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Duggan Prepares “Deadpool” for a Twisted, Tumultuous Birthday

by  in Comic News Comment
Duggan Prepares “Deadpool” for a Twisted, Tumultuous Birthday

In 1991’s “New Mutants” #98, creators Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld introduced Marvel Comics fans to Deadpool, AKA Wade Wilson, the Merc With a Mouth. Over the years Deadpool’s penchant for cracking wise and unique way of seeing the world has led to many memorable and strange adventures, while making him one of Marvel‘s most popular characters.

RELATED: The Line It Is Drawn: Unlikely Deadpool Team-Ups!

Last month, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne, who collaborated for much of the previous volume of “Deadpool,” reunited for a new volume of the series. The pair placed Wade Wilson in a Marvel Universe where he may actually be more popular than he is in the real world. This new level of adulation allowed him to achieve some unbelievable goals, like joining the Avengers and founding a mercenary team of operatives that dress like and pretend to be him. That last achievement is about to be used against him, though, because a mysterious figure with a grudge against Wade Wilson has infiltrated his world by donning his signature costume and pretending to be him.

How much danger is Deadpool in? And how will his Uncanny Avengers teammates react to what’s going on? “Deadpool” #7, a giant-sized milestone issue that celebrates the character’s 25th Anniversary.

CBR News: Poor Scott Adsit! In Issue #2 he was viciously stabbed by the mysterious villain pretending to be Wade Wilson. This isn’t the first time his comic book doppelganger was a victim of foul play, either. I believe Ed Brubker and Sean Phillips killed him off in an issue of “Criminal.”

Gerry Duggan: Yeah, it does seem like Scott is in a lot of trouble at this particular juncture. We’ll have to wait and see if he’s 100 percent K.O.ed, or if this is a classic comic book cliffhanger.

Scott is just there to abuse, though. [Laughs] Obviously we love Scott, but hurting him is always the best part of my day.

The attack on Scott suggests that “Deadpool” is deep in a mystery story involving someone impersonating Wade Wilson and out to ruin his life.

In America, we sort of get the heroes we deserve in a lot of ways. I don’t mean this to sound unflattering, but Deadpool is a violent, off-kilter hero, and I believe these are violent, off-kilter times. So to be able to write Deadpool at this moment for this audience feels right, and we’re going to examine what that means for the man wearing the uniform.

We know the first arc is disorienting. We dropped you into Deadpool’s chaos, eight months after the last [“Secret Wars”] incursion, and there are some things readers haven’t learned yet. I saw some reaction to Issue #2 saying, “Boy, I really liked it, but I’m not sure I knew exactly what was going on.” Ordinarily, that would be a terrifying reaction for a writer to read about a comic, but I was actually thrilled. We wanted people disoriented. I wanted them wondering who was who. Then, obviously, at the end of the second issue, we know that something is very, very wrong in Deadpool’s life. Someone learned a deep dark secret that that they’ll use against him.

Basically, the first 11 or 12 issues of this volume are one story. They’re two very different arcs, but everything we do in arc one really explodes in arc two.

Readers who follow both “Deadpool” and your “Uncanny Avengers” might be wondering if some of the fallout that happens in this book will carry over to Deadpool’s adventures with his team.

I think that will be on the minds of the Uncanny Avengers as well. It’s sort of like, “We made a deal with the devil here.” And it’s not that Deadpool is not taking his position on the team seriously, because he is. He’s serious to the point that he’s afraid of really screwing this up. No one wants to let Steve Rogers down, not even Deadpool, at this moment.

So that’s why Steve Rogers will guest star in this first arc; to help Deadpool try and clean up what is threatening to become a very serious mess. Not just for Deadpool, but for everyone in his life. This arc starts off with a lighter and almost comedic tone, and darkness falls very quickly at the end of the second issue.

Part of the confusion in Deadpool’s life comes from the fact that he now has a whole team of mercenaries that dress like him. It’s composed of some fan favorite and obscure characters. What made you want to give Wade his own merc team, and why did you pick these particular characters?

The first thing was that a lot of those characters are a lot of fun, and because we hadn’t seen them in a while it felt right to break them out. They’re all very different. They’re all mercenaries, and many of them have checkered pasts. That’s always fun to write.

Deadpool’s point to these guys is basically, “Half of my rate is still quadruple yours. So why be Solo, Terror or Madcap when you can be Deadpool?” And look, Stingray has one of the coolest costumes in the Marvel Universe, and a great power set. It felt like a great opportunity, and I believe it paid off. I’ve had a lot of people go, “I love so and so.” Every character is someone’s favorite. It’s been really fun to put these characters into Deadpool’s orbit, because Deadpool, too, is most fun when he’s bouncing off of other people.

At the moment, “Deadpool” is a team book. That status will change as time goes on, but the “Heroes for Hire,” and soon “Mercs for Money,” will still be an important part of Deadpool’s life.

Helping you bring to life this confusing time for Deadpool and his associates is your frequent collaborator, artist Mike Hawthorne. Mike drew a lot of your past “Deadpool” stories, so you have a good sense of what he’s capable of as an artist and what he likes drawing.

I’m rich in collaborators. I always have been. Whether it’s launching my Marvel career with Tony Moore, or following it up Mike, or getting to work with guys like Phil Noto and Ryan Stegman. The list goes on and on.

I’ve made more comics with Mike, though, than any other artist I’ve collaborated with. He’s got a sense of humor and an amazing talent for action, comedy and storytelling. So many of the pages that you guys are seeing in this first arc have had three point perspectives. I know some of those panels were taking over a day [to draw], especially the establishing shot of the Schaefer Theater and the South Korean sequence in the first issue. He’s really putting on a clinic.

It’s his ability to be at home with both the comedy and the horror, which are my main two ingredients in “Deadpool.” He’s also one of the best storytellers in the business, so if he changes something, it’s absolutely the right thing to do. I then rework my script to his boards.

Mike is great with action and emotions, but another thing I noticed while looking through Issue #2 is, he doesn’t skimp on backgrounds. The outskirts of his pages are incredibly detailed.

Yeah, he really immerses himself. He’s able to take readers deep into this world. In the action scene at the back end of Issue #2, you can see different styles of graffiti, which feels right for that area of New York. Not every piece of graffiti was done by the same person, and that’s the level of detail that Mike is bringing. It all feels lived in and real.

In addition to this main arc, you’ve got a number of special stories coming up that I want to touch upon, starting with “Deadpool” #3.1, a Spanish language issue that features Massacre, who I believe is the Deadpool of Mexico, correct?

That’s correct. This is another instance of not just Deadpool’s popularity, but his reach. We don’t exactly know what lead the mysterious person named Massacre to take up the mantle of Deadpool and become inspired by him. Something happened over the eight month gap, though.

That story is still being written and drawn at the moment. I don’t want to reveal too much, but this issue will be the first time we reunite on this volume with Scott Koblish. He did an amazing job from a script that Brian [Posehn] and I wrote together.

How accessible will “Deadpool” #3.1 be for a non-Spanish speaking audience?

If you can’t read Spanish, you won’t be out of luck — you’ll still be able to follow the story. Scott really did a wonderful job where, even if you were able to delete the layer that had all the text captions on it, you’d still understand the story that we’re going for. If you can read Spanish, though, there’s a lot of other jokes I think you’ll get.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the Internet when we do this. Is there going to be a Tumblr page that has all the translations? Perhaps. I’m not 100 percent sure, but this feels fun to do, and that’s why we did it. Sometimes you do things that are a little self-indulgent. [Laughs] I’m coming up on around 100 issues of “Deadpool,” and this feels like a curveball to keep everyone on their toes.

You also have a story that will be part of the “Gwenpool Special” that’s a holiday-themed follow up to your recent “Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool” miniseries.

This Christmas, in the “Gwenpool” special, it’s Hawkeye vs. Deadpool vs. the Holidays. We’ll have Wade, Clint and Kate reunited on a special mission set during the Holiday week. People are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and Festivus, and this is a nice adventure. It’s the first time these three characters have been together since their shared adventure last time.

I wrote it like I wrote the previous story, which is essentially in sort of a sitcom format. So it will be fun. Matteo Lolli was unavailable to draw these 10 pages, so I got to work with a new artist named Danilo Beyruth and I loved it.

January sees the return of the throwback “Deadpool” inventory issue by you and Scott Koblish. It looks like this time, though, instead of a tale set in the past, it’s a future story.

Yes, in our first inventory issue of the new volume we are not flashing back — we’re flashing forward to 2099. This is Deadpool 2099, and — I mean this in a great way — you’ll feel it belongs in 2099. The only thing it doesn’t have is a chromium cover, but it’s essentially lock, stock and barrel a 2099 comic.

Scott Koblish has always been one of our most underrated collaborators, and the art that he’s doing on the 2099 issue really shows how important he is to us. Even though it’s fun and there are jokes, this is one of our more serious stories. I can also promise that it has connectivity to the stories that we’re telling now in a very fun and unexpected way. We’re really proud of the 2099 story. I can’t wait to see what people think of it.

Finally we have “Deadpool” #7, the special 25th anniversary issue of the title character, which hits in February. You’ve been part of a number of Deadpool milestone issues. How does it feel to be celebrating this particular occasion, which will be released the same month as the Deadpool feature film?

In my own way I’ve sort of tumbled into an alternate universe where all of the things that I loved became popular. I never imagined seeing my favorite comic books become movies. The comics and what they gave me were enough. Having said that, seeing all this stuff pop up on the big screen, and seeing cosplayers doing these amazing, not-straight-copies of what are in the comics, but their own takes on them, is just incredible.

I think this February is going to be special. I know we’re all rooting for the film. I don’t think you could have a more perfect Wade/Deadpool than Ryan Reynolds. He’s crawled right inside Wade’s skin, and I think we’re all in for a treat. It’s an honor if fans walk into a comic shop and their first Deadpool comic is the anniversary issue.

The solicits indicate that, as usual, editor Jordan D White has assembled a fantastic collection of talent for “Deadpool” #7. There’s your lead story, and then tales by an all-star team of Deadpool creators both past and present.

Jordan’s address book is deep. When you’re in a position like Jordan’s, where you’re casting books or helping with story, it helps to have great taste. And Jordan has great taste. He’s lined up a lot of not just funny writers, but these are all guys that can flex a lot of muscles and I think the stories will be surprising.

The main story deals a lot with Deadpool and the repercussions of the first arc, leading to a very dark and violent second arc. So it’s a bridge, but it’s also meant to be a one-and-done story for anyone who wants to jump in and experience Deadpool’s life. We also do one of my favorite spreads ever in that issue. I don’t believe it’s been drawn yet, but we’re going to do a cutaway of the Schaefer Theater. It will be sort of like the classic things they used to do with the Baxter Building. You’ll get to see all the components inside and all the little treasures.

We’re trying to have as much fun as we can and those back ups will deal with Deadpool and the Mercs. That may be where people find a lot of answers to their questions about this second volume that we’re doing.

I wasn’t sure how long we’d be around our first time on “Deadpool,” and I say that without kidding. I ended up writing Doctor Strange into issue #3 because I thought that if we got fired, Tony Moore will have still drawn that issue before we were cast aside. I never expected to be here, but I couldn’t be more thrilled. I know this sounds insane, and forgive me, but I think we have just as much story, if not more, for this current volume as we did for the previous volume. It’s really been such a fun ride.

That’s due to my collaborators. So I want to thank Jordan [D. White], Heather [Antos], Axel [Alonso], and everyone at Marvel for enabling me to have this kind of success; to team up with Brian and work with these creators who are some of the finest artists and colorists working today. I’m not sure they get the credit that they deserve, but I’m here on their shoulders and I just want to thank them. I also want to thank our readers for giving me the greatest job in the world. Enjoy the comedy and trauma in the pages of the comic over the next few months and let’s all go to the movies together in February.

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