Aug 17, 2015

Embrace the Deadpool

Embrace the Deadpool
Ben Smith

Deadpool is one of the more polarizing characters in comics. For those that don’t know what that means, it has something to do with magnets, and a bunch of people that hate something awesome (most likely because they spend all their time doing math and reading awful puns). Deadpool is fun, and if you don’t like fun, you should just move to Utah where you belong. Either way, with Ryan Reynolds currently filming a live-action Deadpool movie, I felt it was time to do what I can to help those afflicted with such pointless hatred, to let the hate flow out of them and embrace the greatness that is Deadpool. Or at least direct that ire towards Starman where it belongs.


I’ve said it before, and now I will say it again, to me Deadpool is a hybrid of Marvel’s two most popular characters, Wolverine and Spider-Man. He gets the cool mask and annoying quips from Spider-Man, and the healing factor and deadliness from Wolverine. Therein lies part of the problem. For many fans, Deadpool (and Cable) embody all the excess of the horrible ‘90s. Amalgams, pouches, Rob Liefeld, lots of swords and murder. All of those things are true. But that’s only looking at the bad side, my friends. Don’t be so pessimistic.


Deadpool may not have started as a humor character, but that’s what he’s become, and that’s what makes him fun. That’s also what makes him a polarizing character, because you either find something funny or you don’t. Humor is subjective, after all (unless it’s Will Ferrell, he's just brilliant). For those that don’t think Deadpool’s funny, I’m going to try and help you to see the light. I will do this in bullet points that I will make up as we go along. We need to find a way to break Deadpool down into his component elements. Five seems like a quality random number. Let’s call them the Five Points for Deadpool Hilarity Acceptance. Or 5PDHA, if you’re into useless acronyms.

POINT ONE – CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN


Half the battle of making a cool, long-lasting comic book character is an appealing costume design. It’s no mystery that two of the most popular superheroes in the entire world, Batman and Spider-Man, also have two of the best costumes. Spider-Gwen was an instant hit on the internet from the moment she appeared, simply because she looks great. Gangbuster is the worst superhero ever, and it shows. Deadpool steals quite a bit from Snake Eyes, the most popular G.I. Joe ever (and the must-have toy of the 1980s). Start with a commando ninja as your baseline, change the color scheme to primarily red, and then add some Spider-Man eyelets, and you have a pretty failure-proof look. It’s certainly much better than a leather jacket and some goggles.

POINT TWO – THE FOURTH WALL

Everybody likes when Bugs Bunny or Zack Morris turns to the camera and starts talking to us, the viewers. It makes us feel like we’re their friends, even if that means putting us in the same company as Porky Pig and Screech. Now, if you’re like me (and I know that you are) you just thought of the infamous Screech porno, which has made us all uncomfortable. The point still remains, breaking the fourth wall is fun.


POINT THREE – HE HEARS THINGS


I was not a fan of Deadpool until his new series launched in 2008 as part of Secret Invasion. I either didn’t pay attention to him in the waning days of my initial fandom (I quit comics for most of the ‘90s) or I forgot about him. Either way, it wasn’t until Daniel Way took over the character, in that aforementioned series, that the character really took off for me. One of the challenges of writing a solo character, is giving them someone to talk to and interact with. Way came up with (to my knowledge) the perfect way of handling that problem for Deadpool, by giving him multiple distinct voices in his head. Nothing is funnier than a crazy person talking to themselves. As long as that person isn’t, you know, going through your trash. If you can’t smile at a character arguing with themselves in their own head, you likely grew up as a San Antonio Spurs fan.

POINT THREE – HALLUCINATIONS

Along with those voices, sometimes Deadpool loses track of reality and starts hallucinating things that aren’t there. This is especially funny when it comes in the middle of a mission.

POINT FIVE – CHIMICHANGAS

Deadpool is well acquainted with the greatness of cheap Mexican cuisine. This basically makes him like me, except more fit and slightly crazier. Tacos and nachos, that’s the secret to life, my friends.


There you have it, the Five Points for Deadpool Hilarity Acceptance, or 5PDHA. (If you rearrange the letters of that acronym, it spells “I’ve wasted my life.”) Look, I can understand why some fans might hate Deadpool. He joined the Grossly Overused Guest-Star team around 2009 as their starting small forward. There’s no question there were way too many Deadpool books back then, but if you actually read them with an open mind, like I did, a lot of them were pretty fun. Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth and Deadpool Team-Up were some of my favorite books coming out on a monthly basis then (and are good bets to get the Back Issue Ben treatment at some point).

A character with too many guest appearances kind of operates on the same wavelength as people that complain about events. You don’t have to get them all if you don’t want to. At some point, human beings have to stop getting upset just because some things they don’t like exist. It’ll be okay. Twilight fans aren’t hurting you because they like Twilight, and they probably think your Starman collection is equally stupid (and that’s because it is). Anyway, I like Deadpool, so you can get on board now, or pretend you were a fan the whole time once that movie comes out and is the best film ever created. As always, the choice is yours.

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