Marvel NOW! is an event that has proven itself to be an unrelenting force in the comic market. Many titles have been cut, many have been created out of the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men, and many have been launched anew. Deadpool is one of those fortunate series that received the makeover treatment, ending Dan Way’s run and giving it a new creative team. Tony Moore (The Walking Dead) Brian Posehn (The Last Christmas) and Gerry Duggan (The Infinite Horizon) comprise the talented new creative. RCB was fortunate enough to sit down with co-writer Gerry Duggan and pick his brain about all things Deadpool!
RCB: For those who may not know much about you, where did your career in writing start, particularly your career in scripting comics.
Duggan: I came out to Hollywood to write, and fell in with a great crowd. Posehn was one of the guys I became fast friends with. Through him I met Patton Oswalt and the two of them invited me to work on a pilot they were gearing up for. Mr. Show had just wrapped the HBO show, and was preparing for their movie. I met my wife, and started writing little things for TV. Brian and I got a shot to make our first stab into comics with The Last Christmas — wonderfully illustrated by Rick Remender & Hil Barta. I got a taste for it and then Phil Noto and I launched an Image book together called The Infinite Horizon. We’re both proud of it, and still thrilled that we received and Eisner nomination for it. I love comics, because there are seldom the impediments to getting it out there that exist in TV & film. Most of what I’ve written is unproduced on my computer. Comics was always my first love, to get to work in them in any capacity is a real treat. I remind myself that I’m lucky every day.
Duggan: Remender introduced me to the Marvel editors a few years ago — we’ve been keeping up a long, ongoing chat probably since 2007 or so. The timing was never quite right until earlier this year. Deadpool was a good fit if I was going to team back up with Brian Posehn. It would be a chance for us to play to the strengths we were comfortable with as a team, and hopefully write a book that had some opportunities for comedy. The timing clicked because Dan Way was moving on after his successful run to Thunderbolts, Axel introduced us to Nick Lowe & Jordan. We began talking and things gelled pretty quickly. Jordan mentioned Tony Moore — and I felt stupid for not thinking of him first. He was the perfect artist to launch our Deadpool book.
RCB: As a co-writer, do you and Posehn share similar scripting duties or do you each have a particular job?
Duggan: It’s different every time, sometimes we’re together, mostly we’re apart. We pass material back and forth and work in chat windows. We’ll do whatever we must to stay ahead of the artists.
RCB: This current arc is already going on for a reasonable length in terms of most story arcs these days. Do you plan the story in Deadpool really far ahead or does the wackiness inside the pages of the comic come to you in spurts?
Duggan: We’re quite far ahead now. Into year two, we wanted a big comedy to open our run before things get a little darker and more serious. We thought with our backgrounds that people would be disappointed if we didn’t. I think we’ll always have some humor, but we start to flex some other muscles pretty soon. Hope it’s just as much fun for everyone that’s really enjoying Deadpool as a comedy. The third arc is my favorite – writing that one now. It’s got action, big guest stars, comedy, and might be a story that will pop up again later in other places.
RCB: The letters column in Deadpool is unique, and it has garnered a lot of attention. What is your favorite and least favorite part of answering letters as Wade Wilson?
Duggan: Deadpool answers that. We mostly just get to laugh at the letters that come in & his responses going out. Glad you dig them though, we’ll tell him.
RCB: Deadpool is a character who’s always cracking jokes, and in yours and Posehn’s run it seems that he’s even more full of wit than ever. How do you consistently keep coming up with genuinely funny jokes for almost every panel?
Duggan: Well we write the script once for Jordan, then we get his notes. Then when the art comes back, we’ll tweak before the letter commences, and hopefully add some jokes. After Joe wraps up his letters, then we take a polish pass and hopefully everything works. We never want to ask him to redo much, but sometimes the perfect balloon comes along late in the game.
RCB: I’m sure you’ve been asked over and over again, but I have to – what made you decide to take away the voices in Wade’s head, and is there any plans to bring them back?
Duggan: The team made a conscious decision to make Deadpool # 1 a book that anyone could pick up, and I think we thought for new readers dropping into Wade’s world that it would make for an easier transition to have one voice. However, he’s also got Ben Franklin to hang out and yell at, so I think to anyone in the Marvel Universe he still looks pretty nuts.
Duggan: We knew we wanted a big, broad comedy in the vein of Ghostbusters to open up on, and we also knew we would be debuting around Halloween & Election Day, so once we had the idea it was a no-brainer. We presented Marvel with a few ideas, but this one was in the first position. It was the one we hoped they would say yes to, but we planned in case they didn’t. You might see some of those other pitches pop up in year two.
RCB: Apparently you love comic books, when did you start reading comics and what was your first/most favorite?
Duggan: I ended up working in the first comic shop I ever stepped into – back in New Jersey. I got hooked as a young kid – my folks buying me comics in the supermarket checkout lines, or my father would buy me some from a newsstand in New York City. Mostly Marvel. Some DC. I started with Spider-Man and moved to Daredevil, and then Simonson’s Thor. Once I started the after school job in the comic shop, there was no looking back.
Duggan: The chance to work with friends, and to make comics that are fun. Oddly, comics aren’t always fun to read. Our only goal was to make Deadpool a book that would always be fun. We wanted to earn a place on pull lists. The best part of the job is making something fun that will see the light of day, without too much trouble. I’ve written a lot of scripts that don’t get shot or drawn. Deadpool is something that I know will get drawn and printed, and for me that’s why it’s fun to sit in front of a computer and do my job. We’re grateful for the reaction to the book after just 4 issues. We’d like to thank everyone for picking up the book and sticking with it.