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Creator of Deadpool comic character speaks at Chapman High energy discussion of character creation, evolution of a genre, and of course Ryan Reynolds and those ninja skills

What is the best part of being the creator of the character Deadpool?

Orange County native comic book writer and illustrator Rob Liefeld will tell you two words: Job security. Or, geeking out. Or, drawing stuff.

Really, it’s all of the above.

Rob Liefeld talking with microphone

Rob Liefeld talks the world of comics and movies in Folino Theatre.

Liefeld, a friend of Judd Funk, professor at
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Fowler School of Law
, spoke to Chapman student fans recently in the Folino Theater. Funk asked Liefeld to visit as a part of an ongoing initiative to better connect Dodge College of Film and Media Arts to other programs and majors, because as Funk said, it takes many different people to get a movie made.

movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin has the highest-grossing R-rated movie opening weekend, at more than $130 million. The “Merc with a Mouth,” as Deadpool is known, also made history in the Marvel movie genre by excluding the entire younger audience, which is often part and parcel to the generally family-friendly Marvel Universe movie chains.

Liefeld originated the character with writer Fabian Nicieza as a part of the
X-Men: New Mutants
comic franchise in the early ’90s.

“I didn’t know how cool he (Liefeld) was – because I’m so uncool,” Funk joked.

Liefeld spent two hours in non-stop, unfaltering excited talk about the world and business of comics and the ambling, 7-year-long road to getting
the movie made.

It all started with reading

He said that when he was a kid, there was nothing else that interested him.

Rob Liefeld presenting

Liefeld gets animated talking to Chapman students.

“I knew I was going to draw comics,” Liefeld said. “I was either going to be digging ditches or drawing comics.”

Brought on board at age 18 to draw for Marvel, the driving force behind Liefeld’s work was a love for the job and a love for his family.

Liefeld talked about how his father always supported his dream, driving him to comic stores and taking him as a teen to San Diego for one of the first iterations of the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC).

That same support was there for him when he decided, as an untried, unpublished illustrator, to submit his work to Marvel. Liefeld’s panels showed characters in mundane conversation, doing the storytelling, instead of showing the action, which he is known for.

This different tack worked and the six-hour drive home from San Jose whooshed by him like six minutes.

Later, after cancer had ripped away his father’s strength, Liefeld would rebuild him —  faster, stronger, but still minus an eye that was a casualty of the cancer, illustrated in the form of the comic character “Cable” from

students getting autographs from Rob Liefeld

Amber West ’17, Chase Griffin ’17 and Celine Happe ’17 get autographs from Liefeld.

Deadpool, the character, evolved alongside
comics from Marvel, as the “leftovers” from the same lab where Wolverine was weaponized. After Marvel movie franchises started taking off, the idea of a Deadpool movie was floated, began to materialize … and then sat for seven years.

However, Liefeld said, the movie didn’t fade, thanks to Herculean efforts from lead actor Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller.

Liefeld said one of the best things to happen to the movie was the tenacity of the fans who kept up their excitement and ultimately spread the leak of the footage last summer after SDCC.

Now, with the movie finally out, several successful franchises in characters and some breathing room until the drums begin to beat for another “Deadpool” feature, what does he plan to do? More of the same: Drawing – and never let up.

“There’s always someone running faster … don’t relax, don’t stop,” said Liefeld.

Woman with red hair in yellow dress

Brittany Hanson

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