Deadpool marches to the beat of his own drum. That signature, unconventional style extends to the funny, sometimes tragic, and usually twisted Marvel Comics stories the Merc with a Mouth stars in, and occasionally even to the manner in which they're presented. So when Wade Wilson's gets involved in a crossover, it comes as no surprise to see him do it on his own terms.
June's "Deadpool" #13 comprises four complete issues in one, telling an entire crossover's story within the pages of a single comic book. The special crossover issue features two complete installments of Wade Wilson's book and an issue each of "Power Man & Iron Fist" and "Daredevil." Joining ongoing "Deadpool" writer Gerry Duggan for this crossover are the regular writers of "Daredevil" and "Power Man & Iron Fist," Charles Soule and David Walker, plus the artistic talents of several up-and-coming and veteran artists. Together they'll tell a tale of heroism for hire, martial arts, and reluctant team ups.
CBR News spoke with Duggan, Walker and Soule about the story they're crafting, the appeal of bouncing their characters off of each other, and the challenges and rewards of collaborating on the unconventional crossover. They also brought along some exclusive character designs from three of the artists working on the story with them.
CBR News: Let's start with what I'm sure is a major appeal of a crossover for any Marvel comic writer: the chance to play with some other Marvel characters you don't usually get to write. What interests you about those other characters and what new muscles do they allow you to flex as writers?
Gerry Duggan: Like most creators, I've had the love of these characters since I was a kid. Binge reading Miller's "Daredevil" or Simonson's "Thor" has translated to a lifelong love affair. Power Man & Iron Fist are the same way. My experience with them goes to back to the tiara and chains days, and even though they've matured and grown over time, the love is the same. For me, the coolest part is getting to share the toys without knocking the other books off their game. David and Charles and their collaborators will get to join in the fun of Deadpool's world without us stepping on their series' roadmaps.
David Walker: The first time I write an established character, there's this moment where I ponder all of the responsibility involved. It is a responsibility to the other creators that have worked on the character, to the fans, and to the character. I want to make sure I get it right, and that there is an authenticity to the character. This all adds up to an excuse to do a lot of "research," which in this case meant reading lots of Deadpool. The interesting thing about the character, which is also the most challenging, is finding the groove with the humor. When I think of Deadpool, I think of a very specific type of humor, and for me, it was getting that right tone, and right balance, and making sure it all worked in a way that felt natural.
Charles Soule: I love writing Deadpool, and I haven't gotten to do anything with him for almost a year. Even more, as David points out, Deadpool has a specific tone to him that doesn't always work with every other book. I feel like putting Mr. Wilson in my monthly "Daredevil" book actually might not work, because the tones could conflict. So, I was excited to have a chance to work on him here (especially with how gracious Gerry was about letting us do pretty much whatever we wanted in his sandbox).
When this issue begins, what's your sense of the character dynamics between your protagonists and the other heroes involved in this story? Are they necessarily happy to be interacting with one another?
Duggan: I don't know if anyone is excited about working with Deadpool, not even the corrupt banker that turned to him. He's the merc of last resort. Deadpool's highs are higher and his lows are subterranean. He'll be at both in these 80 pages.
Walker: It's no big secret that Power Man and Iron Fist don't exactly like Deadpool, so "happy" is not the best word to describe their feelings. One of the things I'm exploring with Luke and Danny are their collective notions on what it means to be a hero, and to do the right thing. Unfortunately, that can sometimes mean teaming up with someone like Deadpool.
Soule: Daredevil is a phenomenal straight man for Deadpool, but it's not by choice. I don't think it's ever by choice, for anyone Deadpool encounters. Mostly, Matt wants to get through this little adventure as quickly as he can. Deadpool potentially, possibly, has something really good to offer Murdock, which is why he's willing to work with the merc for a while -- but we'll see how it all plays out.
What can you tell us about the inciting incident that brings your characters together and where the story goes from there? Francisco Herrera's cover suggests a fun, possibly old school-style kung fu comic.
Duggan: Mo' money, mo' problems. When you're a successful criminal, you get money problems. The gangs turned to a corrupt banker, and Wall Street let them down. Now he's trying to get out from under his debt. Unfortunately he compounds the problem by turning to Deadpool.
Walker: I have a theory about Power Man and Iron Fist that I'm exploring, and that is the fact that they are the guys everyone goes to when they need help. And I mean everyone. Because of this, they find themselves involved in things after the inciting incident, which is the case with Deadpool.
Soule: Things go south, and as all people tend to do in times of trouble, they turn to the real heroes -- the lawyers. Matt Murdock gets wrapped up in this whole scenario in hopes that he can build a case against some bad guys -- but it gets complicated, very quickly.
Obviously this crossover is already pretty packed with four heroes in one book, but who else can readers expect to see across both sides of the heroic divide?
Duggan: Well, one of the gangs has Typhoid Mary on retainer, and she has a history with Daredevil and Deadpool. That will be fun to explore -- though maybe not for Deadpool. I think that the resolution of that part of the story might surprise people.
Soule: Poor Deadpool. So much happens to him in this story, and he doesn't even see it coming.
When Marvel announced this project at C2E2 the art teams had yet to be revealed. Can you tell us who's joining you for this done-in-one tale?
Jordan D. White: I sure can! Hey there, "Deadpool" editor Jordan D. White here, stepping in to intro our art team. Like we said all along, we're treating this issue as four different issues in one, so not only did we bring on the writers of the other series to write the book, but the editors stepped in to guest-edit their sections. For chapter one, I've brought in Jacopo Camagni, the artist of "Deadpool Annual" #2 where Deadpool dressed as Spidey for a day. For chapter two, "Daredevil" editor Mark Paniccia has brought in a newer penciler Guillermo Sanna aboard, who is doing some great work for us. "Power Man & Iron Fist's" editor, Jake Thomas, gave chapter three to Elmo Bondoc, artist of our "Deadpool vs. Thanos" miniseries. And finally, for the last chapter, I've turned to Paco Diaz, who did some terrific "Thunderbolts" issues for me in the past.
How did this crossover actually come about? Who came up with the idea to do it this way, and why this as opposed to rolling it out across four issues?
White: Basically? I like to have fun with our comics. We've been experimenting with different ways to tell stories in "Deadpool" -- from the Deadpool 2099 story we're telling in between story arcs to the #SecretComic variants we're doing on the first 20 issues of the series-and this is another in that line. We've done a couple of oversized "Deadpool" issues, but they've all had main storied and backups. When the idea hit me to do a crossover all in one issue, I brought it to Gerry, who thought it sounded great, and he suggested the two books we could tie in. After I explained to him that Batman and Superman were a different company, we settled on "Daredevil" and "PM&IF." And thankfully, Charles and David were up for it.
What's it like working together on what's almost a mini-event contained to a single book? It seems like there would be a lot of fun opportunities for collaboration.
Duggan:Crossovers are always opportunities -- if you can squeeze them in. The nice thing about this opportunity is that it's not going to require the elbow room that crossovers usually demand. Boom! This is one-and-done. David and Charles have written some really funny, smart things, and knowing what's to come, I think fans are going to dig this one.
Walker: I've had a blast. I'm kind of the new kid at Marvel, which is like being the new kid at school, which can be awkward. This project was like finally getting picked to be on a kickball team. You work on your book, or your books, and you are contributing to Marvel and their world, but you are often only immersed in whatever you are doing. A collaboration like this means you're part of something bigger, and there's something really cool about that. Getting to be part of a discussion, bouncing ideas around, and a sense of competition that comes from being a group endeavor -- it all went into this. Reading the other scripts not only helped me feel like I was part of a great project, it fueled my creative process.
Soule: I don't have much more to add, except that it felt almost like a jam session in a band when we were working on this -- handing chapters off to one another, asking for little beats in each others' chapters, all that good stuff. It felt very improvisational and fun, and I think the finished story is just awesome.
The other nice thing about this crossover, I would imagine, is it gives curious readers the chance to check out each of the books involved. How accessible will this story be for new readers? Will people who discover and like what you're doing here be able to jump into what's going on in your books?
Duggan: I think you'll be able to pick up and enjoy the story even if you haven't been reading these books, but shame on you if you're sleeping on them. Both of their books are at the top of my read pile.
Walker: One of the things that we talked about was finding that balance between what we're doing in our books and "Deadpool." I don't want to speak for Charles, but there were certainly challenges for me. It was about finding the right balance between a "Deadpool" book and "Power Man and Iron Fist," and not making it feel forced. Hopefully, I did that, because the last thing you want to do is disappoint Deadpool fans.
Soule: Oh man, you do not want to disappoint Deadpool fans. They'll come for you. I know that in my chapter I made it as easy as possible for people to jump into Daredevil's world, whether they're reading my title or not. Really, though, any time Deadpool's in a story it's his world -- we all just live in it.
Duggan: In the previous volume of "Deadpool" we wrote Luke & Danny in as guest stars that ended up being a pretty important story on this journey. Deadpool even tried to swipe the name Heroes For Hire in this volume. Murdock/Daredevil is always a fun character to bounce Deadpool off of. We're having a lot of fun slamming these characters against each other, in a tone that is probably consistent with "Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool" -- but we're still touching on one of Deadpool's darker chapters.
Soule: Also -- it's very, very funny.
The epic "Deadpool" #13 is scheduled for release June 1 from Marvel Comics.