The saying goes that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then quite a few characters must feel pretty flattered by Deadpool.
Due to Deadpool’s self-awareness, he’s quite cognizant of comic book tropes, and can often be as eager to interact with other famous comic characters as his fans are. Some fans have dubbed him Marvel’s Bugs Bunny since he’s always quick to spout off pop culture references, or even outright copy what his competitors are doing.
If you believe that the good ones borrow while the greats outright steal, then Deadpool would have to be one of the greats. Right from his start, he’s been shown to have no qualms about mimicking his peers. Sometimes it’s just for a gag, but other times Deadpool’s theft has played a major role in the evolution of his character.
Nobody can stay mad about Deadpool stealing, though, so here’s a fun look at those who have inspired the Merc with a Mouth. Here are 15 Times Deadpool Copied Other Comic Book Characters.
We may as well get the obvious candidate out of the way first. Unless you truly have no knowledge of Deadpool, then you already know he was Marvel’s response to DC’s Deathstroke. Deathstroke was introduced during a time when gritty and dark characters were a novelty, and people were starting to find the whole thing rather silly. So Marvel introduced Wade Wilson as Deadpool to offer some commentary on Slade Wilson.
To be fair, initially Deadpool was a more serious anti-hero, much like Deathstroke. So at first it was just their appearances that were incredibly similar. But then, as Deadpool evolved, he developed into the jokester personality that fans associate with him today. Wade and Slade have never officially mixed it up, despite all the potential there is between them, but judging by how Deadpool interacts with serious Marvel characters like the Punisher, we can’t imagine Wade would treat his inspiration with much respect.
14. WOLVERINE’S HEALING FACTOR
As long as we are getting the obvious instances of copying out of the way, we have to talk about Deadpool’s connection to Wolverine. A lot of you will probably point out that Daken and X-23 also possess healing factors, so it’s not like Wolverine has some exclusive claim to that power, but he’s definitely the originator of it. After all, it’s no coincidence that X-23 and Daken have such strong connections to Logan’s story. It’s also not mere chance that Deadpool is a frequent friend and enemy to Logan.
Like Deadpool copying Deathstroke, this is an instance where Deadpool took someone else’s gimmick, tweaked it to do his own thing, and it has become part of the core of who he is. It’s pretty widely accepted among fans that Deadpool has the superior healing factor to Logan at this point. It allows him to survive his cancer, to regrow limbs, and even to survive having his head chopped off.
Logan has survived some pretty nasty stuff, but his healing abilities fluctuate pretty wildly in terms of what his capabilities, while Deadpool is now pretty consistently depicted as near indestructible.
13. CHANGING IN A PHONE BOOTH LIKE SUPERMAN
The recent teaser for Deadpool 2 served up a lot of funny moments in short order to help prep fans for the release of the full-length movie next year. The scene whet the appetite of fans by showing what Deadpool would go through trying to switch into his suit on the fly when attempting save an innocent bystander. The moment even included a Stan Lee cameo, though Deadpool’s rescue of the civilian still needs some work.
The whole scene was a parody of Superman’s signature outfit swap that he conducts by hopping in a phone booth to change, and jumping out moments later fully prepared to be a hero. Wade Wilson showed how impractical changing in a phone booth is, what with the confined space to dress, the time swapping outfits would actually take, and the whole matter of the booths being made of glass so any bystander would be able to see the hero naked. The civilian wound up dead by the time Deadpool was able to spring into action, so it’s unlikely he’ll decide to steal Superman’s trademark dressing room again.
12. BECAME A HULK
This is one instance of Deadpool copying another character where he was just one of many at Marvel doing it. Admittedly saying “all my friends were doing it” is usually a bad excuse for giving in to peer pressure, but in this case it can be forgiven what everyone was doing was getting cool Hulk powers. As these Marvel events tend to go, an unusual trend gets thrown into the world and it affects all the heroes in it. Sometimes that trend is stuff like zombies, but in this case it was everyone getting Hulkified.
The gist of the story is villains trying to create an army of Hulks to achieve world domination, and a big confrontation against Red Hulk. But the cool part is we get to see versions of heroes who usually have nowhere near Hulk’s strength suddenly get super bulky and strong. People like Spider-Man and Cyclops become Spider-Hulk and Hulklops respectively, and yes, there is a Hulkpool.
True to character, Hulkpool is as much of an instigator as his non-Hulk counterpart and is generally a source of grief for the other heroes thanks to his super strength, a time machine, and his typical hankering for stirring up trouble.
11. BECAME A FAKE THOR
While stealing Deathstroke’s look has had no consequences for Wade, not everyone is as willing to let Deadpool get away with this move. One example was Thor, who takes his status as a god pretty seriously.
Leave it to someone like Loki to push Thor’s buttons by making Deadpool, of all people, into a fake Thor. Deadpool got his very own winged helmet, a knock-off version of Mjolnir, and even switched up his speaking patterns to old English. Needless to say, the real Thor wasn’t amused.
Deadpool tried to take on the real Thor in a battle of the thunder gods, which went about as well as you’d expect. Thor got sick of Deadpool’s mockery pretty quickly, and disarmed Wade of the fake Mjolnir. With both hammers in hand, Thor waited for Deadpool to get in close and then sandwiched Wade’s head between the blows of both hammers. It left Deadpool out cold, and when he woke up, he had been relieved of his Thor cosplay.
10. WORE THE IRON MAN SUIT
After how badly the whole incident with Deadpool dressing up as Thor went, you’d think he would have figured out that other heroes aren’t cool with him stealing their outfits. Or maybe he knows and just doesn’t care. One good thing about Deadpool’s healing factor is he doesn’t have to worry about dying when people are angry at his, since he’s so resilient. That probably explains why Deadpool thought it would be a good idea to steal Iron Man’s armor in 2016.
It’s hard to blame Deadpool for his coveting the Iron Man armor since flight is something even Wade can’t experience. While he was at one of Tony Stark’s parties, Deadpool took the time to root through Tony’s stuff once the billionaire was unconscious. Deadpool flew around, got drunk, and fought crime, pretty much living up to the Stark reputation. Of course, the fun stopped once Tony regained consciousness, but Deadpool still had the memories to comfort him – even if he lost another superhero’s trust.
9. BECAME A SUPER-SOLDIER
When it’s time for a new character to take up the mantle of a classic hero, there is always going to be some contention over the transition period. We’ve seen it plenty of times over the last few years, with instances like Jane Foster becoming Thor, Riri Williams becoming the new Iron Man, and X-23 taking over the role of Wolverine. Naturally, it eventually became Captain America’s turn and we were left to wonder who would follow in the footsteps of Steve Rogers. Marvel decided to give some answers as to who wouldn’t be, doing so in the form of “Captain America: Who Won’t Wield the Shield.”
This story poke fun at a lot of the habits that fans were critical of Marvel for, using several different mini stories featuring characters like Doctor Strange taking on the duties of Captain America. One habit that fans were growing tired of was the oversaturation of Deadpool into other stories, so to poke fun of themselves, so Marvel imagined what Deadpool would be like in Captain America’s historical backstory.
This version of Deadpool got out of the war by smoking so much that it was mistaken for chemical warfare, leading to a gas mask becoming his heroic mask this time around. But all hope for Deadpool to play a role in the war wasn’t over yet, because he got offered a role to be a Super-Soldier just like Steve Rogers.
8. WAS THE FIRST TO WEAR THE SYMBIOTE
Everyone knows the story of how the symbiote became a regular part of the Marvel universe. Or at least they think they do.
The story we all know is that the symbiote bonded onto Spider-Man and gave him the spiffy new black suit. Eventually Spidey realized the black suit was sentient and was impacting his personality, so he discovered the symbiote’s sensitivity to loud noises and set out to get rid of it. He did his best Hunchback of Notre Dame routine by climbing into a bell tower and using the gonging of the bell to make the symbiote separate from his body. From there the alien found and bonded with Eddie Brock, and Venom was born!
The problem is, this story changed thanks to Deadpool. We found out that Peter and Eddie weren’t the first to wear the symbiote suit after all, and that it was actually Deadpool who wore it first. Deadpool quickly shed himself of the alien, but the symbiote’s exposure to Deadpool’s mind drove it insane and filled it with murderous intentions.
7. STOLE DEATH FROM THANOS
Everyone knows that Deadpool has a healing factor, so you might assume that’s the sole reason he has such a tough time dying. But there’s more to it than that, thanks to another instance of Deadpool stealing from someone. In this case, Deadpool made the mistake of stealing from one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains: Thanos. And it’s not like he copied the outfit of Thanos or anything small like that; Deadpool stole Thanos’s love.
Thanos loves Death— literally. Death is a person in Marvel, and Thanos is romantically interested in her. He’s so interested that he once destroyed something like half the universe, trying impress her with how much death he could cause. But like a teenager getting their heart broken, Thanos had to learn that his boo was interested in someone else—Deadpool.
Deadpool straight up stole the interest of Death away from Thanos, and Thanos was furious when he found out. He was so angry that he decided to curse Deadpool with immortality just so that Deadpool would never die and have the opportunity to be with Death.
6. STARTED “MERCS FOR MONEY”
Hero for Hire was originally one of the nicknames attributed to Luke Cage, similar to how Deadpool is often called the Merc with a Mouth. It was because Luke Cage was one of the rare heroes who decided he deserved some compensation for his heroics and would charge a fee for his help. Eventually Cage turned this into a superhero team for other like-minded heroes who were interested in collecting some payment for their hard work. Even in Deadpool worked with them before in the ’90s. Maybe he enjoyed the experience, because years later he decided to start his own version of the group.
Unfortunately for Deadpool, theft is real even in comic books. When Luke Cage found out what Deadpool was doing, he didn’t go the route of beating up Wade like typically happens with superheroes. Instead, Cage went the legal route.
Daredevil is a lawyer when he’s not in costume, so Matt Murdock and Cage began filing a lawsuit against Deadpool. Deadpool can fight a lot of things, but he can’t fight the law, so he quickly changed the name of his group to the Mercs for Money to avoid having the pants sued off him.
5. COPYING SPIDER-MAN’S COMIC COVER
While an homage is much less of a big deal than straight-up lifting details from another character’s personality or superpowers, Deadpool still copies from all sorts. It’s no secret that Deadpool has been inspired by Spider-Man, both within the realm of his story, and in real life. In fact, Spidey has become one of Deadpool’s most frequent buddies to do team-ups with. Of course, Wade wouldn’t be able to resist paying tribute to Marvel’s poster boy at some point.
Homages through comic book covers are nothing new, but you still don’t see too many where the characters go out of their way to make it happen as much as the one for Deadpool # 11. Deadpool doesn’t even have flight or web-slinging powers, but that didn’t stop him from mimicking Spidey’s trademark acrobatics for this cover. With a civilian tucked under one arm, Deadpool soared between skyscrapers, and even had his suit done up in the signature red and blue of the wall crawler.
In case that was still too subtle for you, the top corner also featured Deadpool in another signature Spidey pose where he crawled on all fours like a spider, just to make this case of copying totally blatant.
4. MIMICKING THE BATMAN SLAPPING ROBIN MEME
If you’re even semi familiar with internet memes, you have likely come across the one of Batman slapping Robin at some point. The most famous version of it involves Robin asking Batman about his parents only for the Dark Knight to respond by slapping his protégé and shouting “MY PARENTS ARE DEEAAAAAAAD!!!” There have been tons and tons of other iterations on the panel as people put their own humorous spin on it. It’s become so famous that even Marvel got in on the fun.
An alternate cover for All-New Wolverine was focused on X-23 in her new role taking on Logan’s mantle what with him being dead. Issue #4 had a variant cover poking fun at Logan’s death in true internet meme style. Deadpool was on the cover asking how Logan was doing, but X-23 cut him off with a slap and shouting “LOGAN IS DEEAAAAAAAD!!!”
It’s no surprise that Deadpool mimicked Batman, but what will be a surprise is whether or not the joke will still make sense in like ten years. If Logan doesn’t stay dead, the joke won’t exactly have much of a punchline anymore.
3. THE WALKING DEAD
Not only does Deadpool copy other characters, but he’ll straight up copy an entire comic book series. If he’s going to copy one, The Walking Dead certainly isn’t a bad choice. After all, the story has been adapted into one of the most popular shows currently on TV. Night of the Living Deadpool was released after The Walking Dead had created a boom in popularity for zombies, so references to the series were really just inevitable.
The story kicked off with Walking Dead references right out of the gate, having Deadpool wake up from a coma after he had eaten too many chimichangas and passed out. When he woke up, he found warnings that the dead were locked outside. This is of course highly reminiscent of the opening to The Walking Dead where Rick was in a coma after being shot, and woke up in the hospital to the zombie apocalypse.
In truth Night of the Living Deadpool borrows from a ton of zombie pop culture, including the likes of Zombieland and obvious candidates like Night of the Living Dead. But The Walking Dead references didn’t stop at the intro, and Deadpool had a lot more to copy as the storyline played out.
2. STOLE CYCLOPS’ EYE LASER, AND NIGHTCRAWLER’S TELEPORTING IN X-MEN ORIGINS
Though the Deadpool of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one that most fans would rather forget due to how unfaithful his depiction was, he still got a pretty nice mixture of powers. This Deadpool was really just a chimera comprised of the abilities of other powerful mutants. It made him a lethal threat, but it just wasn’t what Deadpool was supposed to be.
This version of Wade not only had a healing factor like Wolverine, but also had Wolverine’s adamantium blades coming out of his arms like swords. In addition to that, he also was capable of teleporting like Nightcrawler, something he put to great use to fight Wolverine and Sabretooth at the same time. And if all that wasn’t enough, he also had ranged attacks at his disposal due to being able to fire optic blasts like Cyclops. But Deadpool’s eye lasers were even better than Scott’s because Deadpool had control over when his fired without having to rely on wearing an inhibitor visor.
1. COPIES RYU’S SHORYUKEN
Ryu isn’t someone who exactly leaps out to most people when thinking about comic book characters, but there have been Street Fighter comics. Apparently Deadpool is a fan of Street Fighter too, because he has been quite happy to bust out one of the game’s signature moves against his opponent. It all started in Deadpool’s comics where he was looking for someone to fight him and finally settled on trying to provoke Wolverine into a tussle. Logan was refusing at first because he was out with Kitty Pryde at the time, and the two were just trying to enjoy themselves. So Deadpool asked Kitty if she played Street Fighter and before she could answer, Deadpool launched her into the sky with one of Ryu’s Shoryuken uppercuts.
The panel is pretty funny and well-known online, but it’s not the only instance of Deadpool using Ryu’s moves. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Deadpool finally made it into the game, and likely thanks to his moment of using it in the comics, one of Deadpool’s attacks was also a Shoryuken. It’s especially humorous since Ryu is one of the franchise’s regular characters, so Deadpool finally had a chance to bust out the move against its originator.
Are there any other good moments you can think of when Deadpool copied other comic books? Sound off in the comments and let us hear them!