As one of the more bizarre and mentally unstable anti-heroes in the Marvel Universe, Deadpool tends to be a lightning rod for dangerous, weird, frightening and sublimely ridiculous characters and situations. For example some of his most recent adventures include battling zombified U.S. presidents, saving Nick Fury from a time traveling Hitler -- and even a scooter chase with the Minotaur of ancient Greek myth.
This September, Deadpool's tendency for wacky, weird and wild adventures continues in the "Deadpool Bi-Annual" by actor/comedian Paul Scheer (FX's "The League, and Adult Swim's "NTSF:SD:SUV::") and his comedy writing partner Nick Giovannetti. CBR News spoke with the co-writers about the "Bi-Annual," which features art from Salva Espin and pits the Merc with a Mouth against the forgotten '90s era team of cybernetically enhanced animal environmental crusaders, Brute Force.
CBR News: Paul and Nick, you guys made your comics writing debut last year with "Aliens Vs. Parker" from BOOM! And now in just a few months your first Marvel comic will become available. How does that feel? I imagine considering your day jobs with acting, comedy, and comedy writing projects like this are a labor of love?
Paul Scheer: It's awesome. This is hands down one of the coolest things I've ever done. To work in the Marvel world is such a dream come true. I think if I told the little kid version of me that I'd write comic books for Marvel, he'd be psyched but also really confused and scared that I created some sort of space time anomaly that potentially might set in motion a chain of events that would end the world (I was a cautious kid). I really approach writing these books the exact same way that I approach anything else, it's just the best way to tell the story so it doesn't feel like a labor of love as much as I feel lucky to be able to have people let us do this.
Nick Giovannetti: Well, my real labor of love is Toots for Tots. It's a charity I run that gives cocaine to children in need. It's incredibly rewarding, but I'm also enjoying writing comics. It's been a dream come true.
Let's talk a little bit about your title character. I know you're fans of Deadpool, but what do you find most interesting about the character as writers? Which aspects of Wade Wilson's personality are you especially interested in exploring?
Scheer: I really have loved Gerry Duggan and Brian Poeshn's run; in many respects I feel like they captured the voice of this character in a way that I hadn't seen in a long time. It just feels legitimately funny and bold both in the artistry and in the dialogue. So for me it was just keeping up with the standard they set, it's their character, we're just borrowing him.
Giovannetti: The fact that you can go anywhere and do anything with him is really appealing. He has no filter. He breaks the fourth wall. You can make meta jokes. The sky is the limit with him, but it's his fragility that appeals to me most. He hides it in jokes, but he's a damaged guy. Also, he's an idiot, which makes him really fun to write.
Since you brought them up and are fans of Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan -- like you two, known for their work in comedy, acting and TV writing -- why do you think Deadpool captures the imagination of comedians and comedy writers? Is it simply the character's off the wall nature and sense of humor or is there more to it?
Giovannetti: I think Deadpool is easy for comedians to relate to because at his core he's a comic. He travels all over the world taking gigs. He's got a great sense of humor that comes from being damaged. He desperately wants to be loved and holds nothing sacred. If that's not a stand-up comic I don't know what is. The fact that he's physically fit and can kill a man, is a little unusual for the comedy world, but not without precedent thanks to Joe Rogan. Now that I think about it, does Joe Rogan have a healing factor?
Scheer: I think characters are as good as their writers and Gerry and Brian really have been able to put a spin on Deadpool that brings him back to the Deadpool that I remember loving as a kid. Similarly, [Matt] Fraction has done that with Hawkeye as has Bendis with Guardians of the Galaxy. They bring this energy and life force back to these characters that re-invigorate them and make the books feel fun. I think for a long time, a lot books felt serious, with a capital S. I think the best thing about Marvel is the sense of humor these characters have. Real people in otherwordly situations.
Brian and Gerry have added several major players to Deadpool's supporting cast like his wife Shiklah, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Preston and Adsit. Do any of these characters make an appearance in your "Bi-Annual?" Or are you trying to keep things a little more new reader friendly?
Giovannetti: Oh we're definitely using many of the characters that Brian and Gerry have added. Preston, Adsit and [Agent Phil] Coulson all make an appearance in the issue. They had to be there. They aren't just fun characters to write, they're perfect foils that ground Deadpool and make him more human. That's one of the reasons why Brian and Gerry's run is so special. I think the book is still very new reader friendly due to it being a self-contained story. Plus, thanks to the awesome Marvel movie universe everybody knows and loves Coulson.
Scheer: We tried very hard to write a book that the fans of the regular book could relate to but we also wanted to make sure that we told a story that didn't have to fit into the overall story arc that has already been established. Annuals are the gelato of comics -- it's a palate cleanser so you can get back to the main story, it's a bit of a refresh. And yes, I'll only be using food metaphors for the rest of this interview. Bon Appetit!
One group of characters that I know makes an appearance in your story is the cybernetically enhanced animal environmental crusaders known as Brute Force. If my research is correct it's been 24 years since the "Brute Force" miniseries, which marked the team's first and only appearance. What inspired you to bring them back for this story? What made them good characters to bounce off of Deadpool?
Giovannetti: Jordan [D. White], our editor, pitched out the idea of using Brute Force and I'm grateful he did. Brute Force is awesome. It's been a lot of fun for Paul and I to take these characters and update them for today's readers. I know they're silly, low-level characters in the grand scheme of Marvel, but I feel privileged to be given that opportunity. Could you imagine Marvel giving you the keys to a character and saying here do what you want? It's the coolest thing ever. We hope we've created a Brute Force that people will love and want to see again. I know we feel that way about them.
Scheer: The best thing about these characters is that they are known but forgotten entities. What I mean is that, people remember them because they looked cool but don't exactly remember their names or personalities, so creatively it was a great assignment because we could update these guys in a lot of ways without the worry of pissing people off but as I write this I'm sure we'll piss off someone who was a big fan of the four-book miniseries and he'll serve us up good on the message boards.
Giovannetti: Which would happen regardless. We don't change up anything too crazy though. It's more about fleshing them out and updating them a little to fit in the Marvel NOW! world. We love Brute Force and want them to be more than just a silly comic book cover people put up on their Tumblrs.
I really want to stress how awesomely insane Brute Force is. They are talking animals that transform into vehicles and have Uzis -- and they are pissed off.
The information I received suggested Brute Force are the antagonists of the "Deadpool Bi-Annual." Is that correct? Are they the only foes Wade is up against or will there be multiple antagonists in the story?
Giovannetti: I would say let "Fast Five" be your guide. Was Hobbs the antagonist of Brian and Dom?
Scheer: Yeah, you'll have to read it to see, but even "bad" people are doing things for a reason.
What else can you tell us about the plot of the "Deadpool Bi-Annual?" What sets the story in motion?
Scheer: Deadpool takes a "money gig" and is brought in as a security consultant for a theme park that is under attack from a "terrorist" group that is destroying their parks.
Artist Salva Espin is bringing your tale to life. He's drawn a number of Deadpool stories in the past so it's clear that he has a real knack for your title character, but what else do you feel he brings to this story in particular?
Giovannetti: You can see his excitement about the book in his art. The panels are just really fun. He's been amazing to work with.
Scheer: "Fun" is a great word to describe the art in this book. It's really popping for me in the sketches -- we have some big characters, violent set pieces and grandiose locations and I think Salva is creating a world in which they can all seemingly fit together without seeming out of place.
Finally, as we mentioned at the beginning of the interview, your first comic project was "Aliens Vs. Parker" which is now available in a collected edition from BOOM! Fans who are only familiar with your comedy work might be curious to check it out, so what can you tell anyone just discovering your comics work about it?
Giovannetti: First, it's a funny book with a lot of heart. Secondly, Gerry Duggan and Ed Brubaker liked it. Which pretty much is the best thing ever, so why haven't you read it yet? Finally, cocaine doesn't pay for itself, so please buy a copy today. If not for me, for the starving nostrils of children in need.
Scheer: "AVP" is something I'm really happy with, it's kinda like "Shaun of the Dead" meets "Aliens." Personally, I think the best way to check it out is to read them all together in the collection because it's really a story that is meant to be read in one sitting. It's definitely structured more as a movie with a definite beginning middle and end. Plus the collection contains a rare "NTSF:SD:SUV::" comic that was only made available at San Diego Comic-Con, and if you like the show, I think you'll really like that issue a lot.
"Deadpool Bi-Annual" #1 by Paul Scheer, Nick Giovannetti and Salva Espin goes on sale in September.