The appeal of DeadpoolPosted: 07/17/2013
There’s something about Deadpool. The character’s been around for a little over twenty years, yet his popularity has soared far above many of the older and more established comic book characters. His solo series include over two hundred individual issues. At one point, Marvel not only published his main series, but also Deadpool Corps, Deadpool MAX, Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth, Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War, Deadpool Team-Up, and many, many more. He even just had a starring video game released. But why?
Seriously, why the huge popularity? I believe I have the answer. Ask non-comic book readers about the stereotypes of comic books. They’re wildly sexist and objectify women. They’re massively gory and horrifyingly violent. They’re essentially an adolescent’s wet dream. And Deadpool exhibits all of those. He ogles over women, bloodies up hordes of bad guys, and his immaturity is only surpassed by the sheer volume of sex jokes. And this succeeds because the series recognizes and shamelessly disregards any real worries or desperate need to prove anything. That and a large dose of humor.
Look, I love passionate character studies with deep mysterious plots and brilliant personality development, but I also enjoyed all three Transformers movies. With Deadpool, we don’t have to pretend we’re better than we are. You get action, fun, and dirty jokes. Lots of dirty jokes.
I’ll prove it today using pages from the miniseries Deadpool: Suicide Kings, written by Mike Benson & Adam Glass and drawn by Carlo Barberi. You’ll get no context and no back story. I have about ten or twelve of my favorite pages that I believe perfectly sum up Deadpool’s appeal. Or not. I guess that’s up to you.
If you don’t know the superhero, he basically goes like this:
Mercenary. Healing factor. Insane (hence the two other voices in his head).
Deadpool holds a firm distinction of being the only superhero disliked by every other superhero in the Marvel world. Even the Punisher has a on-and-off friendship with Wolverine. But Deadpool’s obnoxious, and we as readers understand that. With all the tragedy and grief oozing over the superhero world, it’s nice to have a comic so bright and silly. And speaking of the Punisher, the three New York City “street” heroes (Punisher, Spider-Man, and Daredevil) all hold prominent roles in the miniseries. Having normal superheroes interact with Deadpool remains half the fun. Like when Frank Castle taps Deadpool’s phone:
This, of course, leads to bloodshed.
I enjoy the contrast of Punisher and Daredevil teaming up with Deadpool, if only because those two are probably the least funny superheroes in the Marvel universe. I’ve seen Captain America make more jokes.
And if you want sex jokes within a firmly established comic book world, here’s your character.
Yes, Deadpool’s unapologetic pervertedness and overwhelming creepiness show a sharp contrast from the white knights currently patrolling the Marvel universe. I’m not saying Deadpool’s better, I’m saying that the writers don’t care and that allows a sort of disgusted freedom.
Even the battles take on a nonsensical and non-serious attitude. Let Batman brood while mangling baddies, not Deadpool.
No Deadpool series will ever win an Eisner Awards. No Deadpool series will ever change the industry. But we love Deadpool. He’s fun, and that’s all we really desire from our entertainment anyway. Plus, the current ongoing series is remarkably funny, fast-paced, and well-written. The dude’s not a perfect comic book character, but I believe he’s one we certainly need in our comic book roster. Let’s embrace those stereotypes once in a while.