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Five Reasons Chris Hastings is Perfect for Deadpool

Posted by Jeff Stormer On March - 18 - 2011

Earlier this month, Marvel announced the writer for the upcoming Fear Itself: Deadpool tie-in — Chris Hastings, creator/writer/artist of the long-running webcomic The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. You’ve read all of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, right? No? Well, go correct that. We’ll wait.

What with Deadpool starring in 12 titles and all, Hastings’ assignment might be the only development that could shake some of the burnout even longtime Deadpool fans such as myself have experienced in recent months. Why, you ask? Well, beyond just being awesome, here are a few key reasons.

1. He takes absurdity seriously.

Dr. McNinja is a comic in which a man (who is a doctor and a ninja, remember) surfs a robot Dracula from the vampire’s secret moon base down to the surface. Which, in all honesty, would probably be enough for me. But more importantly, it’s a comic in which after doing so, he gives a triumphant middle finger to the moon… and upsets a mother and her baby, who are understandably upset by people randomly flicking others off.

The best Deadpool arcs (such as the “Secret Invasion” tie-in where he took down a brigade of stiff, bureaucratic Skrulls) follow that same cue, and those writers understood that Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking and obvious insanity are at their most effective when no one else is that crazy. On the other end of the coin, Deadpool stories tend to fall apart when too much emphasis is placed on EVERYONE being wacky, such as in the ultimately disappointing Deadpool Corps, or towards the end of the generally stellar Cable & Deadpool, in which Agent X was stricken with obesity and Weasel became a HYDRA supervillain.

Speaking of which…

2. He’s great with supporting casts.

From Blind Al and Weasel in the original Deadpool run, to Sandi and Taskmaster in Agent X, and the brilliant Bob, Agent of HYDRA, Deadpool has lived and breathed by the quality of the people around him. It’s important to give him people to bounce off of and aggravate, while also allowing him to sometimes be the unexpected voice of reason. Cable, in particular, vastly improved when paired with the Merc with a Mouth, showing a lighter — dare I say LIKABLE — side in addition to his endless jumble of technobabble and Jesus-speak. One look at the cast of Dr. McNinja, from Judy the gorilla assistant, to Doc’s ninja family and his archenemy, King Radical, the most Radical man in Radical land, shows that same principle at work: providing richly detailed characters which show us multiple sides of McNinja, while still providing huge laughs themselves.

3. Character underneath the crazy.

Despite what I said earlier, there was one true, completely unexpected highlight of Deadpool Corps: the heartfelt, pathetic-in-the-best-way-possible story of Dogpool. In a completely unexpected twist halfway through a book which promised nothing but Deadpool being Deadpool, we were treated to a surprisingly tragic origin story of a dog experimented on, abused, and driven to suicide before finding a purpose in the world — albeit a darkly clever, bizarre purpose — and winning in the end not by DP’s trademark ultraviolence, but by simply getting back up time and time again.

Just because, as Hastings put it in an interview to MTV, he isn’t “… delving much into Deadpool’s dark and troubled soul, filled with conflict over whether he’s a hero or a villain,” I wouldn’t count out some clever character moments. Throughout Dr. McNinja, Hastings finds inventive ways of creating realized people without sacrificing action or humor. If you need proof, look no further than Judy the assistant. Originally a simple gag (A gorilla assistant, how wacky!?), over the years she has become a vital part of the McNinjaverse, with a remarkably fleshed out life (she enjoys pottery class on the weekends), who is always there to clean up Doc’s messes and keep things running smoothly. Also, she loves kittens.

4. Action, action, action.

From his very first McNinja comic — one Hastings admits was “… a little too Deadpool-inspired” — the good doctor has been delivering the sort of intense, silly, hyperviolent action scenes we expect from ol’ Pool. Whether its star is diving off a roof to take down a girl infected with Paul Bunyan’s disease, or hacking through an army of McDonald’s drones, or racing through a temple that seems suspiciously like a popular children’s TV show from the early 90s, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has always been a good template for the sort of wild adventure DP needs to go through when things get bad.

Which brings us to the final reason on our list…

5. He once drew a doctor who is also a ninja surfing a robot Dracula from the vampire’s secret moon base down to the surface.

What more do you need to know?

Fear Itself: Deadpool#1 is due to ship from Marvel this June. You can catch up on the ongoing The Adventures of Dr. McNinja right here.

1 Response so far
  1. Sarah LeBoeuf Said,

    “…or racing through a temple that seems suspiciously like a popular children’s TV show from the early 90s…”

    Are you referring to Legends of the Hidden Temple? Because if so, that rules.

    Posted on March 18th, 2011 at 1:54 PM

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