Thursday, February 11, 2016

Scoping Out Deadpool

This "Deadpool Pencil-Jar" struck me as super-cool, when I first saw it.

It still does.
That was two years ago. I knew nothing about the character, but I hoped he'd be a mainstream version of Marshal Law, minus the near-pornographic acidity.

With the right writer-artist team, that's pretty much exactly how Deadpool succeeds. Those moments are preciously rare, alas.

Two recent Deadpool histories -- from io9 and the Onion AV Club -- portray a character who (like Harley Quinn) has a level of sass-appeal way beyond the ken of most stabled writers. Early Deadpool runs take him in one of two directions -- revealing some of the character's unexpected humanity, or inflating his "merc with a mouth" anti-hero status to absurd proportions -- crossing the Punisher with Spider-Man, basically. Either direction yields predictable results -- comic book (and movie) tedium.

Deadpool works best when he surprises everyone, including (one senses) even the writers and artists at work. Deadpool Dead Presidents is probably the best comic book example; the Deadpool video game is even better.

Beyond that I cannot and will not comment, except to say, Avoid the early Rob Liefeld material. Should you read (or subject yourself to) these stories, you'll not have the remotest idea of how this character could possibly appeal to anyone older than 12.


3 comments:

Joel Swagman said...

I've never read a Deadpool comic in my life. But I've been vaguely aware of him for about 10 years now. (Or whenever Wikipedia first came into it's own, and I started to become aware of all these pop culture icons I had never heard of.)

The only thing I really know about Deadpool is that he's famous for breaking the fourth wall.

Am I to take it that you've now tracked down and read the Deadpool canon?

Darrell Reimer said...

Not in its entirety, no. At least one fan's got back to me and encouraged me to take a look at his duos with Cable (from '04, I think -- this would probably be it).

I'll tell you one thing, though: I read waaaay too much of Liefeld's initial contribution. Avoid, avoid, avoid...

Darrell Reimer said...

Also got this on my G+ feed this morning: 5 Comics You Have To Read.... Not sure I'm in agreement re: Joe Kelly. He probably saved Deadpool from being yet another humourless Liefeld footnote, but only just barely.