“I’m going to be brash. I’m going to be unapologetic. And I got a lot of swagger. Every detail matters to me.”

That’s how Rob Liefeld, the acclaimed comic book creator—and one of the men credited for creating Deadpool, the Merc With a Mouth set to get his own film, the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to earn an R-rating, on February 12—greets me. I can’t front like I wasn’t expecting it; growing up as a fan of comic books, you couldn’t open up Wizard magazine and not spot something Liefeld had created or was currently drawing. I’d seen the tales of Liefeld’s prolific progression, from a young upstart wetting his feet in the industry, to emerging as one of the creative minds behind the ‘90s dominance of Marvel’s X-Men series, to founding one of the most important publishers in comic book history, Image Comics. It’s also not hard to find articles bashing Liefeld’s signature style (pouches, everywhere!) or whispered tales of what it was like working for him. Being a goddamn professional, I was prepared for the worst: a fierce, confrontational, possibly unhinged artist. 

The Canadian anti-hero Deadpool, the most unpredictable character in the history of comic books, first appeared as a villain early into Rob Liefeld and Fabian Niceza’s run on Marvel’s New Mutants comic book series, and caught on VERY quickly—decimating an entire team of mutants in one issue can make that kind of statement. Over the years, a backstory developed. Deadpool was created in the same program (Weapon X) that laced Wolverine’s bones with adamantium, with Deadpool (government name Wade Wilson) being given the same healing factor that Wolverine has, making him damn-near impossible to kill (we’re talking full regeneration, even after being decapitated). He finds out that he has cancer, which pushes him to join Weapon X; he was given an experimental healing factor when he found out, and his body is horribly disfigured by the tumors and lesions, although his healing factor is working rapid fire to fight the disease. Hence the reason you always see him laced head to toe in red-and-black attire. He’s also practically insane, the kind of character that’s literally talking to himself, with two different voices sharing his headspace during a number of his comic book runs. This is a totally unkillable, tactically ready war machine that’s nuttier than squirrel shit, giving zero fucks about his life because all he wants to do is die. That’s the mindset Deadpool’s walking around with on the regular.