Blood-spattered invitations to a wedding featuring puzzle pieces emblazoned with various members of the Marvel Universe have been making the rounds amongst the comics press over the last week. Will this be Marvel’s answer to Game of Thrones‘ infamous Red Wedding? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, speculation is running rampant over who will be tying the knot. Will it be Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson? Wolverine and a sentient can of beer? Hawkeye’s dog Lucky and a slice of pizza? Shut down the rumor mill because we have the final piece of the puzzle and the mystery groom is none other than…DEADPOOL.
Usually marriages are reserved for season finales and big sweeps week-style ratings pushes, but when it comes to Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, it’s not a gimmick; Wade Wilson is in love, and he’s ready to take the long walk down the aisle to marital bliss and tax benefits galore. While we’re sure the ceremony itself will have an open bar and chimichangas, we wanted to take you behind the scenes to find out all about who said yes to the dress, how they decided on the invitations, the issue’s breathtaking wraparound cover from Scott Koblish, and much more, so we caught up with writer Gerry Duggan to get the inside track on the biggest celebrity wedding of 2014.
Nerdist: Thanks a lot for talking with me today. I think a lot of people are going to be excited about this.
Gerry Duggan: Yeah, the puzzle pieces really seem to have worked. People keep trying to figure out who it is.
N: Oh, really? What’s the craziest guess you’ve seen so far?
GD: I’ve seen a lot of The Watcher. It’s like, who would care about that?
N: Right? He seems like a horrible person to get married to.
GD: Yeah… although maybe he doesn’t talk much?
N: Well, he’s probably a pretty good listener.
N: But, let’s talk about Deadpool’s wedding. Is this a big sweeps week stunt? How long have nuptials been in the cards for Deadpool?
GD: The honest answer is that it was written into a Deadpool story, but more or less as a gag, and Jordan D. White, the editor, was like a dog with a bone. He was like, “No, no, no – this is going to be a big deal.” You know, we wrote it, so it’s not like we weren’t behind it. The fun thing has been – after his misadventures, I guess you’d call them, in North Korea, in the story arc “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” he learned a lot about himself and why he is the way he is. He doesn’t really have too much of a life. Yes, this is a knee-jerk reaction from a wounded guy to go out there and sort of do something crazy to sort of jump start a life, but there is a real emotional reason for doing it, so I think that will be the part that will resonate. Then the actual gags of the wedding will be fun too, but there is a real grounding to it, and that’s what will make it fun to explore.
As for how long she’ll be around, I’m not 100% sure, because when you get close to Deadpool, that’s maybe when I start to think about adding you in my deadpool.
N: Ooh, very nice. I see what you did there. I feel like there’s a bit of a splash zone around Deadpool.
N: Well, that’s cool. It sounds like it’s less about Deadpool trying to reclaim his past and more about trying to forge a future for himself.
GD: Yeah, it really is and it happens at sort of a – without spoiling too much – he doesn’t really have time to stop running after the events in issue 18 and 19, so the Mike Hawthorne arc that’s happening right now is sort of about a guy who needs a vacation and he’s really not gonna get one. He’s trying to get Agent Preston out of his head, he’s got no time to process any of this stuff. At the end of that arc, he’s more or less a little broken and needs to go off and do something else, maybe just lie on a beach for a while. He really won’t get the chance to do that, but there’s an emotional chance to step back and take a breath, and that happens there. That leads into the Deadpool Infinite comic, and that will sort of weave its way back into the pages of the regular All-New Marvel NOW! comic.
N: Gotcha. So, it’ll be be on the same timeline continuity-wise or will they be happening concurrently?
GD: It is one timeline, although there’s some things that happen (in) parallel, but a lot of it is more or less handing off, and then handing back. You can read each without reading the other. The editors are really good about helping us craft a story that will do that. We don’t want to make anyone go do it, but you’ll get a richer picture of our Deadpool run for having read the Infinite comic.
N: That’s nice. Especially as a reader, it was always a pet peeve where you’d be reading one event book, then you’d have to grab nineteen other tie-in comics if you wanted to understand what was going on.
GD: Yeah. The nice thing about Deadpool is that, until recently, I’m not sure a lot of people have wanted to tie into a Deadpool book. That may change though after the current arc with Cap and Wolverine. Certainly those two characters are at least seeing Wade in a new light, and I think readers are too.
N: Yeah, I think many readers expected a lot of comedy from you and Brian [Posehn] going into this book – obviously, given your pedigree – and there have been some very funny moments, but I think arcs like “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” have really caught readers off-guard in a good way.
GD: Yeah, it’s been fun. It’s funny – we always wanted to surprise people. That was the story we’ve always been laying the groundwork for, really since issue one. We’ve been steering it towards a darker tone, and there are people – it’s funny – Deadpool seems to be a balancing act. Some people want Deadpool to be a grim badass that will kill people then make a quip and then that’s the level of comedy, and then there are other people that really expect a comedy book. They’re very vocal. We never intended for this to happen, but there are people who will cheerlead our book one issue, then they’re the ones crapping on it in the next issue. It’s still the same character, it’s still the same book, but in the changed situations, the tone is different.
I like that. You’re spending a lot of money on a comic and especially when you look at it in the long run, what you’re spending on a run, why would you want to go into it and be buying something where you know exactly what’s going to happen? I hope everything I can write for Marvel will at least surprise a little bit, and I think the wedding of Deadpool to the mysterious woman he’s marrying will include some gags about getting married and marriage. Issue #27 of Deadpool is going to be an oversized affair. There are some stories in that – well, it’s not my secret to spoil. I hope I’m not repeating myself, but there is a real set of reasons why Deadpool would do this now, and that’s what I think I’m happiest with. There is a “I’m going to go out and do something crazy” aspect to it, but I think there’s a good, grounded reason for why he fell in love.
N: Right, right – it’s not just coming out of nowhere. Now that you have been on the book for over a year, how has the book evolved?
GD: You know, it’s funny. We played to our real strengths in that first arc, almost like tee ball. With the second arc, we were feeling a bit more confident and started to get a little darker. He killed his friend in that second arc, and with “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” I think it matured. I’m a little worried now, you know, about sort of having total confidence. Do you risk staying on the stage too long? I’d hate to be the guy at the party that should have left an hour before.
N: [laughs] While everyone else is trying to clean up.
GD: Yeah, we’re planning beyond the wedding issue, which is 27, and before long – certainly before 2014 is out – the way that Deadpool ships, we’ll have accumulated in two short years enough for a really thick omnibus, and that feels good.
N: Yeah, I can imagine. That’s pretty awesome.
GD: Yeah, so we’ll see. There’s an event coming up that actually makes sense for Deadpool to be a part of, so that’s been sort of fun too to really plant himself into the mainstream Marvel Universe. But we’ve been really trying to do that from the beginning too. Everything we’ve done has been in continuity, even the inventory issues, but this is sort of an emergency that’s happening at the moment, and Deadpool and his supporting cast will play a part in it.
N: That’s nice because I feel like many readers see Deadpool as this sort of oddball, off-kilter fringe character, so it’s nice to see him tied back into the main continuity in a meaningful way.
GD: Yeah, the fun of being able to write Captain America is that his view of Wade is sort of that of the ordinary comic reader’s. You might not want to stand next to him; you might want to look at him from afar and enjoy what was going on. With Cap – we were pretty on the nose about this – at the beginning, he essentially tells Wade, “We’re not friends”, and then in those last waning pages Cap considers Wade a friend. It’s the thing that happens to guys in combat. Maybe they’re not going to go to a baseball game, but you’d be there when the phone rang again.
We have a story that will come out of that and the Infinite comic, it will be a parallel. You could really pick it up and not know anything about the other book and still enjoy it, and that’s really the point of that. Comics are not really sold at newsstands and checkout lines; they’re sold in specialty stores and online, of course, so digital is an important on-ramp into the Marvel Universe. So we wanted to put our best foot forward on this tablet comic, so that maybe someone will be interested in Deadpool and go back and read our stuff or any of the stuff that preceded us. I didn’t get hooked on comics by walking into a comic shop. My father grabbed them off of the newsrack when he took the train home when he bought his evening paper.
That’s what these Infinite comics are – a chance at new readership. We did sort of take the same approach that we did with Deadpool #1. We’re hoping not to lose any Deadpool fans, but we need to immediately re-establish him and get him into an adventure. I think that was pretty successful. From what I gather, there are a lot of people that are reading our Deadpool book that weren’t before. And we can’t take credit for that – it was the editorial mandate, Marvel editorial did a good job. But, I think we want to do a good job again. We’re not rebooting anything in our run. After Deadpool: The Gauntlet, you’ll come back and you’ll enjoy Deadpool #27. Number 26 is one of our craziest issues ever; it’s one of our inventory issues that bridges the gap.
N: Sort of one of those ones that takes a look at Deadpool‘s past, but is still within continuity?
GD: Yeah – this one is maybe stretching that a little bit. It’s that old classic “if you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler” scenario. But a time traveler goes back to kill Hitler and fails and his time machine falls into Hitler’s hands.
N: Oh, no…
GD: And Hitler is very intent on killing Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. The driving force in this are Deadpool and Cable as time travelers who set out to fix the time stream.
N: Rule number one of time travel is that you’re not supposed to change history, but rule number two is “don’t give Hitler your time machine.”
GD: [laughs] That should almost be rule number one.
N: [laughs] It’s a subset of rule number one.
GD: It’s rule 1-A.
N: Shifting gears slightly, let’s talk about this incredible cover for the Deadpool wedding. How did this come about? Was that always the plan to get practically everyone in the Marvel Universe on this cover?
GD: You know, our regular inventory artist Scott Koblish, he had an idea for the cover that was a little bit of a riff on the Mary Jane and Peter cover from ’86. The wedding happened at Shea Stadium, it really did happen before a game. They had actors down there and Stan Lee, I think. He had this idea – he can do any sort of style – and just landed on this classic Marvel style and just went to town. Once he got the okay for a double-page, front-and-back cover, he just lost his mind and started drawing. He sent thumbnails to us and we just fell out of our chair. Like, are all these circles really gonna be faces? The pre-sketch was just sort of intimidating, and we said, “All right, have fun.” He did – I think there’s 245 characters on there. You really only see 244, but I believe for some reason the Living Planet is there. I think that’s the ground they’re standing on. You won’t necessarily see that many at the wedding, but the illustration is meant to be a celebration of the day.
We showed Jordie Bellaire, our regular colorist, the cover and she was like, “Oh, my God, that’s amazing!” She’s on there — the whole Deadpool crew is sort of hidden away on there. The e-mail that she sent out about twelve seconds later was, “I don’t have to color this, do I?”
N: That’s amazing.
GD: That really made me laugh. It was colored by Val Staples, who is Scott’s regular colorist and helps him mimic the different eras that we go back to. They did a really terrific job. I’m proud of the book and what we did there. You can believe what you want about whether it’s a gimmick. It’s really not, but there is a lot of surprises in the back of Deadpool #27, a lot of original surprises that I don’t want to spoil, but I think for any Deadpool fan, this will be a must buy.
N: Awesome. Well, I can’t wait to read it. I just have one last question — who is the bigger Bridezilla when it comes to planning the wedding, you or Brian?
GD: Brian is a real stickler. He got married at Shutters, so he’s the real sort of Bridezilla of the relationship.
N: “These invitations are all wrong!”
GD: You know who the real answer is though, is Jordan, the editor. He’s actually given Brian a run for his money in terms of who is the bigger stickler for this.
N: Well, I feel like that’s what you want from an editor at the same time though.
GD: Yeah, that’s true. Jordan is always on point with that stuff.
N: Yeah, you don’t want a continuity error when it comes to the cake.
N: Awesome, well thank you very much for talking with me, Gerry. We can’t wait for Deadpool’s happy day.
GD: Thanks so much.
Deadpool #27 will be at your local comic book shop with bells on this April.
Who do you think Deadpool is going to marry? Let us know in the comments below!