Marvel's Deadpool is a character that can excite fans, make them laugh, cry, and horrify them… sometimes all at the same time. That cocktail of intense emotions are a large part of the reason why Wade Wilson’s adventures on both the comic page and silver screen have resonated with so many people.
It’s also a formula that writer Gerry Duggan and his artistic collaborators used to create a diverse and crazy batch of stories during his six year tenure on Marvel’s main Deadpool title. The writer recently brought his record breaking run on the character to a close with May's The Despicable Deadpool #300, and now he’s working on a new creator-owned series for Image Comics with the same emotional “sweet and sour” combination that made his run on Deadpool so memorable.
In Analog, Duggan and artist David O’Sullivan chronicle the adventures of Jack McGinnis, a man who makes a dangerous living as a courier in a dystopian near-future world where secrecy on the internet is no longer possible. Two issues of the series have been released so far, and a feature film adaptation is currently in the works at Lionsgate with Chad Stahelski attached as director.
With Analog #3 in comic stores today, CBR spoke with Duggan for a look back at his run on Deadpool and into the future of Analog.The writer also talked about how the writers of Deadpool 2 paid tribute to his run by name-dropping him in the movie.
CBR: I imagine you've been wrapped on Deadpool for a while, but how does it feel now that your final issue has been out for a couple weeks? Is Wade a character you might want to return to some day? Do you miss him?
Gerry Duggan: I made my peace with saying goodbye to Wade at the end of last year. The bulk of the real writing was done around Thanksgiving.
I hope I'll have been as good to Wade as he was to me. I don't know how that could be true, but he is sincerely a character that I really don't want to write again. [Laughs] Never say never, though.
I loved every minute of working on the character, but what I really loved was the collaboration. And truthfully, nobody will miss me. I know a little bit about what Skottie Young and his collaborators are up to and the long game that they're going to play. So let the new era begin! I'm really excited to return to just being a fan of Wade.
You've written more issues of Deadpool than any other writer. Did you mean to set a record with the character? And what was it about Deadpool that kept him such an interesting character for you?
The truth is that we didn't think we'd be around at all. We added Doctor Strange to issue #3 of my first volume of Deadpool because we thought if we get cancelled before we come out, at least I will have written a little Doctor Strange.
So nobody is more surprised than me that we had staying power, but the truth is I think I'll always get credit for a lot of people's hard work on the book. I always feel that it's a visual medium and I was just one piece of that puzzle. You'd have to single out Jordan D. White, our editor. He was on there since before I got there.
Even though I have written the most issues of Deadpool, and that record will be broken some day, the movie guys have been writing the character for longer. They started a couple years before me. Now, granted they have two films and I have 125 issues, depending on how you really count the stuff. But my admiration for everyone who has written Deadpool is sincere and true.
It really feels like Deadpool was a mountain that was built slowly by others over the years. The folks that came before me made him popular and then I sort of got to walk up and do my thing at the top of a mountain. It really was a labor of love from people like Joe Kelly, Gail Simone, Daniel Way and everyone who ever had a hand in him, like Rick Remender who wrote him in Uncanny X-Force. My inheritance was rich.
You had a number of different artistic collaborators on Deadpool, but I believe your most prolific ones were Mike Hawthorne and Scott Koblish, correct?
Yes. Mike is the current world record holder for most Deadpool pages. I don't even think it's close actually. I think it would take some time for someone to draw more Deadpool than he has.
When I was asked to pitch a mini with Hawkeye and Deadpool is when Matteo Lolli came into our lives, and really the three of them became this murder's row of talent. It's hard to have consistency on a book, but I think Marvel really is returning to an era of authorship for artists. I think that you'll especially see that in the C.B. Cebulski era. That was something all our Deadpool artists hopefully feel like they left their mark. They turned down a lot of other job opportunities over the years to stay on Deadpool, and I'll forever be grateful for that.
Your run had many different eras and long-running stories. Looking back, what are some of your favorite things that you and your collaborators did on Deadpool?
I'm proud of all of it, but I think there are few things that really stand out.
I quit Deadpool for the first time after “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I was convinced to stay around and I think that was obviously the right decision, but at the time I thought that story felt like a special way to go out. It would have been a year of Deadpool and it felt like that we already an embarrassment of riches. So that experience is a standout.
Then I think of these stories in terms of how fun they were to make. I don't go back and revisit them too much, but I remember laughing at all the stuff Scott Koblish would bring to the table. He was so underrated as a funny person. You need to have comic timing in order to draw a lot of the stuff that he did. We'd give these guys assignments and they'd make so much of it look easy like all of the stuff we did with Mike Hawthorne over the years
Another standout era for me would be the ending. Because I knew Secret Empire was coming, I knew I could burn Wade down and be the arsonist. Usually a writer leaves a book and sort of watches from afar as things are set on fire. I got to be that guy, though. So I really took advantage of the situation. For a hot minute I was actually against Secret Empire because I had just done all of this work to sort of align Wade with Cap. Then I realized that was my jumping off point! I used that fire to burn Wade in a great way. So The Despicable Deadpool felt like such a good third act.
That happening was another bit of good luck for me. It allowed me to sort of really cleanse Wade and also pass the Deadpool I inherited to Skottie, which was a gun, some swords, and the open road in front of him. Skottie even gets to decide what Wade will remember now. I was happy to give him the freedom to use stuff from our run, or totally ignore it. I think fans are going to be really excited by what he's cooked up.