DEAD­POOL

With the Dead­pool movie about to hit cre­ator Rob Liefeld tells Stephen Jewell about the Merc With A Mouth’s early days

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

“This film is go­ing to be the de­fin­i­tive Dead­pool ex­pe­ri­ence”

Ev­ery­thing has been build­ing to­wards this movie!”

Ac­cord­ing to Rob Liefeld, who first in­tro­duced Dead­pool to an un­sus­pect­ing au­di­ence in New Mu­tants #98, the Merc With A Mouth has al­ways been “ridicu­lously pop­u­lar”. Re­leased at the height of the ’90s comic book boom, his sub­se­quent ap­pear­ance in X-Force #1 sold a stag­ger­ing four mil­lion copies.

Among the most cos­played char­ac­ters at comic con­ven­tions, he has since main­tained his high pro­file through sig­nif­i­cant ap­pear­ances in videogames like Marvel Vs Cap­com and the Marvel Lego range, not to men­tion fan­favourite runs on his monthly comics by cre­ators such as Joe Kelly, Ed McGuin­ness, Christopher Priest and Cullen Bunn. Now ex­actly 25 years later he’s set to ex­plode onto the big screen in his first solo film.

“This wasn’t planned but he de­buted in Fe­bru­ary 1991 and now the Dead­pool movie is com­ing out in Fe­bru­ary 2016, so the film will hit on his 25th an­niver­sary,” says Liefeld. “When I first told Ryan Reynolds about that, he was like ‘wow, that’s cool!’”

Some­times you just go ‘that char­ac­ter is cool!’

Hav­ing cut his teeth on DC’s Hawk and Dove, Liefeld took over as reg­u­lar pen­ciller on New Mu­tants with #86 in early 1990. Handed full cre­ative con­trol with #98, he brought in Fabian Ni­cieza as co-writer who would later play a cru­cial role in Dead­pool’s de­vel­op­ment. “Fabian is great with di­a­logue, and the voice that he gave Dead­pool really stuck, as he was such a great wise-ass,” re­calls Liefeld, who wanted Dead­pool to emu­late Marvel’s most nat­u­ral-born joker. “When I first pitched the char­ac­ter to Marvel, it was ‘Spi­der-Man with guns and swords.’”

How­ever, Liefeld is quick to dis­miss the sug­ges­tion that Dead­pool owes any­thing to DC su­pervil­lain Death­stroke. “You know what, buddy? We haven’t heard that be­fore,” he laughs, in­sist­ing that Dead­pool’s real name Wade Wil­son was not a nod to Death­stroke’s al­ter ego, Slade Wil­son. “Dead­pool doesn’t move like Death­stroke, and I al­ways tell peo­ple to go back and look at X-Force #2 with the first whole pages of Dead­pool. He’s do­ing fly­ing kicks and mov­ing like a ninja – he’s mov­ing like Spi­der-Man! Death­stroke is a lum­ber­ing guy in chain-mail and buc­ca­neer boots and gloves, who is blue and or­ange, so how do you get from that to Dead­pool’s blue and red?”

Hav­ing first seen Star Wars in 1977 when he was nine years old, an­other of Liefeld’s in­spi­ra­tions came from a galaxy far, far away. “One of the clos­est things to Dead­pool in terms of a pop cul­ture icon is Boba Fett,” says Liefeld, who sent away for an ac­tion fig­ure of the bounty hunter be­fore even­tu­ally catching his cameo in The Em­pire Strikes Back.

“He had about two lines and was all mys­te­ri­ous, but he didn’t do much. Then in Re­turn Of The Jedi, he gets el­bowed off the sand­barge and falls into the Sar­lacc Pit. I was like, ‘Wait! The great­est char­ac­ter of all time just went out like that?’ But it didn’t di­min­ish my love for Boba Fett and now 30 years later they’re making a solo movie with him. He was a char­ac­ter that didn’t live up to the idea of Boba Fett and yet he still en­dures, and I be­lieve Dead­pool through all of his vari­a­tions has con­tin­ued to en­dure be­cause some­times you just go ‘that char­ac­ter is cool!’”

Al­though he left Marvel in 1992 to co-found Im­age Comics, Dead­pool re­mains close to Liefeld’s heart. And hav­ing worked closely with di­rec­tor Tim Miller and screen­writ­ers Rhett Reese and Paul Wer­nick, he be­lieves that the movie could be Dead­pool’s crown­ing achieve­ment in any medium. “This movie will be the Dead­pool that de­fines Dead­pool,” he says. “It’s not by de­sign but he’s mostly been on th­ese kind of wacky ad­ven­tures, so there is no one great Dead­pool sto­ry­line. He doesn’t have a Days Of Fu­ture Past, a Kor­vac Saga or Ex­tinc­tion Agenda, so this film is go­ing to be the de­fin­i­tive Dead­pool ex­pe­ri­ence, mark my words! It will be the one where peo­ple go ‘This is the Dead­pool I love the most!’”

The Dead­pool movie is re­leased on 10 Fe­bru­ary. Look out for more cov­er­age next is­sue.

The New Mu­tants #98 – the first ap­pear­ance of Dead­pool.

Dead­pool is a wise­crack­ing “Spi­der-Man with guns and swords”.

Well, there’s a rea­son he’s called the Merc With A Mouth.

The Dead­pool Corps in­cluded KidPool and Lady Dead­pool.

Dead­pool’s move to X-Force saw mil­lions of copies sold.

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