Comics
Published November 4, 2022

Alyssa Wong on Writing Marvel’s Mouthiest Merc

We spoke to the creator about their unique vision on the latest ‘Deadpool’ run, plus what’s next for Wade Wilson!

For the past couple of years, writer Alyssa Wong has been making a home in the odd parts of the Marvel Universe and beyond, whether that means anointing a new claimant to the title of IRON FIST or stretching into a galaxy far away with STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA. However, it’s unlikely any of these assignments prepared Wong for calling shots on one of comics’ most unique protagonists as the new writer of DEADPOOL (2022), whose first issue is available in comic shops this very week!

Cover to DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Martin Coccolo and Neeraj Menon.
Cover to DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Martin Coccolo and Neeraj Menon.

We grilled Wong with an intensive line of questioning regarding Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth and could not have predicted where the conversation would go. However, after reviewing our dialogue, perhaps you will understand what makes this writer uniquely suited for the world of Wade Wilson!

How did you first encounter Deadpool as a fan and reader?

ALYSSA WONG: Okay, don’t laugh at me, but the very first time I saw anything Deadpool-related was a Deadpool-themed waffle maker at Hot Topic. Which, honestly, is very on-brand for Deadpool.

I’m kidding!! But I do love the waffle maker and I’m still a little bummed out that I didn’t buy it.

Jokes aside, Deadpool’s kind of hard to miss! Based on his first appearance date, he’s actually older than me—which, wild? What that means, though, is that he’s been around my whole life. My first exposure to Deadpool as a character was at Hot Topic. I didn’t actually have the means to read Deadpool comics until much later, but there were pretty active fan communities in my periphery. It was always fun to peek at comic screenshots and read fan comics! My very first official Deadpool comic was probably Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne’s 2015 run…which I’ll talk [a little more about]!

What are some of your favorite Deadpool stories and runs by other creators?

ALYSSA WONG: Oh man, all of Gerry Duggan’s DEADPOOL, but especially that very first 2015 arc with Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Val Staples, and Joe Sabino. The one with the fleet of Deadpools for Hire and the grand franchisement of Deadpool. It’s such a fun concept!

I’m also a big fan of DEADPOOL: THE GAUNTLET, the Infinite Comic by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, Reilly Brown, and Joe Sabino again! In addition to being probably my favorite Deadpool story, it’s such an [unusual] format. I really enjoy messing around with form, so that was a treat!

Why do you think Deadpool has not only endured as a popular character since the 90s, but actually grown in profile?

ALYSSA WONG: I honestly think it’s because Deadpool’s just fun. He’s built for comedy! He’s clever but has poor judgment, accomplished but plays the fool, and he’s pretty much impossible to kill. People who identify with him and people who want to kick him off a building will both have a great time. Sometimes they’re the same people. He’s fun to pair up with straight-laced characters, and he adds a tasty element of chaos to any team book.

I also think he appeals to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. If you like splashy, over-the-top violence? Here’s Deadpool! If you like a smart-aleck who flirts with everyone and has a rolodex of messy relationships, both romantic and platonic? Here’s Deadpool! If you like physical comedy and playful fourth-wall-breaking? Here’s Deadpool! He can play the hero or the villain, but he’s always kind of an outsider—that weird guy who exists in morally gray territory, always on the outside looking in.

You should, uh, probably close those curtains.

Were you approached to write this book or did you pitch for it?

ALYSSA WONG: Kind of both! I was talking with editor Jordan White and he asked me if there was an X-Book I’d really like to write. DEADPOOL came up organically, and when I was talking about what made me excited about him, I sort of accidentally pitched the concept for the book?

I didn’t actually realize I’d gotten the book until like…maybe a week after our second or third conversation? I was just so jazzed about the concept that I was like, “Haha, this would be so fun to do if I got the chance!” And it didn’t hit me until a couple drafts into the pitch document that the chance was already mine. Sorry, Jordan! Also, thank you!

Did you hesitate at this opportunity at all or were you excited?

ALYSSA WONG: [Laughs] Well, as I mentioned above, I was so excited that I forgot to hesitate? By the time it occurred to me, I was already well into the process. Which, in retrospect, was kind of the best way to do it.

I read an excellent thread once—and to my shame, I can’t remember who wrote it—about how writing licensed characters is like being a cover band performing a popular song. I think about that a lot. Deadpool is a character with a lot of history, and that can be a little intimidating. But ultimately, this is just my cover—and I’m here to have fun. I hope you’ll have fun, too!

How does Deadpool compare to some of your past assignments at Marvel and elsewhere?

ALYSSA WONG: I’ve never written a character quite as mouthy as Deadpool! I do love to write sarcastic, biting characters, but they tend to be a lot colder—White Fox, Lady Deathstrike, Agony—or otherwise heroic—Iron Fist, Shang-Chi. One fun learning curve has been to add more words rather than trim them down. Luckily, I have a great editorial team!

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA is probably the closest thing I’ve written to DEADPOOL. Aphra is a fast-talking queer disaster space archaeologist with a powerful self-sabotaging streak and talent for causing chaos everywhere she goes. She’s teamed up with—and pissed off—people all over the galaxy. Really, it’s a gift. Writing DOCTOR APHRA taught me to lean into my weird, cut deep into characters’ hearts, and cause problems like it’s my last day on earth. I’m bringing all of that energy to DEADPOOL.

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What’s the high concept for this series? What’s your elevator pitch?

ALYSSA WONG: It’s Deadpool’s lucky day! He’s won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to audition for the Atelier, an elite, fashionable group of killers for hire. All he has to do to join their ranks—and impress one very cute member—is assassinate Doctor Octopus in 48 hours. How hard could that be?

But before Wade can complete his mission, he’s kidnapped by the Harrower, a master of bio-fusion and bio-fission! She’s planted something strange in his guts…and it’s growing. Can Deadpool escape before his passenger hatches, assassinate a Super Villain, and score a date with his beautiful colleague-to-be? Only one way to find out!

The quick pitch: The body horror romantic comedy that asks, “What if Deadpool was an organ farm, and also how do you feel about botflies?”

Preview page from DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Alyssa Wong, Martin Coccolo, and Neeraj Menon.
Preview page from DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Alyssa Wong, Martin Coccolo, and Neeraj Menon.

You're teamed with Martin Coccolo on this book, a real rising star artist. What has he brought to the table so far and how are you finding the collaborative process?

ALYSSA WONG: Oh, Martin is incredible! I love his work so much. You want someone who can do it all—riveting action scenes, beautiful character acting, unsettling horror, hilarious physical comedy? Martin is your guy. This run is such a fun collaboration! He’s defined the look and vibe of this book. And Neeraj Manon, who is our colorist, brings everything to life in an incredibly vivid way. I love his work too.

Also, I really appreciate that Martin gets my stupid jokes. I hope he likes them! My goal when I write a script is always to make sure everyone on the team has fun. I try to tailor each script to the individual artist because I want to give them the chance to draw whatever they enjoy most. Martin makes it a pleasure! His work is playful and exciting, and it’s just beautiful. This book is a pleasure to look at.

Will we see any familiar elements of the Deadpool mythos like supporting cast or recurring villains early in your run?

ALYSSA WONG: That’s a great question! I wanted to start fresh with issue #1, so we’ll be seeing a lot of new faces and new characters, including some I’m very excited about. But I wouldn’t rule out some familiar faces coming back further down the line! And, of course, this arc features a certain Spidey villain I adore!

There are a couple of previously established, non-recurring Deadpool villains/supporting cast characters who I’m stoked to feature in this arc! One is Harriet Bromes, AKA the Harrower, who debuted in “Curse of the Man-Thing” and was created by Steve Orlando and Carmen Carnero. She’s great and I’m so glad I’m getting to bring her into this story!

As for the other character…well, here’s your hint: I’ve written this person before. But you’ll just have to wait and see!

If anybody is still on the fence about picking up DEADPOOL #1, what would you say to them?

ALYSSA WONG: Honestly, I’d pick this up for Martin and Neeraj’s art alone. When you see this book, you’ll have a religious experience. I definitely did.

That being said, I’ve had so much fun writing this story! And it really shows on the page. This feels like the culmination of the increasingly weird—and thirsty—stuff I’ve been exploring in other books, so if that’s your jam? I think you’re really going to like this DEADPOOL run!

If you already love Wade Wilson, welcome back! And if you’ve never read DEADPOOL before? That’s totally fine! This is a great place to jump in because you don’t need to know anything beforehand. You just have to be down for a wild, chaotic, slightly sweaty ride. If you’re brand new to DEADPOOL and you choose to pick up our book, thank you—it’s an honor to be your first DEADPOOL, and I hope you have a great time!

Preview page from DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Alyssa Wong, Martin Coccolo, and Neeraj Menon.
Preview page from DEADPOOL (2022) #1 by Alyssa Wong, Martin Coccolo, and Neeraj Menon.

Hop on board and enjoy the ride in DEADPOOL #1 from Alyssa Wong and company, available in print and digital comic shops now!

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