One of the more nerd-tastic things that came out of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con was the announcement of a video game based on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool, a C-level character from the 1990s created by industry pariah Rob Liefeld which has slowly climbed his way into the A-list.
As a character, Deadpool is an insane mercenary with the mouthy wit of Spider-Man (but far fouler) the healing powers of Wolverine (but way more intense), and the fighting ability of Captain America (but totally dirtier and with way more guns). As a literary vehicle, Deadpool often breaks the fourth wall and seems completely aware that he’s a comic character, that comics are ridiculous, and that comics are read by nerds. Because of this, he serves as a very clever, fun reminder of the nature of comic fiction, and because of this awareness, he makes it possible to exist in complete, self-referential hyperbole, plumbing into the pure id of violent fantasy. If you escape into comics, you might not want to be reminded that you’re reading a comic, but if you enjoy your superheroes both highbrow and lowbrow, Deadpool is probably the guy for you. And now, he’s doing the same meta-thing to video games.
Deadpool, because of this complex relationship with the medium, is a fan favorite character, being discovered by more fans every day. I’m only a recent convert myself, but with the upcoming video game on the upcoming explosion of Deadpool stuff, it’s time to look back at 20 years of Deadpool action figures.
Deadpool’s first action figure popped up in 1992′s ‘The Uncanny X-Men : X-Force Evil Mutants’ action figure line from ToyBiz, which was a line that produced way, way too many action figures of flash-in-the-pan mutant characters, as well as a very small segment which survived the comic renaissance of the early 2000s . A second version of this early figure, colloquially known as Deadpool II, came out in 1994 under the simplified ‘X-Men : X-Force’ line, and came with an alternate, unmasked head to switch out. In 1997, ToyBiz produced a 10″ version of Deadpool, as well as a re-release of their first figure in their “Hall of Fame” collection. With this release, collectors could hunt down a variant figure which was unmasked, revealing Deadpool’s hideous face underneath.
For a while, there were no new Deadpools to be found, but in 2004, ToyBiz included him in the sixth wave of their Marvel Legends line as a short-packed character, driving prices immediately upward—and judging by recent auctions, they haven’t fallen from the $100 average price tag. One of my more life-altering moments in collecting surrounded the discovery of this rare Deadpool action figure in the hands of an unpleasant, enemy collector.
After this, the Deadpools have been arriving rapidly, with at least a dozen more figures being produced, all shown below. Even LEGO has embraced the Deadpool excitement, and included him in their very first X-Men set—even when there are so many other more popular characters to include. That’s just the way of Deadpool. He insinuates himself into inappropriate places, and people eat it up. Check out the rest of the Deadpools we found, and which toy series they were included in!
And last, but not least, the coolest Deadpool thing out there: a Minimates set culled from Deadpool’s travels through alternate universes where he meets other versions of himself and assembles them into a crazy team. This set was initially released at New York Comic Con in 2011, but isn’t too hard to find now. Enjoy your Deadpool hunt, but first hunt down the hilarious, but NSFW, video game trailer.
[Did we leave any out? Let us know! And no, we're not counting that normal-looking guy from the Wolverine movie. He can't hold a candle to the red suit.]