Exclusive Preview: Deadpool Pulp

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For the last year or so, Marvel’s been releasing a set of “Marvel Noir” miniseries, reimagining their characters in a ’30s setting. Now the Luke Cage Noir writing team of Mike Benson and Adam Glass are turning their attention to another era, and another character–the insane (and insanely popular) assassin Deadpool. Deadpool Pulp, drawn by Laurence Campbell, will be released as a Marvel Knights miniseries (Marvel has yet to announce a release date).

As Benson describes it, “The ’50s was Jimmy Dean, poodle skirts, greasers and apple pie. Our nation just won the big one and was reaping the benefits of being a world power. Our families had homes, our fathers had jobs and our children were safe, thanks to men like Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, who is keeping that American dream alive — one bullet at a time.

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“We’re retelling Wade Wilson’s story, but in this case setting it in the ’50s and re-imagining the character, not giving him superpowers. In our tale, Wade is an ex-prisoner of war, now a CIA spook, going after a double agent and ex-lover by the code name Outlaw, who is going after a nuclear briefcase with very bad intentions. We play with themes of the times, like communism and the fear of nuclear war, and even use historic figures like Meyer Lansky and Fidel Castro as characters in the book. The ’50s was such a changing point for America, some would say it was the end of our innocence. This story shows we were never really that innocent.  Beneath the surface, we were not that much different than we are today, just better at hiding it.”

A few familiar elements of Deadpool stories will be sneaking into Deadpool Pulp, especially the multiple-personality voices in Wilson’s head. According to Glass, “they are a direct result of the torture he suffered as a POW in World War II. Wade’s subconscious created them as a coping device so he wouldn’t completely break at the hands of the enemy… his warped and funnier Jimmy Cricket.”

Still, Benson notes that he and Glass “wanted the tone and feel of the book to be more grounded than the main title. Sure, we have moments of levity, but we wanted the feel of the book to be like the classic films Adam and I both love: Point Blank, The Manchurian Candidate, Notorious, North By Northwest, The Deer Hunter, The Wild One, Dr. Strangelove. We are both admitted film junkies.”

Campbell says he’s drawing Deadpool Noir to look as cinematic as possible, too: “I’ve kept most of the panels on the page as widescreen to help convey that. There’s a lot of research in the script, something when drawing the pages I’m very aware of. I’ve spent time researching the time period to make sure the reader is involved in the world, and I use lighting to capture the noir feel of the story.”

As for the pulp-fiction side of Deadpool Pulp, Benson and Glass say, “we actually did a lot of research and read a ton of sleazy mystery novels and crime – spy stuff such as Waterfront Hotel and Nightmare Alley, Secret Agent X and Domino Lady. Novels primarily from the ’50s and ’60s, but some from the ’30s and ’40s. They helped us round out the world we were trying to create in our heads. But truly our inspiration was a hybrid of all these different films and pulps tossed around in a giant mixing bowl. That’s the recipe to our secret hot sauce.”

Here’s an exclusive preview of some of Campbell’s artwork for Deadpool Pulp.

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