Dead­pool back? Oh #A!! yeah

With a se­quel ready to go, the ir­rev­er­ent su­per­hero’s cre­ator mar­vels at his suc­cess

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - LIVING - By Peter Larsen South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group

Rob Liefeld starts by say­ing he re­ally can’t talk at all about what hap­pens in “Dead­pool 2,” which opens Fri­day, the sec­ond in a se­ries of movies star­ring Ryan Reynolds as the ir­rev­er­ent, foul-mouthed, very vi­o­lent and oh-so-hardto-kill su­per­hero whom Liefeld co-cre­ated in 1991, early in his now-leg­endary career as a comic book artist and writer. ¶ “I am sworn to big­gest of se­crecy: ‘Rob, don’t you dare men­tion Shat­ter­star! Don’t you dare men­tion Shat­ter­star!’ ” says Liefeld in a rush of words from his home in Yorba Linda, Calif.

So OK, he talked about Shat­ter­star. But we knew that par­tic­u­lar mem­ber of the X Force was in the movie any­way, part of a team Dead­pool as­sem­bles to pro­tect a young boy with spe­cial abil­i­ties from the mu­tant mer­ce­nary Ca­ble, an­other of Liefeld’s sig­na­ture cre­ations, played in the new film by Josh Brolin.

But hon­estly, Marvel Stu­dios, he didn’t say very much at all about the plot of “Dead­pool 2,” though his ob­vi­ous ex­cite­ment over the re­turn of some “Dead­pool” char­ac­ters, and ad­di­tion of oth­ers — in­clud­ing an­other of his fa­vorites, Domino, played by Zazie Beetz — tes­ti­fies to how great he thinks it is to see the world of Dead­pool cre­ated in the comic books ex­pand­ing on­screen.

“I’ve got to tell you, man, it’s such a blast,” Liefeld says. “This sec­ond film, man, I think they stuck the land­ing.”

As Liefeld ex­plains, the huge suc­cess of the orig­i­nal “Dead­pool,” which set a hand­ful of box-of­fice records af­ter its de­but in Fe­bru­ary 2016, quickly led to con­ver­sa­tions about what to do in a se­quel.

“Maybe it was March of 2016, so the movie had been in the­aters about two months, and Rhett Reese, one of the ridicu­lously tal­ented screen­writ­ers, said, ‘Rob, it’s time to talk about Ca­ble and Dead­pool and X Force,’ ” Liefeld says. “He said, ‘We want to seek your in­put and guid­ance.’

“I said, ‘Read this, read this, skip this, skip this,’ ” he says of comic book is­sues he felt might best serve the needs of the moviemak­ing team.” ‘But don’t take my word for it, read all of it.’

“I felt my loy­alty at that point was more to the char­ac­ters than it was to Rob Liefeld. And the great thing was Rhett came back and said, your es­ti­ma­tion was great.”

While the “Dead­pool” comic books have gone some­times to farout places — say, fight­ing gi­ant di­nosaurs, or re­triev­ing his own zomb­i­fied head from a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion — Liefeld says he be­lieves the first movie worked partly be­cause it was grounded in a world

that felt re­al­is­tic. “Peo­ple say all the time, ‘What does this mean?’ ” he says. “It felt like it hap­pened,

the bars, the free­ways, the ex­per­i­ments that transformed him. Peo­ple even mak­ing fun of his suit.

“It felt like some­thing you could imag­ine happening in a world where there were su­per pow­ers. And Dead­pool’s ir­rev­er­ence was baked into all of that.”

And de­spite the huge suc­cess of “Dead­pool,” which grossed $783 mil­lion at the box of­fice world­wide, Liefeld says he had a lit­tle bit of anx­i­ety about how the se­quel would turn out.

“I’m not go­ing lie and tell you I wasn’t ner­vous,” he says. “You can be on set, as I was for­tu­nate Fox al­lowed me to be, and watch some in­cred­i­ble stuff be filmed. And then you sit down and watch it. I’m telling you, man, Ryan Reynolds, (di­rec­tor) David Leitch, Rhett and (co-writer) Paul Wer­nick, they truly de­liv­ered some­thing that’s go­ing to put smiles on the faces of peo­ple.”

Given how many peo­ple turned out to buy tick­ets to the first one, Liefeld is con­fi­dent they’ll be back for “Dead­pool 2” in a year when, as “Black Pan­ther” and “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” have shown with their own box of­fice records, there’s no end to fans’ thirst for Marvel su­per­hero movies.

“I re­ally be­lieve that watch­ing peo­ple re­spond to the first ‘Dead­pool,’ they ab­so­lutely did not get enough time with Ryan as Dead­pool,” he says. “The movie’s 110 min­utes, it’s not ‘Lord of the Rings.’ It was not, ‘OK, Frodo, find the damn ring!’ It was more, ‘Wait, you mean I don’t get to hang out with Dead­pool any­more?’ ”

To cel­e­brate, Liefeld is throw­ing a few cel­e­bra­tions, in­clud­ing two spe­cial screen­ings at the Kriko­rian Buena Park Metro­plex 18, where he screened the first movie two years ago, on Thurs­day and Fri­day, and an X Force X-Trav­a­ganza at the Frank & Son Col­lectible Show in In­dus­try on Satur­day.

“I fig­ure (fans are) so good to me I can stand in one place for five or six hours that day,” he says of the Frank & Son event, which is free for gen­eral ad­mis­sion but also fea­tures VIP pack­ages that in­clude meet­ing Lewis Tan, who plays Shat­ter­star, and Ste­fan Kapi­cic, who plays Colos­sus.

“The fact that the sec­ond one has come out two years later is noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle, and I just fig­ured it should be a gi­ant party.”

MINDY SCHAUER — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Rob Liefeld is the co-cre­ator of Dead­pool, who returns to the big screen in “Dead­pool 2” this week.

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