This is How Deadpool Nearly Got Marvel Sued

Image copyright Marvel Comics 2014

The comic book industry must be a minefield when it comes to what can and can’t be produced.

It seems that the days wherein an artist could pen together whatever with whomever they wanted are gone, it seems, and there’s a very real-world reason for it.

Marvel Comics has been stricken with concerns over licensing for the past decade or so – it’s the prime reason characters like Gwenpool and Spider-Gwen exist, and why the X-Men have slowly been faded out of comic books in favour of the Inhumans.

However, the extent as to what can and can’t be shown in an issue hasn’t really been explored by many people, until now it seems.

Artist Reilly Brown, who has drawn Deadpool within several Marvel series, recently revealed that, despite the character still existing within the comic book universe, not all of his looks are allowed.

Namely, Deadpool’s movie costume is not allowed due to the aforementioned licensing issue.

Brown recently shared a post on his Instagram page detailing a problem he came across whilst creating an issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool.

The artist wrote;

“Someone asked if I’d ever drawn Deadpool in his movie costume, and I actually did once, for an issue of Spideypool.

In this story, Wade got a part in a Deadpool movie playing the stunt double. For scenes on set, I thought it would be fun if he wore the actual movie costume, so that’s what I drew.

I didn’t think anyone would notice or care, since the difference is just a couple of straps and some knee pads.

But they did notice, and made me change it back to his typical character design because the lawyers wouldn’t allow them to use the movie costume for some reason!”

Brown details how he had to redraw all of those scenes for that comic.

However, this isn’t the first time Deadpool has been the source of licensing debates over at Marvel HQ, as Brown continues to say;

“I ran into a similar lawyer-induced problem with Marvel a few months ago when they asked me to do an ad for some smart phone drawing software.

I was going to draw Deadpool, but it turned out they weren’t allowed to use him for the ad, so we figured Spidery would be safe, and I did a drawing of him.”

Here’s the kicker though, as Brown says;

“Turned out, they weren’t allowed to use Spider either! So I had to do it again.

This time I used Iron Man, and there was a long conversation and lots of phone calls before we figured out which Iron Man costumes would be safe for me to draw!”

So, whilst Deadpool might be an obvious exclusion to Marvel due to him still firmly being a Fox property, Spider-Man – who has at least appeared in an MCU movie – and even Marvel-owned characters like Iron-Man aren’t safe.

And, apparently, it isn’t even Marvel‘s characters who are under such scrutiny, as Brown posted a follow-up post the day after detailing more changes he had to make;

“In the comic, there was an actor who was playing Deadpool in a movie, so I figured I’d make him look vaguely like Ryan Reynolds.

The guys at Marvel thought this looked too much like him, so I had to make a change at the last minute. So I put a moustache on him.”

Brown didn’t seem too fazed by this edit though, as he added how sometimes, as an artist, you need to see what you can get away with.

It’s interesting to see what Marvel are able to get away with and how strict they need to be as a company about what gets published. Regardless of how much money the company may make, a lawsuit – especially one that could so easily be avoided – is never going to help.

Presumably, once the Disney/Fox deal goes through next year, such problems will become non-existent. Until then, however, Marvel will have to keep their wits about them, it seems.

-James, 17/04/2018


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