.
I read that you pitched the idea of Deadpool infiltrating the original “Secret Wars” a while back. What was it about this event that it made especially interesting to insert Deadpool into? Were you a fan of the original maxi-series?
I remember reading issues of the original series in school. A friend of mine came up to me with issue #8 and said, “Look at this! Look what they did to Spider-Man!” There was a thrill and a mystery in regards to what was going on in the limited series and how it impacted the main Marvel Universe. So, yeah, I’ve always been a fan. Looking back at the series, though, there were some moments that just seemed perfect for a little Deadpoolery. I like the idea of seeing how a 1984 Deadpool would interact with a 1984 group of characters in a story that just drips the mid-’80s.
How does Deadpool gets inserted into “Secret Wars?” Will he be there right from the start as one of the characters pre-sorted by the Beyonder into either the villainous or heroic army?
Deadpool was always there, right in the thick of it, from the very first moments. He appeared in that satellite, alongside all the other heroes, and he fought by their side right up until the end.
Revealing Deadpool was part of “Secret Wars” from the get go means you get to bounce him off and play with a large and fun cast of characters both villainous and heroic. Who are some of the characters that you’re especially having fun writing and bouncing off of Deadpool?
The depiction of Wolverine in the original series always seemed a little too extreme to me, so it’s fun to play Deadpool against that interpretation. I also like seeing Deadpool interact with his hero, Captain America. But really, I try to make sure we see him interact with as many of those characters as possible. I was writing the first battle sequence, and I was surprised how much fun I had with Deadpool tussling with the Absorbing Man and with Kang.
Other than amusing interactions with heroes and villains from the original series, what else is Deadpool up to in “Secret Secret Wars?” Does he have a mission or an overarching goal across the miniseries?
Deadpool is brought into the story just like all the other characters. His mission is to duke it out with the other team and claim his prize — his fondest desire. That said, we start the story with a very important task falling into Deadpool’s lap. In a lot of ways, this task is the most important thing anyone has ever had to do in the history of the Marvel Universe.
The original “Secret Wars” series was a 12-issue maxi-series and “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars” is a four-issue mini. How much of the actual war will we see? Will Deadpool be off on his own and occasionally interact with some of the series big events and battles, or does the original “Secret Wars” serve as a backdrop for everything Deadpool is up to?
Making sure I told a solid story in 4 issues was a big challenge. There were so many big moments in the original series. In order to make it work, there’s a framing sequence that connects the story, but you’ll be seeing Deadpool playing a role in almost all of the iconic scenes from the series.
This book not only follows the history of the original comic book series, but it also pulls an often forgotten bit of miscellanea from the toy series into the Marvel Universe! Keep your eyes peeled!
Artist Matteo Lolli recently showed off a pretty excellent take on Wade Wilson as the artist of the recent “Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool” miniseries. What do you enjoy most about his take on Deadpool?
And let’s not forget that Matteo helped me kill off the icons of literature in “Deadpool Killustrated!” I love that Matteo can deliver the goods when it comes to superhero action, but he also does such an amazing job of selling the visual humor.
Finally, If people take to “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars” would you like to do more chronicling of Wade Wilson’s clandestine role in previous events like “Secret Wars II,” “Inferno,” and “Atlantis Attacks?”
Have you been reading my e-mails? I have ideas for something very much like what you are describing.
“Deadpool’s Secret Wars” #1 is scheduled for release in May.