My friend let me borrow the last four or five comics for Deadpool. For those unaware, a few months ago, Deadpool was sent to the great beyond.
I started at Deadpool #40, “The Magic of Gracking.” The style looked like it was done in crayons to be family friendly. The fictional oil company
Exxon Roxxon paid Deadpool a lot of money to support their fracking gracking attempts, and they said everything was okay. Over the rest of the issue, they bang over your head that gracking is bad and evil, Roxxon is evil, and Sarah Silverman even shows up with super powers to tell Deadpool and the reader how evil they are.
Deadpool then goes on to help people in an undeveloped country survive against Roxxon’s attempts to kill them all. Deadpool sides with the poor people, free of charge, because he’s a nice guy.
There are two issues I have with this. First, when you do something specifically to make a political point, more often than not, it sucks. It lacks any substance aside from the propaganda, and this was 100% that. The final two comics were pretty great, as Roxxon was swept aside and became inconsequential, but before then I felt like I was in a room from 1984, being force fed information.
Let me expound. When we do art to tell the truth of the world, we are recreating the world, and through that people will glean truth. When we know the truth, form it into a baseball bat (compared to planting a seed and watching the tree grow), and proceed to club people over the head, there is no room for truth to be gleaned. There is no room for a person to grow and develop though the story, learning about themselves alongside the author. There is only room for propaganda. I’m sure they really got all the people against fracking on their side. All the green folk were out in troves, “Go Deadpool!” But I wonder how many of them read Deadpool in the first place.
Second, and actually far more important to me, they sullied Deadpool. I have to be honest, I might read a couple comics a year about him. I was informed he reached a zen-pool stage, when the comic book characters became opposites of themselves (which tells me Deadpool died in that moment). The reason Deadpool was unique, and why I liked him, is he was self-aware. He knew he was a comic book character meant to entertain, that it was all a joke, and that he was bound by shackles of ink. How do you make a true sociopath all of a sudden care about the puppets surrounding him?
I remember the zombie comic when there were kids he looked after. He barely flinched when they turned into zombies. They’re not real. He slaughtered the Marvel universe and classic literary characters to cut the strings, so he could die and no longer be stuck in that comic book. He didn’t feel bad for killing a dozen Spider-Men, because they were not real. Yet every time a Peter Parker dies, a puppy is kicked and small children learn truths reserved for adulthood, like Santa’s not real.
Suddenly in issue #40, a kid with cancer tells Deadpool the gracking is killing people, and Deadpool turns on Roxxon and their money. The Deadpool I knew and loved would say, “Kid, you don’t have cancer. You’re just here to seduce me from all this cash. Wanna swim in it later with me?” All of the people he ends up saving, in a story line which felt more inconsequential than usual for DP, weren’t real, and he knows it. And in his final moments, he should not be thinking about the protection of these poor sods who are inked in to draw appeal. He should be thinking, “FREEDOM!” He is the metaphysical Ultron, desiring no more strings, and he was given an out, finally, by his cruel overlords.
I know I wasn’t a die hard Deadpool fan. Maybe that’s why I don’t get it. But from the comics I read, from the character’s mentality and his ability to realize he’s a comic book character, I don’t get why he would ever care about the people in the comic, even if he reached a zen state. The only thing which would maybe change is his ability to enjoy it, instead of trying to gank himself.
For your own writing, watch out for the trap of becoming too political. There are always two sides. Sometimes a dozen. Even if you want to prove your point, use the art first and the truth will come through. Also, just keep your characters consistent. The readers shouldn’t look at what’s happening and think, “Body snatchers!” Yes there are moments that can redefine us, but how do you reach a turning point to shrug off knowing for a fact everyone around you is nothing but ink, fed dialogue by some greater being?
Write well, respect the art, stay consistent, guys!
Note: there is no picture, because it would have to be of Deadpool. To respect his wishes of not being utilized for the entertainment of others, I did not include such a picture. Deadpool had me type this at gunpoint.