[SPOILER WARNING: THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR “DEADPOOL” #6, ON SALE NOW]
The unpredictable nature of the Marvel Universe means there are some threats no hero can face. It’s not because these threats are unbeatable. It’s because they’re walking PR nightmares and taking them on could wreck or tarnish a hero’s image. Fortunately for those squeaky clean heroes there’s one super powered character whose image is already wrecked beyond repair thanks to his erratic and annoying behavior — and best of all he’s a mercenary for hire!
His name is Deadpool (AKA Wade Wilson) and in the debut issue of his new self-titled Marvel NOW! series written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan with art by Tony Moore, the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. hired the unkillable mercenary to slaughter a beloved and unstoppable force: an army of U.S. Presidents brought back from the dead as malevolent zombies. In “Deadpool” #6, Wade Wilson ended the menace of the undead presidents, but he didn’t emerge unscathed. Comic Book Resources spoke with Posehn and Duggan about the fall out from their initial arc which left Deadpool hearing the voice of dead friend and their upcoming plans for the series which include a special one-off issue and an all-new story arc that finds Deadpool literally taking the job from hell.
CBR News: Gerry and Brian, in the first few issues of “Deadpool” you were exploring the fun, comical side of your protagonist. Things took a much a darker turn at the end of issue #5 with the death of Deadpool’s employer and friend Agent Preston. Then the reveal on the final page of issue #6 suggests that Preston’s spirit is now trapped inside Deadpool. Is that correct?
Gerry Duggan: No one really guessed what was happening on the final pages of issue #5. When Michael, the Necromancer, got Deadpool and Preston away from zombie Washington’s attack on the Helicarrier he was also putting Agent Preston inside Deadpool. Now we have her rattling around inside of him.
Deadpool now has that dynamic to deal with and he’s got some personal stuff to deal with. So there are some darker times ahead, including a mystery that we set up in issue #8.
I imagine there’s going to be quite a bit of fun and humor as well, especially now that Agent Preston is trapped inside Deadpool. What can you tell us about the new dynamic between these two?
Duggan: She’s got some things to deal with and so does he. There are some privacy issues. [Laughs]
Brian Posehn: The Steve Martin-Lily Tomlin comedy “All of Me” was kind of our inspiration. This was pre-“Superior Spider-Man” So when we heard that the new Doc Ock Spider-Man would be interacting with what looks like the ghost of Peter Parker we were like, “Oh no!” But our story is less like that and more like “All of Me.”
Preston wasn’t the only interesting supporting character you introduced in your initial issues. Will we see any of these other characters like Ben Franklin’s Ghost? Or Michael, the Necromancer?
Duggan: They’ll definitely be around in the next arc for sure, but they’ll experience some changes. We can’t really elaborate on those though.
What inspired you to introduce the character of Ben Franklin’s ghost?
Posehn: I don’t remember when that element came in, but once we decided we were leading with this first story it made sense for him to stick around after that.
Duggan: The comings and goings of Ben and the other supporting characters will be very natural for the story. They’re around a for a little while.
I think Ben has fun with Deadpool and Deadpool could use a little advice. Those supporting characters will also occasionally have their own things that they have to head off and accomplish.
And while we’re on the subject of supporting characters, issue #7 is a standalone issue, but it does set up our villain for the next arc. So there’s some water under the bridge there that we’ll get to, but I don’t think anyone else has quite done what we’re doing now. It was our editor Jordan D. White’s idea to do a one-off for #7.
Posehn: Yeah, and we’ve got another one coming up with issue #13, right?
Duggan: Yes, Scott Koblish, our artist on issue #7, returns for issue #13. I think between our various arcs we’d like to use Scott to tell a Deadpool story in a different era, and in a perfect world we’d use those to seed into the next arc in some ways.
That’s been the case twice now, but I wouldn’t want to lock us into that because we might want to just do a straight up one off.
Issue #13 is funny though. I don’t know if we can talk about that yet.
Posehn: It’s pretty far off, but it is shaping up to be a really funny issue.
I seem to recall one of you mentioning somewhere that Scott was going to do a Jack Kirby-style issue for the book. Is that issue #13?
Duggan: That was the idea, but it kind of got pushed to the side for something else. We might go back to it for issue #19 or issue #25 because we also want to do a noir story and there’s a really crazy one off that we’re scripting right now that Scott is going to get soon.
While we’re on the topic of what you’ve got further down the line it seems like in this initial arc you were planting the seeds for a later story involving Agent Gorman of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Michael, the Necromancer. Is that correct?
Duggan: Yeah, at the end of issue #6 things are left unresolved with Gorman, except to say that his his dislike of Deadpool has only escalated. [Laughs] So Deadpool’s conflict with Gorman will return later. It’s simmering now and will come back.
Gorman played a role in this initial arc, but so did magic and the supernatural. I also understand those forces will be a part of the next arc as well? Is that a coincidence? Or are you enjoying the chance to have Deadpool bump up against the supernatural?
Posehn: We didn’t really plan for that. These stories came together because of the connection between issues #6 and #7.
Duggan: I think we’ve all seen Deadpool go up against guys with guns and when we talked about the fresh slate we were getting with Marvel NOW! we talked about putting him in situations we haven’t seen him in as much. Obviously it’s not the first time he’s been involved in supernatural stuff, but because we knew that Agent Preston was going to be a passenger inside Deadpool for awhile there were a few choices we had to make. It just seemed to be easier to do with a supernatural angle instead of a scientific one. We had some fun ideas for it.
The supernatural elements will give way to a much more grounded, and darker, third arc.
Posehn:With Michael and Ben Franklin’s Ghost around there’s always going to a little bit of the supernatural involved. Our big stories moving forward though won’t be as supernatural.
Will we see some guest stars from the supernatural corner of the Marvel Universe in this next story?
Posehn: We can’t talk about who we’ve discussed brining in, but Gerry and I are huge Marvel fans and we don’t know if we’ll ever get a chance to write another ongoing book for them. So we want to work in as many characters as we can. That means anyone is possible. Any character we grew up loving could be brought in even if it’s just for a page.
We’ve already done that with some of the big characters like Captain America and Thor. We plan to do as much of that as we can get away with.
Duggan: We can reveal that the Superior Spider-Man shows up in the second arc.
Posehn: That was a really fun issue to write because in the scenes with Deadpool and Spider-Man we’re actually dealing with four different people.
Duggan: When we were writing that issue and we told Jordan that we’d like to use Spider-Man he said, “Let’s get on the phone. There’s some stuff you guys need to know.” So he explained what was going on to us and we realized it would be two plus two. I think Mike Hawthorne found a pretty cool way to illustrate that encounter.
And issue #7 probably has the most guest stars we’ve ever written in one issue.
Posehn:That’s been my favorite issue we’ve done so far. Seeing Scott’s art come in has been amazing.
Let’s talk a little bit about the plot of issue #7. From what I’ve heard it sounds like an issue that plays with a lot of the conventions from ’80s Iron Man comics. Is that true?
Duggan: From the cover everyone can tell it’s a story that takes place during the days of “Demon In a Bottle” where Deadpool is dispatched to get Tony Stark to do something. I don’t want to spoil any more than that. I will say it’s a story that’s in continuity and happened in between the panels when no one was looking.
Posehn: We’ve been talking about “Demon in a Bottle” for years. It’s one our favorite stories and we’ve been talking about doing something with that time period of Iron Man’s life, the “Drunk Iron Man Years,” even before we thought we’d actually be doing comics. [Laughs]
Duggan: The other fun thing is that the guy that sent him out on this path in issue #7 is the guy that’s causing him all sorts of grief in this next arc. Also this isn’t just Deadpool’s problem. Some of his new friends are very much at risk and in play in the next arc.
Can you tell us anything else about this character that appears in “Deadpool” #7 and figures prominently in the second arc? I’ve heard talk that he’s somehow tied to hell?
Duggan: We can reveal that he is a denizen of Mephisto’s realm. You’ve got to be careful with deals with the devil and that’s probably all we should say about that.
What can you tell us about the settings for issue #7 and your next arc?
Duggan: Issue #7 begins in Marvel Manhattan and then we head out to the West Coast where Stark is. There’s some other locales involved as well.
Issue #8 picks up where #6 left off. So Deadpool is back on the East Coast and the story primarily takes place there. It goes to one or two surprising places; some new locales in the Marvel Universe that we weren’t aware existed.
While we’re visiting those places you’ll see avery cool visual representation of Deadpool’s interactions with Agent Preston. Mike Hawthorne did a great job of bringing that all together. What’s inside Deadpool’s head is a lot of fun to look at.
Posehn:Plus there are different places inside Deadpool’s mind.
Duggan: Right, there are places in people’s mind that they might go to when their mind wanders, and Preston might be in a position to explore those things. So I think we’re going to learn some things about Deadpool that maybe people didn’t know. That will all come to a head in the following arc.
Posehn: Some of the most fun for me is Preston is now forced to be the co-pilot or back seat driver to Deadpool’s insanity and try to keep him on mission. In the first story she was with him much of the time, saw how he did things, and was constantly questioning if he thought about any of his actions before he did them.
We haven’t really talked about Preston’s life outside of being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Did she have a family and a life outside of her job?
Duggan: She does have a family. We’ll see them.
We’ve talked about story let’s move into art. You’ve touched upon some of their work already but what do your new collaborators of Scott Koblish, Mike Hawthorne, and cover artist Art Adams bring to the book?
Duggan: Hawthorne is just incredible. I don’t say this lightly, but if you’re a big Tony Moore fan you have no reason to be disappointed by what Mike’s doing. He’s so good at the storytelling and action. He’s one of those guys too who can sell what we need to sell for a joke. So he’s the perfect guy to have in this spot.
â€¨Then Art is obviously one of the greatest artists of his generation. So to have him involved in any capacity on the book is a real thrill.
Posehn: The great thing with the guys that are doing the interiors is that there’s a tonal shift in all these different stories. So it really makes sense to have different guys doing these different tones.
There are some serious parts in issue #7, but it’s pretty much just us going nuts. It’s a fun little palette cleanser between what happened in issue #6 and the story that Mike’s drawing, which begins in issue #8.
We’ve talked about your immediate plans on Deadpool, can you offer up any other hints or teases about what’s coming further down the line? Say, at the end of summer or early fall?
Duggan: We can’t really say much. I’ll give you one clue: “The Good, The
Bad & The Ugly.”
I also want to mention that “Deadpool” #7 is an issue that’s very accessible that even non-Deadpool fans would enjoy. Plus the trade paperback of our our first arc goes on sale right around the same time as issue #8. So that’s another great jumping on point if you’ve been looking to try the book.
Plus, for fans of Tony Moore’s work he will return to the book in his own way.
Let’s conclude by talking about some of the other activities you guys are up to as well. Gerry, you’re writing “Uncanny Avengers” #8 AU. What’s it like writing an issue of that series?” Are these the most mainstream Marvel characters you’ve had a chance to write?
Duggan: There was a quirk in the calendar and writer Rick Remender was concerned about his deadlines and wanted to keep everything on track. So he asked me to co-write the “Age of Ultron” tie-in issue with him and I was thrilled to death. The world that spins out of that event is such a cool, fun world.
I was thrilled to get to do it and work with Rick who I’ve got a long history with. Then they gave us Adam Kubert to draw the book, which is just insane. I thought that if I worked in comics for many, many years that hopefully I would get a shot to do that. I didn’t think it would happen in my first year at Marvel.
Rick told me the idea for the story came from you during a discussion where you were helping him workshop it. Can you tell us about that?
Duggan: Yeah, his family moved down close to where I am in Los Angeles. So we get our kids together and we ended up talking a lot about what we’re doing in general. So I’d talk about what Brian and I are doing on “Deadpool,” and he would also talk with me about “Uncanny Avengers.” I love that book and all the characters in it.
So we came up with some fun ideas and pitched them. Some of them we were able to incorporate and some we didn’t. Then I discovered that writing Kang with Rick was just a delight. We get to see a little bit of Kang’s existence and I think it’s going to be really cool. What he’s up to with the Apocalypse Twins is pretty interesting.
Obviously we want to tell an important story for these characters and learn something about them that you wouldn’t ordinarily get in regular continuity, but I think we came up with something that served both “Age of Ultron” and the current arc of “Uncanny Avengers” really well. It’s a good story in that world and it’s an important story for “Uncanny Avengers.” It’s been nice to focus on some of the motivations behind the figures in the story that Rick has been building towards. So it was a lot of fun to write.
Do you have any other comic work that you’re currently working on or that’s due out soon?
Duggan: The other thing I’m working on is an “A+X” story in June with Kitty, Lockheed and Spider-Woman. I think that will be fun.
I’m living the dream. Like probably everybody, I grew up reading these comics and I didn’t even dream that one day I’d get to play in the sandbox. So every day that I get to do it is a real treat.
Brian, I understand you’re keeping very busy as well in your other career as a stand-up comedian. Do you have any upcoming shows or specials that fans of your work should keep an eye out for?
Posehn: I have a new Netflix special called “The Fartist,” and I’ll be touring all summer. I’m going to try and book stand-up shows around comic conventions. Plus I’m also trying to do some “Deadpool” signings at comic stores in the towns where I have shows. If you want find out where I’m going to be all summer the best place to check is my Twitter account. I’ve got signings already scheduled in San Francisco, Hawaii and a couple of other places that are on my stand-up calendar.
“Deadpool” #7 is on sale tomorrow, and you can read a preview right here on CBR.