This week, Marvel Comics is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Deadpool's first appearance -- Rob Liefeld's New Mutants #98 -- with Deadpool Nerdy 30, a new one-shot featuring contributions from about a dozen writers and artists, including Liefeld and his fellow Deadpool fan-favorites Gail Simone, Joe Kelly, and Daniel Way. With all those different artists, you can be pretty sure that there will be some minor variables in the way Deadpool's costume is depicted. One of the big ones -- now and historically -- is the way his eyes appear on the mask. How big are they? How do they operate? Well, it depends on who you ask...just like how close, exactly, they are to Spider-Man's.
That's always been a touchstone for Liefeld, and it's what helped him dial in his latest take on the Merc With a Mouth. But aside from that little tweak, Liefeld says, he's glad to see that Deadpool's design has stayed largely intact for three decades.
"So, he was based on the Spider-Man of the time, and as we know, Todd [McFarlane]'s Spider-Man, which was also being emulated by Erik Larsen at the time, and briefly then Bagley," Liefeld told ComicBook. "The really big eyes. So I went with really big eyes, and I thought it looked graphically really good. I don't mind telling you, I don't think his costume's changed much whatsoever. He's added some longer stockings, but he's red and black, or red and gray, depending on the color. Some people give him more straps. I'm all for straps. Sometimes I don't think I gave him enough straps. I'm like, 'That guy gave him three more straps than I did.' He actually looks pretty cool with straps, with more stuff, so you can never gear him up enough. But the big eyes was really a product of...it's funny, I did a cover of Spider-Man and Deadpool for these '30 for 30 covers' I'm doing for Marvel. And I wanted to see how big Spider-Man's eyes were being drawn right now and if I would be really out of touch. And truth be told, Spider-Man's eyes are much smaller now. They're back to pre-McFarlane size. So it made me go back. You know what it is, Jim? Some artists draw the tips on Batman's helmet nine inches tall. Some draw them one inch tall. I think Frank Miller was the first guy to make them really stubby in Dark Knight. And then there's guys like Bill Sienkiewicz who are like, 'I can make these three feet tall.' But having depicted Deadpool again in the Nerdy 30 in the past and the present, I've found a medium range, but there's no reason those big, giant eyes can't make a full time return, right?...There was a period there in the mid-2000s, man, where costumes were radically being altered, whether it was Cap, or there was Thor. Again, I was sent reference for Thor, and I was not aware that he is on his like fifth iteration of his costume in the last few years. So I'm just in a sea of change. I'm glad that Deadpool, for the most part, has remained very spot-on."
Of course, Liefeld comes back to Deadpool every so often, and it remains one of his most popular sketches at conventions and the like. So anytime you see him get a tweak to how he's drawing the character, it's almost as notable as changes to Marvel's actual model.
Deadpool Nerdy 30 #1 is available now at comic shops, or available digitally on platforms like ComiXology.