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When We First Met – When Did Deadpool’s Word Balloons Become Yellow?

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In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Recently, I did a piece about the introduction (and removal) of Deadpool’s second inner monologue. That got me to thinking, though, about when Deadpool’s word balloons first became yellow. So read on to see the surprisingly complex history of Deadpool’s word balloons!

Lettered by Joe Rosen, Deadpool made his debut in New Mutants #98 by Rob Leifeld and Fabian Nicieza. His dialogue was bordered right from the get go (presumably to indicate that his voice sounded different), but it was bordered RED, not yellow…

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Deadpool next appeared in X-Force #2 by Liefeld and Nicieza, only know Chris Eliopoulous was the letterer and we got the debut of the YELLOW bordered dialogue for Deadpool…

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However, in his next appearance, it looks like it might not be yellow borders in X-Force #4…

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And he DEFINITELY didn’t have yellow borders in X-Force #5…

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Or his next appearance, which was, surprisingly enough, in the pages of Nomad #4…

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We’re getting a bit image heavy here, so I’m splitting it into a second page. Go to the next page to see where yellow was locked in as THE border for Deadpool, as well as the debut of the full yellow word balloons for the Merc with the Mouth!

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35 Comments

Deadpool showing up in Nomad isn’t so surprising, given that Nicieza was writing that book too.

I was more surprised by how quickly he was making appearances in other titles.

I don’t know a lot about Deadpool. What is the yellow balloons supposed to mean? His voice is squeaky?

I don’t know a lot about Deadpool. What is the yellow balloons supposed to mean? His voice is squeaky?

I think it is just that he sounds different period. Distorted, perhaps? It is unclear HOW his voice is different, but just that it is different from others.

That is some interesting anatomy Deadpool’s got on that first page from X-Force #10. Talk about thunder thighs!

You could do one of these about when the Vision first started talking with yellow speech balloons, too…

One of my issues with the upcoming Deadpool film (ONE of them) is that he just sounds like regular Ryan Reynolds.

That’s what the yellow word balloons indicate, though: Sounds like Ryan Reynolds.

Geez Liefeld art is atrocious.

He was always described to have a raspy voice, Cable would joke that he sounded like Demi Moore.

During Kelly’s run, his voice is described as sounding like gravel and gasoline. Most recently, Deadpool mentions that his voice is weird due to the build up of scar tissue on his vocal chords.

I was more surprised by how quickly he was making appearances in other titles.

In general I recall in the 90s guest-starring at Marvel was far more frequent than now. The minute any character, particularly an X-character, was showing signs of being remotely popular he’d pop up in non-X titles pretty quickly. I remember Gideon appearing in New Warriors for example not long after debuting in New Mutants.

What I’ve always been curious about is how does Thor’s voice sound now that the font used for his text is more runic/fancy?

I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced De-Mee

Geez Liefeld art is atrocious.

Shockingly, the worst art up there isn’t Rob Liefeld but a Rob Liefeld knockoff they brought on to replace him after he left. I think it may have been Mark Pacella. He drew like Liefeld, but somehow even worse. That was X-Force 10 and 11

I always assumed that his yellow word balloons were meant to indicate that he was able to break the fourth wall. I’m not sure HOW it signifies that, but it seems like the obvious answer. But I guess that doesn’t make sense, given that he’s had special colored balloons from before his awareness of being in a comic book became established.

I guess I’ll just never get over the fact that they didn’t cast Bobcat Goldthwait.

Since they have the same color word balloons, does this mean that Deadpool and Speedball have the same type of voice?

Is Deadpool taking a shit on an invisible toilet at the end of X-Force #14?
Why are both legs bent at the knees, but his back is straight up and down?

I know I will both (a) never need this information, and (b) never retain it, but I love this stuff.

Speedball’s word balloons are slightly different. They’re filled yellow with a white border. I seem to remember one of the letter pages in New Warriors describing his voice as tinny. I think Darkhawk’s was supposed to sound hollow.

I never understood the appeal of Deadpool.

Oh heavens! Rob’s illustrations are so “legendarily epic”. (sarcasm)

Given to Joe Kelly’s autonomy then in crafting Deadpool stories, Deadpool became the Deadpool we really love! And, Ed’s manga-inspired illustrations help too a lot! Priest, Way, Bunn and Duggan’s respective Deadpool interpretations are commendable one way of the another, but Kelly’s is still the hallmark of the Deadpool series.

Looking at that panel of Cable in the library, I guess the books must all be about three-and-a-half feet tall.

“The minute any character, particularly an X-character, was showing signs of being remotely popular he’d pop up in non-X titles pretty quickly. I remember Gideon appearing in New Warriors for example not long after debuting in New Mutants.”

T. –

I was thinking that that may have something to do with Fabian Nicieza writing both the New Warriors and some major X-titles?

“What I’ve always been curious about is how does Thor’s voice sound now that the font used for his text is more runic/fancy?”

Ian – I always figured it’s a booming, echoing voice, like the voice of God in old biblical movies, but with some sort of Norse accent.

“During Kelly’s run, his voice is described as sounding like gravel and gasoline.”

Jocelyn –

I have one Marvel vs. Capcom videogame where Deadpool’s voice is sorta normal. A little distinctive, but normal.

“I always assumed that his yellow word balloons were meant to indicate that he was able to break the fourth wall. I’m not sure HOW it signifies that, but it seems like the obvious answer. ”

I felt the same way, and looking at the excerpts above, I think it’s because he only started breaking the fourth wall when he got his own ongoing, which is the same time that he switched to the yellow word balloons. And it ties together, in my head, because the captions were also yellow, so it seems as if his voice is somehow more omnipotent, like non-VO captions. I’m not saying that’s right, but that’s why I felt like you did, I think.

I must have blocked it out of my mind like some comic book based post traumatic stress disorder but I totally forgot just how horrendous Liefeld’s art was back in the day. I mean it hasn’t gotten much better since then but back then it was just all kinds of wrong.

not surprised deadpool popped up so much think marvel was trying for another wolverine. plus given how besides his face the scar tissue hit his vocal cords too . surprised dead pool did so much talking .

Anyone ever ask Fabian how he thought Deadpool sounded? Or did he writes the stories that give the description?

And speaking of the worst art not even being Rob’s I like X-Force #14, where thank God that Domino’s clothes didn’t get torn up even an inch more because then the book would be NC-17, and how in the next line of panels the suit has magically repaired itself at the neckline and legs. Unstable molecules, obviously.

When was it established that Deadpool is insane? Not just an annoying hitman who thinks he’s funny?
And when did Deadpool actually became funny? Not just a guy spouting terrible Spidey like puns?

I’m thinking yellow speech bubbles are meant to symbolize his ESP. Heck, one of the colours used for narration boxes is yellow (one of others being pink which might be why originally speech border was filled with magenta).

Without him, there’s no Deadpool, but MAN, those Rob Liefeld proportions are crazy.

But whatever happened to Mr. Tolliver? What an intoxicating character.

Mr. Tolliver was revealed to be Cable’s adopted son Tyler who became the villain Genesis, the opposite of Apocalypse who had turned Tyler against Cable. Wolverine gutted Tyler during Wolverine Volume 2 #100 when Tyler tried to bond adamantium back onto Wolverine’s skeleton. Did not go well.

Another of the things that made Deadpool unique that came from Joe Kelly’s mind rather than Rob Liefeld’s.

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