4 Essential Deadpool Comics to Prepare for the Movie
Does everything you know about Deadpool come from his cameo in Wolverine: Origins? For shame, fan-boy! Every True Believer knows that’s not the real Deadpool.
With the movie coming out soon (and looking a lot better than Origins), Deadpool’s about to be catapulted up to the upper tier of cinematic superheroes, taking a place next to Batman and Captain America. Everyone’s excited because this is one of the first times a mainstream superhero movie earns its R-rating.
But ask a die-hard comic fan, and they’ll tell you Deadpool’s always been one of the greats. In fact, it was his cult status among comic readers that urged Fox Studios to redo their treatment of the hero and give him his own movie.
And why are people more excited about Deadpool’s film than, say, Aquaman? Here’s a primer of what makes Deadpool great:
- He’s an antihero, which is to say, he kills people.
- He’s hilarious, with witty snaps and pop culture references (and a boyish crush on Bea Arthur).
- He doesn’t always win, and is often a tragic character.
- He breaks the fourth wall constantly, fully aware he’s in a comic. At one friend’s funeral, he even wonders how long before the publishers think of a way to bring him back.
- He’s not Aquaman.
So, now everyone’s talking about the Merc with a Mouth, and you’re worried about losing your nerd status. The names Weasel, Blind Al, and Francis don’t ring a bell… You’ve never put much thought into how a transportation device fits in a belt… You had no idea a bicep could be used as a gun silencer…
Fear not, future Deadpool fan. There’s still time. Here are 4 essential Deadpool comics, collections, and storylines that highlight Deadpool’s career, so you can pretend you were a fan all along.
Deadpool Classic Vol. 1
As a Deadpool fan, I’ll be honest… this collection isn’t his best. It is, however, a historical document. There’s virtually no difference between Deadpool Classic Vol. 1 and the Canterbury Tales.
Here you will read the very first appearances of Deadpool, conceived by Fabian Nicienza and Rob Liefeld in New Mutants #98 (1991). You will blush with embarrassment at the blatant rip-off of DC’s Deathstroke, a.k.a., Slade Wilson (which sounds nothing like Deadpool’s alias Wade Wilson), and wonder what was it about this one-off character that Marvel execs decided to put their faith into.
Like the first season of The Simpsons, there are only a few similarities between Deadpool’s beginning and the greatness he became. But if you want to be a true Deadpool fan, you have to start with the beginning. Luckily, there’s plenty of cameos to keep it interesting: Cable, Juggernaut, Siryn, Banshee, and Sasquatch.
Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus
This is the Deadpool you’ll learn to love. Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness turn the Merc with a Mouth into a character worthy of his own run. These first 33 issues of this own title delve deep into his character, explaining his origins as a mercenary and Weapon X experiment to escape his cancer, and his struggles walking the line between hero and villain.
This run is hilarious, exhilarating, and at times will kick you square in the feels. Personally it’s one of my favorite comic runs ever, but I’m not alone. If this weren’t so epic, Deadpool would have just faded back into early 90s obscurity.
Deadpool by Daniel Way: The Complete Collection: Volume 1
Once Deadpool was cemented as a classic, other writers had the opportunity to have fun with him. One of the most successful of these authors was Daniel Way, who, along with illustrator Steve Dillon, took the hero to new heights by taking him to new lows.
Daniel Way’s run sacrifices the drama of previous runs for a lot more blood, guts, and gags. High points include Deadpool pitted against Wolverine, Super-Skrulls, and Norman Osborn. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, Daniel Way is often credited as being the funniest Deadpool writer — saying a lot for a character known for his humor.
Deadpool Volume 3: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Stepping into a more modern time, Marvel had the genius idea of teaming up writer and comedian Brian Posehn (“Mr. Show,” “New Girl,”) with comic veteran Gerry Duggan, and then teaming that team up with illustrators Scott Koblish and Declan Shalvey. A comic run so awesome, it needed four people to steer it.
The 5-issue series The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly features everything we love about Deadpool — off-color jokes, relentless violence, and the return of his luckless ethos.
But Deadpool’s not alone in this masterpiece. He teams up with none other than Captain American and Wolverine, plus a team of dollar-store, knock-off X-men from North Korea. Sometimes regarded as the best Deadpool story, it’s undoubtedly one of the finest.