This week, Marvel Comics celebrates the 30th anniversary of Deadpool’s first appearance – Rob Liefeld’s New Mutants #98 – with Deadpool Nerdy 30, a new one-shot featuring a dozen writers and illustrators, including Liefeld and fellow Deadpool illustrators Gail Simone, Joe Kelly, and Daniel Way. With all these different artists, you can be sure that there will be some minor variables in how Deadpool’s costume will be depicted. One of the most important – now and in the past – is the way his eyes appear on the mask. How big are they? How do they work? Well, that depends on who you ask… …and also their proximity to Spider-Man.
He was always a touchstone for Liefeld, and that helped him score his final Mercedes shot with a bang. But aside from that minor change, Liefeld says he’s glad that Deadpool’s design has remained largely unchanged for three decades.
So it was based on Spider-Man at the time, and as we know, Todd [McFarlane’s] Spider-Man, who was also posing as Eric Larsen at the time, and shortly after Bagley, Liefeld said. Very big eyes. So I went into it with my eyes wide open, and I thought graphically it was very good. I can tell you that his costume has hardly changed. He added longer stockings, but it’s red and black, or red and gray, depending on the color. Some people give him more belts. I’m all about belts. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t given him enough to hold on to. I am: The man gave him three more belts than I did. It actually looks pretty cool with belts, with lots of stuff, so you can never do enough. But the big eyes were actually a product of ….. It’s funny, I did a Spider-Man and Deadpool cover for those 30 by 30 covers I do for Marvel. And I wanted to see how Spider-Man’s big eyes were drawn now, and if I was really gone. And to be fair, Spider-Man’s eyes are much smaller now. They’re back to pre-McFarlane greatness. That’s what brought me back. You know what this is, Jim? Some artists paint the laces of Batman’s helmet to a height of 10 cm. Some people draw them 2 cm high. I think Frank Miller was the first one to really make her look bad in The Dark Knight. And then there are guys like Bill Sienkiewicz who say: I can do this from 10 feet away. After playing Deadpool in Nerd Herd 30, I found the middle ground, but there’s no reason why those big eyes can’t come back full time, right? …. There was a period in the mid-2000s, man, where costumes changed drastically, whether it was Cap or Thor. On the other hand, I got a reference for Thor, and I didn’t know he’d been wearing the fifth version of his costume for a few years now. So I find myself in a sea of change. I’m glad Deadpool stayed in the spotlight for the most part.
Of course, Liefeld always returns to Deadpool, which remains one of his most popular skits at conventions and other events. Every time we see him draw a character, we notice it almost as much as the changes to the actual Marvel model.
Deadpool Nerdy 30 #1 is available now in comic shops or digitally on platforms like ComiXology.