Somebody asked the chief a rather loaded question about Lobo and Deadpool being “overplayed, really-limited-joke” characters. And frankly, I don’t think that’s fair to Deadpool.
Let’s set aside the tragic aspects of the character here–that Wade Wilson has a lot of emotional baggage that he can’t escape because he can’t die, that sort of thing. That’s all well and good, but I’m just talking about how the character works in pure farce. In that context, Deadpool’s problem isn’t that he’s limited as a joke character. It’s that people are limited in how they make jokes with the character.
This was already on my mind since I recently saw a gifset on Tumblr of Deadpool’s WACKY ADVENTURES at SDCC. It struck me that in each gif, somebody was doing something amusing with cosplay or props or whatever, and the sole contribution of “Deadpool” was to enter the scene and play along just like any other fun-loving convention-goer might. So you’ve got people cosplaying as Tetris blocks, which is kind of interesting I guess, and then OH MAN DEADPOOL IS WITH THEM NOW IT’S HA-HA-LARIOUS~!~!! XD XD
I get this same vibe from Deadpool’s appearances in comics–at least, the comics that are played for laughs. Deadpool is fighting ninja mimes because it’s funny, and it’s funny because it’s happening to Deadpool, and Deadpool is funny because it’s happening to him. It’s circular logic that only makes sense if you accept that Deadpool is some sort of humor-enhancer, who by his mere presence makes funny things funnier.
If humor were food, Deadpool would be the “bacon strips & bacon strips & bacon strips…” meme. Because let’s face it, bacon doesn’t actually make everything taste better, and even when it does there are diminishing returns as you add more. The first time I tried to make a sandwich with more than one layer of bacon, I ended up with a crispy-chewy mess that wasn’t at all what I hoped for. But the idea of extra bacon is indulgent and tempting. So we assume Epic Meal Time knows what they’re doing when they wrap a pork roast in a four-layer quilt of bacon, even when we should have the common sense to know better. Similarly, fandom seems to have been conditioned to assume that once anyone attempts to work Deadpool into something, it must be funny because Deadpool.
It’s not that bacon or Deadpool is bad, but the trick is in how you use them rather than simply using them at all or a lot. Wade is probably pretty versatile as a joke, but if Marvel and Deadpool fans forget to tell the joke, he is extremely limited as a punchline.