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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Deadpool: The Postmodern Poster Boy

Deadpool was hard to ignore during his appearances in Secret Defenders #15-17. With constant quips and unrelenting references to pop culture, the anti-hero's dialogue had a stream-of-consciousness quality about it.

As a temporary member of the Secret Defenders, Deadpool accompanied Dr. Druid (now leading the covert team), the mysterious Shadowoman (not to be mistaken for Spider-Woman), and Luke Cage (billed simply as Cage instead of Power Man). Fittingly, Deadpool complained that Heroes for Hire like Cage gave mercenaries like himself a bad name.

For all his insufferable banter, however, Deadpool had a semblance of self-awareness. Consider his opening words from #15.

Deadpool: Now up ahead, on our left … we see a stunning example of post-modernist expressionism! And when it comes to expressionism, you ain't never had a friend like me!

Deadpool's identification with postmodernism made sense. This was the Copper Age of superhero comics, after all, when cosmic-level continuity shifts became commonplace and deceased characters routinely resurrected from the dead. Within this storytelling framework, the stakes weren't as permanent or lasting as they seemed been in the past, and Deadpool's facetiousness reflected that.

Secret Defenders #15 included an insert with three detachable Marvel Cards for the villain Venom, another popular character to emerge during Copper Age of comic books.
Secret Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 15. May 1994. "Strange Changes, Part the First: Strangers and Other Lovers." Tim Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Jerry DeCaire (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), John Costanza (letterer), John Kalisz (colorist), Craig Anderson (editor), Tom DeFalco (mystic harbinger in chief).

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