Deadpool has become a comic book star in his own right. First appearing in New Mutants #98 in 1991, Deadpool’s satirical antics led to a multitude of appearances in Marvel’s most popular titles. He was ranked #13 in IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes” list, has starred in his own video game, and rumors of his own spin-off movie have persisted for years.
Here are 10 delightful stories about the “Merc with a Mouth.”
10He Started As A DC Comics Rip-Off
The controversial Rob Liefeld originally conceptualized Deadpool, though we use the term “originally conceptualized” liberally. Liefeld was known for basing several of his creations off of existing characters. The most infamous of these was a rip-off of Marvel’s Captain America called Agent America. It was so blatant that the ensuing dispute had to be settled in court.
Deadpool was Liefeld’s answer to DC Comics’ Deathstroke the Terminator. The story goes that Liefeld showed a sketch of his new character to writer Fabian Nicieza who was surprised that it looked eerily similar to Deathstroke. Deadpool’s real name, Wade Wilson, was even a play on Slade Wilson, Deathstroke’s real name.
Marvel and DC Comics have done a few crossovers in the past, and one of them (unofficially) featured Deadpool. In 2006’s Superman/Batman Annual #1, Deadpool constantly pestered Deathstroke and other DC characters. His name was never mentioned due to rights issues, and the character would often be interrupted before he could tell everyone who he was.
9Regularly Breaking The Fourth Wall
Since Deadpool is a wisecracking, sarcastic, juvenile assassin whose jokes were only matched by his sadistic nature, his appearances live and die by their humor. He did not start out rapidly spewing one-liners though, as his original appearances focused more on his violent and twisted mentality.
Deadpool’s iconic “breaking the fourth wall” gimmick became more prominent when Joe Kelly took the helm in 1997. It was Deadpool’s first solo outing in his own series, and Marvel was naturally pessimistic about the idea. Kelly stated that Marvel would threaten to cancel the entire series every third issue or so.
Since there appeared to be no point in planning long convoluted story arcs, Kelly just turned the series into a big satirical romp through the Marvel universe. Deadpool irreverently castigated past Marvel issues such as Amazing Spider-Man #47, where the time-traveling mercenary poked fun at the cheesy dialog and actions of characters penned in 1966.
Deadpool also regularly reminds readers that he is fully aware of his comic book character nature. One way he does so is by frequently referencing real-world news and pop culture events. He even parodies covers of comics that have nothing to do with him such as G.I. Joe #42.
8He Killed The Entire Marvel Universe
Deadpool is one of Marvel’s most lethal combatants. His arsenal of weapons includes swords, grenades, handguns, rocket launchers, and even a sheep cannon. Whenever he actually loses a fight, it’s most often due to distractions (which our hero has plenty of, most notably talking about himself).
In the four-part series “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe,” our hero finally becomes completely unhinged after an experiment gone awry. He begins indiscriminately assassinating the most famous Marvel heroes, villains, and teams. He blew up the Avengers using Pym Particles. He killed off the Fantastic Four using just his sword and martial arts skills. Spider-Man fell victim to a clean head shot. He lured the Punisher into a trap and made the fearless antihero break into a cold sweat before offing him as well. As for The Hulk, a decapitated Deadpool self-healed, snuck up on a sleeping Bruce Banner, and ripped him apart the second he woke up.
Deadpool even ended up in control of another villain’s powers which he used to force dozens of characters into committing suicide. Perhaps the most vivid of all was his termination of the X-Men. In one scene, Deadpool confronts Wolverine while wearing Beast’s skin as a fur coat.
Deadpool’s descent into madness did not stop him from constantly referring to the audience. However, his interactions became decidedly more vicious. At one point, he looked right toward the reader and exclaimed, “I will find you soon enough.”
7He Once Killed All Your Favorite Fictional Characters, Too
After laying waste to the Marvel Universe in various parallel dimensions, Deadpool nonchalantly decided to slay personages from classic literature. According to Deadpool’s twisted logic, the only way to stop the constant re-creation of Marvel’s heroes and villains was to stop the sources of inspiration from inspiring them in the first place.
To this end, “Deadpool Killustrated” featured over-the-top gorefests like ripping out Don Quixote’s eyeball, blowing up the home of the Little Women, and slicing up the Three Musketeers. For every character he killed, he would catch a glimpse of the Marvel personalities that somewhat embodied them. For instance, Captain Nemo resembled Magneto, and Ariel the Little Mermaid was apparently based off of Namor the Submariner (which Deadpool found hilarious).
The series culminated in a battle between Deadpool—aided by a homicidal Frankenstein’s Monster—and the team of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Beowulf, Natty Bumppo, and Mulan. Deadpool escaped Holmes’s grasp by menacingly describing a world he had envisioned where children would only see horror and violence in everything that is written. The plot of the Jungle Book, for instance, would simply be Baloo spotting Mowgli, deciding the child was delicious, and eating him.
6He Fought Every Dead President And Re-Killed Them All
Ever wondered which president could have ruled the comic book world? Was Theodore Roosevelt a good shot? How about Andrew Jackson and his fiery temper? A recent Deadpool story arc laid that matter to rest by having the titular character face off against every single deceased American president. There was also a cameo from Jimmy Carter stuck in a choke hold by zombie Lyndon Johnson.
Written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, Deadpool #1 was released in 2012 as part of Marvel NOW!’s relaunch of its current titles. Taking advantage of election season, a necromancer resurrects past presidents to fix American society. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, and the resurrected presidents start running amok and destroying the country.
Deadpool was aided by Dr. Strange and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin in a race to stop the undead presidents led by George Washington. The Father of America’s crusade called for getting rid of America’s biggest problem: Americans.
Notable moments include Captain America decapitating Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt wrecking New York from his magical wheelchair (referred to by Deadpool as “Stephen Hawking gone crazy”), Teddy Roosevelt hunting animals in a zoo, a morbidly obese William Taft stuck in a bathtub, a sneaky Abraham Lincoln pulling a John Wilkes Booth by shooting Deadpool in the back of the head, and Benjamin Franklin crudely asking a black agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. if she had “a bit of [her] forefathers in her.”
Our hero had to resort to dressing up as Marilyn Monroe to distract John Kennedy, while pure swordplay was enough to dispatch Zachary Taylor, James K. Polk and Millard Filmore (a group referred to by Deadpool as “the obscure presidents”). Ronald Reagan, who hijacked a satellite to initialize his “Star Wars” program, ended up sucked through the vacuum of space. Finally, Deadpool faced Lincoln in a mixed martial arts fight which quickly turned into a hardcore pro wrestling match, complete with chair shots.
5The Many Faces Of Deadpool
Plot devices such as alternate universes, time travel, and retroactive continuity (retconning) have given writers the opportunity to create new versions of beloved characters. In most cases, the new versions of these characters were grounded in logic and past events. For Wade Wilson however, writers had more freedom to experiment. They could even get downright whimsical and bizarre if they so chose.
The Deadpool who went on a rampage and killed comic and homegrown classic characters? That was a clone named “Dreadpool.” There were also a multitude of copies from different dimensions such as Lady Deadpool, whose real name was Wanda Wilson. Others, such as Dogpool (a dog wearing Deadpool’s costume), Headpool (a zombified head from the Marvel Zombies arc), and Pandapool (the panda that endangers you) tilted the bizarro-meter even further. Oh, there was also Wolverinepool or Poolverine, whose battle cries were all about Canadian beer.
Virtually every alternate reality of the Marvel Universe has an entirely different version of Deadpool. Sadly, a team composed entirely of Deadpools was not as well received as its creators hoped it would be.
4His Love Triangle With Death And Thanos
Deadpool doesn’t have great luck with women. This is mostly due to his rude and uncouth manner that borders on harassment. Yet one of the ladies nearest and dearest to his heart was none other than Death. More accurately, she was the personification of death.
Death was known to have granted Deadpool dreamlike fantasies including a literal “Dance with Death.” Death’s fascination with Deadpool led to increased jealousy from none other than Thanos, one of the most fearsome beings in the Marvel Universe and wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Thanos launched his own bid to impress Death which involved him attempting to destroy everything in existence. Thanos’s own advances were spurned, and Death became more and more enamored with Deadpool. Thanos could think of only one way to gain vengeance—using his power to make Deadpool virtually immortal. If Thanos cannot have Death then neither can Wade Wilson.
3His Love-Hate Relationships With Just About Everybody
Deadpool’s thirst for combat and confrontation is rarely satiated. He once sent Kitty Pryde flying with an uppercut just to goad Wolverine into a fight. He was often rejected by the X-Men, once while he wore Marvel Girl’s skimpy costume much to the chagrin of an exasperated Beast. Needless to say, his antics haven’t endeared him to Marvel’s best-known teams, even though the lovable swordsman was merely looking to make new friends.
Wade also has a love-hate relationship with Althea, an elderly woman commonly known as Blind Al. Her age is undetermined, though it has been hinted that she had once dated Steve Rogers (Captain America) during World War II. Deadpool was supposed to kill the old lady but ended up kidnapping her instead. Deadpool alternately sees her as a motherly figure and somebody worthy of placement in “The Box,” a booby-trapped room filled with sharp objects.
He’s also become fast friends with Weasel, a former classmate of Peter Parker and certified child genius whose life went down the drain after meeting Deadpool. The Merc will sometimes celebrate with Weasel by giving him a wedgie as a sign of friendship.
Perhaps Deadpool’s greatest ally is none other than Cable. The son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (Jean Grey’s clone) proved to be a gruff foil for the zany Deadpool. Their series ran from 2004 to 2008 with all 50 issues becoming cult classics due to its action, intricate plots, and comedic instances. Marvel ranked Cable and Deadpool as one of the best buddy teams in its history.
2We Still Don’t Know Much Of Anything About Him
What most readers know about Deadpool is that he was diagnosed with cancer and subjected to the same Weapon-X program Wolverine was subjected to. The program heightened his senses, skills, and regenerative abilities. Unfortunately, his cancerous cells developed this healing factor, too. This gave him a hideous appearance which explains why he wears a mask. This also led him to become deranged and unstable.
On a lighter note, Deadpool is also known to be addicted to chimichangas, and he has a peculiar obsession with Bea Arthur of the Golden Girls.
Everything else about his past remains shrouded in mystery. One story even cast doubt on Deadpool’s established past. He was confronted by a man known as T-Ray who claimed to be the real Wade Wilson. T-Ray was happily married to a woman named Mercedes until the day they came upon a young man named Jack. Unknown to the couple, Jack was a mercenary on the run after a botched assignment. He hoped to kill Wade and assume his identity. An altercation ensued where Jack accidentally killed Mercedes. He then fled the scene and eventually became Deadpool.
Meanwhile, a grieving and livid T-Ray would plot his revenge against Jack. T-Ray would attain immense power—even resurrecting Mercedes—simply to toy with Deadpool’s memories. Naturally, Deadpool simply saw the whole thing as an elaborate joke rather than a tragedy.
1Ryan Reynolds Hated What The Filmmakers Did To Deadpool In X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Despite its slight commercial success, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was panned by critics and comic book fans alike. Apart from the terribly predictable story and nonsensical plot twists, the appearance of Deadpool was also mired in controversy.
Ryan Reynolds, who played Deadpool in the movie, is a legitimate fan of the character. Reynolds’s quips during the first half of the movie delighted audiences and fully showcased the humor behind Wade Wilson. Sadly, toward the end, we saw Deadpool unmasked. This version came complete with adamantium blades reminiscent of Baraka from Mortal Kombat and eye lasers much like Cyclops of the X-Men.
While these modifications certainly detracted from the comic book character’s skill set, even worse was how filmmakers glued his mouth shut. He was fighting Wolverine and Sabretooth without any retorts, wily comments, or jokes. The “Merc with a Mouth” being verbally neutered was bewildering to long-time fans, including Reynolds. While promoting the film, he had to put on a brave face since it was still in theaters, but his sardonic remarks told the whole story: “That, I would say, is Deadpool . . . yeah . . . ” He went on to call the film’s take on the character “interesting,” which in that case was a clear euphemism for “terrible.”
When asked later on if he would continue to pursue a Deadpool spin-off, Reynolds admitted that “Deadpool was not happy with [himself] in Wolverine,” and that the whole thing was a “WTF moment.” Reynolds added that the character was “one rewrite away from jumping across the desk and attacking the studio executive.”
When Jo isn’t busy writing lists about Deadpool, he’s impatiently waiting for the Deadpool movie. Feel free to impatiently wait with him.