Joe Kelly brings his bromantic run on this buddy book to a close!

Warning: This article contains spoilers for SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL

In the past, putting Spider-Man and Deadpool together has been a kind of a light, funny affair. However, their relationship evolved a lot over the course of writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness’ tenure on SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL, turning into a kind of emotionally fraught philosophical allegory—with butt jokes.

Kelly has worked on both characters extensively throughout his career, even writing their first team-up 20 years ago! As he concludes his current run with SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #18—available now—we quizzed him on lessons learned this go around and bringing the story to a suitable close.

Marvel.com: I noticed that, in a previous interview you said that this was a dream project you couldn’t say no to. Has it lived up to that expectation?

Joe Kelly: Yeah, it definitely has. The whole team is really outstanding. Working with Ed is such a pleasure but everyone—[inker] Mark [Morales] and [colorist] Jason [Keith] and all the editors and everybody—it’s been a really, really wonderful experience. It definitely lived up to my hopes and expectations for sure. Deadpool’s the cornerstone of my career and Spider-Man has always been my favorite super hero, so it sort of felt like coming home.

Marvel.com: So, I did a little research and I found out that you and artist Pete Woods actually wrote the first instance of Spider-Man and Deadpool interacting in 1997! You guys were the ones to trail blaze that fan favorite pairing! Having worked with them before, do you have a set paradigm you stick to with Peter and Wade or did you set out to go somewhere new with them in this project?

Joe Kelly: It was definitely a combination. I mean, having done so much work with those characters and especially Deadpool, there are certain things that I feel like you almost have to do and explore. But it was really important to me to make sure I wasn’t just rehashing things that we had done before; I knew the readers wouldn’t want that. Like, it’s not 1997. I never want to go backwards, you know? But there’s so much territory to play around in with all both of those characters. Deadpool is so layered now—he’s a 20-year-old character! What was the most exciting for me, and especially worked out in the pitch, was this idea that Deadpool—despite his current popularity in the Marvel Universe—had still been a killer and Spidey just would not reconcile easily with that. [We wanted] to see how that relationship was gonna play out with the moral high ground for Spider-Man and the sort of fanboy bro crush side of Deadpool, and then to [shift] that [dynamic] over the course of the story. I’m glad I was able to go back to the well, and who [knows] what the future will hold? If enough people ask, I’m pretty weak-willed; I could be suckered into saying yes again.

Marvel.com: This series has gone into some more serious territory for both of the characters which is interesting because generally in the past when the duo have come together it’s been more light-hearted and funny. You guys dive into their relationship in a big way that we haven’t really seen before. How has it been going darker with the characters?

Joe Kelly: I think the expectation was that it was just going to be a light buddy book, and that absolutely works—there’s reasons to do that and it’s fun, and there’s no reason not to do [some of] that sort of stuff—but to get too caught up in that [would ignore the fascinating dynamic]. Deadpool’s disregard for the universe and life, etc., runs really deep whereas Spidey has this sense of [duty] to all of that same stuff and feels a literally cosmic level of responsibility and guilt so integral to his character. I feel like the universe is out to get both of them, in different ways and for different reasons. Some of that stuff they bring on themselves, which is either [because of] their poor choices or their blind spots.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #18 cover by Ed McGuinness

Marvel.com: Aside from the jokes and silliness, both of them do have pretty troubled pasts. It makes sense that they’d come together to help each other through that with their friendship…

Joe Kelly: Right, I wanted to see if that friendship could evolve and what would happen if it did. With Deadpool it’s about “Can he be the person he wants to be? Is that possible in [this] universe? Is he doomed to fail?” Especially having someone like Spider-Man at his side, that makes for a really volatile combination that you know is not going to be pretty over the course of time. It is gonna start out as fun and light, but these guys have too much going on and so to shy away from that stuff would have been a mistake. For me, that was the opportunity I got excited about. Spidey has confronted his dark side before, there’s no question, but [it’s different] to do it with Deadpool who loves him so much and wants to be him. Ultimately, there would be sacrifices made [for both of them.] When we finally get to the end of the Itsy arc, you’re definitely getting a sense of [what each will choose] when they’re really boxed in…[but] it’s always about choice.

Marvel.com: People find common ground between them because of the comedy element and the costuming, but they’re actually pretty different philosophically. I wanted to ask you how they’ve been rubbing off on each other—literally, figuratively, and even narratively?

Joe Kelly: I think that the first arc where Spidey acknowledged that they were friends was when you could see them trading off some stuff. Not the dark stuff, but Spidey being willing to cut loose in the Thor issue and live life in a little more of a goofy way, and then Deadpool really trying to step up his game—even with the Mercs for Money issue where he’s saying “What we’re doing isn’t great but the world’s more complex than that”—having those counterpoints is what you want to see as [they’re] becoming friends. But then a question that is raised is can people change?

Deadpool aspires to be [something new] because he knows that the reasons people love [him as a hero] are false. Deadpool knows that, in his heart, he’s not the greatest guy on the planet. And Spidey really is this pure soul, but he gets pushed and pushed and pushed…will he break?

If Spidey was left alone, would he have killed Itsy Bitsy? Maybe. I mean, it’s possible, if Deadpool wasn’t there. And if Spidey hadn’t gone so far down the road with Itsy Bitsy, then would Deadpool have had to make that sacrifice and take a life, which, in our universe, he hadn’t been doing for a while. So for him to have to cross that line again morally…does that mean [Wade] couldn’t really change, even if he wanted to? The answers for both of them are left sort of ambiguous.

Hopefully whoever comes on after it will run with those themes and that’s the most interesting thing about these guys. Like you said, on the surface there’s a lot of reflections. [Deadpool character creator Rob Liefeld] has openly said many times that he wanted to do “Spider-Man with guns” and that was part of the Deadpool creation. But they’re very distinct [from one another now] and you want to make sure you’re giving them their due.

Pick up SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #18 to catch the end of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness’ run, available now!

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Captain America sends Wade Wilson on a murderous mission!

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Readers may have been surprised to see Deadpool still standing by Captain America’s side in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #1 wherein he and a handful of other heroes like Odinson, Scarlet Witch, and Vision continued to act as Avengers under Hydra’s ruling fist. The Merc with a Mouth’s not exactly known for towing the line or being much of a company man, so what’s the deal?

Well, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli attempted to answer some of those questions in this week’s DEADPOOL #31, which takes place before the events of SECRET EMPIRE #0. The issue kicked off with DP remembering how he grew up as a huge Cap fan and felt honored when Steve Rogers asked him to join the Avengers Unity Squad.

Back when Steve was still running around at his actual physical age, he used his tactical genius to set up the Avengers as well as he could. In 2015’s AVENGERS #0, he tasked Deadpool with stealing a canister of Terrigen mist so they could use it to save Rogue’s life. Upon successful completion, Steve surprised Wade by handing him an Avengers ID card!

That, of course, led to Deadpool regularly appearing in UNCANNY AVENGERS as the squad took on the likes of Super-Adaptoid, Ultron, and The Red Skull outfitted with parts of Professor X’s brain. They also made their way to Pleasant Hill during Standoff and got in on the Civil War II action. As Wade so helpfully explained, Cap would send him secret missions writtenon small white note cards that he would memorize and burn. With those gigs came specific rules, especially the one about not killing anyone. He found himself engaged in one of those very assignments before the Sentinel of Liberty showed his true Hydra colors.

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1

Uncanny Avengers (2015) #1

  • Published: October 14, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 18, 2016
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Gerry Duggan
  • Cover Artist: Ryan Stegman
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That mission involved tracking down another Cap-fan: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson who admitted that he’d been a bit suspicious of Rogers for a while. As he sent out a transmission warning about Cap’s involvement in something big—including the business with the Chitauri queen—Deadpool shot a rocket launcher at him, sending Lola crashing into a forest. Knowing he couldn’t take the merc on directly, Coulson ran for a nearby safe house he intended to use. He got inside, but Wade jammed a hand in and got a gut shot off. As he passed out, Coulson understood that he could have stopped Rogers’ plans if Wilson had never shown up.

The issue ended with Captain America congratulating Deadpool on a job well done as they both watched Coulson’s safe house burn…

The Empire Strikes Back

For more background on the Wade Wilson/Steve Rogers dynamic, check out THE DEATH OF WOLVERINE: DEADPOOL & CAPTAIN AMERICA one-shot. After Logan died, his fellow super soldier science experiments made it their mission to destroy any trace of the mutant powerhouse so he could’’t be cloned or resurrected. That involved tracking down a knife with his blood on it that had recently been purchased by A.I.M. to Moscow. As they did, they remembered their friend and we got more of a look at why Cap believed in Deadpool so much. He’d seen what being created in a lab could do and also knew the potential those unique individuals had for creating good in the world. Then again, he turned out to be a mind-controlled despot, so who knows?

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Gerry Duggan helps us overthink Wade Wilson’s next move!

Wade Wilson returns to Earth on June 14 in DEADPOOL #32 written by Gerry Duggan with art by Matteo Lolli, and we’re all wondering if he’ll be adding that Hydra green to his could-be Christmas-themed wardrobe. Unfortunately for us Duggan remains stoically tight lipped about what’s in store for the Merc with a Mouth as Secret Empire creeps its way over, but he did let slip a few cryptic pieces of information that we will, of course, read way too far into.

First we set the scene: Wade and Steve Rogers showcase almost polar opposites. On the one hand you have the original Captain America, whose father died young but his loving mother raised him. Plagued by a sense of duty and honor he went on to participate in a super soldier program leaving him the epitome of an American hero: strong, handsome and just. While on the other hand, Wade rebelled into delinquency until he became a mercenary and, eventually, a participant in a super solider program that left him horribly disfigured.

But Wade has always looked up to Captain America and Duggan says the upcoming issue bridges that gap, showing readers what happened leading up to Secret Empire that affects Wade. “His moral compass definitely spins sometimes and he uses Steve as his true North,” explains the writer, “I think they’d both agree that he is at his best under the guidance of Captain America. That may not be the case forever, but right now he has no reason not to trust Captain America.” But what if Steve doesn’t point true North anymore?

Leading us to our first clue, Duggan let slip that Deadpool has already made some decisions that will prevent him from going back, if he chooses to do so, once Steve Rogers has his big Hydra reveal. “He understood there would be good days and bad, recently there have just been more bad, but he hasn’t realized that he bet on the wrong horse,” he reveals, “When Captain America says jump you don’t even ask how high, you just jump.”

Deadpool #32 cover by David Lopez

Duggan continues, “We know Steve Rogers is a bad guy, but you can have more than one bad guy. We’ll see how it goes with our choice of bad guys.” Oh man, I think that means another seemingly good guy but actually a bad guy mastermind lurks behind everything. You could assume that applies to Deadpool, “His best friend’s name is Hydra Bob, so if anyone would be comfortable with a status quo shift it would be Deadpool,” notes Duggan.

And our last cliffhanger: “The country is changing. Captain America is changing. We’re using the opportunity to change Wade’s life in a very big way,” tease Duggan, mysteriously adding, “You’re going to have to retitle the book.”

I can’t even begin to imagine what this means…it’s a self-titled book. Is Deadpool not actually Deadpool…do we find out that Wade Wilson died and someone has been pretending to be him? “He has a mutant daughter now so that can affect his decision making,” Duggan concludes. “The big thing about Secret Empire is what you’re willing to do for family; Ellie will factor in.”

Your guess is literally as good as mine in this case, so be sure to check out DEADPOOL #32, out June 14, and find out just what Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli have in store for us!

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FXX orders ten episodes of the first season which is scheduled to debut in 2018

FXX has placed a series order with Marvel Television and FX Productions for the untitled Marvel’s Deadpool series, an animated adult action-comedy TV series adaptation of the hit Marvel character Deadpool, it was announced jointly today by Eric Schrier and Nick Grad, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions, and Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television.

Atlanta creator and Golden Globe® Award Winner Donald Glover and Stephen Glover will serve as Showrunners, Executive Producers and Writers of the series. Marvel’s Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory are Executive Producers. The untitled Marvel’s Deadpool series is produced by Marvel Television in association with FX Productions and ABC Signature Studios for FXX, which has ordered ten episodes for season one.

“Donald Glover is an incredibly gifted and versatile artist who’ll bring the untitled Marvel’s Deadpool series to life with the same intense, singular vision as his breakout hit Atlanta,” said Nick Grad. “With the success of Legion, we’re looking forward to again partnering with Marvel Television to create a series that is bold, striking and entirely original.”

Jeph Loeb added, “How much more fun could this be? Deadpool, Donald and FX – the perfect fit for the Merc with the Mouth! We’re thrilled that our relationship with FX that started with Legion continues with what is sure to be a groundbreaking show in adult animation.”

Since his debut in 1991, Deadpool has grown to become one of Marvel’s most popular characters thanks to his unique blend of humor and over-the-top action. With a rabid following of fans from across the globe, he currently stars in a variety of best-selling titles from Marvel Comics.

Donald Glover is the creator, executive producer, writer and star of Atlanta, which was the most critically acclaimed comedy series of 2016, basic cable’s most-watched new comedy in three years and the highest-rated comedy in FX Networks’ history. Glover himself won the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards and the show took home the awards for: Golden Globe, AFI, Peabody, and WGA and received DGA and NAACP nominations. Season two of Atlanta is tentatively scheduled to debut in early 2018 on FX.

Upcoming for Glover includes Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming, Han Solo and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King. Glover is known for his success under the stage name “Childish Gambino.” He released his first album, Camp, in 2011. His second album, Because the Internet, was nominated for two Grammy Awards and generated the hit song “3005.” His most recent album, Awaken, My Love!, was released in December 2016, debuted #1 on the R&B Albums Chart and is his highest-charting album.

Stephen Glover is a staff writer on FX’s award-winning series Atlanta, writing four episodes of the series ten-episode first season. In addition to script writing, he also wrote music and lyrics for the show with Donald Glover. Along with writing for television, he also has experience writing for stand-up comedians. Glover also works in music as an accomplished songwriter and performer.

Donald Glover is repped by Dianne McGunigle of MGMT Entertainment, WME and Lev Ginsburg. Stephen Glover is represented by WME and Lev Ginsburg.

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Writer Cullen Bunn maps out the Merc with a Mouth’s latest murder spree!

The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, cosmic beings across the universe—none of them stood a chance. Three years ago, Deadpool made history when he bombed, katana’d, and blasted his way through every last hero in existence. And guess what? He’s back for more.

This July, the newest super hero extinction event begins in DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1 and #2! Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić, creators of the original best-selling series, return for an all-new five-issue run alongside the universe’s most dangerous man in red spandex.

We sat down with Cullen to learn more about the return of Wade Wilson and his thirst for super-blood in the brand new series.

Marvel.com: The first DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE ended with you, Dalibor Talajic, editor Jordan D. White, and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about to be put to the sword. How did that end up going for you guys? Is Deadpool coming back again? Does the digital team have to worry this time?

Cullen Bunn: Those were Earth 617.5678 versions of Dalibor, Jordan, Axel, and myself. The versions here—on our Earth—are much [cagier] and hardy!

I don’t think you’ll be seeing Deadpool returning to the Marvel offices in this new series. While that worked in the original book, this new story is something altogether different.

Marvel.com: In your opinion, what made DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE one of the most popular trades in recent years? Everyone has their own reason—but why do you think people loved it so much?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve wondered that for years!

Look, I am very proud of that original story. I think Dalibor and I did something special with it, but I never expected it to have the reaction—and the longevity—that it has enjoyed. It’s still one of the most popular books I’ve ever worked on. I think it’s the kind of book that attracts readers because it’s an easy jumping on point. You don’t need to know much about Deadpool or Marvel continuity to enjoy the story. The average reader off the street knows Captain America and Thor and The Hulk and Deadpool, and that’s all you really need to get a kick out of seeing Deadpool slaughter all your favorite heroes. Over the years, so many people have told me that this was both their first Deadpool book and their first comic book in general! So I guess the general accessibility is a factor with relatively new fans. Other than that, I think the fact that DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE is unlike any other Deadpool book ever published helps with the book’s appeal.

Both of those ideas—the accessibility and the unique nature of the tale—were top-of-mind for the new series. A new reader can come off the street, having never read any other comic, and enjoy seeing Marvel’s most famous heroes get the ax. And this story is something completely different. It’s not a sequel or a remake, and it treads ground totally untouched by the original series.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #1 cover by Dave Johnson

Marvel.com: What inspired you to bring Deadpool back for some more universe-shattering super hero murder?

Cullen Bunn: Writing DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE was such a blast for me, so of course I wanted to return to that well at some point. I wouldn’t have pursued it, though, unless I thought we had a new kind of story to tell and some interesting and unexpected angles to explore. The tale that we’re presenting here definitely gives us something new and exciting, so it’s time to pull the trigger!

Marvel.com: The Marvel Universe has changed quite a bit since the first killing spree; a bunch of new heroes in new positions all across the board. How’s the Merc going to approach these new victims differently?

Cullen Bunn: Everything about Deadpool’s approach to murdering these heroes is different. Even though we’re revisiting a story about Deadpool killing off your favorite heroes, this is a new tale, and we went to great lengths to make sure we weren’t walking the same path. As you said, the Marvel Universe is quite different than it was when we did the original series. It has evolved and grown. Deadpool’s murderous methodologies have changed, too.

That’s not to say he will have an easy time of it. There is a core group of Marvel heroes who are opposing Deadpool and trying to stop him. I think seeing these protagonists at work will be a lot of fun. Hey, maybe they’ll even stop Deadpool before he kills everyone!

Marvel.com: How was it partnering with Dalibor once again to create the sequel to one of the most visually epic—and disturbing—series in recent memory?

Cullen Bunn: Dalibor and I have talked about working together again—and working on this project in particular—for a few years, really ever since we wrapped up work on the original series. It took a while for the timing to be right, and I knew that only Dalibor could draw this beast. This series, though, is a little different visually. Without spoiling too much, Dalibor is playing with a variety of comic book styles. I think the look of this book will surprise a lot of people. I knew there were going to be plenty of challenges involved in bringing this story to life, but every time I asked Dalibor about it, he simply said, “Bring it on! Do your worst!”

Marvel.com: The first time around, Psycho Man got everything started by pushing Wade’s mind just past the tipping point. What can you tease about how Deadpool gets his taste for hero-blood this time?

Cullen Bunn: Well, I can tell you that Psycho Man is not involved in this tragic tale of woe, but absolutely keep an eye on the bad guys. Some classic Marvel villains have a hand in Deadpool’s murderous rampage. There’s a mystery to be solved and a real exciting reveal to be had further down the road.

The carnage begins with DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1 and #2, by Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić, and available this July!

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Frank Castle and Wade Wilson match up against one another!

By Josh Weiss

Ladies, gentlemen, and kids old enough to see R-rated movies, step right up and witness one of the most epic pairings in Marvel comic book history: DEADPOOL VS. THE PUNISHER!

No, you’re not crazy unlike like these two characters. You heard that correctly: Wade Wilson will square off with Frank Castle in a brand-new series from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Pere Perez kicking off April 12.

Who will be victorious and who will be forced to make the winner some chimichangas? Find out as these two antiheroes go toe-to-toe in—Hey, what are you doing in here? What are you doing with those? Put them down before someone gets hur—

Before we begin, Deadpool asked me nicely with his dual pistols pointed at my face to say that and I quote, “Frank Castle is a wimpy mama’s boy who wouldn’t know a corpse if it got up and smacked him in the face. Unless we’re talking Bernthal. He knows his way around a zombie or two, right? Is Bernthal reprising his role in this comic? Come at me, Shane!”

Frank could not be reached for comment.

(As if he’d say much.)

That’s enough outta you, Deadpool!

On that trash-talking note, read below as Fred Van Lente sizes up the two opponents in three key categories in anticipation of the upcoming series.

COMEDY

Punisher: “Punisher is without a doubt funnier than Deadpool. Anyone who’s read the dark, deadpan humor of [Garth] Ennis and [Steve] Dillon’s Marvel Knights run knows this.”

Deadpool: “[He] thinks he’s funny.”

Winner: “Punisher just is inherently hilarious, and that makes a big difference.”

COSTUMES

Punisher: “Punisher is a guy with a skull on his chest.”

Deadpool: “I’m not sure what the Deadpool’s outfit is supposed to be.”

Winner: “Both have become iconic looks, but I’m going to give Punisher the slight edge because of the skull logo you can separate out and slap onto anything.”

MODUS OPERANDI

Punisher: “In our series, Punisher makes quite a big deal of having contempt for Deadpool’s healing factor, because he thinks it makes the merc sloppy; if you don’t have to suffer any bad consequences for your mistakes, you never learn to not make mistakes.”

Deadpool: “But I don’t entirely believe Punisher on this one—Deadpool’s healing factor gives him a huge advantage over his foes, while if Frank makes one mis-step, he’s dead.

Winner: “I’m going with Deadpool.”

Who will ultimately come out on top? Find out on April 12 in DEADPOOL VS. THE PUNISHER #1!

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Iban Coello, Salva Espin, and Scott Koblish monster mash together for a crossover event!

“If these two crazy kids can’t make it, what chance do the rest of us have?”

Okay, it seems unlikely that anyone’s thinking that about Deadpool and his wife Shiklah. In fact, they should be more concerned about all the collateral damage that will come from the huge, monster-filled “Til Death Do Us…” crossover running through DEADPOOL, SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL, and DEADPOOL & THE MERCS FOR MONEY.

Like all good crossovers, this one involves a ton of creative folks like writers Gerry Duggan, Joshua Corin, and Christopher Hastings, artists Scott Koblish, Salva Espin, and Iban Coello, and editors Jordan D. White, Heather Antos, Devin Lewis, and Allison Stock. We sat down with all three artists to see how the event will play out and which monsters and guest stars they had the most fun with!

Marvel.com: At the heart of this story is a relationship that’s falling apart between Deadpool and Shiklah. Does this add different layers to the conflict on a visual level?

Scott Koblish: Most definitely; they’ve already had a pretty challenging relationship before the events of the last few months—I’ve even helped to draw some of their ups and downs—so it’s been a really wonderful opportunity to play with some of the emotional beats. They really do love one another, it’s just that a marriage becomes more challenging when one of the partners in the relationship is trying to conquer Manhattan with a vast monster army.

Salva Espin: I think that the relationship between Deadpool and Shiklah always has been a tug of love. Well, love and passion. And in this crossover we can find some scenes talking about it. Performing this in the panels is a great challenge for an artist.

Iban Coello: The relationship between Shiklah and Deadpool makes this conflict very personal for them. I try to reflect these feelings in the way I draw these characters. It’s complicated but it’s necessary for the plot.

Marvel.com: “Til Death Do Us…” features some of the most classic Marvel monsters around. How was it paying tribute to the original designs while also putting your own spin on them?

Scott Koblish: Who can deny the pure joy of drawing Frankenstein? I can also say that drawing Jack Russell—in his current situation—was tremendous fun, and one of my favorites is Marcus, the Diabetic Symbiotic Cybernetic Werewolf Centaur; he’s a real gas.

Salva Espin: As Scott [said], I think that Frankenstein is the [funniest] to draw. Other than that I especially like to draw the Mummy. I like this classic monster with bandages very much. Mack the Knife—the mummy guy—is my favorite character in the 90’s videogame “Captain Commando.” For Dracula’s minion-vampire army I always try to draw vampires based on the classic Nosferatu.

Iban Coello: I’m drawing Dracula in my pages and I’m enjoying it a lot! He has a different look from the classic Bela Lugosi style and it’s very fun to draw him like a badass!

Marvel.com: What was the process like coming up with some of the new monsters seen in the crossover?

Scott Koblish: I relied on a lot of what [past Deadpool artists] Reilly Brown and Mike Hawthorne established as far as drawing the monsters who associate with Shiklah. I felt it was important to keep that visual through-line. Reilly’s continuous cover over the first three issues was also a great inspiration.

Salva Espin: In my case, I return to the designs of most Shiklah soldiers that I have drawn in previous issues where Deadpool had scenes at the Monster Metropolis and the [limited series] MRS. DEADPOOL AND THE HOWLING COMMANDOS.

Iban Coello: I had a list with examples of monsters I can draw in the pages, but I’m adding some Alien type monsters because I love the movies. Reilly’s cover is a great inspiration too!

Marvel.com: Being a crossover, the story brings in some other costumed characters that don’t usually appear in the regular books. Did you have a favorite you were excited to draw?

Scott Koblish: I really enjoyed drawing Gorilla-Man and Hit-Monkey. I’d thrown Hit-Monkey into a panel of Deadpool’s wedding issue, and Gorilla-Man is on that cover, but I’d always wanted to draw them some more. It was really nice to revisit Masacre again; he’s a really tall, bulky guy and it’s fun to contrast him with Domino and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. I’ve also had a lot of fun with Marvel’s current version of Dracula too.

Salva Espin: Drawing Spider-Man is always spider-great! Spidey and Deadpool are cool characters and a great team in the panels. A gift for an artist. Oh! And Ben Franklin! The scenes where this character appears are really funny!

Iban Coello: Drawing Spider-Man is like a childhood dream for me and I’m enjoying every panel where he appears!

Marvel.com: Overall, was there a lot of communication with the other artists and writers about how to present the most cohesive story possible?

Scott Koblish: Jordan, Heather, Devin and Allison have done a great job of keeping everyone in the loop. They’ve sent me the artwork from the different chapters, so everyone is on the same page. There are a lot of characters running through this adventure! It’s exciting to see Salva and Iban’s versions of the story. It certainly makes me want to work harder whenever I see how great their artwork is!

Salva Espin: Yes, in my experience I can say that I’ve always had good communication with editors and writers, especially for these kinds of crossovers, where sometimes the artists are producing the pages in parallel. In addition to this, and thanks to the Marvel gods too, Gerry Duggan’s scripts are so clear and visual that is really easy to do a cohesive story without problems.

Iban Coello: All the editors are doing a great job maintaining communication for all of us. I have a lot of pages from Scott and Salva that I use as reference when I’m lost, and they’re doing a great job!

“Til Death Do Us…” kicked off with DEADPOOL #28available now—before moving into SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #15 and then DEADPOOL & THE MERCS FOR MONEY #9!

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Rob Liefeld returns to the Merc with a Mouth for a new graphic novel!

Deadpool fans, mark down the date May 17 on your calendars, as that’s the day Wade Wilson’s proud papa Rob Liefeld returns to the character he helped create with the DEADPOOL: BAD BLOOD original graphic novel written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims.

We pinned down Liefeld for a conversation about Deadpool past, present, and future.

Marvel.com: So we’ve just passed Deadpool’s 25th anniversary and he’s more popular than ever with the film and games; what do you think it is about his character that has made him endure for as long as he has?

Rob Liefeld: Deadpool [and] his origins, are steeped in my absolute envy of everything Spider-Man, and the fact that my buddies Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane were blazing through the pages on that beautifully full masked character. Upon being handed the reins of writing the stories for NEW MUTANTS, I had to follow up Cable, which at the time, that character had taken the comic book world by storm, and taken [the New Mutants] to new heights. The book started to fail so when Marvel handed it to me, they said I could do whatever I want.

Getting back to the Spider-Man of it all, I went back to Marvel and pitched them Spider-Man with guns and swords because I am obsessed with gear and weapons, which is not an accident because my favorite comic book character of all time is Wolverine. He was the first X-Man to have weapons. Now at the same time, my favorite team was the Avengers, and they [all] had weapons, and these were some of the most popular comic book characters of all time so I knew it resonated somehow. At the time Todd was doing much darker storylines; Spider-Man was a much darker character, his marriage with Mary Jane was on the rocks, Peter Parker was unsure of himself and lost in the world—he wasn’t the fun loving Spider-Man I grew up with, you know, the guy who would make fun of you while he kicked you in the face. I think what works so well about that is everybody loves a smart-ass.

And I think that’s why everybody resonated with Deadpool so well because he was a funny smart ass, and overtime he has become the loveable and formidable smartass. Those kinds of characters resonate because they are fun, and Deadpool has never been more necessary as ever as the world gets more out of control. I think having that smart ass character to make everyone laugh is amazing because everyone needs a time to laugh and if Deadpool can make you laugh while shooting bullets through people’s [heads] then that’s a bonus for all comic book fans; that’s just great action. And again, at that time you had Cable who was the one driving sales for the comics: he was the straight-edge, serious commander type and Deadpool came in within the first month and deconstructed everything and just slapped him around so it was definitely a huge change of pace that people loved back then and still love today. In addition, with Marvel’s amazing publishing, sales, and marketing teams they really took care of him and pushed him to popularity; there were Deadpool action figures and trading cards within the first nine months of his publishing. I think it’s safe to say that everyone loves the badass ninja.

Marvel.com: Where do you find inspiration for Deadpool?  I mean, he’s done so much, it must be hard to put new stuff together.

Rob Liefeld: Actually it’s not hard; I look to exploit the areas that have been left alone.  Deadpool’s past has largely been left alone. When I pitched him to Marvel back in the day, I asked, “Can I have him be a part of Weapon X?” and when they obliged I asked, “is the X a roman numeral? And if so have we seen weapons [one through nine]?” So I made him Weapon IX meaning that he wasn’t put together correctly so that’s kind why he’s so screwed up. So when I examined his past history, I realized they still haven’t done a lot of it. In DEADPOOL #900 I flashed back to him briefly to him in Catholic school, and did a lot of story with him in junior high and high school. I was raised in the Chris Claremont school of soap opera engagement and storytelling because X-Men was the best soap opera ever presented to me as a kid, so for me I always wanted to add layers and have stuff to reveal later on to keep the twists and turns coming. So the opportunity to build out Deadpool’s past and to bring back characters from his childhood and so on, was a big appeal for me. I was always sketching characters in my sketch book and thinking of ways to add them into Deadpool’s life.

Marvel.com: What was it like for you to return to the character for his first original graphic novel, especially at the height of his popularity?

Rob Liefeld: Well first I asked “why a graphic novel?” I was a little suspicious; [Marvel] said that they considered a really privileged format, and I considered it that way since you had no next issue breaks, you don’t have to catch people up. I was also lucky enough that Marvel once again gave me free reign to pretty much do whatever I want with the [story]. I sat down and really carved out a path for where the story was going for this. A week or two later Chad Bowers and Chris Sims came in and started to work with me; it was Chad, actually, who told me that he really lobbied for this thing. I was really excited to work with them because they were teenagers when this character first came out so you know they grew up with him and fell in love with the character same as I.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Chad and Chris, they’ve done some great work with X-MEN ’92. What has your working relationship been like with these two?

Rob Liefeld: Oh the back and forth between those two have been tremendous. You know like I said coming into the project I was like “The Old Man and the Sea” and they were the young fish so it has been amazing to hear what fresh ideas these guys have brought with them. They know their stuff. We were jamming immediately, discussing everything about the character. I’ve worked with other creators before who said they were assigned the project and you could tell they weren’t as enthused, but when it came to Chad and Chris it was like magic. They brought so much—I was proof-reading the book last week and I was howling with laughter, and working with them was easy because I would want to expand on their stuff and go in a certain direction and they were all for it.

Marvel.com: In BAD BLOOD, Deadpool is going to be taking on a new baddie named Thumper. What can you tell us about the matchup between those two?

Rob Liefeld: Well I don’t want to reveal too much, but Thumper is a character from Deadpool’s past that has a shared backstory and where they split and where they come together is a major part of the story. I really want to give the character something that resonates with the reader. With Thumper, this is your introduction to him and his story and oh man the last quarter of the book I really feel like we nailed the journey. Two of the goals given this format, stems from how I was raised in a time where treasury editions were a big deal, Marvel did a lot of them, co-published with DC two of my favorites being HULK/BATMAN and SUPERMAN/SPIDER-MAN; they went bigger with the action and bigger with the detail and thinking of those treasury editions I wanted to go bigger with both in this format as well. It’s a fun journey, a lot of familiar faces and some new faces are in the issue.

Marvel.com: We now know BAD BLOOD is going to be released on May 17. What are you most excited for fans to see when they finally get their hands on it?

Rob Liefeld: Well again, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun creating the action bits and the comedy bits. I approached my artistic collaborator on this, [colorist] Romulo Fajardo; he is an amazing painter. I went with him because I am a huge fan of Frank Miller and his work that he did [on ELEKTRA LIVES] with [colorist] Lynn Varley and the painted look, and I went to Romulo and [said] “Listen man, if we are going to go in this format we got to step it up” and he showed me some work and went “Like this?” and I went “Holy crap!! Yeah!” He is an outstanding painter; he is an essential part of the look of the book. For 30 years I’ve been putting together comics and creating comics and creating these journeys in different formats, and it’s so rewarding when you have this collaboration with guys like Chris and Chad and Romulo, and to see it put together. I’m just hoping that the printing press comes through for us and prints all those brilliant hues and tones because it really has a great atmosphere. I went around and met a whole bunch of different people at conventions and such, and I’ve [listened] to them, and without going too much into the journey of the book, I’ve put a great deal of what I’ve heard from fans into the book, in relation to comedy and action and I’ve also given [them] some new storylines that they won’t see coming. I’m excited to get my hands on it and go out there and promote it.

Look for DEADPOOL: BAD BLOOD from Rob Liefeld, Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Romulo Fajardo on May 17!

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Stuart Moore breaks down what to expect from the half-mercenary half-duck phenomenon!

Here’s a recipe for a zesty meal that the whole family will enjoy—it’s called “Piscine morte avec canard.” Also known as Deadpool the Duck.

Ingredients include: one misanthropic duck, one un-showered killing machine. Directions: mix one half duck with one half mercenary, watch as the ingredients do everything they can to separate from each other. Grease a muffin pan.

On February 8, the story of this merc-bird blend continues with DEADPOOL THE DUCK #3! The third in a limited five issue run finds Deadpool the Duck continuing a mission to get out of the red leather duck suit and back into their own bodies.

We tracked down series writer Stuart Moore to learn about the heroes trapped in a body they never made—or wanted!

Marvel.com: When two characters are combined, certain aspects of each are going to emerge over others. Which of Wade’s characteristics do you feel are most apparent in this amalgamation?

Stuart Moore: He’s got the energy, the drive, the boundless enthusiasm. Maybe too much enthusiasm. One of the things I love about Deadpool is that he’s up for anything; he loves to throw himself into new situations.

Marvel.com: And which of Howard’s characteristics?

Stuart Moore: Howard’s much more cautious, more cynical, more likely to say, “Yes, we could jump out of this spaceship into the upper atmosphere, but should we?” Some of that comes from not having powers and some of it comes from being an outsider on our world. But mostly it’s just the way he is.

Deadpool the Duck #3 cover

Deadpool the Duck #3 cover

Marvel.com: With a combo of these two, a few things are likely guaranteed: quick wit, a bit of cynicism, outsider status; what would you say they have most in common?

Stuart Moore: They’re both loyal to their friends and they share a fairly cynical view of humanity. But that’s about all.

Marvel.com: How are they most different? Aside from species.

Stuart Moore: This sounds weird for a barely sane assassin, but Deadpool is a much happier character. His form of humor is different, too; much more physical, more hyperactive, and crazy. Howard is a thinker, a verbal jester. He cuts people down with words; Wade does it with swords and guns. And a few words.

Marvel.com: How is Deadpool the Duck approaching this adventure? Headfirst into the action like Wade or doing his best to avoid it like Howard?

Stuart Moore: If they want to be separated again—and Howard in particular really, really wants to be separated from Wade—then they can’t avoid the action. But this is not an easy partnership. There are some twists and turns as they struggle for control of their adorable little shared body.

Marvel.com: What do you think these two weirdos, in their separate states, might be able to learn from each other?

Stuart Moore: I’m not sure about learn, but Deadpool has a very direct way of solving problems that might be appealing to Howard. We all wish we could just kill people once in a while, right? Right? Just me?

And as for Wade, I’m not sure he ever really learns anything. That’s another thing I love about him.

Catch DEADPOOL THE DUCK #3, by Stuart Moore and artist Jacopo Camagni, on February 8!

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The violent therapist reunites with his former boss in session!

This is a transcript of recorded session notes as provided by QualTran, the very best in therapy notes transcription.

Greg Salinger, MHC, recording session notes for intake of one Wilson, Wade and subsequent counseling session.

I disclose that the client and I shared a prior working relationship. While I have been instructed by S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep the details of this relationship undisclosed, I have been granted permission to refer to it as “freelance problem solving.”

Given our possible multiple roles relationship, I consulted with another therapist on the matter, one Timothy Stevens. He insisted I could not see Dea—err—the client, Mr. Wilson. That there was no ethical justification. S.H.I.E.L.D. however reassured me that I have special status and need not worry about the ethical code most therapists are bound by.

I also should say Wilson has no idea of who I am. I am just his new therapist as far as he is aware.

In session, the client goes on and on and on. So self-involved. He didn’t even acknowledge the dissolution of the business enterprise he shared with myself and several others. He’s moved on to freelance with others and acts as though there was no such freelance problem solving prior.

The client does genuinely seem to have moment he wants to do good. Deadp—Wilson, however, does things—things that have nothing to do with the voices in his head—that make doing good almost impossible. I can relate. But I’m better now.

Can he better though? I don’t know. He’s pretty messed up. And selfish. He never treated my colleagues and I really well. And I can’t do the same kind of therapy I’ve done with other clients because S.H.I.E.L.D. says he can’t know who I am. Oh and Timothy Stevens says he’s beyond help without an intensive in-patient program and an array of psychiatric meds.

But, then again, what the hell does Stevens know? He keeps telling me not to call him and, I think, is pretty disrespectful towards me despite us being colleagues. If he does that with his clients, I bet he never helps anyone.

So maybe I can help Wilson. Maybe he just needed a therapist like me. After all, I helped myself.

Yeah…yeah…I bet it’ll be easy!

Apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. recommends I talk to Doctors Max Bemis and Dalibor Talajic abut the client. See that conversation in file FOOLKILLER #4, to be transcribed by February 8.

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