Whether it’s ridiculous comedy or unexpected gravitas, “Deadpool” is a book that continues to evolve. Under the hands of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, the Merc With A Mouth’s solo series has continually changed things up — going from an opening arc of dead American presidents and S.H.I.E.L.D. necromancers to the revelation that Deadpool had a child that died, the series has surprises at every turn. Even the fake inventory issues proved to be relevant to Duggan and Posehn’s story. Now, Deadpool is set for marriage with details given in the currently-running “Deadpool: The Gauntlet” Infinite Comic.
Gerry Duggan returned to X-POSITION this week to answer your questions about the Merc With A Mouth and his eponymous series, including the challenge of structuring different “Deadpool” arcs, introducing Shiklah, the ongoing “Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.” story and more. Plus, special guest Scott Adsit stops by for some quick comments on his Marvel Universe doppelgänger.
â€¨Renaldo is up first, with some general questions about Deadpool in both his main series and “The Gauntlet.”
1) Straight into it! Deadpool and Shiklah! Why did you feel the urge to push the perverted gunslinger into a romantic zone which ties into a vampire war? Reminds me of Fantomex’s love-arc with Psylocke. Don’t these guys just stick to fighting anymore?
Gerry Duggan: To a certain extent Deadpool leads the way — he’s telling us where he wants to go. Like when Tyler Durden let go of the wheel in “Fight Club.” Honestly, from a writing perspective, the more real, honest attachments that a character has, the more pressure points I get to play with, the more that readers will enjoy the experience.
â€¨2) Deadpool’s warred with zombies, Apocalypse and now Dracula’s minions. How was it coming up with the perfect foils to this arc? Did you think at some point that vamps may not have been as ruthless a force? I mean these guys aren’t as bada$$ as Twilight but still, they’re decent enough.
Well, for Deadpool and Shiklah to wed, Dracula is going to have to be appeased, killed or shot into space or something. The vampires that Deadpool will face on the other side of the Gauntlet are slightly different. You’ll have to meet us back here after the wedding. I will promise you — that Deadpool finds the most Deadpool weapon to fight the vampires in the arc following the wedding. It’s very fun. Somewhat on-topic: but if there is anyone out there that is on the fence about trying an “Infinite” comic — it’s a wonderful experience on a screen. As a longtime comic reader I had my doubts, but what [artist] Reilly Brown, [editor] Jordan D. White and the art team, and everyone at Marvel accomplished is pretty special. I think if you try the first issue of “The Gauntlet,” you’ll see what I’m talking about. There is a really nice flow to it all.
3) Switching from ‘Gauntlet’, Deadpool’s crossing paths with S.H.I.E.L.D. and they’re not rubbing each other the right way (no pun intended), so how do you view Deadpool and how does this inform your work? Anti-hero in your writing…or a villain? Because he really does some selfish, dastardly stuff when he’s not being that unconventional ‘hero’…
The fun thing is that I still learn a thing or two about Deadpool every time out. Yes, he’s done some pretty horrible things, but he’s done some selfless things, too. The title of that arc helped obfuscate what we were trying to accomplish by the end of #21. In a Leone western, we’d finish issue #25 and the Intermission with a musical overture would kick in. The end of that arc will have Deadpool realize how alone he is.
JimTheTroll has some questions about working in the digital format as well as the current arc “Deadpool Vs. SHIELD.”
1) What’s it been like working in the Infinite Comics digital format? Did you find that it influences the way you write for reveals and dialogue?
Yes! Most definitely. The nice thing about the Infinite Comic is that you can transition in a unique way — you no longer have to wait for an even numbered page turn for a big reveal. Your eyes will always cheat and run ahead of you in a comic, but we have the ability to put blinders on you when you’re holding a screen. If you look back to “The Gauntlet” #1 — you’ll see Deadpool rolling with the vamp past the Beefeater guard, and even — the big opening number as pretty good uses of comics on a glass surface. So I hope you try it, Jim the Troll, if that is your real name.
â€¨2) The “Deadpool Vs. SHIELD” arc has been a lot of fun so far. Can you tease your plans for Agent Preston going forward?
Yes, her address is changing, but she’s an important character for our “Deadpool” run and she’ll be a supporting character moving forward. Some of you have already been curious about her now-noticeable absence from “The Gauntlet.” You’re all so good at noticing! Stay tuned!
3) Also, I love that you’ve modeled a character after Scott Adsit. How does he feel about his comic book counterpart?
Duggan: Great question. Let’s ask him. Scott?
Scott Adsit: How do you think I feel about it? I have a doppelgänger in the actual Marvel 616! A guy actually named Scott Adsit who looks like me can hang out with Reed Richards, thwart Hydra or steal a kiss from Jessica Jones! In the Marvel Universe, I’m an efficient public servant who is given to fits of dutiful, outrageous and over-the-top acts of overt heroism (as opposed to the quiet, courageous and subtle acts of private heroism that rule my every moment in this universe), so I’m pretty happy. Gerry and Brian are masters of this craft and I’ll be happy to share a small piece of the merchandising rights with them.
Duggan: I won’t stop until Scott is the C-3PO of Marvel’s inevitable “Star Tours-esque” ride at Disneyland. Reach out with your feelings, you know you want this to be true.
Garrett is up next with a quick question about Shiklah.
â€¨Will we learn more about Shiklah in the main Deadpool book?
Absolutely. The thing to remember about Shiklah is that she’s a monarch, and that’s not a fun, quiet or easy job. As with any comic “event” people like to chat and get enraged and whatnot, but Shiklah is a fun character, she is attached to Deadpool, we have plans for her, and maybe not everything is quite as it seems.
cora_reef wraps us up with a few questions about the overall view of the series.
â€¨Dear Mr. Duggan,
Please! My mother was “Mr. Duggan”, call me Gerry.
“Deadpool” started off pretty wacky, but it seems like you’ve recently shepherded it into more serious territory. Was this a conscious decision, or did it simply seem like an appropriate direction for the character as the series continued?
Circling back to your question, I think we’ve always played a “long game” with Deadpool. We’re writing scripts in the ’30s with characters that first appeared back in issue one. Brian and I got to work with Tony Moore on that first book, and we landed on that story because it was exactly what we thought we needed in that moment. It was an ode to old Marvel, old EC and everything we loved about Deadpool. It gave us Preston, Adsit, Gorman, Michael, Ben Franklin’s dirty old ghost and we needed it as the foundation for everything that followed. Could we have opened with “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”? Sure. Would that have been a good idea? No.
There’s a phrase in comedy called “losing the room” It usually happens when someone over-reaches. A comedian brings up a taboo subject and it cools the room off, the laughs go extinct. A performer has to fight to get them back. So we hit the gas hard, eased off the clutch and then went off road into new territory. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I value being surprised more than anything else when I pay for entertainment. It is in the very forefront of my mind when plotting and scripting. I think we’ve always had a blend of funny and dark on the book. I think our brightest, funniest issues have moments of just soul-killing darkness (Flash in issue #7) and our darkest chapters have some of the best laughs. (The wild-pitch Fastball Special from “G/B/U”) I value being able to turn an entire comic run on the turn of a page.
I’ve been a big fan of the work you’ve done so far on “Nova.” How would you stack up writing Sam Alexander — a kid — versus writing Deadpool — a man that can act like a kid?
Writing Sam is a real joy. I made myself a little ill at the thought of following Jeph [Loeb] and Zeb [Wells], as I was loving that book. [Steve] Wacker slapped my face a couple of times and now Ellie Pyle and Devin Lewis keep me in line. Sam is a treasure to me because it’s not every day you get a crack at an inexperienced hero. 15 is a hard age whether you have a Black Nova helmet or not. I would enjoy writing Sam whether he was Nova or not. My philosophy is pretty simple: I’m trying to write what I know for Sam, and what makes my heart pound for Nova. I hope anyone that gave us the benefit of the doubt on “Deadpool” would try me again on “Nova.” As for how Sam is different from Wade — they share that desire to be good, heroic, and sometimes that’s enough. Deadpool is a bastard, but he had a lot of help to become that man he is. He’ll fight anyone, especially himself sometimes. Sam didn’t ask for the job, it fell to him. The joy for us is watching him stumble, or do a good thing for a bad guy (i.e. “Nova” #12) and then correcting his mistakes.
Finally, with Deadpool getting married and the recent revelation about his child, it seems like family might be more important to him in the future. How will this affect the series as it moves forward?
Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I don’t know what would be worse for Deadpool: finding out Eleanor is dead, or learning that she’s alive. Both would have consequences. I will tell you that the answer to Eleanor’s fate lies ahead in the pages of “Deadpool.” In fact, those pages are already drawn and they look…â€¨
I think I’ve said too much.
Special thanks to Gerry Duggan for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, to celebrate the release of his new “Wolverine” ongoing, X-Position welcomes back writer Paul Cornell, who’s ready to take on all your questions about Wolverine’s new status quo in All-New Marvel NOW! Got a question for Paul? Send in any questions via e-mail with the subject line “X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!