INTERVIEW: Duggan's "Deadpool" Deals with the Pressures of High Profile Heroics

For the longest time, all Wade Wilson wanted was for the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe to view him as someone worthy of respect and friendship. More often than not, though, his smart mouth and annoying antics lead to the exact opposite reaction. Eventually, Deadpool slowly began winning the respect of a number of his peers including Steve Rogers. That respect turned into a blossoming friendship in the aftermath of Wolverine's death, where the now elderly Rogers and 'Pool teamed up to protect the legacy of their fallen friend.

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This October, Rogers is one Wade Wilson's closes comrades and advocates when writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne return to the Merc with a Mouth for a new volume of "Deadpool." Like the other books in Marvel's All-New All-Different line-up, the series jumps eight months into the future where the title character is one of the Marvel Universe's most high profile and popular heroes In fact, he's even an Avenger! But is this a case of be careful what you wish for?

For the answer to that question and more, CBR News spoke with Duggan about how Deadpool is handling his newfound popularity, the sort of impact it will have on the family and friends that developed around him, and whether Duggan's collaboration with co-writer, comedian and actor Brian Posehn, will continue with this new volume.

CBR News: This October, you continue your run with Deadpool as a solo writer. How does it feel to be handling Wade's adventures on your own? And what is it about Deadpool that keeps him so fresh and appealing after all these years?

Gerry Duggan: It's neat. It doesn't really feel any different because -- I guess I'll ruin the surprise with you: Brian and I are still writing "Deadpool" together. He's just gotten busier than he's ever been, and there's some things that he's doing that I can't talk about because he can't talk about them.

There are some things, too, that I think everybody knows is going to happen. I think everyone knows "Mr. Show" is returning with new content at some point. So he and I are still working on "Deadpool" together, but, yeah, you're right, at least to open the book it's Hawthorne, and I, and [Editor] Jordan [D. White] sort of steering the ship.

So, it's been fun. "Secret Wars" has been a real wonderful and unique opportunity to write "the end." I was lucky enough to have three books heading into "Secret Wars," and we ended them all very differently. "Deadpool's" ending was almost inspired by Takashi Miike. I loved the ending of that volume. I wouldn't have ended it any other way. We did have some unresolved story threads left dangling, and now we're lucky enough to return, and we're bringing some new and fun ideas to Deadpool. His life is going to be even more complicated. We also have a whole new, different story to tell in addition. So we're cognizant that our readers are hoping that we'll sort of get back to [Deadpool's daughter] Ellie. Every day I see tweets asking things like, "What's her mutant power?" or, "Where is [Deadpool's friend and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Scott] Adsit? Did he live? Or did he die?" There's a lot of fun answers, and yet more questions coming up.

Part of the fun has got to be your chance to continue your "Deadpool" collaboration with artist Mike Hawthorne.

I'm the luckiest guy in the world to be able to have the collaborators I do. This first issue back is a 30-pager. It's really breathtaking what Mike and inker Terry Pallot have accomplished in this first arc. Deadpool fans will love it -- it's funny, and it's got heart. Some of these panels have multiple points of perspective and it's really complicated. They're really putting on a clinic, and I couldn't be happier because the book looks like a million dollars.

I would be remiss if I didn't shout out the work that Tony Moore is doing on these covers. These covers are amazing, and will reward people that stare at each every square inch for a while.

Like the other "All-New All-Different" books, you're jumping eight months into your title character's future. And, if the teaser is any indication, the way people view Deadpool has changed dramatically. What can you tell us about Wade Wilson's status quo when your new series begins?

There's two answers. The first answer is that Deadpool is one of the more popular and visible figures in the Marvel Universe for reasons that are not immediately clear. So we're sort of leaning into the Meta a little bit in that regard. We're not unaware that he's hopefully going to have a big 2016.

On a personal level, though, Logan is gone, Steve Rogers is diminished, and the fight needs a few good men. I think our last run accomplished that for Wade in that he could be counted on in a pinch. Now, the crunch is on. There's a little bit of a talent drain for smooth operators like Wade, and he's making the most of it.

He's put into a position to succeed at what he's doing by Steve Rogers, and it creates some really fun opportunities for us. The thing I'm most delighted by is all the surprises that are in these books. Fans of the previous volume will enjoy the ride, and for anyone that's curious about Deadpool is all about -- this is the perfect on ramp. Our previous Deadpool #1 was planned to be an on-ramp for readers, and we think this new #1 will act in the same way while continuing to tell our ongoing story.

It sounds like for Wade this may be a "be careful what you wish for" situation in that you're giving him one of the things he thinks he's always wanted.

I think so, yes. With more money comes more problems. Wade also now has a lot of responsibilities. We'll see if he's capable of living up to them.

At the end of our previous run, he was sort of grappling with, "What have I done? I've surrounded myself with soft targets!" Some of those characters are not around him when we begin. We'll have to see why that is.

So one of your mysteries when you begin is where the supporting cast members from last volume are and what's happened to them?

Some of them, yes. They'll be in the story, but perhaps not standing right beside Deadpool. We have a road map that I think at this moment will make this new volume almost as long as our previous volume. We got excited about a lot of these ideas. Not every issue is scripted, and every arc has not been outlined fully, but there is a skeleton coming together. If successful, we could still be publishing this into the 30s and 40s.

We'll also have some fun twists on what we did last time and how we're going to change things up. Because we don't just want to play the hits. We're going out on a limb in some ways, and those are the elements that I'm most excited about.

Steve Rogers will be a supporting player in "Deadpool."

Yeah, Steve is definitely a part of Deadpool's life. That began to take shape in "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly." I think their friendship began there in the same way that Logan and Rogers's friendship began back in the [Mark] Gruenwald-scripted Cap Annual. Steve promised that Wolverine would never be an Avenger; words that would later mocked openly in the Marvel Universe. [Laughs]

We continued telling the story of Steve and Wade in the "Death of Wolverine" one-shot. Now, after the eight month jump you'll see Wade and Steve in "Uncanny Avengers" [which Duggan is also writing], and you'll see Steve in the pages of "Deadpool" from time to time as a supporting character.
Deadpool has really over-extended himself, so Steve is trying to help because Wade is trying to help Steve. Steve's Avengers are partly funded by the money that Deadpool earns in merchandising and licensing.

Anyone interested in Deadpool and Old Man Rogers should not miss "Avengers" this October. Each new Avengers title has an original story in the book to set the table for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The Uncanny Avengers story in that issue is another chapter in the friendship of Wade Wilson and Steve Rogers.

One of the things people loved that you did in the last volume were the inventory issues done in the style of a particular comic era. Will those be returning?

[Artist] Scott Koblish isn't going anywhere. We have a twist on the inventory issue this time around. Our first "inventory issue" is not a flashback. It's a flash forward.

We've been been waiting very patiently for him to finish his most recent collaboration on "X-Men '92," and now Scott has three scripts waiting for him.

What does this new status quo mean for Deadpool's adventures in general? Will he be less of a mercenary and more of a super hero?

He's still very heavily involved in the mercenary business, but most of his time is spent in the "Avenging" business. He's not sleeping much, and I think people will be surprised at how he's managed to spin all of the plates that he needs to spin. It's one of the great surprises in the first arc, I think. It's also a great source of fun, I hope.

I'm not above having sort of a "Deadpool" formula. We'd like to have you laughing on one page and then getting gut punched on the next. We have moments of that in nearly every issue so far, but I sort of wonder if we're giving people enough of a chance to catch their breath. I actually do enjoy how disorienting all of this stuff can sort of feel.

One of my favorite flash forwards was in "Battlestar Galactica." Linewide, I know a lot of the changes that are coming in the Marvel Universe, and there's some really fun stuff. "Deadpool" fans really have a lot to look forward to.

Does Wade's higher profile come with a new set of enemies? Can you offer up some hints and teases about some of the antagonists you have immediate plans for in "Deadpool?"

Yes, we're very heavily invested in the "bad guy business" at the moment, and of course Wade's own worst enemy has always been himself. It's almost a cliche, but I think we have a really nice take on that old chestnut.

We'll have some new villains, and perhaps some old villains viewed in a new way. A lot can change in eight months, and his life has really been turned upside down.

Anyone that enjoyed our previous run that ended with "Secret Wars" will find this new volume of "Deadpool" to be a nice jumping back on point, but if anyone is curious about Deadpool and hasn't read much with the character, we do promise from page one that this will be a very accessible comic book. I do suspect his Avengers status is a big point of contention for a lot of characters in the Marvel Universe, and probably some fans. We're not running from that -- if it's controversial to fans, it will be a point of contention for the characters. Hope you enjoyed the hell out of "Secret Wars" -- I'm so grateful to Jonathan [Hickman], Esad [Ribic] and everyone for that great story and the opportunities it presented us all. And now that it seems there is a Marvel Universe on the other side, we're grateful to everyone that adds Deadpool to their pull list once more. Buckle up, there's some turbulence up ahead.

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