They say laughter is the best medicine, the same could be said for the merc with a mouth that is Deadpool. Alongside co-writer, Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan has become a fan favourite. A former writer of geek culture series, Attack of the Show, he’s starting to expand his talents on various titles such as Nova and more recently Hulk.
In October, he’s a taking a trip to Arkham Manor as Bruce Wayne converts his stately Wayne Manor into a house for Gotham’s criminally insane. Like many creators who come to a convention over here, he’s finally found a way to make it to these shores. Comic Conventions spoke him about his career, Deadpool, Nova and about the green guy who wears torn purple denim.
What was the first ever comic you bought?
I was given lots of Spidey, Hulk and Batman by my folks. I started buying them with money I was earning by mowing lawns. I was buying every week by fourth grade. I can’t recall the first, but I remember checking the stationery store every week to make sure I collected Secret Wars.
On your site it says “writer/director living in Los Angeles” How do you balance writing for various mediums?
It’s advantageous to diversify. I loved comics, but there are a lot of opportunities for writers in Los Angeles. I really enjoy making television and video games too. I’m planning to write and direct a film in the near future. Collaborating on these projects is a real treat. If you can do one, you can probably do them all. The mediums all have the same cornerstone: they’re all visual.
Let’s talk about Deadpool you’ve become a fan favourite with the character, how can you describe his popularity?
I can’t take any credit for Deadpool’s popularity. He was a character at cruising altitude when I began writing him. I’m glad the stories I’m telling have resonated with Deadpool fans. I’m hopeful we made some Deadpool fans along the way. Now might be a good time to mention that the Hawkeye VS Deadpool mini-series and the Death Of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America are some of my favourite Deadpool stories. If you’re reading our ongoing, you’ll definitely want to pick up those comics. The latter is a spiritual epilogue to The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.
Is there anything you’d like to do with the character, but can’t?
We have yet to find that red line. Marvel has let us tell the story we’ve wanted to tell. It’s not that we’re not pushing things, it’s just that we’ve been permitted to go to the dark places we’ve requested. It will be interesting to see what reaction Deadpool 34 receives. There’s a lot of story that will spin out of our Original Sin chapter.
Deadpool is quite well known for humour, what’s it like co-writing with Brian Posehn?
More fun than you could possibly imagine. Honestly though, we don’t get to write in the same room any more, we’re both too busy.
What’s it like handling humour with action on that book?
I try to write for Wade Wilson, the man under the mask. The story comes first, then the gags. There are days that the comedy is easy, and other times when it’s still being polished on the way out the door to the printer. I can’t give enough credit to our artists. Mike Hawthorne, Scott Koblish and even guys like Declan Shalvey, who might not be noted humorists, these guys probably are wholly responsible for some of your favorite gags.
We try to let all our artists be themselves, whether that’s Tony Moore or John Lucas. That’s a murderer’s row of talented artists. Mike Hawthorne is drawing the next arc, and he and Terry Pallot are doing some wonderfully beautiful work. Our Axis tie-in finds Deadpool at a crossroads. Is he a merc? A husband? A father? A…murderer? Now that he’s free of Butler – who does he want to be? The humor is the pressure release.
With the recent Guardians of The Galaxy film do you think there’s more impetus on Marvel’s cosmic books especially Nova?
I’m proud of this run of Nova. It’s seen three writers and the same number of lead editors, but I think the tone is consistent and fun. Sam is making up being a hero and the man of the house as he goes along. He’s the quintessential inexperienced, underdog hero, and I love him.
You’ve recently begun writing Hulk, do you think Peter David and Bill Mantlo’s influence is still felt on the book?
For sure. You’re talking about two writers that left indelible marks on the Hulk. The one thing I try not to do is “play the hits”. I never thought I would get a shot to write Hulk, and I want to leave some toys in the toy box after. Doc Green is a blast to write because he’s so unpredictable. The Extremis created a new intelligence in the Hulk, and this new persona is a tremendous amount of fun to write. If these Hulk issues are half as much fun to read as they are to write, we’ll be fine.
Hulk has undergone many personality changes over the years, how do you answer critics that the Hulk shouldn’t be intelligent?
I inherited a smart Hulk from the outcome of Original Sin, and I’m grateful for the chance to write this run. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have picked an intelligent Hulk to write, however I’m grateful that is how it worked out because Doc Green is going to surprise some people.
You recently said that Doc Green is “scary” what will be his position in the Marvel Universe?
To be determined. I’m more interested in what fans think. Is he a hero? A villain? Is he both at times, or neither? The end of the first trade of the Omega Hulk will a big moment. I will say I really enjoy Doc Green. He’s a fun, unpredictable character with his own motives. He’s capable of great feats, and selfish awful ones. Like every man.
We’ve seen in #5 that Banner is trapped inside “Doc Green” is he going to make a comeback as the story progresses?
Banner’s return has already been pencilled, inked and coloured. How long he might stick around is another question…
Looking at the further issues members of the Hulk family Skaar and Red She Hulk are returning, what’s the reunion going to be like?
That would be telling. Don’t forget, Doc Green doesn’t even like to be called “Hulk” so he may not even consider them family…
After seeing Gary Frank’s covers on Hulk is there a chance he could draw an issue or perhaps an arc?
Not that I am aware, but that’s really a question for the editors. I feel very lucky to have Bagley and the team that I have. Gary’s covers are wonderful, and this is Bags’ finest work. I’ve always been lucky in collaborators.
The book has been Indestructible and now just Hulk any plans for the Incredible to come back?
I have a very free hand when it comes to story, outline, balloons and caps. Mark Paniccia has let me flex my muscles, and is making it possible for me to tell this story, but titles are usually decided without input from the freelancers. I like HULK as a title. It’s simple. This story wraps on issue 16, and I’ve already written the end. I’m very satisfied, and I hope Hulk fans enjoy the ride.
Is there any more Marvel characters you’d like to write?
I feel like my hands are more than full with the gigs I have now. I don’t think that far ahead. I do think far ahead about my current assignments — I try to beat deadlines, editors have enough to do without chasing scripts. That’s why I’m writing Deadpool into the 40s and I was scripting some of Hulk 14 last night. To maybe better answer your question, if there’s someone I’m itching to write, I try to pitch a guest starring role. Kitty Pryde and Illyana are appearing in Hulk 10. That was a lot of fun. That happened largely because I have been itching to write Kitty again.
On a personal note, I just wanted to thank all my readers, and I hope comic book fans in London make it out to Orbital on September 24th, 2014:
And that weekend, I’m a guest at the Dublin International Comic Expo.