So. It’s finally happened. Fox has announced they’re going to make a Deadpool movie. Its release date is supposedly February 12, 2016.
No other details have been confirmed, although there are rumors about the script writer and the lead actor (it’d better freaking be Ryan Reynolds, who, if you didn’t know, portrayed him in that cinematic masterpiece, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”). Also, it has to be rated R. Please?
Naturally, I’m stoked. I love Deadpool, and I know he has only grown exponentially in popularity in the years since I discovered him in an Ultimate X-Men comic.
However, when I mentioned to our Editor in Chief that I wanted to write an article about him, I came to a realization: a substantial portion of the population has no idea who or what “Deadpool” is.
So this article is a two-parter: I’ll give a backstory of Deadpool, then I’ll talk about the “Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus,” which came out last year.
So. Deadpool. First of all, he’s a person named Wade Wilson. He was afflicted by a horrible cancer and, faced with death, was given a chance at new life through the infamous Weapon X program, which left Deadpool with amazing regenerative abilities (he can regrow severed body parts) and an immensely accelerated healing factor.
This experience also left him with pyschological wounds. Don’t ask him about it.
Deadpool is a mercenary and assassin first and foremost. This makes him not quite a bad guy, but not quite a good guy either. He’s fascinatingly ambiguous.
Another quality that draws people to Deadpool is his characteristic humor. He peppers his overabundance of dialogue with pop-culture references, hilarious quips and clever insults, and he shamelessly hits on every woman he meets.
He also loves chimichangas and pranking people, and he’s known for his ability to break the fourth wall (in the sense that Deadpool knows he’s in a comic and often makes references to this fact, either by addressing the reader directly or any other generally meta act).
Now, I’ve found that most people love the character without having read a Deadpool comic, whether they know him from video games, Tumblr or something else. If that’s you, you don’t know what you’re missing! So here’s where the aforementioned “Omnibus” comes in.
If you try to find what most people agree to be “the definitive Deadpool,” you’ll be overwhelmingly led to Joe Kelly, the first writer on a “Deadpool” ongoing title.
His run began in 1997 and lasted until issue 33.
The best way to read his stuff is to buy the “Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus,” which contains his entire run.
Warning: this book does clock in at a staggering 1,160 pages, so don’t expect to finish it in a day. But little by little, issue by issue, this book is worth the $70 you can get it for on Amazon.
Within these pages, you’ll meet the real Deadpool, the original “Merc with a Mouth.”
But what’s truly great about this collection is that if you loved Deadpool before, you’ll learn to understand him even better and hopefully have more complicated feelings towards him (respect, even?).
Y’see, not to spoil anything, but an ongoing storyline in this omnibus is that Deadpool is destined to (possibly) save the world.
In this storyline, woman from the future is determined to get him in shape in order to be a hero instead of the immature, jokey murderer he’s always been. But Deadpool isn’t sure he wants to BE a hero.
In an age where the antihero is the hippest character on TV dramas, Deadpool manages to be a totally unique character. I love Deadpool because he’s funny, but more so because I think he is a fascinating guy, and Joe Kelly absolutely nails him. If you’re interested in a very intelligent, philosophical comic, this isn’t quite it, but you aren’t far off! Joe Kelly has crafted a story which manages to be both morose and hysterical. It’s a combination that I love in art; when something can make me laugh and also question existence.
Overall, Deadpool manages to be so much more than just a silly assassin designed to entertain.
(And if you’re still skeptical of how funny a superhero comic can be, read Deadpool #11, where ‘Pool and Blind Al get transported into a Spider-Man comic from the late 1960s. It’s comic gold—pun intended. I think Deadpool would be proud.)