Interview Sparks "Deadpool" Creator Credit Controversy; Liefeld, Nicieza Respond

A New York Times profile on Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld has attracted controversy online over the credit for the creation of the Marvel Comics antihero, whose 20th Century Fox film opens this Friday.

In response to the interview, and subsequent discussion about Liefeld's comments as presented in the piece, both Liefeld and Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza have denied any issue between the two of them, with Liefeld labeling the article a "hit piece." CBR News has reached out to Liefeld and the author of the article for comment; Nicieza declined comment when reached by CBR News on Friday.

In the New York Times interview, quotes from Liefeld diminish the role that Nicieiza played in creating the popular character. "If a janitor scripted 'New Mutants' #98, he'd be the co-creator -- that's how it works, buddy," Liefeld is quoted as saying of the first appearance of Deadpool, plotted and illustrated by Liefeld, and scripted by Nicieza. "Deadpool does not exist in any way, shape or form without me." In further quotes, Liefeld said, he "chose Fabian, and he got the benefit of the Rob Liefeld lottery ticket. Those are good coattails to ride."

These statements sparked criticism online, with "Amazing Spider-Man" writer Dan Slott taking to Twitter to call Liefeld's janitor quote a "dick move," and writer Kurt Busiek stating, also on Twitter, "Comparing [a co-creator] to a janitor, as if their role was interchangeable with any other warm body is trying to erase their contribution."

In response, Liefeld defended some of his controversial comments while distancing himself from the article itself. On Twitter, Liefeld wrote on Sunday, "I am proud of the work that Fabian and I did together. I called myself a lotto ticket. I was. I said I had coat tails. I did." In multiple tweets, Liefeld called the article a "hit piece," and wrote, "Bottom line, I'm a happy dude, and stuff that makes me seem bitter or regretful is just pure BS."

Nicieza himself has dismissed any issue between himself and Liefeld, writing on Twitter, "Have talked to [Liefeld] and a LOT was taken out of context by a NYTimes writer with an agenda. A writer who DID NOT make real effort to contact me for comment, much less be fair in his approach to Rob or the subject matter. Please lay off Rob. ALL IS FINE!" Further, on Facebook he wrote, "DEADPOOL'S TWO DADS JUST WANT YOU TO GO SEE THE MOVIE! (and so do Wade's Uncle Joe [Kelly], Uncle Ed [McGuinness], Aunt Gail [Simone], etc.)"

According to Liefeld on Facebook, he and Nicieza are both credited in the film as Deadpool's creators, after he personally asked Miller to do so.

Both Liefeld and Nicieza have current Deadpool projects at Marvel. "Deadpool: Bad Blood," an original graphic novel, is scheduled for release later this year, illustrated by Liefeld and co-written by Liefeld, Chris Sims and Chad Bowers. The print run of digital-first miniseries "Deadpool & Cable: Split Second," written by Nicieza and illustrated by Reilly Brown, wraps on Feb. 17 with the release of issue #3.

Liefeld and Nicieza are both scheduled to be guest judges at the "Deadpool Beauty Pageant" and fan screening of the film tonight in New York City. "Deadpool," directed by Tim Miller and starring Ryan Reynolds in the title role, opens this Friday, Feb. 12.

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