Deadpool: The Most Unlikely Comics Superstar

By: Henry Hanks, Contributor     @hankstv /

When Deadpool first appeared in 1991's "New Mutants" #98, readers could be forgiven for not thinking he would go very far.

He was a villain in that first issue, from Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza. There was no hint of the phenomenon he would become.

Liefeld wanted a character like Wolverine with a Spider-Man attitude, but taking it even further than that. (One hint as to his nature was that his name Wade Wilson was a spoof of DC's Slade Wilson/Deathstroke.)

Deadpool's popularity grew as a violent court jester for the Marvel universe, with miniseries in 1993 and 1994.

Finally in 1997, the "merc with a mouth" got his own ongoing series, in which the character spoke directly to the audience and knew he was in a comic book.

Deadpool teamed up with Cable as the pair shared a title starting in 2004. Fans couldn't get enough of him, despite two years without his name on a title.

Daniel Way brought back Deadpool with a solo title a few years later, and the character became more tied in with absurdist humor, like with 2009's "Deadpool" #900. As Marvel realized they had a hit on their hands, he has appeared in more specials and mini-series over the years (plus his ongoing, which has continued despite renumbering for several years) in which Deadpool took on the likes of Thanos and got married.

Deadpool spoofed spinoff characters with Kidpool, Dogpool and of course, Lady Deadpool, and Marvel is currently embracing the similar popularity of Spider-Gwen with Gwenpool.

Of course, fans clamored for a movie version of Deadpool for years, but Fox's inclusion of the character - whose mouth was sewn shut, of all things - in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was widely derided.

Actor Ryan Reynolds wanted to reprise that role properly and became a champion of an R-rated "Deadpool" movie. Thanks to the fans (and the mysterious leaking of test footage), he got his wish with the 2016 movie, which was a runaway hit for Fox.

Now, Deadpool is a household name and set for a movie sequel next year, while Marvel Comics continues churning out his adventures. Suddenly, it's tough to remember the comic book world without him.