12/03/13 edit: Tonight on Twitter, Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan confirmed that Deadpool is queer, describing him as being omnisexual which is often used interchangeably with pansexual (a more inclusive form of bisexuality) so the following should now be read in the context of how this aspect of Deadpool’s character was presented before an official statement was made…
Deadpool debuted as a stock villain in New Mutants #98 in 1991 and was not given his own series until 1993’s four-part series The Circle Chase; between these two milestones, in Deadpool’s 9th ever appearance, is the first time we see Deadpool flirt with the man in Nomad #4
Obviously, this is not a serious come on, but it set the groundwork for what would be Deadpool’s canon interest in men.
There are inumerous examples of this type of behavior throughout the entire publication of Deadpool’s self-titled series, spinoff series, and guest spot appearances. Here are a few to demonstrate the variety of occurrences:
He even flirts with well-established gay characters
And some of his most sexually explicit jokes tend to be directed toward men
"But he’s only joking"
The fact of the matter is that almost everything Deadpool does and says is framed in a comedic fashion, and yet the only canon aspects of this character that are systematically denied or questioned (with the excuse of it being comedy) are his “queer” tendencies.
The fans that deny these aspects of Deadpool are the same ones that deny he was raped by Typhoid Mary [major tw for rape, including incest, at the link] although the comic leaves no question as to the fact that she had sex with him without his consent and he became depressed and ashamed of himself because of it.
These fans get mad when you suggest that it was rape. They feel personally insulted because to them, the heterosexual male, Deadpool being raped makes him weak and unmanly. I suspect that this false view of weakness and unmanly behavior (or femininity) is rejected by these heterosexual male fans because they look up to Deadpool and this “weakness” threatens to reflect back on them. The same line of thinking goes to why they are so adamantly deny that he would never seriously wear women’s clothes.
(For more information on his being a transvestite, read this article)
It is this ignorance and homophobia of the majority of Deadpool fans, or, at least of his targeted market, that to address this character’s sexuality we have to first analyze the subtext involved.
Subtext is buttsex
- The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text.
- The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text and interpreted by an actor in performance.
In layman’s terms, subtest is a literary style to demonstrate an aspect of the character without explicitly saying to the audience. Subtext has often been used as a way to portray queer characters in a socially acceptable manner, commonly done through flirting jokingly
exaggerated stereotypes (also in the context of a joke)
and cross-dressing (you guessed it, in the context of a joke)
It seems unnecessary to depend on this literary tool when Western society seems to be so progressive and accepting of the wide array of sexual expressions and practices that humans exhibit, but the comic book/geek community is a subculture and as the study of sociology will show you, a subculture tends to reject mainstream normality, especially when that subculture is build upon alienation from society.
"But Deadpool has only been in relationships with women"
Technically, that isn’t true.
Aside from Copycat, Death is Deadpool’s most intense and long-lasting romantic partner. Although the entity is usually depicted to be feminine and has reproduced, it has no gender and has also manifested as a masculine figure.
Deadpool has also only been officially married once (and happily, for that matter) and that was to an alien creature of a completely different species. Although appeared effeminate it was not technically a human and therefore an argument of gender would be irrelevant.
And then we have Cable.
As we discussed in the previous section, subtext is an important aspect of defining Deadpool’s sexuality and his relationship with Cable pushed the envelope for what could be considered subtext.
At one point Deadpool is is forced to visualize his deepest, darkest desire and he sees himself rubbing lotion on Cable while at the beach.
The characters themselves considered themselves married (conveyed in our handy literary tool of humorous subtext) and is even acknowledged on Marvel’s website
Their final separation with the “death” of Cable was highlighted in what appears to be a confirmation on the extent of their sexual relationship:
"But there are gay characters within the Marvel universe, so if Deadpool wasn’t straight they would just say so"
Let us talk about Mystique. An iconic figure who is one of Marvel’s most popular queer characters. Mystique has the ability to change her physical appearance to that of any person she chooses and she uses this ability in various ways to impersonate and manipulate people; in doing so she has seduced people regardless of gender, the justification always being a nefarious purpose.
The relation between this and Deadpool is that despite the given intentions of their behaving outside what we would define as heterosexuality it doesn’t change the fact that it does occur and it is a part of that characters canon.
It was only recently revealed that the friendship between Mystique and Destiny, her teammate in Brotherhood of Mutants, was actually a domestic partnership in which the two openly raised Rogue as their child, and Nightcrawler was even originally intended to be their biological child (through Mystique’s ability to transform into a male.) But the characters continued to be written as seemingly heterosexual, caring for each other to the extent that would be appropriate in a friendship and they were never shown to have any intimate or overtly flirtatious interactions.
Of course these characters were originally written at an earlier time in which subtext had to be far more subtle than it is now, but this demonstrates that Marvel has and does implement subtext to establish imperative and far-reaching aspects of canon.
A more recent and lateral comparison would be between Deadpool and Daken; Daken having first debuted in 2007 and being a well-known pansexual, as I would argue Deadpool is.
Daken has only had semi-serious romantic interest in a woman and is seen sexual situations with men only to manipulate them for his nefarious purposes (exactly as we have seen with Mystique.)
Despite the underwhelming evidence of his bisexuality it was questioned until it was confirmed in 2009 by Marjorie Liu who said he “will do anyone and anything [to achieve his goals and he’s] past that kind of identification. He’s beyond it.” Daniel Way (longtime writer of Deadpool in many titles and of his video game) confirmed what is now established as Daken’s pansexuality by saying, “He’s no more homosexual than he is heterosexual. It’s about control.”
What does this have to do with Deadpool? Simply that a well-established pansexual character who debuted in a much more tolerant time has less evidence of his pansexuality then Deadpool does.
Deal with it.