The Merc with a Mouth has been in good hands under “Deadpool” co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn. Joined by artist Declan Shalvey, the creative team is currently taking Deadpool through “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” — a story arc that teams Deadpool with Captain America and Wolverine as they escape a North Korean prison and uncover a plot by the villainous Butler, a nefarious scientist who uses DNA from mutants to give North Korea its own twisted version of the X-Men.
In order to shed some more light on the current status of Deadpool, Gerry Duggan joined X-Position to discuss the developments “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” has brought to the table (including the possibility of Deadpool having a child) and tease the after effects that may result from the arc.
CBR News: Gerry, you and Brian Posehn got the chance to essentially take on a distorted version of the “Giant-Size X-Men” #1 team in “Deadpool.” What was the rationale behind selecting that particular incarnation of the X-Men?
Gerry Duggan: When we were chatting about just whose DNA that Butler had been unwinding, we seemed to be gravitating toward mutants. Then we landed pretty firmly on them — the initial script for #17 called for the North Korean prison guards to inject themselves with something that would have looked like The Thing, but Declan pitched Rockslide, to keep it all in the mutant family — and he was right. It makes Butler’s research and experimentation feel focused. The science of the science fiction feels right — that Deadpool’s specialized tissue could hold the X gene flavor like a tofu. Once we knew it was all mutants, we went all in on it. Once we had made that decision, it also helped cement Logan’s commitment to the fight. Once again, mutants get the shit end of the stick, and in a twist of the knife, so do a lot of North Korean political prisoners.
Agent Preston has played somewhat of a backseat role in this arc so far, but no less integral. How does playing with the major contrasting viewpoint Preston offers help you drive the narrative forward?
Right now, she’s Deadpool’s ace in the hole. She’s really fun to write for. She’s just as trapped as Cap, Logan and Deadpool are. Deadpool will come to realize that by the end of this current arc, too. Michael and Ben were looking for a magic way out for her, but Agent Adsit at S.H.I.E.L.D. is pursuing a different strategy. The next arc will bring the next change in Preston and Deadpool’s relationship.
The most recent issue of the series really allowed you to show the teamwork that Deadpool, Wolverine and Cap exhibited. As the arc moves into its fourth chapter, how do you plan to further showcase their tactical skill?
I’d take these three over any other team in any company in all of comics. They push over the camp they’re trapped in with precision from a lifetime of combat. It’s not without loss, of course — but it was a pretty well executed break out. #18 and #19 will bring different struggles. #18 is a marathon that becomes a sprint on the turn of a page. #19 is a fight against the clock to pull the rat from his nest. As impressive as Cap, Wolverine and Deadpool are — there may be goals that are beyond even their reach. We’ll just have to see where they are by the end of #19.
Is Butler actually an evil person? It seems like his main goal is to revive his sister and everything else is secondary to that goal.
I don’t see him as evil. I see him as twisted, but very motivated. If there was an easier way for him to bring his sister back from the brink, he would do it. I picture him as a middle-rung scientist that gave up his humanity for what he loved. The poor North Koreans served two purposes for Butler: one, he was being paid to make them monsters, and more importantly he was perfecting his craft so that when he thaws his sister, it would all go perfectly. Butler’s sister is his entire world, and I think that makes for a more engaging arc than if he was an evil scientist taking Kim Jong Un’s money. On a personal note, I don’t mind at all if there are Marvel fans that are just finding out that NK has an extensive program of camps, with hundreds of thousands of prisoners. The entire family of someone accused of acting out of step with those maniacs is thrown into a camp. The sentence is for three generations, but it’s really death. It’s the longest ongoing crime of this century, and last.
There was a great Marvel AR moment in one of the previous issues that had Deadpool’s outtakes for a certain scene. Were you and Brian involved in that particular video?
No, we have to tip our hat to the editors, assistant editors and whoever they grab to be in them. We did some AR in the first couple of issues, and we just didn’t have time. We’d like to do more, and hope to in the future — but those folks do such a great job. I don’t think the average fan knows how hard those offices work. Comic books are made by people that love comic books.
Now it’s time to get to our reader questions, starting with mr_infinite, who enjoyed the Fastball Special gag and the Mount Gushmore joke.
Hi Gerry, I’m really digging “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” so far, and it was especially cool to see what happens to rookies that haven’t practiced the Fastball Special.
Thanks. It’s not so easy when you don’t have a Danger Room under the mansion to practice your craft.
Did you come up with the “Mount Gushmore” joke before or after the rock soldiers were designed?
Sometimes those lines don’t show up until late in the game. Just as a for-instance — the “Surprise Dentist” balloon was written after Dec’s art came back and it was polished for our letterer, Joe Sabino. That panel called for a teleporting attack from Deadpool, but Declan gave us the wonderful surprise of the “Dead” & “Pool” double brass knuckle set. We had to have something to go along with that. With the “Mount Gushmore” gag, that attack existed unchanged from our first draft, but that line didn’t show up until after Joe’s initial pass. He got the note to tweak those balloons as Jordan D. White was shoving it out the door. Declan said that was a nice surprise when he saw it.
The Cap’s-shield-as-compass gag was also really funny. Are you in to that kind of wilderness survival stuff at all?
Historically no, but I have a young son into spiders, trees, climbing, bugs and the great outdoors so it’s probably in my future. We went to Yosemite this year for the first time — we’ll return for sure. When our government reopens it. Someday. Oh, and as for what the shield gag accomplished — we just wanted to see our heroes be able to make it through this adventure without a S.H.I.E.L.D. jump-jet, or a teleport from Dr. Strange. They only have themselves to rely on.
cora reef is up next with a question about Deadpool’s family life and the overall tone of the character.
Dear Mr. Duggan, It’s cool that Deadpool might have a daughter and you’re bringing readers a different side of the character than we’ve previously seen. Without giving anything away, what do you think Deadpool would be like as a father?
He might surprise you. If he gets that opportunity. He would certainly have the protective part of parenting nailed down.
As the series moves forward, how do you hope to continue expanding Deadpool’s character in interesting, emotional ways without sacrificing his crazy side?
I think he’s an easy character to care for; he’s a mutt, he’s an underdog, he’s got a good wit, and when the chips are down — he’s a moral figure that you’d want having your back. I think what we’re trying to do with “The Good The Bad & The Ugly” is offer an explanation about why his past is so muddled, but do it in a way that doesn’t invalidate a single page of previous story. There are things that have happened to him that he remembers, some he doesn’t, some were implants — and who knows what was really what. From there, he’s got a little group around him that can give him the friendship that can pull those emotional strings. His core group of surroundings might grow next year. It might do some shrinking, too. That expanding and contraction offers a chance to bring Deadpool some joy, or pain. Such is life. Even for Wade Wilson.
Wrapping up this week’s X-Position, Confernally Efused has some questions about the distorted versions of the X-Men as well as Cap and Wolverine’s attitude toward Deadpool.
I love that you included distorted versions of the X-Men in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” but why are they wearing dingier versions of the X-Men’s costumes?
That’s a question that Logan himself asks in Deadpool #18. Kim, the prisoner that was altered to mimic Nightcrawler offers a sad, and true answer.
How will Cap and Wolverine deal with the fact that Deadpool saved them? Will it make them more friendly and understanding toward him at all?
The cornerstone of our Deadpool has always been that nobody would want to be seen with Deadpool. Not fighting him, or especially not fighting alongside him. However, things change over time. Cap and Wolverine will indeed see Deadpool in a new light after the events of “Deadpool” #18 & #19… and they won’t be alone. This is one caper that will stick with all three men, and the good woman behind Deadpool. Who knows? Maybe there are few more stories for “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” down the road…
Thanks to Gerry Duggan for taking on this week’s questions in X-Position this week!
X-Position is going on a quick break as our staff heads off to New York Comic Con 2013 this weekend, but we’ll be back in two weeks when our special guest Mr. Sam Humphries takes on all your pressing questions about “Uncanny X-Force!” Got a question for Sam? Send over an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!