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If Chris Bachalo’s cover for the new Deadpool series — Wade Wilson sporting a crown while perched atop a noticeably ornery monster — is any indication of where the book may be headed, fans have a lot to look forward to. Luckily, according to new Deadpool writer Kelly Thompson, we’re not the only ones that seem to think Wade could become King of the Monsters.
“Looks like King Deadpool to me!” she tells SYFY WIRE. Last month, when Marvel announced Thompson (Mr. and Mrs. X, Captain Marvel, X-Men, West Coast Avengers) and veteran artist Bachalo would be teaming up to bring a new Deadpool series to life, fans of the Merc with a Mouth voiced their excitement. Additionally, Marvel’s pull list teased the new series in a YouTube video, revealing Deadpool would be going after the King of Monsters (who happens to be living under Staten Island), in Thompson’s first arc.
According to solicitations, "The Merc with a Mouth finds himself neck-deep in political intrigue, monster law, and a monster hunter out for blood! It's like The Crown but with even more swords and monsters! Can Deadpool's smooth charisma and deft diplomacy allow him to keep his head, or will he be royally screwed?"
It's been a huge year for Thompson, who's put in work on X-Men, Captain Marvel, Jessica Jones, West Coast Avengers, and more in the past nine months. This week, Thompson spoke to SYFY WIRE about some of her favorite Deadpool runs, what she loves about the character, and what kind of challenges Wade could face in 2020.
“It’s nice to be doing a little less now and feel like I have more time to dig deeper into things,” Thompson says. “We did a ton of prep for Deadpool and I’m very excited about how rich the story is and I don’t know that it would have been possible with my old schedule.”
Do you have a favorite Deadpool arc or storyline? Any that speak to you as a fan / as a writer? I loved Uncanny X-Force Deadpool.
Uncanny X-Force Deadpool is definitely at the top of my list. So is Duggan and Shalvey’s "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." I also have a lot of nostalgia for some of the early stuff.
Any particular runs or cameos that you looked to for inspiration when writing this?
I love the blend of humor and tragedy in "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" — in a lot of Duggan’s run actually, and I’m really inspired by that. Uncanny X-Force has that too for sure — Wade really only works for me as a character if you’ve got a dark tragic heart buried inside that comedy... I mean that’s the entire reason the comedy exists for Wade, so you really need it. Stories that embrace that tend to be the ones I look to most.
What do you like about the character? What sets him apart in the Marvel Universe?
You can do basically anything with Deadpool, he’s very bendy, and I love that. More than perhaps any other character I’ve worked with, he perfectly highlights dark and light at once, effortlessly.
What are some challenges when you're writing Deadpool?
You can do basically anything with Deadpool, and thus almost everything has already been done with Deadpool!
Wade has been in a billion stories and most of them are a little bit weird. So the guy has done everything and it’s genuinely hard to come up with a new and interesting angle for plots that he hasn’t already dabbled in. The second, and this is a bit of a salt-to-taste thing, but comedy is a very fine line and not every comedy style works for every reader, so you think of Deadpool on the surface as being a funny character — and it’s true — but there has to be more there. You can’t just rely on the humor or you’ll find you have not much.
But this takes me back to the fact that Deadpool really only works when he’s tragic — the comedy masks the pain and without the pain, the comedy just feels shallow. But that’s a tough needle to thread and it’s not right for every writer... or every reader!
How did this book come about? Did you pitch the idea or was Marvel looking for people to take on this project?
I think Marvel knew I was interested in Deadpool from even before Skottie Young took over the book from Gerry Duggan, but I had no idea I’d be up for it when Skottie was ready to move on. I was extremely excited to get the call that they wanted me to do it, but I got that call when I was still really busy, several of my books were coming to a close, but I was still actively writing them... like five books a month or something crazy, and so finding the time to dig deep and figure out “the right” pitch for Wade... figuring out if I had something worthwhile to say with the character, was a bit of a challenge.
But my editor [Jake Thomas] was really patient with me and I spent a ton of time revising some of my initial ideas until we were sure we had some magic. And then editor Nick Lowe jumped in to help us refine them. I’m really pleased with what we came up with — I think it’s classic Deadpool but with something new to offer. I hope people love it.
Can you tell me a bit about your first arc? Or what kind of approach you'd like to take with this book?
Lots of monsters — some cute, some less cute; some classic, some all-new. Possibly a famous monster hunter showing up. Wade being forced to confront his existential loneliness and finding out he has more to offer other than he might have thought. Possibly some ill-advised romance. Lots of blood and violence.
Where are you in the process of writing now? Have you finished your first couple of issues?
First two issues are finished and I’m working on issue three now. Then I’ll jump to issue #5, which is a stand-alone done-in-one with an alternate artist to give Chris a break (which really means just giving him time to catch up since deadlines for artists are so brutal). So we’re not that far along, but we have done a lot of planning, more than maybe any other book I’ve ever done for Marvel — so I’ve got pretty detailed pitch materials for several arcs.
Talk to me about working with Chris Bachalo. He's awesome.
Total dream come true. Chris has been one of my favorite artists since I was a teenager. Didn’t hurt that he draws one of the best Rogues of all time, who was my favorite character as a teen. Chris is a genius so there’s a lot of wanting to give him room and just let him go, and this first arc is so designed especially for him to go crazy creatively. But in talking to Chris it became clear that, like me, he was very interested in exploring the deeper levels of Wade, not just the surface.