Deadpool was the little superhero movie that could, with 11 years and lots of drama in the making. That (relatively) low budget film smashed all expectations and made over $780 million at the box office, so a sequel was inevitable! That sequel is almost here, and to prepare we’ve picked out seven of the funniest, freakiest, and most notable Deadpool comics for you to catch up on before Deadpool 2 hits our screens in a couple of weeks.

New Mutants #98 (1991) – Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza, Steve Buccellato, and Joe Rosen

The 7 Most Essential DEADPOOL Comics_1

Have to start with the classics, and it doesn’t get more classic than Deadpool’s first appearance in New Mutants #98. This issue is a riot as it’s Rob Liefeld at his most Rob Liefeld-est: abstract, colorful, and utterly strange. There are also, of course, lots of superheroes with no feet. It introduces us to Deadpool, though in Rob’s original version he’s essentially just Deathstroke, a serious killer with a mask. Heck, his name is even a play on DC’s famous assassin’s legal name: Slade Wilson… Wade Wilson? Get it. Get it?!?

Deadpool Vol.1 (1997) – Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Norman Lee, Nathan Massengill , Chris Lichtner, Comicraft, and more

If you love the irreverent, fourth-wall breaking, surreally strange and humorous Deadpool that’s now a cultural touchstone, then McGuinness and Kelly’s ’97 Deadpool book is for you. This is where Wade Wilson became the darkly funny anti-hero that so many comic fans know and love. This series also introduced Deadpool’s sidekicks and movie co-stars, Blind Al and Weasel, while the creative team endlessly pushed the boundaries of what was expected from an ongoing superhero series.

Cable & Deadpool (2004) – Fabian Nicieza, Reilly Brown, and many more

Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza returned to his co-creation with this 50 issue series that saw Deadpool team-up with his ex-nemesis Cable for many a wild adventure. The “odd couple of the Marvel Universe” started off strange and never came down after Cable absorbs and throws up Wade in the first arc to save them both from a dangerous virus. For fans of Nathan Summers, this comic gives him a lot of space to try and understand his mutant powers whilst also dealing with the ever-annoying Merc with a Mouth.

Wolverine: Origins #21-25 (2008) – Daniel Way, Steve Dillon, Matt Milla, and Cory Petit

Daniel Way’s debut writing Deadpool in an arc of his Wolverine: Origins run with Punisher artist Steve Dillon introduced Wade’s now-iconic three competing internal monologues. It also included this super-popular Simone Bianchi cover with Wolverine and Deadpool facing off. After years of floundering and waning interest from the fans, this five-issue run is seen as an important moment as it revived interest in the character and led to Way’s beloved Deadpool run, as well as the characterization in 2013’s smash hit Deadpool video game.

Deadpool Vol. 2 (2008) – Daniel Way, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Marte Gracia, Cory Petit, and more

This later-stage Deadpool entry is seen by many as the seminal run, as Way and Medina leaned into the weird and pitted Deadpool against the X-Men in his quest to join them. He also runs into Spider-Man, gets into a battle with a vegas casino and their superpowered enforcer… and is also a pirate. So, you know, the usual comic book stuff. If you’re looking for a slick, funny, and frantic Deadpool book with a lot of cameos, then this is the run for you.

Deadpool Max (2010) – David Lapham, Kyle Baker, and Clayton Cowles

One of Deadpool’s fan-favorite sidekicks became a co-star in this mature imprint comic from Marvel that saw Bob, Agent of Hydra charged with keeping an eye on the Merc with a Mouth as he causes havoc, gets married, makes a family, and tries to stop a marital murder spree. It’s a lot. Kyle Baker’s art is always a joy, so it’s fun to see him get free reign on one of Marvel’s most eclectic characters.

Deadpool Corps (2010) – Victor Gischler, Rob Liefeld, Adelso Corona, Matt Yackey, and Clayton Cowles

Ever wanted to read a Bat-family book but starring a family of Deadpools? Well you’re in luck! Rob Liefeld returned to his footless friend in this outrageous outing. The book that launched 1000 cosplays, this series gave fan-fave Lady Deadpool her first real outing, alongside Headpool (it’s an alternate universe version of Deadpool’s decapitated head), Dogpool (it’s a dog), and Kid Pool (you get it). This is probably the most cosmic and ridiculous of the Deadpool comics, and it’s full of violent family fun.

Do you have a favorite Deadpool comic we missed? Of course you do–there are 1000 Deadpool comics! Let us know which one we didn’t give proper respect to below!

Images: Marvel Comics, Fox