Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Year With Marvel: Deadpool (and tacos)

A comics panel featuring a blonde white man, Longshot, jerking his thumb at Deadpool, a red-bodysuit-wearing fellow who dances around in the background clutching a bunch of tacos. Longshot's dialogue reads, 'Deadpool was brain controlled by Order, and he was going to kill you, but it looks like tacos broke the spell.' Deadpool's reads, 'Tacos!'

So I read Daniel Way’s run on DEADPOOL back in October, and I finished Fabian Nicieza’s CABLE & DEADPOOL a couple weeks ago, and while I mostly enjoyed both series I figured I didn’t have all that much to say about Deadpool. Entertaining though he was, I ultimately managed to pull myself away from the guy. It’s not like I’ve come back to him time and again in the months since he and I first met. It’s not like he’s become one of my comics touchstones.

Except for the part where he totally has.

Deadpool follows me everywhere. I waste time contemplating the extreme efficacy of his healing factor. (He can regrow his head.) I smile whenever I think of that time Squirrel Girl kicked his ass. (And he's like, "She is the scariest, most powerful superhero ever, right up there with Wolverine.") I wonder whether he’s actually a mutant or if his healing factor is entirely Weapon X’s doing, and I ask myself whether I care enough to Google it. (I don’t, though I guess CABLE & DEADPOOL more or less tells me he’s not.)

And, most of all, I think about how Deadpool’s love of tacos makes me like him far more than I might otherwise do.

I mean, Deadpool loves tacos. I love tacos. We have so much in common!

Okay, we really don’t. But I feel like Deadpool is the sort of person who’d think a shared love of tacos is pretty fucking significant. Tacos are a point of connection. They’re something we can all share, in the you eat yours and I’ll eat mine and get your fucking hands off my taco sense. Tacos truly are the perfect meal, especially before, during, or after a job where you kill a bunch of folks in exchange for money and/or goods.

(Just, maybe wash your hands if you have ‘em during or after, okay?)

Deadpool and Hydra Bob, a white man in a green bodysuit, walk through a jungle at night. Deadpool's dialogue reads, 'First, we're gonna get some tacos that you're gonna pay for. Then I'm gonna come up with a plan to punch Tiger Shark's ticket, permanent-like.' Bob's reads, 'Okay!'
From DEADPOOL (2008) #7

Let’s get something clear before we go any further: I would never, ever, ever want to meet Deadpool (even though he could probably point me towards a stellar taquería). Deadpool kills and/or maims people with hardly a quibble. He doesn’t have a filter and his respect for boundaries doesn’t even sort of match my own need to have my boundaries respected.

And yet, he’s spectacularly entertaining. He carries on complicated conversations with himself on three fronts at once, he blasts through the fourth wall because he understands he lives in a comic book, and he snarks about (and at) everything.

Plus, there’s the taco thing.

The taco thing is obviously the most important part of it all. Reading between the lines, we recognize that Deadpool doesn’t just eat tacos; he understands tacos. He gets the blend of flavour and texture; the contrast between the juicy bite of the protein and the vegetables’ crisp crunch; the spice that sticks to the roof of your mouth; the tortilla that ties the whole thing together and makes it hands-on food.

And maybe "taco" isn't as much fun to say as "chimichanga" or "enchilada," but you can't beat the taco-eating experience. Nope.

Deadpool enters a crowded restaurant. He wears a trenchcoat over his body suit. The captions read, 'This place makes the best chimichanga on the island. Don't even like chimichangas all that much. I just love saying it.'

Deadpool has favourite taquerías. He goes out of his way to visit them. Hell, he’ll take a job solely because it puts him close to the best taco truck in all the world, because what good is a successful career as a snarky mercenary if you can’t spend your earnings on the world’s finest food?

Furthermore, Deadpool himself is very like a taco. He’s got crunchy bits, spicy bits, and meaty bits, metaphorically as well as physically.

Like, he kills a lot of people, right? He’ll kill someone for pretty well any money. He finds assassination gigs on fucking Craigslist. Life ain’t sacred to Deadpool, maybe because of his healing factor, maybe because he’s so desperate to die his own self, or maybe because his mental health makes it difficult for him to fully understand that other people are people.

That’s a pretty important layer. That’s a layer you can’t even sort of ignore.

At the same time, though, he’s got his own code. Deadpool never steals anything. In fact, he often overpays to an extravagant degree. Money doesn’t mean much to this guy, except insofar as it allows him to buy more ammo, replenish his armoury, and legally acquire tacos. Because it means so little, it’s easy for him to part with.

Deadpool faces off against a large, barechested redhaired man. His dialogue reads, 'And since we have also firmly established in a foundation of mushy quicksand that the whole 'identity thing' is completely dependent on who is writing my stories--'

He does go through moral periods, too, depending on how the writer who’s got their hands on him sees him. Nicieza shows him attempting to to live up to Cable's standards, while Way takes us through his efforts to sorta-kinda be a hero.

My favourite arc of Way’s run is Volume 10, EVIL DEADPOOL. An assortment of Deadpool’s discarded body parts meld together and become--shocking twist coming up--Evil Deadpool. Once Evil Deadpool is in the mix, it’s far more obvious that Actual Deadpool isn’t as slapdash about everyone else’s safety as he at first appears. The killing-people-for-money angle is still deeply important, of course, but we become much more aware of how many people he doesn’t kill. He often tries to keep civilians out of the line of fire, for example, or to assure them they’re not his target so they won’t be as scared of him1. This element of Deadpool’s personality might not get as much page time, but it’s still very much a part of him. It just shows to better effect when contrasted with its opposite number.

Much like the disparate elements of a taco. Right? Right?

Okay. Yeah. The taco metaphor ain’t the greatest, but I’m okay with that because it gave me an excuse to ramble on about Deadpool for a wee bit and Deadpool himself is pretty great (to read about; not to interact with in any sort of in-person way. I cannot possibly stress that often enough). Tacos, too, are pretty great (to eat, to read about, and to interact with in a great many in-person ways). And I can guarantee Deadpool’s greatness wouldn’t be on my mind half so often if he didn’t love tacos, because tacos are pure culinary magic and I'm biased towards people who share my appreciation for them.

Okay? Okay.

A tiny bobblehead of Deadpool stands in a pile of tortilla chips behind two catfish tacos garnished with remoulade and jalapenos.
Tiny Deadpool likes how most tacos are bigger than he is. HEAVEN!


Should you wish to spend some quality, not-in-person time with Deadpool, and should your local library be unable to oblige, you can find him in the following places:

I receive a small percentage of the purchase price if you buy anything through the Kobo, Book Depository, or Amazon links above. Marvel Unlimited and comiXology don’t give me squat, but that’s okay. I love ‘em anyways.

(And I've gotta stress, Marvel Unlimited is more than worth the money if you're out to read a ton of comics. Look at the prices on those trade collections, then look at the one-month subscription price for Marvel Unlimited. That's excellent savings, right there.)

  1. People would probably be less terrified of him if he didn’t wear that red body suit. My mother recently won a Dr Pepper brand body suit that covers her entire head, a la Deadpool’s own mask, and it is deeply disturbing. Seeing her in it really made me realize how freaky superpeople costumes can be. You don’t get the full brunt of it in comics or on movie screens (though the stills coming out of the live-action Deadpool movie are also pretty fucking creepy).

  2. The omnibus editions are published as DEADPOOL & CABLE instead of CABLE & DEADPOOL because midway through the series Marvel was like, "Yeah, we need Cable elsewhere so you can't use him very often anymore, but you've gotta keep his name on the cover because of brand continuity." He eventually disappears from the title altogether. It's kind of hilarious.


  1. 1) Deadpool can REGROW HIS HEAD? Like if you cut off his head it would regrow? Like I guess Wolverine can do that too, but damn. I've at least had a few years to adjust to the fact of Wolverine's regenerative capabilities.

    2) Tacos are the best. Taco TRUCK tacos are even bester. I love tacos from a taco truck. That's my whole jam right there. With guacamole inside.

    1. 1) YES! And he grills Evil Deadpool to determine which of his old heads the guy possesses, so we know he's regrown his head more than once.

      2) TACOS! For all my love of tacos, I've never actually had taco truck tacos because I live in a barren wasteland when it comes to Mexican food. We have Taco Bell and this newish place called Taco Del Mar, and a few non-Mexican restaurants have stuck tacos on their menus. That's IT. I usually have to make my own damned tacos, and they're delicious but sometimes I really, really wish I had more options.

    2. Aw girl. See. If I were still in New York you could come visit me in New York and we could go watch outside movies in McCarren Park and eat taco truck tacos and drink wine out of Solo cups. Which is, like, pretty much the definition of happiness.