What Marvel wants you to forget about Deadpool

Deadpool is one of superhero comics' most unlikely success stories. The crass, violent mercenary has gone from a cult favorite to the face of a smash hit film franchise, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. Pretty impressive considering he got his start as a supporting character in a B-list X-Men comic. 

Between stints as an X-Man, an Avenger, and the world's foremost Merc with a Mouth, there's very little Deadpool hasn't done at this point. Thing is, that can be a blessing and a curse for Marvel. As he becomes a worldwide icon, there are a few moments in the character's history that are a bit more sordid, embarrassing, or off-color than Marvel would like to admit. He's best known as a hyper-violent maniac, so most of his shenanigans are the kind you would expect. Nonetheless, there are certain things Marvel would love to leave in his past — from the comics and from real life. Here's a look at what Marvel wants you to forget about Deadpool.

He was a Deathstroke ripoff

Deadpool is, above all, a unique character. That he's self-aware, even to the extent of realizing he's in a comic book and breaking the fourth wall, is part of what's made him so resonant. His origins, though, are surprisingly straight-laced and less original than you might assume.

It wasn't until comic writer Joe Kelly's landmark run on the character's ongoing series that Deadpool became "that superhero that shoots people and talks about farts." In his original appearance in New Mutants #98, crafted by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld, not only was Deadpool a deadly serious assassin, he was also a pretty blatant homage to (or ripoff of, depending on your perspective) DC villain Deathstroke

At the time, Deadpool's only explicit ability was super agility and his Weapon X ties hadn't been created yet. That, combined with his being an assassin and having a costume strongly resembling Deathstroke's, led to Nicieza and Liefeld leaning into the homage, even making Deadpool's real name Wade Wilson — a clear takeoff of Deathstroke's alias, Slade Wilson. In retrospect, it's pretty hilarious —  and appropriate, considering Deadpool's fondness of meta-humor — that one of the most unique comic characters of all time started out as a thinly veiled rehash of an established one.

Wore Beast as a fur coat

The sins of Wade Wilson are plentiful, though they're perhaps at their worst in the numerous popular Deadpool Kills… series, which includes Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again, and Deadpool Kills, uh, Deadpool. While they technically take place outside the traditional comics canon, they're still gruesome explorations of Deadpool's insanity and depravity. Few moments in these series typify that more than the moment during Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe in which Deadpool, fresh off of murdering the X-Men, wearing Beast's skin like a fur coat.

It's especially disturbing because Beast is among the most lovable of the X-Men, his rough exterior covering a genius intellect and a heart of gold. His being dead in the first place is an uncomfortable sight. Seeing a character like Deadpool — who is, let's face it, very much the polar opposite of Beast — wear him as a coat is one of the few times you may read a Deadpool comic and think Wade needs to reel it in a bit. He's also wearing the fur while killing Wolverine, which just sprinkles salt into the proverbial wound. 

Murdered his way through classic literature

"And Wade wept, for he had no more worlds left to conquer." Well, that's not entirely true. After he killed the Marvel Universe, Deadpool found some new universes to tear his way through. Admittedly he had to go a bit off the beaten path to find them, though. He didn't somehow cross over into the DC Universe, nor did he pop into the world of the Walking Dead to take out all the zombies. No, Deadpool went where few superheroes have gone before: into the world of classic literature.

Deadpool Killustrated sees Wade crossing over into the worlds of numerous classic novels, including Moby Dick and The Jungle Book. Along the way he kills the heck out of a whole lot of characters you had to write essays on in middle school. Everyone from Moby Dick to Don Quixote gets the axe, bullet, sword, bomb, and whatever else Wade can MacGyver into a weapon. It's one of the strangest chapters in the life of a character with an already incredibly strange past.

Courted Death, literally

Deadpool has always been pretty refreshingly candid about his love life. He's open about what he wants, even if what he wants is Thor, and there's something admirable about that in a world full of Peter Parker/Mary Jane will-they-won't-theys. Amidst Deadpool's litany of loves there's one that stands out as particularly unique: Death. That's not a superhero moniker, either.

In the Marvel Universe, Death takes the form of a woman and is most often seen being courted by the nihilistic Mad Titan, Thanos — but during Wade's time under experimentation in the Weapon X program, he finds himself frequently so close to dying that he can see and communicate with her. They develop a sort of ongoing courtship, so serious that at times Wade intentionally tries to die so he can be with her. (It's a bummer that his pesky healing factor gets in the way.) However, Death's jealous ex Thanos eventually uses his powers to make Deadpool immortal, keeping him away from Death permanently. These are comics we're talking about, though, where death and immortality are shockingly impermanent on a regular basis, so we wouldn't rule out the couple being reunited someday.

Fed himself to Archangel

This one is actually kind of sweet. Well, emphasis on "kind of." For a time, Deadpool was a member of the Uncanny X-Force, a team featured in the comic series of the same name written by Rick Remender and drawn by an array of talented artists including Esad Ribic and Jerome Opena. Featuring Deadpool, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Archangel (among others), the team served as a sort of black ops squad for the X-Men proper, working under Cyclops' oversight with Wolverine as the team leader. They took care of the tasks too dirty for the X-Men, being in the public eye, to face.

At the end of a particularly brutal battle, Archangel (whose real name is Warren Worthington) finds himself in rough shape. In order to help nurse Warren back to health, Deadpool begins somewhat apprehensively feeding him. Warren asks what he's noshing on, and it's revealed that he's eating … well, Deadpool. Wade is slicing off chunks of his own flesh and feeding them to his teammate to keep him alive, which imbues Warren with a temporary healing boost due to Deadpool's genetic healing factor. Gross as it may be, it works, and Warren lives to fight another day. It's kind of hilarious, albeit horrifically gruesome. Only Deadpool could take such a selfless act and still make it so disgusting.

Shot Spider-Man in the head

Deadpool doesn't have many real friends in the Marvel Universe, and it isn't hard to understand why — he's a loudmouthed, obnoxious jerk 98 percent of the time. Fortunately, he has a good rapport with Spider-Man. The two have a certified bromance going, albeit a pretty chaotic one (what with Wade being a psychopath and all). They're the quippiest, most pop culture-savvy heroes in the Marvel Universe, so it makes sense that they'd hit it off. Unfortunately, at one point, Deadpool did go and screw it up as only he can.

In the Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe comic, Wade brings his relationship with Peter to the end, and not by way of a heart-wrenching phone call ripped straight out of a romantic comedy. No, Wade shoots him in the head. He straight-up blows his best bro's brains out. Even for Deadpool, it's a pretty low point. Thankfully it takes place outside of traditional canon, allowing it to be played for laughs, but Deadpool blowing Spider-Man's brains out can only be so funny.

He ruined a classic Spider-Man comic

Deadpool has been around for so long at this point that it's occasionally possible to take his whole fourth wall-breaking deal for granted. Yeah, the chimichangas, lewd humor, and hyper violence go a long way, but what's really made the character so incredible is the way he speaks directly to the reader and provides a meta-commentary on superhero comics as a whole. At no point was this better (or horrifying, depending on your perspective) than the time he time-traveled to an old issue of Spider-Man.

The issue in question is The Amazing Spider-Man #47which features the web-slinger taking on Kraven the Hunter. Deadpool and his sidekick Blind Al get stuck in the past right when the events of this issue are occurring. They masquerade as Aunt May and Peter Parker and effectively infiltrate the events of the issue (and credit where it's due, the art techniques utilized here by Pete Woods to replicate the old panels of the original comic are stellar). Wade makes fun of the entire cast of characters and even subs in as Spidey at one point to fight the bad guys. At the end of the day they manage to restore the status quo and don't screw up the timestream too irreparably, but still, taking over Peter Parker's life for an issue (and very nearly screwing it up irreparably) is peak Deadpool.

Dragon-punched Kitty Pryde

Even at his worst, Deadpool's mean streak is usually played for laughs. Most of the moments we've discussed here aren't even meant to be taken seriously in the context of their stories. He's a darkly funny character, so taking him to dark places and making light of them is very much his modus operandi. Still, there are certain lines the character has crossed that there's no coming back from, and one of them is punching Kitty Pryde.

Occurring during Joe Kelly's character-defining run, the moment happens in the middle of a heated conversation between Deadpool, Wolverine, and Kitty. It seems to be winding down until Kitty says something condescending to Deadpool. His response? A swift Street Fighter-style dragon punch, thrusting her into the air complete with a "SHORYUKEN" sound effect. 

We're all for seeing the comedic value in gratuitous violence, and hey, that sound effect is a nice touch. Still, punching Kitty Pryde? Hitting women isn't funny. It's the rare moment when Deadpool does something so rancid that even playing it off as a joke fails to make it more palatable.

Paging Dr. Bong...

This isn't exactly news to anybody but Deadpool is weird. Seriously, he's a strange dude. He feeds himself to his friends, mainlines chimichangas, and courted Death (literally). It's a wonder the character has enjoyed so much longevity, when you think about it — much less a blockbuster film franchise. There's very little he does that falls in the realm of normal, even something as routine as seeing a therapist.

Appearing during — you guessed it — the Joe Kelly run, Deadpool has a therapist named Dr. Bong, a former supervillain who's taken up psychiatry as a career (you've gotta respect the way he turned things around for himself). He immediately diagnoses Deadpool as clinically insane and says the only way to cure his insanity is to kill a superhero — you know, as medical professionals do. 

Did we mention Dr. Bong has a giant bell for a head? No? Well he does, hence his name (though we're sure his creators were well aware of its…other implications). As Deadpool becomes more and more sanitized and streamlined for wider mainstream appeal, never forget that he was once deemed clinically insane by a reformed supervillain with a bell for a head and a degree in psychiatry.