Spider-Man and Deadpool may not be the strongest or smartest heroes in the Marvel Universe, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone wittier. For years Peter Parker and Wade Wilson have been cracking jokes, making quips, and uttering one-liners capable of antagonizing even the most confident of their enemies, and often annoying their friends in the process. That doesn’t mean Marvel’s fastest mouths get along, though. In fact Spidey can’t stand the Merc with a Mouth.
This fall, tempers will flare and jokes will fly as the two characters come together for the new “Spider-Man/Deadpool” miniseries by writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness. The titular duo will be forced to work side by side — much to Deadpool’s delight and Spider-Man’s chagrin. CBR News spoke with Kelly about returning to these familiar characters, balancing out their comedic styles and tendencies, and the fun he’s having with his protagonists’ status quos.
CBR News: It’s been about five years since your last work at Marvel, and now you’re coming back to the company to not only work on two characters you have lengthy histories with in Spider-Man and Deadpool, but you’re also reuniting with Ed McGuinness who brought your early “Deadpool” stories to life. How does it feel to be back working with Marvel and Ed? What made you want to return to the characters of Spider-Man and Deadpool?
Joe Kelly: When Nick Lowe contacted me about this book, he said he had an offer I couldn’t refuse. I have heard this before — and refused. But, like a wizard, Nick pitched the exact combination of words to put me under his spell: “Spider-Man, Deadpool and Ed McGuinness.” (I might also have accepted “Bacon.”) I was intrigued. I don’t usually go back to books I’ve written, but this combination is new — not to mention something fans have been asking for — and working with Ed again sealed it for me. There are good, twisted, heartfelt stories to tell with these characters, and I’m lucky I get to do it first!
Since you’ve been gone both Spider-Man and Deadpool have undergone some major changes. When the new volume of “Amazing Spider-Man” begins in October Peter Parker will be the head of an international corporation and Deadpool now has a family and it looks like he’ll be a pretty popular super hero when his new series begins in October. Will these status quos be part of your plans for “Spider-Man/Deadpool?” And if so, what do you find most interesting about these changes?
Wait — Deadpool has a what? Spidey–? Oh god — what have I signed on to!?! Kidding, of course. The new status quo makes for some interesting challenges and opportunities with both Spidey and DP. Shiklah [Deadpool’s wife] is a lot of fun to write, and Spidey’s new toys are fun to play with. We have access to new settings & characters, new problems, etc. that provide a lot of story fodder for Ed and I. Deadpool as a respected hero? That’s gonna mess up a bro’s head a lot. Peter as a CEO is about the last place I want to be if I’m Spider-Man too. These sorts of complications set the stage for two guys in search of their true selves. Put them together — it’s magic. Or murder. Mostly mayhem.
Most importantly to me, the core of these characters hasn’t changed. Peter is still Peter, Wade is still Wade. The challenge in the way our book plays out is making sure we’re being true to what’s happening in the books now without being locked to a monthly status quo. We’re in continuity, of course, but the book stands on its own in the midst of the greater Marvel U. That’s where Nick Lowe, Jordan D. White and their patented Editron Magnum X help out with 60,000 volts of “encouragement” to my — let’s just say those guys know how to keep a writer on track.
Over the years you’ve written several stories pairing Spider-Man and Deadpool together, something I know many writers find daunting. What’s it like writing Wade Wilson and Peter Parker together in terms of their dynamic and verbal and physical comedy? Does Deadpool’s tendency to dominate scenes mean Spider-Man is always in the role of comedic straight man when they come together?
We discussed that at length when I signed on. I love Spider-Man. I think he can be hilarious. He cannot always be the straight-man in this book, no matter what Deadpool demands in any given scene. That said, Deadpool is pretty freakin’ funny 99% of the time…
This is the sort of challenge I love. I love writing comedy. I love writing these characters and want to give them both opportunities to shine. Working with two “leads” forces you to be fluid with the gags, the timing, etc. It also forces you to be very specific with the humor which always makes it better. A joke that Spidey or Deadpool could make might be an okay joke, but it won’t be a great joke. We’re going for great. Or out comes the Editron Magnum — and the Gag-inator 2400, which is as uncomfortable for everyone as it sounds. Especially me.
[Laughs] What can you tell us about the initial spark that brings your title characters together in “Spider-Man/Deadpool?” What sets the story in motion? And are these guys happy to be working together when your story begins?
Well, one day SPOILER, and then Deadpool SPOILERS the SPOILER with a SPOILER and Spidey SPOILERS all over the city — you know I can’t tell you that. Why do you hurt me like this? I will say one thing about how this all kicks off. Deadpool loves Spidey. Spidey hates Deadpool. Pretty much, like always. Spoiler.
[Laughs] Fair enough. Can you offer up some hints about the supporting characters or villains popping up in in the series? And are there any Spidey or Deadpool-related characters you’re especially excited to write in this initial series?
No. No I can’t — didn’t you see the whole “spoiler” rant above? Geez. Our villains are a secret, at least until the solicits and covers come out. I will say that there are members of both supporting casts that I really enjoy writing. Shiklah, as I mentioned, is awesome to write. I understand why these guys are married. I can relate to marrying a demon, y’know? On the Spidey side, I love Anna Maria [Marconi]. She’s awesome and can wither Peter with one word. Something I can also relate to. Mainly I love the female cast. Pretty much, Spider-Man and Deadpool only show up for a double-page spread once in a while. The rest of the book is Shiklah and Anna Maria solving mysteries and kicking ass.
All of that said, fans old and new will not be disappointed. Thanks to the new status quo, I have access to like every character in the Marvel U, Axel said so. Totally said that. To me. So expect a lot of guest stars being treated badly by Deadpool, and slightly less badly by Spider-Man.
As we discussed, Ed McGuinness is bringing all of your characters to life and one of the things I love best about Ed’s art is his ability to handle almost any type of character from physical powerhouses like Superman and the Hulk, to youths like Sam Alexander the new Nova, to the high energy kinetic title characters of “Spider-Man/Deadpool.” What’s it like having Ed draw both these guys together? Seems like this series is going to be a great showcase for his ability to do both action and character acting.
That I can answer! Ed has always been a major talent, but over the last few years he’s made a concerted effort to push himself and it really shows. I love getting Ed’s pages. They’re jaw-dropping. He gets the humor, the pathos, and he bends over backwards to cram in all of the insanity I try to force down his throat. The guy deserves hazard pay for what I put him through. His work is truly truly gorgeous.
I plan to cover most of it with word balloons, but the spaces in between will stun you.
A promise to anyone brave or crazy enough to pick this book up: I talk a lot about comedy and jokes and blabbity-blah when it comes to Spider-man and Deadpool, but anyone who knows my work knows that I take great delight in torturing my characters. This book will not be safe for any of the characters involved. There is a dark road ahead, kids. This isn’t a romp. It’s not a playful team-up. No one gets out unscathed. Plus, fart jokes.
[Laughs] Finally, “Spider-Man/Deadpool” isn’t the only project keeping you busy these days. As a part of Man of Action you regularly handle projects in comics, film and animation. What are some of the current projects you’re working on with Man of Action that fans should keep an eye out for?
Thanks for asking! Man of Acton has its many tentacles in many pies. In animation we’re working on a new “Ben 10” and a “Mega Man” animated series. Live-action film adaptations of both Joe Casey’s “Officer Downe” and my own “I Kill Giants” are in the works. We also have a few super-secret TV shows we’re developing, and of course, indie comics at Image like the second volume of “Four Eyes” with Max Fiumara and more that I’ll be announcing soon.
Seriously, I don’t know how I’m ever gonna get this book done — hold on, Nick is calling — the Editron Magnum is fully charged. I’ll be getting the book done.
“Spider-Man/Deadpool” #1 arrives this fall from Marvel Comics.
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