Spider-Man and Deadpool Make a Break for Meta in ‘Spider-Man/Deadpool #49’
"Deadpool is FREAKED OUT."
While Spider-Man doesn’t normally break the fourth wall, Deadpool makes asides to the audience all the time. But the breaking of the fourth wall in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #49, available now, will be unlike anything either of them has ever experienced.
Writer Robbie Thompson took some time to explain to us the duo’s journey beyond their four-color world and how that propels them into their big, upcoming 5-0 issue.
Marvel.com: Deadpool has long broken the proverbial fourth wall but usually just in errant lines here and there. How would you compare and contrast his experiences with it in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #49?
Robbie Thompson: Well, in the past, Deadpool has always been able to "turn to camera" and talk to his readers. But in our current arc, we've really leaned into the meta and as a result, Deadpool is FREAKED OUT.
We've been openly discussing what Wade's wall-breaking does to his relationships and how much of a “security blanket” it can be for him. A Galactus-level, world-ending monster known as the Manipulator has attacked the Earth. And in the process, he's changed everything for Deadpool by taking his blankie away and restoring the fourth wall.
So, Deadpool is having a bit of an existential crisis. But he’s got Spider-Man to get him through this, and hey, he's still Deadpool, so he's totally gonna enjoy losing his mind, too.
Marvel.com: Spider-Man, on the other hand, has significantly less experience with this. How does he react to it? Does having Deadpool along with him help or hinder his abilities to adapt?
Robbie Thompson: Spider-Man doesn't believe it! How can they be in a comic book?! Spider-Man has taken all of Deadpool's meta commentary in stride over the years, but now that the world is in world-ending danger, and Deadpool is distracted trying to "talk to his readers" and claiming that he and Spider-Man have all really been living in a comic book this whole time, Spider-Man is both worried and annoyed with his on-again-off-again partner.
He needs Deadpool to focus so they can stop the Manipulator. But the more they stumble down the rabbit-hole of what the Manipulator has done to the Marvel Universe, the more Spider-Man starts to realize that Deadpool might be right. So, having someone who "gets it" helps, but it's also Wade, so you know that "help" comes with a side of foolishness and madness as well.
Marvel.com: As a writer, what challenges does breaking the fourth wall present? What advantages? Thrills?
Robbie Thompson: It's tricky! To be honest, it's always terrifying to go meta. But there's such a strong, rich history of Deadpool crossing over into our world that it felt like a perfect place to take them BOTH in this arc, leading up to the big fiftieth issue.
Marvel.com: How did you and Jim Towe collaborate together? How does his art style facilitate this merger of the comic and "real" world?
Robbie Thompson: I've known Jim for years. We're both from Michigan and we have a great shorthand. I'd been dying to work with him, and I was thrilled when Nick Lowe and Kathleen Wisneski, who used to edit the book, brought him on board.
Jim's style is so perfect for this story. He's able to make things both "real" and "comic book," but also bring his own voice to the crazy story we're telling. We text all the time about what's coming up in an issue, what he's itching to draw, and things in the story he wants to explore as well. Then I write pretty loosely, and once he gets the script, we trade more texts as he puts his stamp on the book.
It's the same with Matt Horak as well. Being able to work with Jim and Matt on the last handful of arcs has been so much fun. Both guys bring a completely unique sensibility to the book, and we really take advantage of that in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #50 (on sale May 8). We're also now captained by Jake Thomas, whom I've worked with before, and Jake is a champion of going gonzo and meta. He had an idea for #50 which is pure gold/insanity and I can't wait to see brought to life.
Marvel.com: Breaking the fourth wall has an interesting history in comics. Considering how iconic some stories are (like SHE-HULK, the recent GWENPOOL, DEADPOOL in the past) how intimidating was it for you to take it on?
Robbie Thompson: We had the idea for this arc in mind when I first pitched on this book years ago. But then when we got to the Manipulator, Nick and Kathleen had an idea that was so bonkers that I couldn't wait to write it. And like I said before, it's always scary going meta. You want to honor what's come before, you want to push the boundaries as far as you can -- but you also don't break anything in the process. We go pretty out there in this next couple issues but I'm pretty excited about where we landed.
Marvel.com: How has your view on each of the characters evolved during your run on the title? How have you been utilizing that evolving perspective to inform the direction you are taking the book?
Robbie Thompson: I have a life-long love of Spider-Man and have written him in the past. It was interesting finding a balance early on since they're both funny characters. Sometimes Spider-Man is the straight man, which felt a little odd at first. But it also works, and at the end of the day, one of Peter's best qualities is caring. He just cares so damn much! Even when it hurts him! And even though Deadpool is an anti-hero, they've gotten close over the years. There's a friendship there that's been earned.
I didn't really know much Deadpool when I started, but in going back and reading Gerry Duggan's epic run on the character, I really fell in love with Wade. Gerry put so much emotion and heart in those comics, and it really informed how we viewed him and his friendship with Spider-Man in this comic.
Marvel.com: Looking beyond #49, anything you'd like to tease? What can SM/DP fans anticipate?
Robbie Thompson: Issue #50 of SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL is absolute insanity. You won't want to miss Spider-Man and Deadpool's final confrontation with the Manipulator. It's a huge game-changer for the book and the entire Marvel Universe!*
*Disclaimer: In my opinion.
Marvel.com: For anyone still sitting the fence, why should they jump on SM/DP now?
Robbie Thompson: This current arc features EVERY amazing Marvel Character you can think of, and most of them get killed off! Except Spider-Man and Deadpool. Wait, no, we kill Deadpool, too. Look, it's gonna be a ton of fun, a lot of meta-madness, and some crazy reveals. Come join us!
The Hype Box
Can’t-miss news and updates from across the Marvel Universe!