Part 3 – Continuing a walk down memory lane commemorating the release of the new X-FORCE OMNIBUS.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was 23 years old and I really needed New Mutants #98 to sing. It had to have significant impact as it was my first issue guiding the book as writer in addition to being the artist. This was the moment I had been striving for since breaking into the comic book field, I had to make it count. The issue was purposely packed with new faces, Gideon, Domino and the most important new face of all was that of DEADPOOL.
In a matter of only a few pages, the team was rocked by the presence of a deadly new nemesis, a contract killer, a bounty hunter that single handily takes down the entire New Mutants roster. Deadpool’s prowess is immediately felt as he comes prepared for to dismantle all their various mutant abilities. Any villain who can walk in the door and take out an entire team of powerful opponents is going to catch the attention of the reader, Deadpool succeeded in going above and beyond our wildest expectations. We had spent ten issues building up Cable as a formidable figure, standing toe to toe with Marvel’s mightiest, Wolverine and Stryfe, he had more than proven his mettle. Deadpool takes him out with relative ease, speaking more to the preparedness of Deadpool than to his own personal power levels. The entire time, Deadpool was cracking wise-ass remarks, establishing him as the “Merc with a Mouth”. Fabian Nicieza and I were firmly on the same page, Deadpool’s depiction was exactly what I had hoped for. As with every issue, I signed off on all the dialogue and Deadpool was unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
Over the course of a few pages, Deadpool dismantles everyone and looks to triumph over Cable and his new ward’s. We had no idea what we had unleashed. My editor called me a few days following the release of New Mutants #98 , he was frantic, ” We need more Deadpool. The phones have been ringing off the hook and the mail is pouring in asking for more Deadpool. I think we have a major new cast member.”
By that time, we had wrapped New Mutants in anticipation of the New X-Force series launching later in the summer, I was drawing issue #1 of X-Force and was asked if I could provide an appearance of Deadpool is issue #1. There was no room to include him, so we included him as a fact file and as one of the trading cards that would be packaged in with X-Force #1. Deadpool would take center stage in X-Force #2, where he would introduce another member of the Weapon X program. Deadpool would appear regularly in X-Force, his popularity demanded it. X-Force was the #1 selling comic in the industry for its first few months, and then remained a staple of the top 3 for months after. Deadpool was appearing in one million comics every month and was included as an action figure in the X-Force line of toys that debuted by popular demand a few months later. His first mini-series by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Mad is one of my favorite depictions of the character ever. That mini-series sold over 500,000 issues, every issue for the duration of its run. Another best selling mini-series followed and another until Deadpool was awarded his own series in 1996. He has been a staple of Marvel’s publishing ever since. There was that weird “Agent X” experiment in the early 2000’s but the less said about that, the better.