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Excl: We talk Deadpool: Bad Blood, Cable casting and more with Rob Liefeld

05.19.2017

Rob Liefeld is having a pretty damn good past couple of years. Having risen through the ranks at Marvel and DC with early work on Hawk & Dove and then New Mutants and X-Force (where his creations of Deadpool, Cable, Domino and many more came to life) before moving on to help found Image Comics and then jumping back and forth between numerous DC and Marvel titles, Liefeld has carved up one hell of a career in the industry. With the release of last year's DEADPOOL feature film starring Ryan Reynolds cleaning up at the box office and even more of his creations about to make their debut in the sequel (not to mention another film based on his X-Force book) Liefeld has good reason to smile.

However, Rob has never left his comic roots behind, acting as one of the most prolific artists in the industry, much to the chagrin of his critics, and is back at it again with the original graphic novel, Deadpool: Bad Blood, which reads like a big, colorful and action-packed summer action movie. Love his art or not, Rob knows his strengths and what his fans want and Bad Blood is all that and more. If you grew up during his New Mutants/X-Force days then this is the perfect time capsule back to those days, while welcoming in new Deadpool fans who know him only from the film. I had a good chat with Rob (seriously, he's one of the most fun interviews out there and that's no bullshit) where we talked Bad Blood, Cable casting and how he's the Michael Bay of comics. If I fail at anything in this write up, it's that I don't have Rob's enthusiastic voice in here, as he's an animated and passionate guy that loves what he does. Here's the highlights from our discussion.

Rob on what inspired him to make Deadpool: Bad Blood and giving Deadpool a true villain:

"I generally go 5-6 year stretches since I introduced him to the planet where I revisit him. I did his first year and a half, probably first six appearances, then went off to start Image comics, then came back and did a Wolverine arc which was all centered on Deadpool, then came back and did a relaunch of X-Force and worked back in Deadpool, so I’m always going back and forth. I obviously get all the books, they send me everything, I follow the character and I just go, this dude has a borrowed rogue’s gallery. He does not have villains of his own. Serpent Society? Those are Captain America villains. Taskmaster? That’s an Avengers villain. Sabretooth? That’s Wolverine’s villain. Dead Zombie Presidents? That’s not sustainable. So, I was like, hey Marvel, how about we give a shot at a sustainable [Deadpool] villain? They said, yeah, Rob, whatever. The part that made me the most nervous was telling them the name. I was like, 'I really want to call him Thumper' and they’re like 'cleared!' I’m like, Wow, Disney/Marvel synergy at its best. Thumper is now not a cute bunny he’s somebody that pounds Deadpool in the pavement!"

Rob on how the film has influenced his take on the character of Deadpool:

"Every time it adopts on a different platform you evaluate it differently and you go, 'Wow, this is a different way to look at this.' When I met with Chris Sims and Chad Bowers who are brilliant and their script is brilliant, I said, guys, here’s what I’m setting out to accomplish. I want to hand a book to somebody who’s seen the film and who simultaneously if they love him from the comics they’re gonna love it and if all they know is from the film they will love him. Let’s bridge those two worlds."

Rob on Deadpool's new villain and digging deeper into Wade Wilson's past:

"I said, let’s hang some serious character work here. Thumper having a past with Deadpool, being that kid that looked up to him, literally wanting to follow in his footsteps on every level and I just said, what kind of character can we create-somebody who’s so enamored with Wade Wilson. I called Marvel and I said I need you to send me everything you have depicting how he looks in his junior high/high school era in case I missed it. No, Rob, it doesn’t exist, so I was like, fertile ground! I did a story in Deadpool #900 where we see him in at Catholic school. But, I was instructed to put him heavy in shadow, but it shows him just playing a prank and he’s younger, but I didn’t know if there was more to that story and we got to scratch that itch in this book and by the end of Deadpool: Bad Blood I had to re-jigger the last 15 pages ‘cause I said, I have way too much story for this graphic novel. I’m going full cliffhanger here!"

"It’s like Boom, it’s on! So, I just felt like, we invested in Thumper, we gave you some background, I can tell you there is so much more story to tell, but this one we are just scratching the nuts of this story."

On utilizing the OGN format:

"I grew up with Marvel and DC treasury editions, which were oversized. And they played with the format a little, be it Jack Kirby or John Buscema or Garcia Lopez, all of those first Marvel/DC crossovers, they utilized the format, so I said, I’m gonna open this up, have some big shots in here, get some crazy action, so that was the plan. I’ve done 35 shows in the last two years and most people want their action with their humor and they want an equal serving. They tell me they want to see Deadpool in some bigger action set pieces, so we’re gonna give that to you. At the same time, we never left the funny behind."

On the approach to the color design of Bad Blood:

"Romulo Fajardo, Jr. is the single most talented color artist I have ever worked with. And when I got with him, I said, Romulo, my favorite stuff ever in this format is Lynn Varley over Frank Miller, whether it’s Elektra Lives again or 300. What do you say we go for it? And he was like, Yeah, let me show you what I can do and I was like, Oh My God! Now he’s ruined me! How do I ever go back. It’s a great selling point. I mean, buy this for the colors alone!"

Rob on the casting of Josh Brolin as Cable and what that means for his future:

"When it comes to what went on with the casting, I can’t say jack crap, but I’m gonna tell you right now that when it was official and Josh was cast I may have jumped higher than I ever have in my life. There was a lot of rumors. There were a few viable guys. He was the left field-no one considered him, but damn if he isn’t perfect. He’s freakin’ Cable."

"I think casting Cable was as crucial as casting Ryan [as Deadpool] and you’ll never consider anybody but Ryan ever again. And let me give you the dirty little secret – when it comes to Deadpool, he’s freakin’ deformed! He’s under make-up as Wade all the time, so Ryan can be Deadpool for 30 years. It’s that great of casting. With Josh, he can grow that role. He’s the perfect age. The life expectancy [for these roles] is 15  plus years now and why shouldn’t they be? I mean, these movies take time and to recur as the character 5 or 6 times, God willing, Josh plays Cable that long."

On the TRANSFORMERS franchise and how he’s the Michael Bay of comics:

"Dude, I’m a Transformers guy. I never once watched the cartoon as I was a teenager at that time. I was 16-17, but in a different stage of my life. My first encounter with the Transformers was when I took my sons to see the first Bay Transformer. That’s my entire interaction. And I love these films and The Last Knight looks badass!"

"I am the Michael Bay of comics. My stuff sells awesome and then there’s a course of “He’s crap!” Well, who cares? When I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the premiere, I looked up and there was Michael freakin’ Bay and I never met him and I grabbed him and I thought his bodyguard was gonna hurt me. But, I was like, “Dude, you’re Michael Bay! I love you! I love everything you’ve ever done! And he was like, “Hey, Thanks, thanks a lot!” I don’t think Michael Bay sweats the critics, ‘cause he goes, Oh, Yeah, somehow these Transformers movies that everyone loves to drag through the mud have made like $4 billion dollars."

You can pick up DEADPOOL: BAD BLOOD at your local comic shop now or you can order online HERE!

DEADPOOL 2 will hit theaters on June 1st, 2018.

Extra Tidbit: One of my all-time favorite Liefeld stories was What If Wolverine was an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Vol. 2, No. 7). One of the staples of my early comic book reading days.
Source: JoBlo.com

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4:21PM on 05/19/2017
It's not often you guys go wrong in the first sentence. Hawk & Dove are DC characters.
It's not often you guys go wrong in the first sentence. Hawk & Dove are DC characters.
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5:57PM on 05/19/2017
Good catch. I had meant to amend that to Marvel AND DC. All prettied up, now. Cheers!
Good catch. I had meant to amend that to Marvel AND DC. All prettied up, now. Cheers!
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