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Comic Book Origins: Deadpool — November 29, 2012

Comic Book Origins: Deadpool

Everyone has their favorite comic book hero or villain, in some case. Some with good intentions and wanting to help humanity in any way they can, others want to destroy everything that is good. The character I am writing this origin piece about is Deadpool. Someone who has straddled both sides of the good and evil divide throughout a checkered existence. He’s not everyone’s favorite and, indeed, a vast majority of readers hate him, but I personally put that down to a lack of understanding, in most part. Deadpool is completely ruthless in getting what he wants, but the thing that made me a fan is his one-liners and witty come backs. He isn’t called ‘The Merc with the Mouth’ for nothing. His wit is as sharp as his swords. So, for Deadpool virgins and fans alike, I hope this origin piece will be a good introduction and an accurate homage, respectively.

Wade Winston Wilson was born in Ohio to a family as dysfunctional then as he would turn out to be later in his life. He constantly ran away from home in his teenage years, joining gangs to get street wise. This accelerated to him as he received training from various organizations, until he took the decision to become a mercenary himself. His first few missions didn’t go well, as his over-enthusiasm and lack of discipline caused failure after failure. Instead of facing up to failure, he just changed his name and moved on. He has been known among others as ‘The Crimson Comedian’, ‘Chiyanosake’, and, most fittingly, ‘The Regeneratin’ Degenerate’, which shall become apparent a little later.

Wade moved to Canada to try and get more work. This is where things started to go wrong for him. He met a man called Wade T. Winston who, through time, becomes one of his targets. Agreeing to take the job, his rashness rears its head again, as he kills his target’s wife by mistake. Wade T. disappears, leaving Wade W. to take his name, as he held Canadian citizenship, which enabled him to move freely around the country. Disaster strikes him when he is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. He joins Department H, who is trying to find a cancer cure. After they failed to deliver, he was sent to the Hospice. This is where he first meets the mysterious figure, ‘Death’, who only he can see, as he has been close to it several times. The Weapon-X program is his destination. The idea of this program was to splice a human with the regenerative properties of the Wolverine. The program was a success, at first, until his state of mind was severely altered into the unhinged character he became. He can now regenerate his body. He can even re-join his severed head as long as it is in contact with his body, which must surely be beneficial to him. However, like most things, it has a trade-off. His cancer became accelerated, covering his body and face in numerous weeping ulcers. This is why he now wears the uniform and mask we all know and love, very much like Spider-Man’s, but with his famous swords slung on his back. His name was derived from the lottery that the guards had, betting on who would die next during the Weapon-X Program. They called it The Deadpool. So, from this point on, Deadpool was born.

Deadpool broke the superhero mold, as he showed signs of schizophrenic tendencies and a macabre interest in death, which manifests itself in the methods that he uses as he carries out his actions. As mentioned earlier, his sense of humor is second to none, taking down foes with words sharper than his swords. His weapons are legendary, from swords to machine guns and everything in between, which somehow appear from nowhere. The fabled ‘magic satchel’ is where he produces his wide array of accessories, which, of course, makes him very acrobatic, as he has no weight to carry. A character named Blind Al has been intertwined in many of Deadpool’s publications, playing the part of Mother, Housekeeper, and even Prisoner. They constantly played very cruel tricks on each other, but seemed to need each other to stay somewhat sane. Deadpool has become a bit of an enigma. Personally, I think he is really cool, with an edge that is sometimes missing in other better-loved characters. Things changed recently, as he has become mortal, but his disregard for life and fascination of death keeps him on a thin line, as he takes risks at every turn.

He has appeared in many publications, including Cable and Deadpool, Deadpool and the X-Men, Dark Reign, Uncanny X-Force, among others. He has, of course, presently claimed one of the Marvel NOW! slots. I, for one, am delighted. So, ladies and gentlemen, this is the journey Wade Winston Wilson embarked on to become the legendary Deadpool, entertaining readers for the last 21 years, with, hopefully, many more to come.

Comic Book Origins: Green Arrow — November 17, 2012

Comic Book Origins: Green Arrow

Perhaps no one else in superhero comics is as much a man of the people as Green Arrow. Implementing various skills in martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, technology, and archery, billionaire playboy industrialist Oliver Queen defends Star City from corruption and has made it his life’s work to bring justice to those who would prey upon the weak and fearful.

As an adolescent, Oliver always had a natural penchant for archery, regularly practicing with his bow and arrows. After his parents died when he was very young, he was taken in and raised by his uncle and would go on to inherit the family fortune and business. With his future uncertain and living the life of an aimless, misspent youth with no responsibility and too much time on his hands, everything changed for Oliver when he had an accident in the ocean and washed ashore on a remote island, where he became stranded for several years. Oliver survived on the island without food or shelter by honing his skills as a hunter and perfecting his archery techniques. He would go on to become one of the greatest marksmen in the world. During his time on the island, he also learned how to be self-reliant and matured into a different man than he was before, no longer taking life for granted and living a frivolous, meaningless existence.

Upon eventually being rescued and returning home, he found he couldn’t tolerate the corruption that was so prevalent in Star City. Making it his mission to protect it, Oliver used much of the profit from Queen Industries to fund his war on crime, utilizing the latest technology to aid his already formidable prowess with a bow and arrow. Dubbed “Green Arrow” by the media, Oliver quickly became an urban hero, much like the legendary Robin Hood, who he was inspired by. He has made many enemies over the years. Most notably, Merlyn, Deathstroke the Terminator, China White, Brick, Constantine Drakon, Count Vertigo, and Onomatopoeia, among others.

Eventually, Green Arrow would become a member of the Justice League of America, as well as taking on young Roy Harper as his partner, Speedy, who himself would later go on to become an independent hero, known as Arsenal. Green Arrow continues to use his resources and skills as the Emerald Archer and social crusader of Star City, as well as serving as a covert member of the JLA.

Comic Book Origins: Captain America — October 24, 2012

Comic Book Origins: Captain America

One of the biggest successes of the Golden Age of comics and
one of the most enduring superheroes of all time, Captain America is, more than anything, a symbol of patriotism and fairness, as well as hope for a better world. His debut actually preceded the United States’ entry into World War II, but the character remained popular as a fighting spirit from the time that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor to well into the 21st Century.

Steve Rogers was born in poverty to Irish immigrants in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. After both parents died when he was very young, Steve pursued a career in Fine Arts, specializing in illustration. Alarmed by the rise of Hitler’s Third Reich, the scrawny and frail art student attempted to enlist in the army, only to be rejected as unsuitable for combat. His persistence and resolute spirit, however, did not go unnoticed by General Chester Phillips and the Project: Rebirth program. Rogers was used as a test subject for Dr. Abraham Erskine’s Super-Soldier project, receiving a unique serum, which was stabilized by Vita-Rays. Rogers was transformed into a specimen of human perfection and was endowed with above-average strength, agility, stamina, and intelligence.

The U.S. government implants Rogers on the frontline of World War II as the patriotic superhero, Captain America, as a response to the menace of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime and his sinister agent, The Red Skull. Rogers adapts a patriotic uniform and an impervious vibranium shield as Captain America, while posing as an ordinary infantry private, and befriending his camp’s teenage mascot, James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes. After Bucky learns of Rogers’ dual identity, he offers to train under Rogers and become his partner. Throughout World War II, Cap and Bucky combat the Nazis on their own and as members of the superteam, The Invaders, which consisted of themselves, The Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch, Toro, and several other patriotic superheroes. Together, they battled such villains as The Red Skull, The Wax Man, The Hangman, The Fang, Black Talon, The White Death, Baron Strucker, and Baron Zemo. During an attempt to stop Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental drone plane, Bucky was apparently killed as the bomb exploded in mid-air and Cap was thrown into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, appearing to be lost forever.

Several decades later, the superhero team The Avengers discovers Rogers’ body in the North Atlantic, his Captain America uniform under his army fatigues and shield clutched firmly in hand. After reviving him, they surmise that Rogers’ body had been perfectly preserved in the ice since 1945, with his superhuman enhancements enabling him to withstand the extreme temperatures. Rogers accepts membership in The Avengers, while learning to adapt to a drastically new time period. Both his formidable combat and leadership experience make him an indispensable asset to the team and he quickly assumes a leadership position, which he has typically retained throughout the team’s existence. Rogers forms many allies through the years. Most notably, the superheroes The Falcon and The Nomad, as well as reuniting with various surviving members of his original wartime allies, The Invaders, Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos. Cap is also later reunited with James Buchanan Barnes, long thought dead, but now under a different identity as The Winter Soldier. For a time, Barnes even took on the mantle of Captain America himself, while Rogers appeared to have died at the hands of ally and romantic interest, Sharon Carter, who was under hypnotic control by longtime enemy, The Red Skull. It was later revealed that Rogers did not, in fact, perish. Instead, he was phasing in and out of time, with Red Skull in control of his mind and body. Rogers eventually was able to regain control, with the help of his allies, and was able to return to the present time, once again assuming the identity of Captain America. Most recently, he has spearheaded the formation of a team consisting of both Avengers and X-Men members and continues to inspire and lead his teammates of the Marvel Universe as the everlasting symbol of strength and patriotism: Captain America.