The very first footage of the DCEU’s Deathstroke just hit the web in September, and of course everybody has been going nuts about the possibility of seeing Slade Wilson come to life on the big screen. However, it seems that the footage has also rekindled an old debate among comic fans about whether or not the Marvel character, Deadpool, is a rip-off of DC’s Deathstroke.
News of this rekindled debate apparently reached Rob Liefield, the renowned creator of the beloved Deadpool. To set things straight, Liefield gave a very heartfelt defense of his creation in a video with Nerdy Pop. Needless to say, his comments should end the debate once and for all.
OK, so maybe not. In fact, it would seem that Liefield might be being more than a bit sarcastic, giving reasons that ultimately don’t matter and that most definitely don’t prove his point. He even jokes that since Deathstroke has buccaneer gloves and a patch (two of his five points), maybe he should give Deadpool a parrot.
Of course, this was a really good natured way for Liefield to comment on the similarities between the characters. They’re both mercenaries proficient with guns and swords, have healing factors, wear bi-colored armor, and they even have names that rhyme. In fact, when Liefield sent off his first design to co-creator Fabian Nicieza, he replied “This is Deathstroke from the Teen Titans.” There’s no denying that Deadpool was inspired by Deathstroke.
Of course, none of this is to say that Deadpool isn’t a valid character in his own right. He’s obviously somewhat of a parody to the über serious Deathstroke, and his tendency to break the fourth wall and provide audiences with satire and comedy have helped develop the character into what he is today. The truth of the matter, however, is simply that Deadpool was originally inspired by a character in the DC universe who first appeared to thwart a group known as the Teen Titans. Whether the level of inspiration taken equals “ripping-off”, however, is another matter entirely, and is in this author’s own opinion, totally unwarranted seeing the differences that exist between the two characters today.
In the end, both Marvel and DC have taken inspiration from the other over the years. Namor came before Aquaman, Darkseid came before Thanos, and so on and so on. There’s no doubt that Deadpool took inspiration from Deathstroke. However, the great thing is that both have continued to be highly engaging characters over the years and have continued to reach out to differing sections of the comics fanbase. The fact that both are currently doing so well is nothing more than a commentary on the current boom of the comic book industry.
With both characters finally arriving on the big screen, however, it shouldn’t be too long before Liefield’s creation makes a comment about that guy from the DC movies who kind of looks like him. What else would one come to expect from the merc with a mouth? By Zain Charkawi