web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #562

1 2 3
Next »

Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, we have a very special edition of CBLR. You’ll notice it as we go along. Anyhow, this week we ask – was Deadpool based on Deathstroke the Terminator? Did Mark Waid try to get out of writing the second Deadpool mini-series after learning who Deadpool was? And does Alan Moore really not like any adaptations of his work?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: Deadpool was based on Deathstroke the Terminator.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

A common refrain from fans over the years about Deadpool is that he seems influenced by Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Deathstroke the Terminator. Even George Perez got into the act a few years back when a fan commissioned a mash-up of the two

deathstroke-deadpool-625x911

Liefeld has responded to claims about the similarities by stating:

“Any belief that they are connected beyond a name is foolish and short sighted. And funny. One is a middle aged war veteran who took part in a super soldier program. The other is horribly disfigured and sought a cure to his cancer by submitting to Weapon X.”

While those don’t actually sound all that different, I am more inclined to believe Liefeld only because he has always been VERY open about what WERE his influences in creating Deadpool.

newmutants98b

newmutants98c

newmutants98d

newmutants98e

In an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, I wrote about how Liefeld was influenced by wanting to draw a character like Spider-Man.

And in many other interviews, Liefeld has talked about how he based Deadpool’s healing abilities and the mystery surrounding the character on Wolverine (even going so far as having Deadpool ALSO come out of the Weapon X project) and how he based the idea of a mercenary showing up to take down Cable on Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back.

“I want Deadpool to matter. I have given him this role as a mercenary, as a bounty hunter. He’s collecting a contract on Cable — he’s very much a Boba Fett. He’s been hired by Jabba the Hutt, and Cable is the Han Solo.”

Liefeld wears his influences so proudly on his sleeves that I tend to believe him when he says that he WASN’T thinking Deathstroke. What does he possibly gain by saying, “Yeah, I based him on Spider-Man, Wolverine and Boba Fett, oh and the title of a Dirty Harry movie…but definitely not on Deathstroke! THAT would be too much.”

The connection to Deathstroke, I believe, has mostly been fostered by the fact that Deadpool is named Wade Wilson and Deathstroke is Slade Wilson…

1259339-deadpool_wade_wilson_s_war_01

However, Deadpool didn’t get the name Wade until X-Force #11, when Liefeld was almost entirely off of the title…

wade

And the Wilson part didn’t come until Deadpool’s first mini-series by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Madureira….

wilson

So it was Nicieza who decided to make an in-joke about the similarities.

Here’s Nicieza on Deadpool’s creation:

Stage One: Rob grew up loving Marv and George’s Teen Titans so when he wanted to develop a kick-ass, lethal mercenary, he came up with the name Deadpool and a costume that was part Spider-Man, part Deathstroke. I received the pages to script with very little background on the character. Rob’s intentions were for Gideon and Domino, also being introduced that issue, to become “center-stage” characters. In some ways, Deadpool was little more than cannon fodder to bring some action into the story.

Stage Two: the scripting. I immediately recognized the undertones of Deathstroke in Deadpool’s look, mostly because I knew how Rob was thinking. But because I already had various character voices for that issue who were serious and grim, I decided to go in the opposite direction of the audience’s expectations and give Deadpool a sarcastic attitude, and though still deadly, not taking things so seriously. I gave him the name Wade Wilson as an absolute in-joke between Rob and myself, since Deathstroke’s name was Slade Wilson. We never revealed the joke for 20 YEARS, so you can hardly say his intent was to parody Deathstroke, nor can you even remotely claim that from his very first appearance, the two characters had many similarities whatsoever outside of being physically capable mercenaries. Deadpool’s Weapon X background, his cancer cure resulting in his fluctuating skin condition and his rapidly regenerating brain cells causing his insanity are all substantive character aspects of Deadpool himself, which have nothing to do with Deathstroke. He is his own character, has been from his first appearance and deserves the popularity he now claims because he is an interesting character in his own right and much more interesting, I’d say, than Deathstroke ever was, or, outside of his brief “invincible stage” when Brad Meltzer wrote him, ever became.

Story continues below

Again, the connection was made by Nicieza, but not based on anything Liefeld actually said to him. The similarities are certainly there, but Liefeld’s initial explanation for the design of the character ALSO make sense, and I think they make enough sense that I’m willing to go with him on this one.

Thanks to the half dozen or so people who have written in to ask me about this one over the years. And thanks to Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza for the information!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Check out some recent entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:

Was the Hit 1980s Song “Maniac” Originally Written About a Serial Killer?

Was a Film’s Ending Re-Shot Because Test Audiences Couldn’t Believe Bill Murray Could Beat Up Robert DeNiro?

Was Treehouse of Horror V Intentionally Extra Violent Over Complaints About the Series’ Use of Violence?

Did a Hall of Famer Really Leave a Letter to be Opened After His Death Revealing Whether He ACTUALLY Made a Famous Catch?
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On the next page, did Mark Waid try to back out of writing a Deadpool mini-series after finding out who Deadpool was?

1 2 3
Next »

101 Comments

I hope Alan Moore didn’t watch Supergirl this week.

Rob Liefeld has never had an original idea. He is the worst plagiarist in the comics industry.

I can’t imagine a more definitive statement from Alan Moore. Thanks Allyn and Rob!

Black Legacy was great.

That’s interesting what Mark Waid said about Deadpool being Bugs Bunny. I just assumed that it was because of his popularity that Wade had that cartoony ability to make everyone look like a fool in recent years.

You know, I swear I remember reading, I think in USA Today, that Alan Moore said he liked League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. At least some kind words for it, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I have no personal opinion on it, but of course, I’ve heard that most didn’t like it.

There’s no way on God’s Green Earth that Alan Moore liked League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

There have been adaptations of his other works that have been closer to either the spirit or letter of his works. League so wasn’t.

I don’t think that’s right, Rodney. I know he dismissed writing in Dorian Grey as a member of the team.

The Beast Of Yucca Flats

February 12, 2016 at 10:55 am

Dwayne McDuffie mentioned him liking it (scroll a bit0:

http://www.toonzone.net/2011/03/toonzone-presents-interview-tribute-dwayne-mcduffie/

nice to finaly hear that alan moore did at least have one of his works adapted to his liking even though bruce timm has stated time and time that he liked the jl version of for the man who has everything. and odds are alan did not watch super girl and its take on it. plus interesting to finaly learn who rob based deadpool on and it not being deathstroke though like darkside and thanos one could consider deadpool marvels version of death stroke. minus the craziness that is deadpool.

Superconnectivity

February 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

I want to say that there was an early script for Watchmen that Moore raved about back before his identity became associated with the curmudgeonly artist. This would have been just after Watchmen’s initial success and Moore’s rise to comicbook super creator fame. I believe Cracked did a piece on this, though for the life of me I can’t find it. But as I recall, while doing publicity for his new projects he was asked about the script, said he read it, and said it was amazing. That might have just been what he was told to say by marketing at the time, (pages of the scripts that have since surfaced do not seem that amazing) but for what it’s worth he did say it apparently.

I think Moore’s opinion of the Supergirl episode is kind of irrelevant since it diverges so much from the source material anyway. Aside from the name of the creature, they really have nothing in common.

Brian, can you confirm or otherwise some rumors whether or not Fabian Nicieza remarked “It’s Deathstroke from Teen Titans” upon seeing Liefield’s drawings? Thanks!

“it is not only the first screen adaptation of my work that I’ve actually watched more that the first five minutes of before being overcome with rage and disgust” – someone needs to take a long overdue afternoon nap.

Superconnectivity

February 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

A correction, it seems, after tracking down the original quote, Moore simply endorsed the persons making the adaptation (Silver and Hamm) not the finished script they eventually presented him with as near as I can tell.

http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2009/02/05/what-would-foxs-alan-moore-approved-watchmen-look-like

At this point it seems he didn’t see the script yet (though part of me feels he might have at some point and held his endorsement, but at this time I can’t confirm this) so it would seem he didn’t endorse this adaptation, merely the idea of the adaptation and the persons working on.

My bad.

The Beast Of Yucca Flats

February 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Really, Moore’s attitude re: Hollywood pre-LOXG was really at it’s warmest “good luck, and I might answer some questions you have, but all this is still hardly my idea of a good time.”

Rodney –

Nah. Alan Moore has made his disgust with the League movie very clear. Not hard to see why. Like Melsner said, it’s one of the least respectful of all the adaptations based on his work. Even Keanu Reeves’s Constantine looks good next to it.

Of the top of my head, I specifically remember Alan Moore saying they botched even the basics of the story, by making Allan Quatermain the traditional action hero, instead of the drug addict has-been that is more of a foil for the real protagonist of the comic: the proto-feminist Mina Harker,

He definitely didn’t like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, since not only did the film deviate greatly from the source material, he ended up being deposed in a lawsuit against the movie.

When V for Vendetta was turded into a movie, its producer Joel Silver spread rumors that Alan Moore was “very excited” about the script.

Moore called them “blatant lies” but went unreported by most of the press, whose real customers are advertizers such as film companies.

I believe the origin of the JLU myth to be of that ilk.

Short memories? http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=14937

“I should probably also point out that when I named the planet of the Deathsmiths ‘Goth’, this was some few years before an eponymous youth cult would arise that chose to dress and deport themselves pretty much like the Deathsmiths’ ultimate weapon does in this clearly influential story. Coincidence? I think not.”

When did this story come out? IIRC Goths were around in the early 80s, if not late 70s. I can’t imagine the entire subculture came out of a Doctor Who comic book story.

And the Coppola thing – Coppola took inspiration from a piece of art after Moore took inspiration from it, so Moore wants credit for being inspired by it first?

I’m a huge fan of Moore, but I think his ego is often a little inflated compared to what he has actually done.

When did this story come out?

June 1980.

I believe it was Kevin O’Neill who said he liked LOXG. He was impressed with the visuals for Mr. Hyde (I thought that was the one good thing in the movie too).

“Any belief that they are connected beyond a name is foolish and short sighted. And funny. One is a middle aged war veteran who took part in a super soldier program. The other is horribly disfigured and sought a cure to his cancer by submitting to Weapon X.”

Wait a second, was Liefeld even around when Deadpool’s origin was created? Maybe he wrote a character outline that mentioned it but I seem to remember the cancer element coming way later and I don’t think Deadpool even took off his mask when Liefeld was involved.

Heck, Deadpool classic #1 is Marvel’s introductory TPB to the character and that only includes 1 Liefeld story (New Mutants #98).

Part of my problem with the whole Liefeld media push surrounding the movie is Liefeld really isn’t responsible for that much of the character’s popularity. The costume design is cool. But the wise-cracking was Nicieza, the fourth wall breaking was Kelly, and the costume is…I’m sorry…mostly George Perez.

Because he totally based it on Deathstroke. Are you honestly telling me Rob Liefeld, who admits Teen Titans was one of his favorite books, just coincidentally made a character that looks just like Deathstroke? Come on man!

Compare the splash page above to the cover of Deathstroke the Terminator 1. You’ve got the same gloves, the similar eyes, same swords on his back, and the same pouches on his belt. But the real kicker is the same oval things on his right bicep. That is totally stolen from Deathstroke, no way it could have not been. I’ll admit Liefeld mixed in some Spider-man but most of Deadpool’s visual appearance comes from Deathstroke.

Old Bull Lee

“I’m a huge fan of Moore, but I think his ego is often a little inflated compared to what he has actually done.”

I think you’re missing the self-send-up when it comes to the Goths…

Moore is definitely wrong about Goths. English Goth Rock band Bauhaus formed in 1978 and released their single Bela’s Lugosi’s Dead in 6 August 1979 and though it didn’t chart it is generally considered the first Goth record and was influential. Earlier Punk Rock groups like Siouxie And The Banshees and The Damned also had lead singers with a similar look that was often copied. Joy Division’s music was also influential for the sound and subject matter of the genre.

You could argue the influence of early 70’s acts like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, visually if not musically too. The idea of the subculture was inevitable. I think it was a matter of a similar idea forming in the air at the time.

mbc1955 – That’s why I asked. And the reason I was falling for it was because Moore has stated Lost Girls is the only literary porn since the Victorian age, which ignores the entire modern erotica industry.

@rene, all I can say is it’s in my memory banks, I recall seeing it in the paper, they had screened the movie or him and the artist. The article even mentioned that he didn’t normally like adaptations of his work, it quoted him as saying something along the lines of not really my story, but still a fun movie.

I remember Moore also being on good terms with David Hayter back when he was on the script.

Here’s the quote, via IGN:

‘Bear in mind, though, that Watchmen creator Alan Moore has given Hayter his blessing on the project. Hayter claims that Moore advised him, “‘Look, David, it’s your movie, and you do whatever you feel is best for the film. If you ever have any questions, give me a call.'” ‘

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2003/05/02/hayter-on-watchmen

For the first time, I’m having a hard time believing one of the answers. Namely, I don’t believe Rob Liefeld.

Sorry, Brian, but I have to disagree. I can see Liefeld admitting/making up Deadpool inspirations outside of Deathstroke but still denying Deathstroke’s influence, given that his character has been constantly accused of being a Deathstroke riff, but not a Spider-Man or Boba riff. And then there’s the chance that he’s being honest, but he subconsciously based him on Deathstroke, especially given that he was a Teen Titans reader as people pointed out.

Sure, I can buy there being some subconscious influence on the design. You start with “badass Spider-Man with a sword” and it is not surprising to see some aspects of Deathstroke worked in there, especially since Liefeld was such a Teen Titans fan, but the same would be true with Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe (who also had straps around his biceps), who I’m sure Liefeld was also familiar with. The Spider-Man influence is much more blatant, though, and that’s the one that he says WAS intentional. So the more obvious design influence is also the one he says was his intentional influence – sounds about right.

But do we know that’s an actual Alan Moore quote?

Moore’s letter confirms that he actively dislikes every other adaptation he’s seen. You can easily do another Legend:

Comic Legend: Alan Moore dislikes every adaptation of his major work that he’s seen.
Status: True.

Rodney –

“it quoted him as saying something along the lines of not really my story, but still a fun movie.”

That is way too nice to be Alan Moore.

Wait, let me correct that. Alan Moore can be nice. To fans, to beginning artists and writers, to ordinary folks, etc. But he’d never say something this nice about some Hollywood thing. Maybe the Alan Moore from the early 1980s could do a good approximation of it, but the older he got, the grumpier he got about anything popcorn and commercial.

I do, however, remember him saying a lot of nice things about edgy HBO TV shows like Sopranos, The Wire, Oz, etc. Maybe if HBO did an adaptation of one of his works…

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, Deadpool’s design/look is basically an amalgamation of Spidey,Deathstroke, and Snake Eyes. DP’s being a merc is based off of Deathstroke. DP having a healing factor and being a part of the Weapon X program is based off of Wolverine (who owes his influence to Goodwin and Simonson’s Manhunter run). DP cracking jokes is based off of Spidey,the Creeper,and Madcap (the latter 2 also have healing factors, but Liefelld might not have been aware of those characters). DP being crazy is based off of the Creeper,Madcap,and Deathstroke (who also went crazy due to his powers). DP being disfigured and using Katana’s is based off of Snake Eyes.

Joe Kelly is the one who revolutionized Deadpool. If he hadn’t written such a brilliant run, Deadpool would not have the popularity he enjoys today. The character owes more to Kelly than Liefeld.

Alan’s comment about Goths is clearly tongue in cheek. He is *not* seriously claiming an obscure comics story is why they call themselves that.

I don’t buy Liefeld’s answer as proof simply on the basis of past history, particularly in the early 90s, when he was called out for multiple, unattributed copies of other work. He claimed he was doing an homage; but, in a Comic Buyers Guide piece, he had attributed the original work in less than 1/3 of the examples shown. It may be a fine comic tradition to “borrow” a panel to meat deadlines; but, Liefeld raised it to a whole ‘nother level.

I liked this week’s episode of Supergirl.

When I first heard Deadpool’s name was Wade Wilson, I first thought of the ’80s and ’90s NFL QB who played for the Vikings and Saints (among others).

Fans wondering about Moore’s attitude towards Hollywood adaptations (and other popular topics) might like to try to track down his appearance on Fanboy Radio about a decade ago. If I remember correct, you’ll get a good sense of his tone from his own mouth. Polite, accepting, somewhat supportive, but pretty disconnected.

Link: http://www.fanboyradio.com/fanboy-radio-349-alan-moore-live/

Becca Danny's Wife

February 13, 2016 at 7:57 am

Well, according to this interview, Dwayne McDuffie says they sent a tape of JLU to Moore, and…

“He liked it.”

http://www.toonzone.net/2011/03/toonzone-presents-interview-tribute-dwayne-mcduffie/

I routinely ignored and avoided Deadpool for a long, long time due to Liefeld and his obvious swiping. It was not until Remender’s X-Force that I allowed myself exposure to him. I was wrong minded and he is a great character, despite Liefeld’s hackery. But then, there’s no more hackish, swipey character than Bob Kane’s early Batman. Who would argue that Batman is not arguably the greatest comic character of all time? I’m not saying Deadpool is on par with Batman. I’m saying that with comic characters amalgamation is common practice and often the sum is greater than the parts.

@Reep Daggle
Well, yeah, comics, in general, cobbled from everything, especially since it was mostly a medium of young creators starting out. Hall Foster, Alex Raymond, and Milton Caniff were the victims of more thievery than anyone. Batman, in Fingers writing, grew beyond its sources. I suspect, left solely to Kane, it would have remained derivative. heck, Superman wouldn’t exist if not for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Phillip Wylie, and Lester Dent. With Liefeld, it’s probably more the fact that he was never able to move beyond the source. It was usually someone else who brought life into something he started. He’s not alone in that though, among his contemporaries.

Did anyone else notice in that scan of New Mutants, that Cable’s arms switch places from one panel to the next? In one panel, his right arm is robotic and in the other panel it’s his left arm.

Thank you, Rob Liefeld!

Alan Moore is an incredible writer, but ugh his self important hypocrisy is too much sometimes. Nothing should ever be changed when working from source material…except when he does it in almost everything he has ever written.

@David
Back in the day, someone in the Comic Buyers Guide proposed a drinking game, with one of Liefeld’s Youngblood spinoffs. Everytime there was a continuity error with a costume, you took a drink. With this particular comic, you would be passed out by page 3. There were errors between panels on the same page, not just across pages!

What we need is a side-by-side of Deadpool from New Mutants #98 (his first appearance, right?) and what Deathstroke looked like at the time (and up until then).

How similar were their costumes when Liefeld had his hands on DP?

Tom –

Because he totally based it on Deathstroke. Are you honestly telling me Rob Liefeld, who admits Teen Titans was one of his favorite books, just coincidentally made a character that looks just like Deathstroke? Come on man!

Compare the splash page above to the cover of Deathstroke the Terminator 1. You’ve got the same gloves, the similar eyes, same swords on his back, and the same pouches on his belt. But the real kicker is the same oval things on his right bicep. That is totally stolen from Deathstroke, no way it could have not been. I’ll admit Liefeld mixed in some Spider-man but most of Deadpool’s visual appearance comes from Deathstroke.

I agree. If you took those pages from his first appearance above, recolored Deadpool like Deathstroke, and changed his word balloons, you could have printed them in ’91 as part of a New Mutants / New Titans crossover.

There’s clear impetus to claim a work is a synthesis from multiple sources, rather than mostly copied from just one. How much more prestigious the former sounds than the latter. How much more defensible.

When the main counterargument is that Rob Liefeld says he wasn’t swiping, it’s not very convincing.

I mean, does ANYBODY like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film?

Though agree 100% with Dalarsco; you really shouldn’t complain about how people should come up with their own stuff rather than bastardizing someone else’s work when every major work you’ve done is adapting someone else’s thing, and sometimes twisting it quite a bit.

I never really saw the Deathstroke thing (other than the names) till right now, but it’s there. I just find Rob getting all this credit with the movie coming out, but Fabian getting basically ignored annoying, since Deadpool’s look isn’t genius, but how he was written makes him popular. I’ll agree that Joe Kelly really formed what made him a superstar, too.

Liefeld is the most unoriginal hack in the business. And, yes, Deadpool was an obvious Deathstroke clone. Thankfully Joe Kelly turned him into the ass-clown that inspired the movie.

@Jeff Nettleton: Yeah, the utility belts on DPs arms and legs routinely appear and disappear between panels, just for starters. The designs change, too. That’s just sloppy, both for Liefeld and for anyone who bothered to “edit” this garbage.

I am not a Liefeld fan, nor do not see much of a Deathstroke influence in Deadpool, and like Brian said, if Liefeld admits to all the other conscious influences, why not admit a Deathstroke influence?

As for the pouches, I think The Dark Knight Returns probably had most of the influence there.

Another point, that no one has brought up; is it such a big deal for Deadpool’s costume to be a riff on Deathstroke’s when Deathstroke is wearing a Captain America uniform with a Spider-Man mask?

This point comes up again and again in Moore-related threads, and it needs to be put to pasture: what Alan Moore does with other works of fiction is not comparable to what is done with his work. None (zero percent) of Alan Moore’s major works are adaptations of other works. Having Mina Murray in a book does not make it an adaptation of Dracula. The styles are not alike, the plots extremely dissimilar, the cast all-different save one, and even the character of Mina is Moore’s own divergent take. Moore has never created anything like Snyder and Hayter’s Watchmen, a scene-for-scene recitation of someone else’s work, which nonetheless manages to miss the point by an astonishing margin. Nor has he created anything like the Connery League movie, which uses the same cast as Moore and O’Neill’s book in the same setting with the same high concept, but tells its own story in a sort of “Ultimate Universe” version.

Moore may have some pretty clear influences, but generally any one work of his reveals dozens of those influences, rather than a single source text from which he is deriving 90% of his inspiration and ideas.

Cass, your argument defending Moore leaves out one major point: He steals from other sources only because the material is in public domain and no one can fight him (although he barely skirted the law–at least in the UK–with “Lost Girls” and his use of “Wendy” as a lead character; though publication of the series in the UK had to wait for a year until Great Ormond’s copyright finally expired). Moore’s simply doing a pastiche. Just because his pastiche changes a few things, that’s little different from a typical “Law and Order” episode disclaimer that “events aren’t based on any real incident” because the show changes a few relatively minor details from the real event they’re “adapting.” (“League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Lost Girls” were, in essence, little more than fanfic by a well-known author. Higher quality than typical fanfic, but fanfic nonetheless. “Watchmen” was also, to a degree–depending on whether or not you believe the story about the characters being based off the Charlton characters; the fact that each of the Watchmen has a pretty clear Charlton counterpart certainly helps the case for it being fanfic.)

As to the “scene-by-scene recitation” bullshit, do you think ANY comics fan would sit still for a “Watchmen” film that did NOT recreate certain scenes? (And, hate to break it to you bub, but the movie was NOT a “scene-by-scene recitation.” I certainly don’t recall any giant space octopus showing up in the movie’s climax.)

@Joe: Except what you’re saying is complete bullshit. In your insane conception, Moore changes “minor details” of existing fiction to arrive at works like LoEG which has characters from literally thousands of works of film and literature, plots of Moore’s own invention, and deep characterization for footnote characters in the history of entertainment (e.g. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando). The idea that Professor Moriarty’s frozen semen would be used to repopulate a race of Amazon moon people is about a million miles from anything Conan Doyle would’ve put to paper. But hey, I bet he stole that idea from what Conan Doyle would have thought of if he lived to 2010s and wrote a good portion of the defining works of a medium.

Anyway, thanks, I appreciate you educating me on “minor details,” as opposed to major changes that are worth pointing out, such as Dr. Manhattan destroying New York rather than a monster. I will keep these lessons in mind next time I decide to shove my head up my own ass.

kdu2814 –

“if Liefeld admits to all the other conscious influences, why not admit a Deathstroke influence?”

Because Deathstroke is a DC Comics character. You generally don’t admit to stealing from your most direct competitor.

Liefeld has had no problems stating about how Youngblood came out of a failed Team Titans pitch:

Shaft was intended to be Speedy. Vogue was a new Harlequin design, Combat was a Kh’undian warrior circa the Legion of Super Heroes, ditto for Photon and Die Hard was a Star Labs android. I forgot who Chapel was supposed to be. So there you have it, the secret origin of Youngblood.

The guy consistently admits his influences on his creations all the time, from all sorts of different sources from all sorts of different companies. So when he says “Deadpool is Spider-Man with swords” and Deadpool looks like Spider-Man with swords, to say that he’s been lying about it being “Spider-Man with swords” for twenty-five years because….he just is?

Cass –

I agree with you that what Alan Moore does is different. Moore’s work would be better described as pastiche, parody, reinvention, or deconstruction. Whatever people’s gripes with Moore (and I do think his savaving of Harry Potter was very petty, mean-spirited and self-righteous), Moore does not deal in sequels or adaptations.

But maybe the best argument would be that the proof is in the pudding. IMO, Moore’s work often is of better quality than the stuff he is re-inventing.

Small point of disagreement: Orlando is more than just a footnote character.

Rene-

Perhaps, but Liefeld is not with Marvel now, so even if “most direct competitor’ applied then, it does not now. Also in addition to the uniform, Deathstroke has powers and an origin very much like Captain America, and switching out a shield (good guy) for its near opposite, the sword (bad guy) is not very subtle. So if Liefeld did add some Deathstroke to his Deadpool mix, he could just say he was stealing back.

Of course I do agree with you and Cass about Moore’s use of preexisting characters as being very different from “adaptations” (and beyond Nite-Owl/Blue Beetle, the Watchmen are pretty tenuous Charlton analogues).

[…] (Fabian tweeted back that it was no big thing, and he knew what Rob really meant). It’s generally agreed that despite his similarity to a certain DC character, Rob drew Deadpool as a cross between […]

Brian –

Deadpool looks like Spider-Man with swords

Where are those bicep eggs on Spider-Man? Wolverine doesn’t wear them, and Boba Fett doesn’t wear them. Deathstroke does.

Fabian Nicieza noticed the similarity of Deadpool to Deathstroke immediately. After a fan pointed it out, George Perez agreed, rather than going, “no, he looks just like Spider-Man.”

I really like this because it illustrates what some people don’t get about Waid. I saw some people really confused as to why he’d be writing a book like All-New, All-Different Avengers because they thought he hated newer heroes or replacement characters based on his work on Kingdom Come.

He doesn’t hate new heroes, he hates heroes who are assholes and sociopaths.

M-Wolverine:
I like the League movie. It’s an enjoyable romp. Dumb in places (hey, bad guy, could you please stop coming up with plans to destroy a building with you still in it?), but a bit of fun.

It’s about the only In-Name-Only adaptation I’ve seen where I can see why they bothered to bet the rights to the original (as outlined above, same cast, same general idea, different story).

“By the way, since it came out AFTER the JLU episode, it sort of suggests he wasn’t a fan of the JLU one, no?”

Or that he never saw it, or that he’s exaggerating.

Huh. I wouldn’t expect Alan Moore to post under the name Cass.

What Moore does is takes other people’s work and twists them to suit his own purpose, the same thing he complains about others doing. The fact that he generally does it really well doesn’t make him less of a hypocrite. Conan Doyle et al would have never thought up those uses; and they almost universally would have hated their characters being bastardized in that way. But they’re dead, so Moore doesn’t have anyone to snark on him.

It may be considered great, but are things like Swamp Thing the creator’s intent? Miracle Man and Supreme and such are pastiche of other characters, often presenting them in the most shitty way possible, character wise, if not actual story wise. Even things like From Hell draw on history, and aren’t truly original. Moore doesn’t create things from thin air, he’s the greatest cover band of all time. He just doesn’t cover the Beatles; he does 1 hit wonders and neo-classical and does a better job with them.

And come on (kdu2814), Watchmen is completely the Charlton characters. Maybe Brian can confirm it’s not “Legend” but I think he originally wanted to use them, but DC wanted to integrate them in the universe. So rather than, again, come up with something original, he just made Blue Beetle Nite Owl, Cap. Atom Dr. Manhattan, the Question Rorshach, Peacemaker Comedian (“Who killed the Peacemaker?”), and more tenuously Thunderbolt Ozy, and Nightshade SS. Other than all of them being big dicks, they’re not even that different.

But maybe one could be honest about it if they could pull their head out of Alan Moore’s ass.

Well, as our pal Brian pointed out in an early Legend, Watchmen characters WERE originally based on old comics characters.

The Archie superheroes (Shield, Black Hood, etc.)

I only caught the very end of the V For Vendetta movie (on MTV, no less!), and just based on that (and the notion of Evey as a “plucky reporter” type that I’ve seen the character in the movie described as), I’d say, if you’re ok with that version of V, you’re not an Alan Moore fan, you’re a fan of seeing comics getting “validated” by being made into movies.

I’m on Cass’s side about Moore.

Deathstroke’s look is also a rip-off of Perez’s other creation Taskmaster.
Both characters first appeared in 1980.

I’m with you Travis! I’m also on Cass’s side about Moore! What an interesting week of Legends this was! Comics’ most maligned and disrespected creator, and Rob Liefeld.

Any article about Moore or Liefeld, you wait for that first negative response, cos it’s inevitable! I’m looking at you, Tony Ruben!

The thing about the Charlton/MLJ character connection to the Watchmen cast is always such an annoying point of interest to me, when I see the way people react! How many people actually know that it was DC that asked Moore to create original characters, so as not to risk the deaths and mental states of the newly-acquired set of characters? When they asked for that, the characters could not be called the same, because once he was given free reign with the characters, he was able to build them from the ground up, with motivations and deviations that he might never have been able to apply to any company character! Because let’s face it, the territory that Moore was willing to go into, with origin stories and such, was not the type of territory that silver age writers would go to when creating their characters. The characters are not the same! But forget expecting people to not find a reason to believe otherwise and then hold that over Alan Moore’s head.

Bex – “Comics’ most maligned and disrespected creator, and Rob Liefeld.”
ROTFL! (Laughing with you, not at you.)

“Any article about Moore… you wait for that first negative response,”
Really? ‘coz I thought they didn’t let you read comics unless you worshipped Moore like a god, and thought Watchmen was the greatest work of literature ever created. I don’t see a lot of people reacting negatively to him. Even acknowledging his sources isn’t the same as saying ‘he sucks’. And those who do acknowledge the source keep saying again and again that he might be covering others’ work, but he’s really good at it.

(… Also, when somebody does say they don’t like Alan Moore, the answer is usually ‘Oh, hate Alan Moore, do you? Then you should read Supreme or Tomorrow Stories or something. Because Alan Moore readers are s-m-r-t.)

Le Mess,

It ain’t easy being Big Al Moore!

M-Wolverine

My point regarding the Watchmen/Charlton characters is that beyond some visuals and the lineup, the characters themselves, their personalities, are very different. I have read some Ditko Question, and most of Thunderbolt, and those two are very different from their Watchmen counterparts. I am fairly certain that Charlton’s Captain Atom is very different from Dr. Manhattan, although I do not think I have read any of the originals in his case.

S Callbeck and Bex

Good job, both of you.

I certainly respect Moore as a writer (he’s done a few stinkers, but more amazing stuff), but that doesn’t mean I have to concede his endless whining about how nobody respects his work and how dare they use his characters or adapt them. As noted above he makes free use of lots of characters–the fact they’re twisted in unconventional ways doesn’t change that. And I’m sure that if anyone had written a Moore character with as much malice as he vented on Harry Potter (which tanked the end of LGX: Century for me. I get it, Mr. Moore, you don’t like Harry, do you have to keep venting about it?) he’d be outraged (again).

Regarding Moore’s line about goths, I think it’s safe to say anyone with even a fraction of self-awareness who uses the phrase “Coincidence? I think not” actually means “Obviously, this is a coincidence, but it’s amusing to imagine otherwise”.

Especially given that he must know phrases like “neo-gothic music” were already being used, since he was friends with one of the bands they were being used about!

@Travis, I’m not sure how you can only have caught the end of the movie, and make valid judgments on how others should assess it. Frankly V he comic is a rambling mess it times. I think people like the movie because it distills the main part of the story, while taking out the tangents. However you’re right, if you’re just a Moore fan, those tangents are a big part of his writing.

@Bex- he was asked to create new characters to do the story so they could use the old ones, but then can’t even come up with original characters, he just adapts the existing ones.

@Kdu2814- I think comic book characters are defined by look, powers, and personality. The first two are super similar to the Charlton characters. The 3rd is always Moore’s twist.

And as Fraser points out, no one says his work is no good, or that the way he uses characters is often more interesting than their original conception. It’s just he’s a dick for whining about what he himself has made a career on. People just want him to get over himself. And maybe stop living off his laurels. It’s probably been as long as it has for Miller to produce any great new stuff, but no one gives him any crap about it.

Moore is a dick. The polite word would be “curmudgeon”. But c’mon, M-Wolverine, not all “twisting characters” is the same. When it comes to sequels and adaptations, the story is already told. The creative work of coming up with a sequel or adaptation is not in the same ballpark as creating the original story. And yes, there are sequels and adaptations that surpass the original, but I don’t think that is the case with any of the movies done based on Moore’s work. What Alan Moore does is more like a reinvention, and no one being sane of mind can seriously say that Ditko and the other dudes at Charlton already did the heavy work creating Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, etc. and Alan Moore only had to join the dots to make Watchmen…

But yeah, Moore is extremely arrogant and self-important. Yeah, some of his fans treat his works like holy scripture that you can’t deviate one bit without incurring in sin (though Watchmen is often criticized for the opposite reason). And yeah, V for Vendetta is perhaps the best adaptation of them all. They updated it from Thatcher England and the Cold War to George W. Bush and the War on Terror, but the updating holds up surprisingly well (perhaps because Bush and the neocons are Thatcher/Reagan fanboys), and oh yeah, they also made V more heroic, and Norse Fire more villainous, but really, I don’t think that that causes great damage to the story.

And Travis, Evey is not a plucky reporter in the movie. She is basically the same character as in the novel. Her job is more like an intern.

Fraser, the Harry Potter thing was so silly. Moore got all offended because J. K. Rowling presented magic as something institutional and organized and that was a great sin against Moore’s philosophy or something. But Moore failed to realize that Rowling never tried to present “magic” as a parallel to any real world practice. Moore was being as silly as the Wiccans that praised Rowling or the Evangelicals that bashed her. Harry Potter is not a treatise on occultism. It would be as silly if a Spiritualist bashed Ghostbusters for getting spirits wrong.

Where are those bicep eggs on Spider-Man? Wolverine doesn’t wear them, and Boba Fett doesn’t wear them. Deathstroke does.

Snake-Eyes does. So clearly Deadpool was based on Snake-Eyes, because freakin’ bicep eggs are the most important part of Deadpool’s design – bicep eggs that were rarely even drawn on him in his first appearance (including not on the cover). Skintight red suit with giant eyes on the mask and the guy who designed the character saying it’s Spider-Man with swords? That’s a coincidence. But bicep eggs? Clearly the most important part of his design and a sure sign that Liefeld must be lying.

One of Moore’s silliest statements was that we should celebrate Guy Fawkes for trying to blow up the government. He wasn’t anti-government or pro-freedom, he was an agent for Catholic Brits who wanted to re-establish Papal control of England. That doesn’t make me like V the comic any less.

one thing about all the comments about “alan grant like JLU” or “alan grant liked watchmen” any time you reference someone involved in creating the given work as them quoting moore, you have to take it with a grain of salt. part of their job is to sell you on their product. so of course they’re going to claim moore loved it, whether it’s true or not

I read an article somewhere that Liefeld based the look of Deadpool on the fact that Todd McFarlane was complaining about drawing all of Spider Man’s webs. Liefeld said he wanted to show how easy it was to draw a character that had his face covered with two big circles for eyes and that was the basis of Deadpool. Liefeld has said in several times/ places that Youngblood WAS a failed Teen Titans pitch for DC and that’s when he decided to make his own series. I’m not saying the guy is best writer or artist, but he does have great character/ plot ideas and a lot of passion for comics and that goes a long way.

Fraser, I think Alan Moore is particularly hypocritical for bashing the V for Vendetta movie. The phenomenon of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks in left-wing protests is much more influenced by the movie, not only because it was seen by lots more people than have read the comic, but because only the movie has those aspects that makes V a figure to be emulated. The final scene, the joyful “I am Spartacus” scene is not in the comic, the whole ending of the comic is far more bleak, V is less sympathetic, society is more destroyed than reclaimed, and Norse Fire in the comic, amazingly, is depicted as a movement of utter bastards, but with the redeeming feature of trying to keep a semblance of order after an apocalypse not of their creation, while in the movie they have manufactured the apocalypse.

The comic don’t get people pumped to immitate V the way the movie does.

Just want to complement my comments by saying that, while Alan Moore can be very arrogant, and I disagree strongly with some of his comments, Moore is actually one of the very few people that I have to say has earned the right to be arrogant. I think he is the most brilliant comic book writer I’ve read. Also, it always helps that most of his dickish behavior is directed at movie execs, comic book execs, and other fellas that aren’t exactly powerless.

It funny Fraser, because that misunderstanding actual works for the story. Because people often aggrandize a person or view without really understanding it or knowing what it was actually about. It just sounds and looks cool. So having that adopted in the story fits well, and if not a meta commentary, the author reflecting the populace well. It also fits in that, as Rene points out, V is hardly a true good guy. The protagonist (or sub with Evey) for sure, but not really a hero. Which is fine, it’s a story of grays. (Though maybe it is more black and white in Moore’s eyes).

Another thing, after I’ve looked, since the Snake Eyes armband things have become a point of discussion, not only do they not appear in the drawing combining Deathstroke and Deadpool on the DP side, but look how in the first story example they appear and disappear and appear again and disappear again panel to panel no more page to page! Oh, Rob….

Another thing, after I’ve looked, since the Snake Eyes armband things have become a point of discussion, not only do they not appear in the drawing combining Deathstroke and Deadpool on the DP side, but look how in the first story example they appear and disappear and appear again and disappear again panel to panel no more page to page! Oh, Rob….

Yeah, as I noted, they rarely even show up in New Mutants #98 (due to Liefeld forgetting to draw them on the majority of the panels). It’s weird that he would forget to draw them so much, considering that they are the most important aspect of Deadpool’s character design apparently.

As an aside, it is worth nothing that the artists who drew Snake-Eyes would also often forget to draw the bicep eggs on him at times. Not as often as they disappear in New Mutants #98 (you’d be hard-pressed to beat that “record”), but they would forget them at times.

Oh, I’m fine with V as a symbol of freedom in-story, but when Moore makes that comment about the real Guy Fawkes, I wince.
Rene, I find myself divided (regarding Moore’s right to be arrogant). “X is a genius, cut him some slack” is an idea I’ve seen a lot over the years and I can’t say I agree (particularly as lots of people who aren’t geniuses try to invoke it). But yes, Moore’s more entitled to such arrogance than most people. And as far as I know it focuses mostly on his own work and how it’s used rather than yelling at people who don’t get his latte to him on time.

Yeah, I don’t like that excuse very much myself. Invocking talent as an excuse for being a crappy human being is just a fancy variation of the inexcusable “might makes right” philosophy. Perhaps with the mitigating circunstance that the genius benefits all us, while the strongman only benefits himself. In any way, like we both have said, Moore’s arrogance is restricted to his profession, and people always say that he is nice to ordinary folks.

M-Wolverine, I think Alan Moore is conscious of the moral ambiguity of V is for Vendetta. He talked about it in various old interviews. I don’t think he set out to make it that way, but he said that he realized, once he begun writing it, that even most of the fascist characters believed themselves to be justified. And he intended V to be a bit of an insane ubermensch. I think it’s similar to Watchmen. People discuss to this day about Rorschach, Ozymandias, and whether Moore intended them to be sympathetic and justified (that applies to all the characters, but those two are much more divisive than the others). Moore in the 1980s was a big believer of getting into the head of the characters when he was writing them, even when the characters’ views don’t align with the real life Moore’s.

I’ll agree that is one of Moore’s strengths. I’m not sure there’s a pro or antagonist in Watchmen who would come close to reflecting Moore’s views. All may have parts of them in them. The thing is, the “hero” of Watchmen to most readers became Rorschach, and I’m pretty sure he’s the guy whose views are probably least aligned with Moore’s. Now there might be a little Alex P. Keaton in there, where the writers/creators associated with the parents and their views, but the audience (to their surprise) aligned with the punchline character, but I give Moore enough credit that I think Rorschach is probably more an Archie Bunker character who says horrible things, but is more fully formed, and relatable by design. I’m not sure if I’d say he’s lost some of that character nuance or not in later works, but he certainly has been a master of writing people who are fully formed and not all good or all bad.

M-Wolverine –

Fun fact. In interviews Alan Moore gave at the time Watchmen was first published, he revealed that Rorschach was his favorite character of the bunch. If I remember correctly, the Comedian was the second favorite. And yeah, those two are the ones that hold views that are probably the farthest from Alan Moore himself, though the Comedian isn’t really right-wing or any wing for that matter. I think Moore himself was fascinated with Rorschach’s complexity, and that shows a bit in the story.

I’m not sure how much of this is Moore’s intention, but here’s why Rorschach is my favorite:

“Even in the face of Armageddon”, Rorschach refuses to go along with the mass murder. He applies his sense of right and wrong to the situation and stands for right while the others are overwhelmed by it and morally confused. Whether he is actually right doesn’t matter as much – the other characters are unable to even make a judgment.

The following is my interpretation: What makes this interesting in the context of the work is Rorschach, in that moment at least, is a symbol of classic superhero ideals standing up proudly amongst deconstruction. I could easily see Superman, Captain America, or Batman acting the same way in the situation. In a way, Rorschach refuses to be deconstructed.

Old Bull Lee –

It’s particularly ironic because, in the first issue, Rorschach writes in his diary that he doesn’t much care for modern human beings and their “degradation”, and that he won’t save them in the face of armageddom. But, when the time of armageddom comes, Rorschach DOES care and wants to save them, and failing that, wants them to have justice.

So to sum up, maybe we should just change the answer to the question thusly:

COMIC LEGEND: Deadpool was based on Deathstroke the Terminator.

STATUS: True, but he was based on other characters as well.

I’m good with false.

Rene – I forgot all about that!

Another irony I remembered is in one of his childhood writings he approves of the Hiroshima bombing, an event that had similar moral considerations as Veidt’s plan.

Excellent discussion sir!

Rorschach is the American hero in the story….quite, tough, take no crap, laugh in the face of danger, knows what’s right and will fight for it no matter how many people turn their back on justice. He’s Clint Eastwood et al. He’s also disturbed, more than a bit racist/sexist/whateverist, an repressed. Which is how Moore probably sees the American hero icon…and maybe just Americans in general.

Old Bull Lee –

Thanks. And yeah, the mention of Hiroshima is another irony. One of the cool things about Watchmen is that you can always find stuff like that.

M-Wolverine –

Good points. There is only one aspect of Rorschach that is quite different from the archetypical American action hero. Rorschach is not a folksy, book-dumb guy like most of them. He is an intellectual. One can more easily picture a saner Walter Kovacs going to libraries and theological seminars than hanging out in a baseball game.

So to sum up, maybe we should just change the answer to the question thusly:

COMIC LEGEND: Deadpool was based on Deathstroke the Terminator.

STATUS: True, but he was based on other characters as well.

Sure, if you want to ignore all of the actual content of what Brian wrote in this entry.

The thing people are forgetting is that Moore typically only makes particularly disparaging statements about works that he expected to own. He doesn’t bitch about Swamp Thing or John Constantine adaptations because, despite creating Constantine, he did it with the understanding that the character was to by wholly owned by DC Comics. Watchmen, on the other hand, was a situation where he felt cheated out of the rights. Maybe this story is just a legend, and Brian can correct me, but I had always heard that the rights to Watchmen were originally supposed to be turned over to he and Gibbons after the book went out of print, which at the time was typically a year or so, only for DC to make it the first comic to stay in print for far longer than that, with it still being in print to this day. As I understand, that is the source of Moore’s falling out with DC, and why he typically has nothing good to say about the big publishers anymore. The point is, though, that he feels a certain degree of at least intellectual ownership over some works and not over others.

Moore does not seem to begrudge others making adaptations or sequels to his work, he just doesn’t like a bunch of corporate suits, especially from a company that he feels cheated him out of a very important copyright, creating art while focused only on profit rather than actual artistry. When Warner Bros pumps out things like Before Watchmen, which anyone can tell was a cash grab even without reading it, or the many less than faithful film adaptations, you can see why he would be lead to think they are all cash grabs, even without watching all of them.

There is a large difference between Before Watchmen, and between the Watchmen-esque Charlton universe in Multiversity. And the difference isn’t just the characters’ names. It’s that one was a work by an author, who had a story to tell, and asked a publisher to put it out there. The other was a publisher knowing they were sitting on a hugely lucrative intellectual property, and paying some artists to come up with ways to milk it. That’s also the same difference between the Doctor Who story mentioned, and say, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives