Healing factors make you virtually unkillable, and as a result Deadpool hasn’t spent much time thinking about mortality. He’s lived his mercenary life with a devil may care attitude not fearing the literal or metaphorical bumps and bruises that come with a life of adventure and frequent chimichangas. Alas, death finds a way to claim even the most resilient human beings, healing factor or otherwise. Even Deadpool.
This April, the Grim Reaper puts the Merc With a Mouth in his crosshairs in “Deadpool” #250, a special milestone issue marking Wade Wilson’s 250th solo appearance, the end of the Marvel Comics ongoing series’ current volume and the finale of co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn’s run on the character. CBR News spoke with Duggan about his favorite moments on the series and his plans leading up the finale, which include pitting Deadpool against the villainy of Omega Red and the Roxxon Corporation. The writer also shares new details about the giant-size “Deadpool” #250 that includes two full-length stories by Duggan & Posehn, plus backup tales from some of the biggest comedy writers working today including Ben Acker & Ben Blacker, Nick Giovanetti & Paul Scheer, Scott Aukerman, Jason Mantzoukas and Mike Drucker.
CBR News: Gerry, you and Brian are known for seeding things way in advance in your “Deadpool” run. How long have you two been building up to Deadpool’s death? And why do it now?
Gerry Duggan: I think you’re starting to see some of the sub-plots we had sort of dangling start to wrap up and that felt appropriate. The real answer, though, is Wade has sort of been on this journey of self discovery. He hasn’t necessarily liked what he’s found and unfortunately for him there are even worse things ahead.
The next arc that takes place primarily out in the Middle East will have a pretty serious effect on him as he sort of finds himself at a crossroads. Especially at the beginning of the next issue, #41. He makes an important discovery there that could have a pretty profound impact on his life.
The revelation that came at the end of “Deadpool” #39 where Wade realizes he’s unhappy was especially interesting considering that over the course of your run Wade has received almost everything he’s ever wanted, including a family and friends, correct?
We’ve tried, although it does say a lot about human nature that you can get what you want and you’re still not happy. So in that regard Wade is not unique, unfortunately. And yes, he does have people who want to be around him and people who need him, but when you’re feeling depressed it almost doesn’t matter what sort of good things you have around you. They seem invisible.
Wade is nothing if not a fighter. So he’s going to fight through this, too, but it is a particularly low moment for him.
Before we get into the next arc and the death of Deadpool I wanted to talk about issue #40, available now, which is your penultimate inventory issue featuring art by Scott Koblish. Where did the idea for this issue come from? Is it like the others you’ve done in that it sets the stage for your final arc of “Deadpool?”
It does. There’s a very significant threat pulled out of this particular inventory issue that will play through the end of our volume.
This particular inventory issue has its roots in a collection or promotional tie-in comics that Brian and I have, like an ‘Aim Toothpaste and Spider-Man team up to fight cavities and the Green Goblin,’ that sort of thing. So this is very much a comic book that is sponsored, paid for, and intellectually curated by the Roxxon corporation. They want to get people excited about the magic of “gracking.” So they’re using Deadpool as an educational tool to get people excited about it, and it doesn’t quite go as planned.
It’s a fun issue and it’s our most knives out I think. We really work some pretty dark corners of the world. At the same time Scott and [colorist] Val [Staples] have teamed up once again to mimic the feel of of those old comics. We really embraced the whole aesthetic. Val colored the whole thing with crayons. It looks great, but it does look like a coloring book that’s been filled in. Plus there’s an activity page. So there really is a look and a feel of comics that don’t really exist any more.
â€¨At the same time, in what I hope is our tradition, we are able to make it a real sort of portent of things to come. So it’s fun. Our next arc is largely set in the Roxxon world and it kicks off with issue #40.
Will you be able to play with some of the toys that “Thor” writer Jason Aaron has set up at Roxxon, like their CEO Dario Agger?
I don’t want to ruin the surprise, and there are at least three or four very big surprises in the book I think and some fun guest stars like Sarah Silverman, but yes, If you have been reading Jason’s “Thor” run which introduced Dario and his role at Roxxon I think you’ll get a pretty decent kick out of “Deadpool” #40.
In addition to Roxxon the next arc features the villainy of Omega Red. I believe the last time readers saw that characters was during Rick Remender’s “Uncanny X-Force” run where he was believed to have been killed by Deadpool’s friend, the young mutant and Apocalypse clone, Evan. So will the relationship between Deadpool and Evan figure into this story?
A little bit. Evan is yet another sort of orphaned figure in this world that has fallen into Deadpool’s orbit. Post “AXIS” he’s not at the Jean Grey School anymore. He’s really on the lam for the crimes he committed as Apocalypse. So he can’t really show his face at the moment. Plus we saw Deadpool’s wife Shiklah have a very negative reaction to his presence. That’s sort of a longer game at the moment.
Deadpool does have a history with Omega Red. He thinks that Deadpool killed his family. So for those of who’ve been reading that presents Deadpool with a unique challenge because he’s not aware of what happened to his family and how he factored into that. That will come up though. So the arc has some threads back into “Uncanny X-Force,” some threads back into our previous issues, and some threads forward into interesting places.
Who are some of the other prominent supporting characters we’ll see in this arc?
Shiklah and her world do play a part in the story. Plus, back in our “AXIS” tie-in we did some seeding with a scene featuring Batroc and the Trapster on the subway where Zen Deadpool or Zenpool as we called him was nice to these guys who had been kicked around earlier in our comic. They were chasing after Deadpool for the money that Gorman had put on his head.
In that scene the inverted Deadpool actually gave them his number and they ring him in this arc. It happens at a moment in his life where he sort of looks at the phone and goes, “Why the hell not?”
Trapster is a Lee-Kirby character. So I still get a kick out of writing for him.
The arc is being drawn by Salva Espin, an artist who I don’t believe you’ve worked with yet but is no stranger to Deadpool and his world.
Yes, it’s fun to see him back drawing “Deadpool.” He’s been great.
Let’s move to the milestone issue “Deadpool” #250, which is your last and possibly Deadpool’s last since he does die in the issue. Earlier you mentioned corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Gorman and I understand he sort of figures into the issue because it involves the return of another organization he was affiliated with, the terrorist network U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. Is that correct?
Gorman is dead, but yes you’re absolutely right. The sins of Wade’s past return. He thinks he tied off the Flag-Smasher [U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.’s leader] situation. We saw that during the end of our “Original Sin” tie-in Wade made a bargain with Flag-Smasher. He promised him he could live if everyone came off of his list, and that if U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. made any move against him Wade wouldn’t kill him. He’d torture him until he was just a nervous system.
â€¨Something changes though and they decide they want their pound of flesh. It is a nice end to the volume as U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. goes back with us really to our first issue. We didn’t know it at the time, but obviously Gorman was acting on their behalf. That became apparent later and Wade being Wade got the job done, but in the end he became too big a target for his own good.
So issue #250 is Deadpool versus the entire weight of U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. as an organization?
Yes, for sure, but you’re also going to see some things you’ve never seen before including bad-ass moments for a lot of our supporting characters that would be a hero moment in their own book. So it’s fun to share the spotlight like that.
Issue #250 is practically a trade paperback. It also has a full second issue scripted by us that has the Infinity Gauntlet on Deadpool’s hand. Then the back ups are some of the best comedy writers working today telling stories about our supporting cast in the Marvel Universe and I think that’s really fun. It’s a nice way to go out.
You and Brian say goodbye to Deadpool in those two stories done by longtime collaborators Scott Koblish and Mike Hawthorne. It seems like those two guys and really all the artists you worked with were especially important to the overall tone you and Brian wanted to convey in “Deadpool.”
Absolutely. The guy who deserves a lot of credit for that is our editor Jordan D. White. He set us up to succeed with the collaborators we had. I like to think that I wrote to our collaborator and what I perceived to be their strengths. A lot of times though they let me know what their strengths were by turning in pages and having my expectations upturned.
Whether it was Scott or Mike who’ve been along with us almost the whole way or whether it Declan [Shalvey] and Jordie [Bellaire] when we needed them for the right moment for “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” everyone had a great part to play and we’ve been very rich in collaborators.
How does “Deadpool” #250 compare in size to the recent issue #27 which featured Deadpool’s wedding to Shiklah and several backup stories by an all-star team of Deadpool creators both past and present?
I believe #250 is bigger and for the same price. I think it’s just shy of 100 pages. It’s a gigantic anniversary to a character that’s been very good to us and we inherited at cruising altitude. He was already popular and I’m thankful to not have stumbled with Deadpool on this run. So I’m thankful for our fans. They were the ones that made this run a hit.
Looking back at your run on “Deadpool” what were some of your favorite moments? Which stories did you especially enjoy?
I have only one rule I try to live by and that’s to never write a comic that I wouldn’t want to buy. I think I’ve been faithful to that.
The script for the “Death of Wolverine” tie-in was a lot of fun and Scott Kolins did a great job on that. If you had to just pick one issue to hand someone, I might hand them that. The first time I saw my name on a Marvel cover was “Deadpool” #1. So I’m very partial to that. I think “The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly” was the story that tied the room together for “Deadpool.” So I think that was important and it was my first time working with Dec and Jordie. It was very special.
I really get a kick out of collaboration. I’m always surprised by what Mike is putting into the comic that maybe wasn’t in the script or how wonderful, fast, smart, and funny Scott is. He and Val are an Eisner worthy team.
I hope these artists do get recognized. I think Hawthorne is the best storyteller drawing comics at the moment, and I don’t say that lightly. So we’ve been treated to some of the best the industry has to offer and I hope that we made the most of that.
I really enjoyed the work you and Brian did on the print comics, but I also loved what you guys did with the Infinite Comic series “Deadpool: The Gauntlet.”
Reilly Brown deserves the credit for “The Gauntlet” being special. He had already been dabbling in comics for tablets and that really shines through in those comics. I leaned pretty hard on him.
â€¨That was a really wonderful collaboration. I looked at it not long ago and I was happy with how it turned out. I don’t like to go back because I always see things that I could do better, but with that particular comic I was able to enjoy looking back on it.
I forgot about Marcus, the unbeatable minotaur who had no weaknesses except for diabetes. The scooter chase with him was a great gag. We tried to set Reilly up for things like that. Whether it was the scooter gag or even that first episode where Deadpool is sort of rolling with the vampire past the Beefeater guard in London those are things that I think work better on the screen than they do on the page. Obviously that’s no slight to the page.
I’m not sure what anyone expected out of us at the beginning of our run. I thought and hoped we would have a nice long run, but it doesn’t always turn out like that. Sometimes you can do work and not get noticed. When you do get notice though that’s because of the fans. So I want to thank everyone who gave us a shot at writing their favorite character, and I’m very grateful if we made some people Deadpool fans who weren’t before. I’m looking forward to continuing to write more Marvel comics.
Wade Wilson dies in “Deadpool” #250, scheduled for release this April.
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