The popularity of comic book characters has exploded over the last decade plus. With the overwhelming success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, these characters have never been more mainstream or widespread. And they’re now making their way into kitchens, led naturally by the raunchy, unhinged and food obsessed Wade Wilson, aka: Deadpool. WellWell recently spoke with Marvel comics writer Marc Sumerak and recipe developer Elena Craig, who together have created Cooking with Deadpool, on the merc with a mouth’s diet, unique wellness advice and enduring legacy.
Was there ever a point in the development of Cooking With Deadpool where it was just 60 different recipes for chimichangas and tacos?
Marc Sumerak: No, I think we knew going in that Deadpool had a wide variety of flavors in his repertoire. In both the comics and movies, he’s a character with a lot of different facets of his personality so we wanted to explore as many of them as we could. And though his love of chimichangas and tacos is well known, it’s something that we wanted to push beyond to show all the sides of Wade Wilson.
Elena Craig: We definitely thought of all the ways to expand past that and since he’s a character that doesn’t have a lot of health concerns himself, given his ability to regenerate, we were able to really focus on what are all of our naughty, guilty pleasure fun foods that you would actually want to eat if there were no consequences.
Why Deadpool versus any other Marvel characters for a cookbook?
MS: In terms of the Marvel universe, there are a few characters who are associated with hunger, like Galactus who literally eats planets, he may be the biggest one of them. However, Deadpool is really well known for his big appetite and big adventures. With his love for chimichangas and tacos, he’s a character that’s become associated with celebrating through food, so we chose to celebrate food through him.
EC: He also breaks the fourth wall, talking directly to the audience, so he can tell everybody about all his love for food, his food adventures and whatever it is that he’s snacking on.
You mention taking inspiration from both the comics and movies but the book itself definitely has a comic book feel given the fonts, dialogue bubbles and style overall. When starting the project, how important was this to maintain?
EC: It definitely seemed like the most fun way to make it really Deadpool. I think we would have been hard pressed with things like surfaces, environments and propping to really capture that comic book feel without some help from the book format itself, and having him in there because ultimately, it’s not me teaching people how to make these recipes, right? It’s Deadpool. Wade wanted to take us out of it as much as possible when you’re inside the book so you can really go into that world.
MS: And one of the great things about leaning into the comic side of things, more so than necessarily the live cinematic universe type of things, is the fact that Deadpool has been around for 30 years. This is his 30th anniversary. The book is well timed for that and that means we’ve got a lot of content, a lot of adventures, a lot of experiences for this character that we can draw upon and reference within this book that we wouldn’t have if we were just focusing on the movie projects that he’s appeared in over the last few years. So, combining those things and leaning more into the comics, we have just had a wealth of material that we could offer to fuel these recipes.
The energy of Deadpool, his humor and absurdity, it bleeds throughout. How does this type of humor and wit enhance a medium like cookbooks which can occasionally tend to be on the dryer side?
EC: What I love about creating these kinds of cookbooks is reaching so many more people. Maybe you aren’t somebody who thought we’re going to make these kinds of things from scratch but because you might really be obsessed with Deadpool and really enjoy the comic book factor, you’re going to pick this up now and hopefully get drawn in.
MS: And cooking is more enjoyable when it’s fun. If we could make the process of cooking fun, not just the process of eating fun, then it’s a win for all of us and through characters like Deadpool who are fun at their core, whose very nature is about having a good time and enjoying themselves in life, we can bring that into the cooking process for people to make it even more of an enjoyable experience. It’s great for everyone. It brings everybody into the kitchen in a way that pleases us across the board.
Elena, you touched on this earlier, Deadpool doesn’t necessarily need to worry about his health. He is regenerative. That being said, what can we learn from the character’s health and diet habits be it positive or negative?
EC: Well, I’m not sure we would want to necessarily mimic Deadpool’s diet habits specifically, but the good news is that any time you’re making some of these favorites, what we might consider to be junk foods or comfort foods, any time that you’re at home making those from scratch, you’re automatically way better off than going out into the world and having that sort of fast lane version. When you try and roll your own chimichangas, you have a new appreciation for what’s going into the body and it will certainly slow down a little bit, hopefully.
Beyond the cookbook, do you think that there is another wellness format that Deadpool might be primed to enter?
MS: Nude yoga probably. That would be my guess.
EC: That sounds good, yes. There’s definitely the opportunity for some self-help materials, maybe even a meditation guide. Now he might mix up meditating with assassin skills but he’s super active and he definitely likes to hear himself talk so he could self-help a little bit so he could do a little bit of both.
MS: He also has this philosophy where he knows that every day and every meal could be his last. Being a mercenary is not an easy job and it’s not one that has a ton of longevity for a lot of the people who have come before him. So, he knows that he has to live life to its fullest and I think that’s something that’s a message that he could spread along to those who would be willing to listen. Trust me, he would be willing to talk about it for as long as possible
As Marc mentioned earlier, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Deadpool’s first panel. What impact has this character had not only on comics but towards pop culture in general?
MS: I think there’s a huge impact. He was a character that came out in a time where a lot of comics were very dark and gritty in the early 1990’s. He brought this humorous tone into the comics even though he’s a character who has done a lot of horrible things in his career. He brought this hilarious, over-the-top tone that really spoke to a lot of readers and has cemented him in the Marvel Universe as a mainstay over the years.
I think he’s been one of the most beloved characters because his personality when he first came onto the scene was so unique and different from all the other heroes around him. That’s made him something really special and very few people have been able to recapture that in other characters. That’s why he’s had such a long-lasting impact in comics and outside media projects.
EC: The Marvel Universe and specifically Deadpool is a connection for a lot of us. The fact that it spans so far back, before my oldest child was born, but it’s been able to continually reinvent itself is incredible. Now there’s just generation after generation after generation who has these as cultural touchpoints. And because of that there’s a lot of my family in these recipes because it’s a way that we are used to connecting through cooking and food and then to have a fun character like Deadpool that has that longevity and the humor, he’d fit right into our kitchen.
About Marc Sumerak
Marc Sumerak is a
About Elena Craig
Elena Craig is a food and prop stylist and recipe developer with more than 25 years of experience in culinary design, marketing, photography, and publishing. With a deep love for pop culture and super-fans, she enjoys hiding Easter eggs in fun depictions of beloved fictional worlds.