X-POSITION: Acker & Blacker Reveal Channing Tatum's Influence on "Deadpool v Gambit"

One's a mouthy merc and the other's a ragin' Cajun. Despite debuting within months of each other, forever changing the paths of the X-books, they've rarely clashed -- until now. "Deadpool v Gambit" is a new limited series from writers Ben Acker & Ben Blacker and artist Danilo Beyruth, and it promises to push both leading men into totally unfamiliar territory. Will they be able to work alongside each other without drawing their deadly katana/kinetically-charged playing card? Or will these two bad boys battle it out once and for all?

This week in X-POSITION, "Deadpool v Gambit" writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker answer all of your questions about everything from Gambit's history, the "v" part of the book's title and the things these two morally gray characters have in common.

CBR News: Welcome to X-POSITION, Acker and Blacker! Let's kick things off this week with a question from Arindam about the Ragin' Cajun.

This is my most anticipated book from Marvel. Gambit is my favorite character and not many writers understand the soul of the character. I would like to know what is your take on Gambit?

Ben Blacker: Gambit is an interesting character because he has this convoluted history, some of which is great, and some of which is... forgettable. Was he a vampire at one point? Am I making that up? Can I make that up? If we get more issues, I'm making that up.

To me, Gambit has a lot in common with Deadpool, in that he has a lot of '90s baggage to overcome. A lot of great writers have started to strip bare his character successfully, so our goal was to help to do that. We love that he's a morally gray character with a criminal background. Thieves are cool when they're like "Ocean's Eleven" heist types (less cool when they're like the jerks who broke into my friend's house and stole her blender). So, that was a fun aspect to play with.

I do think that Gambit's powers serve as a nice metaphor for his personality or for a personality type. He's a guy who literally throws things away as a superpower. Then it explodes without him really having to deal with the fallout. That's interesting to me. Also, he's from New Orleans, which is a city I love. It's both beautiful and filthy. Like Gambit.

Speaking of "Ocean's Eleven," Jiraiya has a question about that movie's influence on the book's tone.

In the run up to the mini, you referenced movies such as "Ocean's Eleven," which is driven by clever, sophisticated and witty plots. But the covers and some of the previews feel distinctly more like "Pink Panther"-style slapstick comedy. Which of these will the story more closely resemble, or will it be a sort of mash-up?

Ben Acker: I think you'll enjoy some slapstick characters embroiled in a plot that is, on paper, clever, sophisticated and witty.

Blacker: The best action or suspense or thriller stories -- all of which this is --have humor in them. Deadpool is, by nature, a funny character. You can't take that away from him. And Gambit has this sort of laid-back don't care attitude which lends itself to flippancy. That said, the stakes for these guys have to be real. The world they're in has to be grounded enough that things matter.

MiddlePegasus has a question about something in a future "Deadpool v Gambit" solicit.

The solicit for "Deadpool v Gambit" #3 mentions the Scrambler. Is this the same Scrambler that was a member of the Marauders? Will we see other elements of Gambit's morally gray past, like the Marauders, pop up in the series?

Acker: It is indeed everyone's favorite Marauder, Scrambler. And we'll also see a few of everyone's second, third and fourth favorite Marauders as well.

Next up, belay wants to know if the book will live up to its title.

My most anticipated book from Marvel. Gambit is my favorite character. During Gambit's initial years, he was regarded as one of the greatest hand-to-hand fighters. As it is a versus book, will we see Gambit battle Deadpool?

Acker: First of all, thank you for your anticipation. We will not only live up to it, we will exceed it. You will see Gambit battle Deadpool and, spoiler, you will see Deadpool battle back. Then Gambit a little. Then Deadpool a lot! Then mostly Gambit. Then it gets conversational.

Blacker: Acker pitched me the idea for issue one even before we knew what the story would be, and it was so fun and funny that we just had to do it. It has all of the v'ing you didn't get from other superhero stories where a superhero v's another superhero. And while they v in subsequent issues, the stakes get much higher and the v becomes emotional.

That sounds v interesting! Couldn't resist that one. Now Neko has a pair of questions for this pair of writers.

I'm really excited about this buddy book, these two characters (Deadpool and Gambit) running amok is amusing to me. How deep will you be able to delve into with their history? Will there be some nuances that we learn about them both by having to interact with each other?

Blacker: I think the biggest thing we introduce to their shared history is that there is a shared history. I'm sure they've met here and there in the X-books over the years (and if they haven't, that seems like a crazy oversight). It was important to us to create a book where they weren't bogged down by their personal backstories -- you should get just enough of those to inform character. (Which I think is a good rule for comic book storytelling in general). There will, however, be plenty of running amok.
What do you think is the best thing from writing these two incredibly morally-grey-but-do-the-right-thing and fun characters together?

Blacker: It's exactly what you said it is: two morally-grey-but-do-the-right-thing and fun characters. Of anyone in the Marvel universe, these two are loose cannons. You never know quite how each will react to a given situation.

You know those moral category listings you get on, like, fan wikis for fictional characters? Like Ben Grimm is affiliated "Good" or Kraven the Hunter is affiliated "Evil"? I love that Deadpool might be affiliated "smart-dumb" because he plays stupid a whole lot of the time but he also can be very stupid. And Gambit is "dumb-capable" -- I watched Channing Tatum's performances in "21 Jump Street" and "22 Jump Street" very closely for inspiration in writing Gambit.

While the book might not get into Gambit's history, donpricetag wants to know if it will address his present whereabouts.

Gambit has always been an X-Man. Unfortunately he's been out of the main rosters for a long time. We know Deadpool has been playing Avenger over in "Uncanny Avengers"; will we get to get an explanation as to why Gambit is running scams while the X-Men are all trying to save their race from extinction?

Acker: You will get an explanation. Not to build it up, but probably the most satisfying explanation in comics, certainly. The most satisfying explanation in any medium of all time? You be the judge.

Blacker: As I mentioned, it was important to us to carve out a story for these guys for which you needn't be reading a bunch of other books to follow it. While our story does take place in the current Marvel Universe, it's also extremely self-contained. I think most of the work we've done for Marvel has been somewhat "outside of time" in that they can be read by even the most casual fan. Maybe that will change when we take over both "Fantastic Four" and "Alpha Flight" this winter!

(We're not actually taking over those books, but wouldn't it be great if we did?)

Yes, especially if they co-headlined a book called "Fantastic Flight." Next up, YeahX3 wants to know more about "DvG's" artist, Danilo Beyruth.

Danilo Beyruth has some experience drawing in the Deadpool universe already. What's it been like working with Danilo, especially where a much-adored character like Gambit is concerned?

Blacker: Danilo has certainly put his own spin on Gambit. And the guy is just killer at drawing people crashing through windows. Seriously, there's a page in that first issue that you're going to want to cut out and frame. Which you can do now, because there's no such thing as a comics back-issue market!

Here's a question from Mark about both Deadpool and Gambit.

I'm really looking forward to this comic. Do either of you have any favorite Gambit or Deadpool moments from previous runs?

Blacker: As I mentioned above, I think they're both interesting characters because they both have a lot of 1990s baggage to overcome. Not least of which is Gambit's often very silly costume. What is that head-sock he wears? It's like a ski-mask but doesn't cover most of his head? Also, I recall times when I picked up old X-books and he was basically shaped like Beeker from the Muppets -- his head was so cylindrical. These were not my favorite issues...

I think Gerry Duggan has done a terrific job in making Deadpool more than just a joke-machine. He's now a joke-machine with depth. We've seen in Gerry's run that Deadpool can genuinely care about people. Hopefully that carries over into "DvG."

I can't think of a specific story in which I loved Gambit, but what I was always attracted to was his romance with Rogue. It was such a perfect, tragic love story. Gambit is, again, a guy who literally throws things away. And of course, the metaphor of her powers is that she literally can't touch or be touched. Unfortunately, we don't get to play with this aspect of Gambit in "DvG" -- there just wasn't room (in this story, Gambit is a rogue) -- but should we have the opportunity to write more of these characters, it's something I'd love to explore.

And we'll close it out with a possible rallying cry from Jozie.

Super excited for this book, especially to see Gambit front and center again. Right now the book is a limited series. What are the odds of us getting more in the future, or an ongoing? How many copies of each issue should we buy?

Acker: Write letters and emails and tweets to Marvel and your congressmen demanding more "Deadpool v Gambit!" Buy every issue to extinction. Roam the comic stores, ransacking their racks for issues of this funnybook. Please do not go into massive debt purchasing multiple copies of this issue. Check your finances. Create a budget. If you need help creating a budget, ask a grown-up! Figure out your available resources and spend as much of them as you can on issues of "Deadpool v Gambit." If the banks are still around, try taking out a bank loan. If you need help taking out a bank loan, ask a grown-up. Thank you to you and thank you to a grown-up.

Blacker: Seriously, we could write these characters for ever. Also, Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight. So yes, buy the book. But also tweet at all of the Marvel editors demanding that we write more "Deadpool v Gambit"! Also, FF and AF! Here's a list of Marvel editors' Twitter handles: https://twitter.com/Marvel/lists/marvel-editors/members Seriously. Tweet at them and DEMAND IT (politely). Also, Here's Acker and my twitter handles: @BnAcker & @BenBlacker. Tweet at us if you like the book! We'll RT! Ask us questions! We'll answer, probably!

Thanks to Ben Acker and Ben Blacker for taking on this week's questions!

Next week, "Uncanny X-Men" and "Civil War II: X-Men" writer Cullen Bunn will join us here at X-POSITION. Have a question for Cullen? Go ahead and send 'em in via an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position". But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday! Make it happen!

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