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The Real Comic Book Inspiration For Deadpool Even Big Marvel Fans Don't Know About

Looper 9/28/2022 Russell Murray
Deadpool © 20th Century Fox Deadpool

Part-time actor and full-time internet troll Ryan Reynolds broke the internet yesterday with some jaw-dropping "Deadpool" news. With the third installment of his wildly successful R-rated superhero franchise quickly approaching, many had been wondering what could possibly be in store for the merc with a mouth. In a video announcement bolstered by Reynolds' trademark sarcasm and penchant for viral marketing, he states that he has no ideas for "Deadpool 3" — before "asking" a wandering Hugh Jackman if he'd like to return as Wolverine (per WROR). Jackman responds, "Yeah, sure."

The news of these actors uniting their iconic characters in their shared MCU debut was unimaginably exciting for fans of the series, while the unprecedented online uproar likely attracted the attention of those less familiar with Marvel's X-rated X-Man. Among fans new, old, and entirely uninitiated, they probably don't know the true origin of Wade Wilson. Many know the character is a pastiche of a well-known comic book icon — they just don't realize which one.

No, Its Not Deathstroke

Rob Liefeld © DFree/Shutterstock Rob Liefeld

Most fans attribute Deadpool's "inspiration" (to put it generously) to the DC Comics villain Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson. As Polygon recounts, Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld pitched the character concept to fellow co-creator Fabian Nicieza for "New Mutants" #98, to which the artist replied with concerns that it mirrored the preexisting "Teen Titans" baddie. Rather than abandon the project, they decided to commit to the bit by making Deadpool something of a parody character, an aspect that has been expanded greatly in the following years. While this is part of the story, it's apparently far from the whole truth.

In a 2020 interview with Flickering Myth, Liefeld somewhat contradicts the commonly accepted version of Deadpool's origin. He states that his earlier work, laded with large, super-powered military men, was actually inspired by the "G.I. Joe" franchise. He goes on to say that Cable was his "Roadblock/Duke" character. Going into "New Mutants" #98, Liefeld wanted a fitting antagonist for his "Joe"-esque hero, so he drew inspiration from another "G.I. Joe" character: Snake Eyes. "The visual language of Snake Eyes was extremely influential to me, and I couldn't wait to brand this, my own version of that, which became Deadpool," he said in the interview. Additionally, rather than attributing Deadpool's sarcastic wit to an aspect of parody, Liefeld states that it was inspired by Spider-Man's compulsion to crack jokes even in the heat of battle

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