Tuesday Q&A

Wednesday Q&A: Daniel Way

Concluding this two-part interview, the writer of Deadpool looks back at 50 issues of penning the Merc with a Mouth

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By Chris Arrant

It may be right there in his name, but death stands as one landmark Deadpool has never achieved—and not for lack of wanting. After years of fighting with his own super-charged healing factor, February’s DEADPOOL #50 kicks off an arc that promises to bring Wade Wilson to the brink of his own mortality and perhaps beyond.

Yesterday Marvel.com talked with series writer Daniel Way about Deadpool’s pursuit of death, and today we step back to look at the Merc with a Mouth’s big picture in what could be his final days amongst the living.

DEADPOOL #49.1 preview art by John McCrea

Marvel.com: In the first year of DEADPOOL, you quickly went about re-establishing Wade Wilson in his own style and in the center of the Marvel Universe with ties to Secret Invasion, even showing how he inadvertently turned the tide in the Skrull War. How important has it been you to have Deadpool be such an integral part of the larger world?

Daniel Way: Well, there are two reasons [it is important to me]. The first one is that it’s simple economics; in the past, Deadpool has always been shunted off into his own little corner of the Marvel Universe and the only character you saw were ones you’d only see in DEADPOOL. I love Blind Al, Bob and the others, but if that’s all I put into the book it would be pretty insular. If you separate it from the Marvel Universe, it makes it easier for readers to ignore and Deadpool isn’t one to stand for that.

My other reason is that as a character, Deadpool thrives on interaction. I see him as a walking, talking, living reaction. He needs to react to big, dynamic characters and big, dynamic situations. That brings out the best of characters and provides the best stories. I’m always trying to make sure he stays as close to the center of the Marvel Universe as possible because that adds friction to the story. He’s the type of character that those other Marvel characters—hero and villain—don’t want around. He’s not necessarily good or evil, but he’s this huge x-factor that’s unpredictable; and that’s what makes DEADPOOL tick.

Marvel.com: Although you’ve had Deadpool facing off against Marvel’s top heroes and villains, you’ve also not afraid to send him into seedier pastures such as rural North Georgia and even pirate waters. What’s led you to go down these less explored parts of the Marvel U?

DEADPOOL #49.1 preview art by John McCrea

Daniel Way: Going back to what I said about previous volumes of the series, some of my favorite stories from those days were the ones where he was off in uncharted territory. Off doing his own thing, doing something no one else in the Marvel Universe was doing. That’s why every once in a while he drops out and does his own thing. He goes out and sees the world, whether that be encountering White Lightnin’ in Georgia to becoming a pirate, then we swing back around to a big X-Men arc. It wouldn’t be wise to keep doing those continuously, but to bring them up on occasional really adds to the unique appeal of the book and longtime fans seem to really enjoy it.

In the case of the one-off issue in Georgia I mentioned, DEADPOOL #22, [that] had an interesting origin. I live in Georgia, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that nowadays we have more than one “series artist” working on a book. At one point I juggled three for DEADPOOL, so a lot of times I worked to keep several different artists [or] artist teams busy with scripts so they have work to do and can get paid on time. Sometimes room will open up to do a one-off issue to alleviate a scheduling gap, and that’s how this came about. When the opportunity appeared, the editors and I realized we needed something that wouldn’t impact the main storylines of the book but could stand on its own. I keep a scratch file of loose ideas on my computer, and so for this I dug into that and grabbed the piece that seemed the most interesting and the story of White Lightnin’ was it.

Marvel.com: Speaking of guest stars, over the years we’ve seen Deadpool have some crazy team-ups from Cable to Captain America, She-Hulk and even Spider-Man. Which has been your favorite to write, and why?

Daniel Way: There are two of them. I love the interplay between Deadpool and Bob, Agent of HYDRA. Bob alternates from being completely fascinated and in awe of Deadpool to being utterly terrified of him. I like that interaction, but I only bring it out sparingly because I don’t want it to turn into Deadpool & Bob in the vein of Batman and Robin. I like to bring Bob in when it’s most fertile and then cycle him out.

DEADPOOL #49.1 preview art by John McCrea

The other team-up I enjoy is bringing Bullseye into it. I did two BULLSEYE [limited series] with Steve Dillon in the past, and I really enjoyed that. If I could make a career out of doing Bullseye stories, I’d be all for it.

Marvel.com: As we near this landmark 50th issue, it reminds me that you’ve been working on this title for over three years now. How does it feel for such a nonsensical character to become such a continual part of your life for these past three years?

Daniel Way: I don’t know; it’s pretty natural. When I first started writing DEADPOOL, it was really cool to write traditional stories with an utterly non-traditional character at the center of it. When you’re doing super hero comics there are certain limitations or tropes that come into play, but with a book like DEADPOOL you don’t have to go that route. That was really cool.

At this point, I’m pretty comfortable doing it. I don’t have a great answer for you; it’s just what I do. Its fun sitting here doing my job and then [bursting] out laughing. I can’t believe I’m getting away with this.

Marvel.com: Has it gotten easier to write Deadpool now that you’ve been doing it for so many years?

Daniel Way: It hasn’t gotten easier or harder, because it’s always been natural for me, even the first time I took him up in WOLVERINE: ORIGINS.

Marvel.com: Although the DEADPOOL story arcs usually work as short bursts, I’ve noticed larger thematic arcs going through the years. The first year became about Deadpool proving he’s the world’s greatest mercenary, and the second year about proving he could be a hero. As we come up to DEADPOOL #50, what would you say he’s trying to prove now?

DEADPOOL #49.1 preview art by John McCrea

Daniel Way: To prove he can die. This is his ultimate challenge. This is the one thing that he’s learned is impossible to do, and Deadpool doesn’t handle the word ‘impossible’ too well. Dying is his brass ring; like I said earlier, he hasn’t really thought it all the way through. If and when he does, that’s going to be something.

The “Dead” story arc is the culmination of a lot of things, beginning with a question editor Jody LeHeup had, asking me what the ultimate Deadpool story would be. As I told him over the phone, the death of Deadpool is that ultimate story. I feel like I should be warning people about what’s coming in this storyline, but I don’t want to fill [them] with dread. All I can say is expect the unexpected.

DEADPOOL #49.1 hits stands on January 25, followed by DEADPOOL #50, the first part of “Dead,” on February 8

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