Next month the Deadpool movie hits theaters, and ‘Pool fans around the world are rejoicing that the popular anti-hero is finally being realized on the big screen accurately. Except, Deadpool wasn’t always the fourth-wall-breaking jokester that is making the movie one comic fans can’t wait to see. In fact, when Deadpool was introduced 25 years ago he was the exact opposite.
Deadpool was co-created by Rob Liefeld and Fabien Nicieza back in 1991 when the two were working on New Mutants (a couple issues later the book would be re-named X-Force). Liefeld came up with the look of him, and Nicieza named him Wade Wilson after realizing he was basically a rip off of DC Comics’ Deathstroke who was named Slade Wilson.
For the first six years of his existence in comics, Deadpool was a serious character. He wasn’t the humorous character that has become very popular over the last fifteen years or so. From New Mutants #98 through the 1994 mini-series that Mark Waid wrote, Deadpool was basically Marvel’s version of Deathstroke.
That all changed when Deadpool was given an on-going series in 1997 written by Joe Kelly:
It’s then that Deadpool became funny. That’s when the Deadpool fans know and love was born. Not when Liefeld and Nicieza created the character, but when Joe Kelly started writing his solo ongoing series.
That’s not to say that New Mutants #98 doesn’t hold value. It is the first appearance of “Deadpool”, but if you want the first appearance of the characters that star in the upcoming movie you’ll want to hunt down a copy of Deadpool #1 from 1997. That’s where the fourth-wall-breaking begins, as well as where characters such as Big Al are first introduced. So don’t sell your kidney to buy New Mutants #98 from some comic shop that’s trying to fleece fans due to the movie, look for the 1997 on-going series. You’ll save some money and find a much more recognizable Deadpool in it.