Cinematically, Deadpool's relatively new on the scene, but this fast-talking killing machine has been around for over a quarter of a century.
Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool made his comic book debut in 1991, when hyper-violence was all the rage in comics and heroes were armed to the teeth. His first appearance was in The New Mutants No. 98, and according to Nicieza, he made quite the splash:
"New Mutants mail increased—no kidding—by about 500 percent for New Mutants No. 98, and three-quarters of them said something along the lines of, 'Deadpool was funny, bring him back.'" (Source)
The creative direction behind Deadpool would change hands many, many times over the next several years, and readers' interest in him eventually waned, but 2008 saw an unexplained surge in Deadpool's popularity that has never tapered off. Between 2009 and 2012, for example, there were eleven different titles featuring Deadpool; starring in that many books at once is virtually unheard of, BT-dubs. He's been a merchandising marvel and a hit with convention-going cosplayers, too.
No one's exactly sure why a cult comic book character came roaring into the mainstream in late 2000s, but a big part of it can be chalked up to Deadpool's appeal to progressive, LGBTQ, and minority comic book fans. In the comics, Deadpool is a self-described pansexual who also deals with mental illness. What's more, he's an outspoken champion of comic book readers fed up with the seemingly endless maze of reboots and competing continuities that plague many of Marvel and DC Comics' most popular series.
In other words, Deadpool is complicated, self-aware, and often laugh-out-loud funny—which is to say, he offers something for almost everyone.
But you don't have to take our word for it. We mean, you should; it's legit, but you can also dip a digital toe into Deadpool's diverse fandom for yourself with a visit to one of his two most popular subreddits here and here, or by paging through the Deadpool Bugle, where you don't even have to worry about getting newsprint all over your fingers. That's the worst. It's right up there with being recruited by a shady organization that turns mutants into super-slaves, if you ask us.