HERO COMPLEX

In 'Spider-Man / Deadpool,' Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness unite Marvel's super smart alecks

Spider-Man is Marvel’s most wisecracking hero. Deadpool is its most wisecracking antihero.

These super-powered smart alecks have met before, but soon they’ll be seeing a lot more of each other. Deadpool loves that. Spider-Man most definitely does not.

Writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness, the team that launched the Merc With a Mouth’s first ongoing solo series in 1997, will bring together the swords-wielding, fourth-wall-breaking Wade Wilson and now friendly global industrialist and wall-crawler Peter Parker in the ongoing series “Spider-Man / Deadpool” No. 1, scheduled for a fall release.

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“The book is funny, I hope,” said Kelly in announcing the title at Marvel’s “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” panel Sunday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego. “We’re working on our barometer of good taste. The challenge of the book is that they’re both funny. Spidey is one type of humor; Deadpool is a very different type of humor.”

It won’t be all laughs, though. Kelly said he was working to make sure the book would have gravity.

Kelly, who co-created the animated series “Ben 10” with his Man of Action Entertainment collaborators, has also written a number of “Amazing Spider-Man” issues and worked on the “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series.

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For the Record

July 12, 9:07 p.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to Man of Action Studios. Last year, it became Man of Action Entertainment.

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Bringing the two together, and doing that with McGuinness, was an offer Kelly said he couldn’t refuse: “Spider-Man was my absolute favorite character growing up…. Deadpool is the cornerstone of my career.”

He noted that Deadpool’s love for Spider-Man was developed after his time writing the mercenary, but that it’s something he enjoys playing with.

The wall-crawler may not be excited about the prospect of teaming up in the ongoing series, but “Deadpool is persistent,” Kelly said. “No matter what Spidey does, he somehow finds a way to get close.”

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The panel touched on a number of previously announced Spider-titles that will follow “Secret Wars,” and covered what’s happening with other street-level Marvel characters.

“Howard the Duck” writer Chip Zdarsky, who with artist Joe Quinones is four issues into a funny run that has the beleaguered feathered star as a private investigator, was on hand to discuss the post-“Secret Wars” relaunch of “Howard the Duck” with, yes, a new No. 1 and the same writer and artist.

“We wanted to do something big after ‘Secret Wars,’ so we’re going to give Howard a new hat, I guess,” Zdarsky said to laughter. “I haven’t really thought it through beyond that, so be prepared for a lot of hats. Joe [Quinones] draws great hats…. We’re coming back with the same [creative] team, so that’s pretty boring for you – I’m sorry.”

He had a question for Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso: “Why does Howard have to wear pants when Silver Surfer doesn’t have to wear pants?”

“It’s a legal thing,” Alonso replied. (Which is true.)

Zdarsky also talked about Howard’s upcoming crossover story with Marvel’s other comedic animal-related title, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.” Kraven the Hunter will be in it, he said.

“We’ve given him a mode of transportation called the Krave-Van,” Zdarsky added. “It’s a van with ‘70s airbrush on it, like animals – but they’re all dead.”

COMIC-CON 2015: Stars in the L.A. Times/Hero Complex photo studio

Writer Robbie Thompson talked about a number of his Spider-projects. “Venom: Space Knight” No. 1, with artist Ariel Olivetti, will track Flash Thompson’s solo adventures in outer space when he’s not with the Guardians of the Galaxy starting in the fall. “Silk,” the mention of which drew a big cheer from the audience, will be a more personal story about Cindy Moon, who may or may not be up to no good.

The promo image projected on the room’s screen showed her holding a bag of money.

“Maybe she’s making a deposit?” Thompson said to laughter.

He will also be writing an as yet unscheduled all-ages series called “Spidey,” which Thompson said will have stand-alone stories set when Parker was in high school.

During the audience Q&A part of the hour, Kelly was asked about who will be the straight man in “Spider-Man / Deadpool” and how often it will break the fourth wall.

“Neither one of them is the straight man all the time,” he responded. “It’s really fluid. That’s actually one of the fun challenges of the book is trying to find the comedy that works for both…. Both of these characters deserve the spotlight, and they’re going to fight for that spotlight….”

On the fourth-wall question, he said: “We’ll see a little bit of stuff. I just want to mess with your heads as much as possible. That’s the goal.”

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