By Alex Zalben
Looks like the chimichanga is out of the bag.
Starting in November, DEADPOOL will be written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, with art by Tony Moore. Though Marvel fans will know Moore from his turns on PUNISHER and VENOM, the writing duo made their names in the world of comedy, Posehn from his appearances on “Mr. Show” and “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Duggan as a writer for G4’s “Attack of the Show.”
They’re no strangers to the world of comics, though, as they previously worked on the darkly humorous Santa Claus story The Last Christmas, which had art by none other than Moore’s frequent collaborator and upcoming UNCANNY AVENGERS writer Rick Remender.
Small world, huh?
Back to the Merc with a Mouth, the team will launch the new Marvel NOW! series with one of the more outrageous premises we’ve heard: Deadpool versus the Undead Presidents Of The United States of America! And that’s just the beginning, as they’re hanging out with Wade for the long haul.
We chatted with Duggan, Posehn and Moore, as well as editor Jordan D. White, about all this, plus whether anyone will be using wooden teeth as a weapon.
|Deadpool (2012) #1 cover by Geof Darrow|
Marvel.com: First of all, I saw the teaser, and I wanted to congratulate you guys on opening a Mexican restaurant. How’s it feel to finally get that out into the open?
Brian Posehn: Great. I love me some Mexican food. As you can probably tell if you’ve seen me, I like most food. And Los Angeles really needs one more Mexican restaurant. I’m also writing DEADPOOL with my buddy Gerry Duggan.
Marvel.com: Okay, okay. How’d you end up writing DEADPOOL then?
Gerry Duggan: Brian and I had drinks with [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel [Alonso] last San Diego Comic-Con, or the San Diego before that. We always talked about how fun it would be to work on something at Marvel and that’s how the whole idea essentially started! We kicked some ideas back and forth, didn’t hear from him for a while, until we got a call asking if we’d like to write DEADPOOL. And we were ecstatic. Brian and I grew up reading Marvel comics and getting a chance to play in the sandbox is a dream come true.
Brian Posehn: At one point we were gonna do a limited series, then Marvel mostly stopped doing those. We kept talking to them and it finally worked out. We pitched a couple of stories; they laughed, and said okay.
Marvel.com: Tony, how about you, how did you end up on the project?
Tony Moore: I was doing covers and stuff on VENOM and I got a call from Jordan asking if I was interested. When they first told me it was DEADPOOL I said, “Ahh, maybe,” and then I found out it was Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan working on it and I was sold. I’ve known Gerry and Brian for several years. We met at San Diego when they were working on The Last Christmas with Rick Remender and Hilary Barta and I ended up doing a cover for them. As soon as they said they were involved I was there; I mean they could be writing a VCR instruction manual and I’d be there to draw it.
|Venom by Tony Moore|
Gerry Duggan: I liked the story that we had pictures of you doing something horrible and blackmailed you into working with us better.
Marvel.com: Tony, why the hesitation at first?
Tony Moore: I don’t know; he has aspects I enjoy, like the humor and the fact that he runs around with guns. Super hero stuff in general isn’t the stuff that grabs me most of the time but when they told me what the book was about, it was a situation like when they initially approached me about VENOM. Once they informed me what it’s about, that’s when I got on board.
Gerry Duggan: For us it was critical that we had someone that can make those comedy beats shine. It’s an action comedy. I don’t want anyone thinking they’re picking up just a humor book because we’re writing jokes, and Brian’s a very visible comedian. The book will hopefully make you laugh, but it’s a Marvel book first. We needed someone that had that command and skill that Tony has. He can do comedy beats, and comedy is hard to draw. We were over the moon when he said yes. We knew we’d be alright.
Marvel.com: So given that you’ve done comics work before, what’s it like taking the leap to Marvel?
Brian Posehn: Well, for one getting to mess around with a popular character is super cool! We’ve done a little bit of that in the past—I did a Goon story and Gerry and I did a Simpsons story—but with DEADPOOL we were allowed to start over and pretty much do what we want. There are rules though, and even that has been fun. I mean Gerry and I grew up loving Marvel and to get to write in that world has been a dream for quite a while. The fact that we get to bring some of Marvel’s other more famous characters in has made it even better.
|Deadpool by Joe Kelly|
Marvel.com: What about the legacy of the character? There’s been some classic takes from Daniel Way of course, but also Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly, Gail Simone and more. Did you look back on any of those?
Brian Posehn: Well, I can’t read so I’ve never seen any of their stuff. Gail Simone is a really nice lady though. No, actually, I’ve read a lot of it over the years and I did a little bit of a refresher when we got the gig.
Marvel.com: Let’s talk about the villains, the Presidents of the United States of America. Obvious question, but will you be referencing “Lump” or “Peaches” more during your run?
Brian Posehn: Oh crap, that took me a second! Wouldn’t it be great if Wade was fighting obscure bands from the 90’s that no one cares about? “Deadpool kills Better Than Ezra.”
Marvel.com: Seriously, let’s talk about the concept because it’s kind of crazy. Could you give us the rundown of how it’s going to work?
Gerry Duggan: It starts with a man who has decided that America has a lot of problems that can only be fixed by bringing back our former leaders, our great American Presidents. But that’s not how it works out. Once they’re back, they have a completely different idea of what they need to do and what the country needs. It’s a distasteful job having to send our presidents back, but Deadpool is up for the job and is suited for it. They’re not equal in terms of their planning, but in their own way they have returned corrupted. We think it’s going to be a very fun first story that leads to other funny stories.
Brian Posehn: Deadpool is definitely the right guy, because it’s big news if the Avengers kill a President, not as big news when someone who everybody hates kills a President.
Jordan D. White: When they first pitched me the story of the various Presidents coming back, I was obviously struck by how awesome that idea is, but I was also worried about how much trouble we were going to get into! Thankfully, we got the story through and everybody is behind it, because it’s so much fun. My favorite President is actually in the first issue!
Gerry Duggan: There’s something that will be fun for everyone regardless of your political leaning, seeing our Presidents come back and seeing our problems. Especially since this is an election year, this could be a fun way for someone to turn off politics and just have some fun with the subject. This is a big problem for the Marvel Universe—they’re trying to destroy it!
Marvel.com This is a general comedy question: What is it about Presidents or dead Presidents that makes them so funny? What gets to the heart of what makes them so hilarious?
Gerry Duggan: [These Presidents] come back with a lot of their attributes, and I don’t want to reveal too much, but there is the physical comedy. And unfortunately we have FDR in the first issue; he’s not completely back as he was in life. He’s physically diminished, and it’s fun to play with. They’re such large looming figures in our history and they define the eras in which they served; to have them all return and hell bent on destruction is enjoyable. I don’t think anyone has ever played with our history like that.
Tony Moore: Especially on such a grand scale where it’s all dragged out at once. It’s a cadre of icons being turned into these twisted villains and seeing them all together is kind of the fun of it.
Gerry Duggan: There’s the imagery obviously, and there’s the situation. Life has changed in America since they’ve been gone and hopefully their reactions to that will create some fun opportunities. There’s stuff that makes us laugh, and it makes Marvel laugh, and Jordan laugh. We’ve definitely pushed the boundary. We’ve heard Jordan say no, but he’s always laughed when he said no, so we know we’re in the right ballpark. The no’s have been firm, but we settle on a yes that’s in the shade of the no. It’s very close to the no. We’ve been very very happy with what we’ve been able to get through.
Tony Moore: Every time I read a script it’s full of jokes and scenarios that I have to ask myself “How on Earth did this get through? On what planet is this a scenario that Marvel Comics said ‘Yes, print that in one of our comic books!’?” It’s funnier than it has a right to be; it has some brutal humor and some really big great action stuff mixed in. I don’t know how to describe it because it’s so far beyond the stuff that’s been put into these books.
Gerry Duggan: Tony has been pitch perfect for it. They come back, and we have very powerful undead beings, hopefully some jokes, but then some really big action. These pages are just magic, and I really can’t wait for everyone to see what Tony has been doing. It’s so perfect for what Brian and I have been writing that it hurts. I’ve been walking around smiling and I’m not used to smiling very often. I’ve been looking at my computer and keeping these tabs open with the pages. It’s been a real dream.
Marvel.com: How does Deadpool get involved? How does the guy who’s barely a hero end up going up against the Dead Presidents of the United States?
|Deadpool by Daniel Way|
Gerry Duggan: He’s the scumbag we need. You don’t want to see the Avengers take on these cherished pillars of American history. It becomes a little more palatable when it’s Deadpool. He’s there strictly because S.H.I.E.L.D. is giving him a pillowcase with a dollar sign on it filled with money. He’s there to make money and he knows what has to be done, but he’s going to make a couple of bucks. During that, he makes some friends. That’s something we’re having fun playing with; he may start having attachments to things that aren’t machine guns! After the teaser was announced I got a couple of warning shots [on Twitter ] at me telling me I better keep Deadpool crazy; I told them that if I had showed them some of the things Tony was drawing, they might delete that tweet.
Marvel.com: Jordan, you know from experience editing Daniel Way’s run that Deadpool fans are very devoted to the character. Does this connect with previous runs of Deadpool, or is this an entirely new take?
Jordan D. White: We’re not going to wipe out anything. All the things you can read about all have happened. Daniel Way has written a Deadpool that we enjoyed, but he’s wrapping that up. For the most part, everything he sets in play he’s going to deal with. We have a great take on Deadpool that I think fans will enjoy! Fans from Dan’s run and fans of the older runs will find things in this book that they’ll enjoy and hopefully it’ll bring in new readers!
Gerry Duggan: We love that stuff, going back to Joe Kelly [and] Gail Simone’s runs and obviously Daniel Way. All of that is canon and we won’t be rebooting it. We give him a nice star entrance in the first issue, and hopefully what comes across is our love of the character and that material. We’re very happy and the one thing we tried to keep in mind was that it’s a new #1 and hopefully it’s the chance for a person to pick up their first Deadpool comic. I saw that this morning on Twitter with people saying they’ll pick the book up, even people who’ve never picked up comics saying that they like my nonsense on Twitter, and will try the book. In all seriousness that’s what we want, we want to appeal to new readers. We want to make it very accessible for a #1 and it’s something we’re proud that we’ve done.
Jordan D. White: We’re not looking to dwell on his past. We’re not trying to reveal the secret origin; we’re all about putting him in fun situations going forward.
Marvel.com: Obviously we’re going to see some new supporting characters, but will we be seeing some faces from his past?
Gerry Duggan: It’s going to be a long long run. In the first arc it’ll be new stuff and then we’re already writing the next arc too, so we’re committed to new stuff. But if we had a fun idea for that stuff we’d love to revisit it. As long as we have a fun idea that has some big action and an opportunity for some big laughs, we’re up for anything. I also like the idea that this is our first chance jumping into the Marvel Universe, and I’d love to leave some things behind for other people to play with later. That’s the focus at the top, but so much of that stuff was fun that we’d love to get back to it.
Marvel.com: So you’re saying you guys on for the long haul at this point?
Gerry Duggan: Oh yeah, absolutely. Unless Jordan has something he wants to get off his chest.
Jordan D. White: No, absolutely [not]. They’ve been pitching me all sorts of stories. We’re looking to keep them coming.
Gerry Duggan: Some of them are even yeses! Some of them are things that can happen.
Tony Moore: I’m going to try and stay on to do as much as I can, because I’m having a blast.
Marvel.com: Tony, do you have a favorite President to draw right now?
Tony Moore: I’m having fun with Washington a lot! Every time there’s a close up, I get to do those big wooden teeth. That’s been pretty awesome.
Gerry Duggan: Maybe something fun happens to those big wooden teeth. Who knows?
Tony Moore: The whole kind of thing is a lot more [in my] wheelhouse than I imagined. Everything about DEADPOOL is right up my alley. I’m trying to impart some of the fun action stuff from “Evil Dead,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Frighteners” and “Ghostbusters” to all these twisted revived Presidents. I’m trying to make them horrific but not just zombies. It’s been a lot of fun.
Jordan D. White: I don’t want to give away too much but there’s a spread towards the end of the first issue, that when it came in a bunch of Marvel editors came in to try and spot all the dead Presidents.
Marvel.com: Tony, I hear you also redesigned Deadpool’s costume a bit for the re-launch?
Tony Moore: I tried to wrap my head around the character [and] his design and tried to have it make sense to me. Since it’s a #1 I wanted to give him a fresh take. I tried to streamline things a little bit but not take away the things I loved about Deadpool anyway. While I added more black to his costume and made his tactical gear more in tune with the stuff I’m familiar with, I didn’t abandon those Liefeld-ian pouches. I actually brought some back. He has the leg pouches!
Jordan D. White: But you made it more sensible; the pouches are only on the outside this time instead of the inside as well!
Gerry Duggan: I feel like he looks less crazy, but is acting [crazier]. You’ll see, but I think Tony’s being modest. To me, looking at the tweaked outfit it’s the gold standard for the new costume.
Tony Moore: I think one of the reasons I wanted to change it is because he’s heavily armed, but I wanted to keep it close to him. I wanted to make it a scenario where he can plausibly be a Looney Toons character, pulling a weapon out of nowhere, because he’s got plenty of places to put them; but I don’t have to show them all the time. He has plenty of storage capabilities. It’ll allow him to reach behind him to pull out an Uzi he hasn’t been carrying for a few panels.
Jordan D. White: Just looking at the sketch, I can see three guns, two swords and a knife. And those are just the ones that are apparent!
Tony Moore: Lots of places for clips, lots of places for magazines. God knows what else he has in there. Chopsticks or anything he needs. That whole thing could be filled with boy scout knives.
Marvel.com: Anything else you want to tease or leave fans with?
Gerry Duggan: If you like Marvel comics where there’s a man struggling to do something heroic with his life that he doesn’t always get a chance to do, and there’s Tony Moore rendering wonderful undead figures running through a chaotic Marvel Manhattan, it’s a big action book that hopefully has a heart to it and some jokes. I know it’s not the funny answer, but I feel like it’s the answer that’s true. Brian and I tried to write a book for Tony that we would all like to pick up on Wednesday and then continue to pick up and make it accessible. That’s what we’ve done and Tony’s the hero. When you see the pages you’ll understand.
|Marvel NOW! teaser by Joe Quesada|
Tony Moore: It definitely has heart—and not just the several that I’ve drawn.
Brian Posehn: Oh man, don’t want to spoil it, but crazy crap happens and it’s drawn by Tony Moore. People are gonna [expletive], it’s amazing. All your favorite Presidents fighting Deadpool, what’s not to like?
Jordan D. White: These guys are all terrific, but I want to say that for the first issue we have three gorgeous covers. We have an amazing cover by Geof Darrow, a terrific Chris Bachalo cover and a Skottie Young baby Deadpool cover. All these covers are so great.
Gerry Duggan: Yeah, they’re wonderful. They’re super cool. I get nervous about things obviously, everyone does. You can do the best that you can do and hope you find an audience. With Tony’s art and these covers it’s going to happen. It’s my security blanket.
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