Sometimes the Truth Hurts…
In 1991, Marvel Comics published New Mutants #98 and used that issue as a launching platform for their new character, which they were proud enough to announce on the cover: Introducing the Lethal [Not funny, a little sarcastic, and completely antagonistic] Deadpool. In his first appearances, he posed a serious threat to Cable and his team of mutants—nearly killing several of them in cold blood, but, as he stands right now, he is a jokey, odd, and maniac vagabond who apparently works as mercenary for hire but is always poor for some reason. His frustrating status as a character and as a person has nothing to do with many writers and artist who loaned their talents to the Deadpool title but with editorial mandate. The real reason for Deadpool’s character being the way he is will be difficult for diehard fans of the character to accept, yet there is an abundance of evidence to prove it true.
Sometimes frankness is for the best, and here it seems to be the best course of action to take. Deadpool is Marvel’s analog for immature teenagers.
Agenda-driven Character Modification
There, with the elephant out in the open, an examination can begin. First of all, as blunt and rude as it may be to label Deadpool— and his reader’s indirectly—as immature, there is reason for Marvel to make him that way. Readers may not like it, but there is sense in the company’s decision.
In 1984 Marvel wanted to publish their biggest cross-over event to that date. For the first time, one book would feature all the heroes from the Marvel pantheon to team up and fight all the heavy hitting villains, but the company did not have a name to fit the event. To add even more pressure on the staff, the then editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter, made a deal with an action figure company to produce toys reflecting the event. When no ideas appeared in the offices, Marvel ran some demographic tests, and they found out that the majority of their fans—which were young boys at the time—liked words such as Secret and Wars. The rest is history.
Referring back to metrics is not a practice not Marvel just stopped doing after Secret Wars—if not convinced, think about the 90s. It may not seem as if Deadpool is a product of demographic test, but, in a side-by-side comparison to the character from his inception to his current state, the evidence is a bit heavy and hard to ignore.
In his first appearances, when Deadpool made a joke, the aim was to make his targets feel annoyed, frustrated, or uncomfortable. Regardless of the activity he was in, Deadpool always carried a sense of cruelty in his voice that was powerful on the page, which the modern version lacks entirely. If editorial took the character in a different direction, at one point, Deadpool had the potential to be Marvel’s equivalent to Jason Voorhees, an unstoppable murder with no remorse.
Today, Deadpool doesn’t strike fear into anyone because Marvel marketing turned him into a daffy, nominal, meme-machine justo sell Deadpool comics and Deadpool merchandise— especially Deadpool merchandise.
The Marvel Marketing Mentality: Even if its cheap, it will sell because it’s Deadpool.
Here’s the Proof that he’s a Stand-in:
1. He’s really skinny. Waid Wilson was in the weapon X program and works as a mercenary for, yet, over the years artists have reduced his size to look between 90 to 130 pounds.
2. He’s irresponsible and impulsive. He doesn’t care about his body, property, or status as an effective mercenary. Deadpool manages to screw most of his gun for hire gigs because he acted on an easily resistible impulse. Teenagers are impulsive because they are at a point where their bodies are adjusting to hormones, Deadpool is an adult. He doesn’t have a reason to behave they way he does… except to sell issues
3. He’s overly dramatic. Deadpool does not suffer from multiple personality disorders. The voices in his head is a cheap writing device for the character to produce comedy by himself. If readers want a to read a story about a character who suffers from D.I.D, then there is a better opinion, its even published by Marvel, he’s called Moon Knight.
4. He’s poor and a slob. Even though he is an immortal mercenary with a seemingly unlimited supply of weapons that he can magically conjure out of thin air, Deadpool is broke when he really shouldn’t be, and he also does make the effort to clean his place.
5. The majority women find him annoying and repulsive. It’s not his face that kills the appeal for the ladies, it’s Deadpool’s obvious lust and sexist view of woman that makes them run in the other direction.
6. In his team-ups with other characters, Deadpool needs Adult Supervision. Because he is impulsive and unfocused, other characters have to keep him in line and on track just to do a mission or solve a simple problem. He is uncooperative and rebellious even when participating would suit his best interests.
7. His face is covered in red blemishes and unflattering blotches (almost life acne). The parallels are too coincidental.
8. He hides his insecurities behind an over-confident persona. Deadpool is a loser and he knows it, but he wants the other characters of the marvel universe to believe otherwise because maybe, just maybe, he can finally be able to fool himself as well. Much like a lonely adolescent outcast, the respect from his peer would make him happy, but he can never admit it.
9. Lastly, he never grows as a character. Regardless of the story lines that writers and artists put the character through—the Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan run is especially noteworthy due to the fact that they actually manage to elevate the material– a professional comic had a hand in the jokes and Gerry Duggan understands character development and plot structure—he always returns to the status quo of doing silly yet forgettable things. Aside from his origin, Deadpool has no transcendental story to his name. There is no arch, as of the writing of this posts, that adds any pathos or intrigue to the Deadpool character that merits him having his own title—let alone seven.
Coming to Terms with the Situation.
You are not a sheep for liking Deadpool. You are a person, but sometimes, as people, we lack perspective. Judge Dredd Comics has a protagonist with a cool look, memorable personality traits, an unforgettable world, strange foes, interesting dynamics among the supporting cast, and a neat arsenal to boot, but, at the core of the character, he is a British caricature of American fascism. When he says, “I am the law”, he really believes it, not because he is a judge, but cause he is a fascist. As much as comic book readers would like to believe that comics exist outside of our world and beyond our reach,but they, like all art mediums, are subject to outside influences. Deadpool is the perfect example of a company knowing the traits, likes, and quirks of a certain portion of their readers and reconstructing a character to satisfy them completely.
It is okay to like Deadpool. It is okay to read Deadpool Comics. It is okay to wear Deadpool stuff or dress as Deadpool for the convention scene. However, here at Crumbling Comics where the purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to underhanded practices of the comic book industry, we warn you about falling in love with Deadpool because there are larger forces at work behind the chimichangas.
Keep on reading, but watch your dollars.