It took almost two decades, but the Merc with a Mouth finally got the big screen movie he deserved with Tim Miller’s Deadpool last year, starring Ryan Reynolds as the eponymous antihero. The movie’s influence on the superhero genre (and the industry as a whole) continues to persist. Its unprecedented success gave 20th Century Fox enough confidence to pursue an R-rated Logan movie (which has seen its own share of success), and countless other superhero movies are now being developed with a decidedly more mature approach.
With millions of people having flocked to the theater to see Deadpool’s solo debut, it’s safe to say that Wade Wilson picked up a few new fans along the way, many of which may not be all caught up on their comic history. By introducing Cable and other “obscure characters,” the upcoming sequel will undoubtedly dive deeper into the character’s lore, but there are still plenty of stories, characteristics, and other facts that casual moviegoers may not be aware of. So, to shed some light on the character before Deadpool 2 hits theaters, we’ve compiled a list of 15 Things Only Comics Fans Know About Deadpool.
15. He’s Canadian
We have a general understanding of Deadpool’s past, but even he’s a little fuzzy when it comes to his origin story. Wade joined up with the Weapon X program following his discharge from the United States Army, but that story may be only partially true. Marvel has tried to turn some of their most popular non-American characters American in the past, but it seems like they’re far past that now. If the character’s bio on the Marvel website is anything to go by, Deadpool is without a doubt Canadian. We just don’t know where he was born in Canada.
The fact is, Canucks don’t get that much love from the comic book world. DC Comics’ heroes are mostly from fictional cities, and one of their biggest characters (Superman) is viewed as the embodiment of the American way. Then there’s Marvel, whose main lineup exists primarily in the various neighborhoods of New York City. Their most famous Canadian hero is undoubtedly Wolverine, but most non-comic book readers don’t even know he’s from the Great White North.
14. He killed the very ideas that inspired Marvel characters
When it comes to fictional characters — be they from movies, TV, novels, or even comics — their creators always take inspiration from previously created characters (or from real-life). Even the stories themselves sometimes take cues from iconic works of the past. But what if someone were to kill the people who created those source materials? Where, then, would the creators look for inspiration? That was the impetus behind Deadpool’s decision to travel back in time and kill the literary figures that inspired the superheroes of the Marvel Universe.
After he successfully killed everyone in Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, the Merc with a Mouth got the bright idea to kill the very inspiration that influenced the creation of the universe. So, he traveled to the Ideaverse, where all the literary figures (Moby Dick, Sancho Panza, Captain Ahab, Shere Khan, Pinnochio, etc.) that inspired Marvel characters lived together, and started slaughtering them in droves. As it turns out, it was all for naught. Sherlock Holmes joined forces with Frankenstein to defeat Deadpool, and the English detective used his memory to recreate the lost stories.
13. He’s “related” to Slade Wilson
As previously mentioned, virtually every fictional character in existence has been inspired by a character from the past. And who knows, perhaps they went on to inspire other characters as well. The same goes for Deadpool. Have you ever wondered why Wade Wilson and DC Comics’ Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, share so many similarities (names, weapons, costumes, regenerative powers, etc.)? The reason is because the Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld is a self-professed Deathstroke (and Teen Titans) fanboy.
As the story goes, co-creator Fabian Nicieza told Liefeld that his character is exactly like Deathstroke. Liefeld didn’t deny the charge. In fact, he has openly admitted to taking cues from Marvel’s competition (though he wants the two characters to exist on their own merits). Instead of walking back the idea, Liefeld and Nicieza did the opposite: they went further down the rabbit hole with the similarities, so much that Deadpool almost felt like a parody of Deathstroke. Nicieza ended up naming the mercenary Wade Wilson as a joke for him somehow being “related” to DC’s Slade Wilson.
12. He looks up to/wants to be Captain America
Captain America was one of the first characters Marvel ever created (back when they were Timely Comics). Along with Superman, he was the embodiment of the American way, and everyone wanted to be him — both in-universe and in real life. Deadpool was no different. As a kid, he looked up to Steve Rogers and even wanted to be him.
Though their similarities are virtually nonexistent, barring the fact that they were both subjects of government experiments, they actually work pretty well as a team. They once raided North Korea together in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly story arc. However, despite their history with each other, Rogers can tolerate the Merc with a Mouth only so much. But that hasn’t stopped Wade from wanting to become just like Captain America.
In the Deadpool Vol. 3 Bi-Annual #1, the mercenary jumped out of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier without a parachute. One of the agents says he’s been doing that ever since he learned that that’s what Captain America does. Then we see Deadpool gliding towards the ground, singing about the Captain throwing his mighty shield.
11. He has a fear of cows
Deadpool is practically immortal. He can survive being shot in the head, losing limbs, and even being decapitated. He charges head-first into battle with his swords, his guns, and his witty pop culture references. He isn’t afraid of anything — or, at least, most things. If there’s one thing that can paralyze the mercenary, it’s cows. Yes, cows. Deadpool suffers from bovinophobia, or the fear of cows. If the DC and Marvel universes were to intersect, and Deadpool was somehow exposed to Scarecrow’s fear toxin, he would likely be overcome with images of cows.
Wade once admitted to Domino in Deadpool Vol. 3 #17 that cows “scare the *#$% outta” him because they just stand there, waiting. It freaks him out. He also suggested that he might be afraid of chickens as well, but he might have been lying about that just so he could relate to Domino. While it may seem like animals are his greatest weaknesses, the Crimson Comedian’s greatest fear is, in fact, being alone. Well, that and…
10. His real weaknesses are cats and children
Deadpool may have an irrational fear of cows, but that’s not his only weakness — though it might be a by-product of his vulnerability to animals in general. On the surface, the Crimson Comedian appears to be a tough-as-nails anti-hero who cares about nothing but himself. He’s fearless. Or, are his jokes and witty remarks merely masking the fact that he’s really just a big softie on the inside? It’s probably the latter.
Deadpool has shown the capacity to be empathetic to suffering children, which we’ve seen him demonstrate with Genesis. The mercenary once joined the X-Force to prevent threats against mutants, and one of those threats happened to be a reincarnated version of Apocalypse in the form of a child. Fantomex had killed the kid, even though the rest of the team decided against it, and that sent Deadpool over the edge. In a rare moment of seriousness, Wade called a meeting with the team to explain that he was struggling to come to terms with what happened. After an argument with Wolverine, he walked out stating that he doesn’t kill kids.
9. He stole Thanos’ girl, and Thanos cursed him for it
Thanos’ motives for galactic domination and slaughtering civilizations in droves hinges on his love for the personification of death itself: Lady Death. The Mad Titan killed and killed, even going as far as to murder his own family — all in the hopes of one day winning the affection of the Mistress. But he never did. Then, along came Deadpool.
Lady Death would frequently appear to Wade and distract him from the pain when was being tortured by Department K, a covert branch of the Canadian government that founded the Weapon X program. She considered him to be one of the few mortals she could commune with, and so they developed a flirtatious relationship. But they couldn’t be together unless Wade died.
So, when Ajax unwittingly jump-started Wade’s healing factor, thereby turning him into Deadpool, he hindered the mercenary’s relationship with Death. And to make matters worse, Thanos was jealous of Wade’s relationship with Death. To exact his revenge, the Mad Titan tasked Deadpool’s arch-nemesis, T-Ray, to resurrect the mercenary after his fight with Weapon X and curse him with immortality, so that he could never be with Death… in death.
8. He’s sexually attracted to anything “with a pulse”
Deadpool has never been afraid to express himself however he sees fit. That trait doesn’t only apply to the mercenary’s personality; he’s shown a proclivity for flirting with virtually anything and everything. He’s not heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, and he’s certainly not asexual. No, the Merc with a Mouth is pansexual, or omnisexual, according to Deadpool NOW writer Gerry Duggan. He says he considers the character “to be ready and willing to do anything with a pulse.”
Fan questioned Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza about the merc’s sexuality, which spawned a lengthy, albeit controversial, discussion. He wrote on Twitter that Deadpool’s “brain cells are in CONSTANT FLUX. He can be gay one minute, hetero the next, etc. ALL ARE VALID,” though he wasn’t trying to imply that sexuality is a mental disorder. He later explained that Deadpool’s sexuality has been the same since the very beginning — he loves everything (except for cows).
Interestingly, Ryan Reynolds is on board with Deadpool being omnisexual, and he would like to see the character break that boundary on the big screen with him having a boyfriend in a future movie. Reynolds later emphasized that “Deadpool isn’t in love with Vanessa just because she’s a woman. He’s in love with Vanessa because he loves her.” Perhaps Deadpool 2 will shed some more light on this matter.
7. The white caption boxes were Madcap all along
Deadpool has always been a loner of sorts. His early iterations lacked in supporting characters, so the mercenary was relegated to having monologues with himself. These conversations differentiated from the traditional thought boxes other characters had in their comics, so it only furthered his insanity — at least with readers. After some time, the white caption boxes had developed into a separate personality during Daniel Way’s run with the character.
Those caption boxes disappeared after a while, so when Marvel hired writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker to pen Deadpool Annual Vol. 3 #1, they used it as a chance to shine some light on what happened to them. It’s revealed that the second personality was the supervillain Madcap all along. The former Captain America adversary, whose powers include inducing insanity in those that gaze upon him, contributed to the mercenary’s craziness throughout the years. The revelation even made its way into the 2013 Deadpool video game that Way also wrote.
6. He has a daughter named Eleanor
We’ve already established that Deadpool is omnisexual, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to many people. But what many fans don’t know is that Wade Wilson has a daughter named Eleanor Camacho (who is, somehow, a mutant). He reveals in Deadpool Vol. 3 #16, while being held against his will by Mr. Butler in North Korea, that he once had a daughter he never knew about. Her mother, Carmelita, approached Wade for child support years after Eleanor was born, which Wade refused to give. In fact, he laughed her off, believing nothing as beautiful as Eleanor could be his.
In order to keep Deadpool in compliance, Butler had kidnapped Eleanor and given her to his estranged brother, Joshua, something S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Emily Preston later discovered. U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. attempted to take Eleanor, but Deadpool disguised himself as one of the agents and rescued her. Later, he sent her to live with Preston and her family, choosing only to visit her on occasion. Who knows, perhaps having a daughter augmented his weakness of children.
5. He fought zombified American presidents alongside an undead Benjamin Franklin
When writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan took over Deadpool in 2012, they began their first story arc with the mercenary taking on zombified American presidents. Disheartened with the direction the country was heading in, a madman resurrected dead U.S. presidents, beginning with Harry Truman, who he thought would be able to restore the country back to its former glory. Unfortunately, the deceased POTUSes had other things in mind — particularly, destroying the United States. They were zombies, after all.
Captain America took care of Truman by decapitating him, which is something S.H.I.E.L.D. could not have American citizens see. So, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned up terrorizing downtown Manhattan, Deadpool got pulled into the fight. S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited the Merc with a Mouth to defend the nation against the undead presidents because they couldn’t have “real heroes” fighting them. Agent Preston told Deadpool, “You’re not the hero we want, you’re the scumbag we need.” Of course, Deadpool was still a mercenary, so the organization agreed to pay him a few million dollars, delivered in a pillow case with a big dollar sign on it.
4. “No pickles!”
One of the biggest storylines in comic book history was the Death of Superman. What followed was a multi-part story arc involving four superheroes who all claimed to be Superman, two of which remained in the DC Universe: Conner Kent and John Henry Irons. Of course, being one of Marvel’s best outlets for parodies, Deadpool writers took the opportunity to parody the famed storyline after the mercenary died yet again after attempting to avenge Vanessa Carlyle’s death.
As previously mentioned, Thanos was envious of Death’s affections for Deadpool. To prevent the two of them from being together, the Mad Titan resurrected the Crimson Comedian, but not before four false Deadpools arose, each one representing a different aspect of Wade’s personality: three of which were idealism, vengeance, and, well, nerdiness. The fourth false Deadpool neither fought crime nor had any real personality. All he did was say, “No pickles.” We imagine he and Groot would have a blast talking to each other if they were ever to cross paths.
3. He wants to be best friends with Spider-Man
Moviegoers are well aware of Deadpool’s love for Wolverine (if you can call it that), but not many people know that the only thing the Crimson Comedian wants is to be best friends with Spider-Man. The two don’t just look similar; they share a similar wise-cracking personality as well. That’s what makes them compatible teammates (or perhaps something more?) Although the two don’t meet often, the times they have interacted with each other were… interesting, to say the least. Spider-Man has been annoyed with Deadpool more often than not, whereas the Crimson Comedian wants to be Spidey’s best friend.
Interestingly, long before Deadpool got his voice, The New Mutants #100 (the last issue in the series) contained a fan letter that correctly depicted the mercenary’s connection with the web-slinger. Vincent Bettes said that Deadpool was essentially Spider-Man — in aesthetics and personality — but used swords, instead of webs, and wasn’t afraid of killing. He wasn’t wrong. If you want to see how far fans will go to see the Deadpool/Spider-Man friendship become a reality, just search the term “Spideypool,” and you will be inundated with plenty of fan fiction.
2. Marvel made the connection between Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool a long time ago
Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool, and Deadpool is Ryan Reynolds. It’s as simple as that. The Canadian actor was born to play the Merc with a Mouth, and his career in Hollywood has only further affirmed that notion. That’s also why his debut as the mercenary in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so disappointing. But Reynolds got his opportunity to redeem himself as Deadpool in Tim Miller’s movie last year. The thing is, though, long before Reynolds joined the cast of the first Wolverine movie, Marvel Comics already made the connection between him and Deadpool.
In Cable & Deadpool #2, the mercenary refers to himself looking like “Ryan Reynolds crossed with a shar-pei.” Interestingly, in a Talks at Google interview from 2016, Reynolds revealed that he was introduced to the character while working on Blade: Trinity in 2004 (the same year the comic released). As it turns out, a Hollywood executive thought Reynolds would be perfect for the character, so he sent him that comic, and that’s what launched the actor’s path to becoming Deadpool.
1. There’s a Deadpool: Origins movie that exists in the comics
Deadpool’s long-awaited debut on the silver screen was disappointing, and it frustrated fans who waited for years to see their dreams realized in live-action. Because of the WGA strike in 2007 and 2008, Reynolds had to write most of the dialogue for his character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. “I mean, in the stage directions, it just said, ‘Deadpool shows up, talks really fast, and makes a lot of jokes,‘” he told GQ. He knew the movie wasn’t going to fly with fans, but it was his one chance to play Deadpool, so he took it. The thing is, Marvel Comics agreed.
Marvel had already been publishing X-Men Origins comics for two years when they released a Deadpool version. And in that comic, Deadpool meets with several screenwriters to tell his story the way it should be told, before “Hollywood screws it up.” But it was all for naught. Hollywood managed to screw it up anyway with the in-comic movie Deadpool Origins. Everyone who saw it, though, loved it. Everyone except for the murderous mercenary himself, that is. After all, they couldn’t even get his name right, splitting “Deadpool” into two words.
What else should non-comic readers know about the Merc with a Mouth? Let us know in the comments.