Peter Parker Can't Drink a Beer — and Other Lessons From Writing a Spider-Man/Deadpool Comic

Actor and comedian Paul Scheer returns to the Marvel Universe — and discovers a joke about "truck nuts" is also forbidden in a Spidey book.
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment
Actor and comedian Paul Scheer returns to the Marvel Universe — and discovers a joke about "truck nuts" is also forbidden in a Spidey book.

Deadpool is the raunchiest and most experimental character in the Marvel Universe. So what does that mean when he teams up with Marvel's flagship hero Spider-Man?

Actor and comedian Paul Scheer figured that out thanks to his work on Deadpool/Spider-Man No. 12, which he wrote with Nick Giovannetti and features art from Todd Nauck. (It hit stores today.)

The writing team, whose supervillain animated comedy Bad Guys aired on Comedy Central, has recently been making forays into comics with issues of Deadpool and Guardians Team-Up. Their latest comic shows the Avengers throwing their holiday party — and predictably Deadpool's Secret Santa gift-giving doesn't go so well. (He isn't aware Hawkeye is a woman, not Clint Barton).

Part of the challenge for the team is navigating the Marvel Universe, which has both a whole new set of possibilities and a set of unwritten rules (Spider-Man can't drink a beer, as the writers learned).

Scheer shares his thoughts on returning to the 616 Universe and reveals the joke they had to keep out of the book.

How does having Spider-Man change the equation for you verses working on a Deadpool solo story?

We can't write the book we would write for a Deadpool book, because it has to be a little more family friendly. Some of our jokes about referencing the Marvel Universe have to be a little bit tamed down. One of the big jokes that we had to take out was that Deadpool gave the new Iron Man, who is a woman, truck nuts. And he goes, "No, I thought it was Tony Stark that's why I gave them." And they said, "You can't put truck nuts in a Spider-Man book."

How much do you keep up on the Marvel Universe? A lot of your jokes suggest a sophisticated knowledge, but I imagine you can depend on the Marvel brain trust to guide you?

There are brains over there. We had a villain toward the end of this book in it, and they said, "You can't do anything with that character because that's part of a very big Spider-Man arc coming up next month," so they didn't want us to touch that. It's a lot of balancing who's available. It's almost like fantasy football. There are a bunch of people out there, and everyone has dibs on certain things. "You can do this; you can't do that." Some of it is arbitrary. "We don't want to make that kind of joke with that kind of character."

What were some of the things you couldn't put in because of those character rules?

One of the jokes we have in this is they all have a beer — it's not even a joke. Just one of the moments was Spider-Man drinks a beer. And it was like, "Never. Spider-Man can never drink a beer." We're not aware of those kinds of things, but there is someone there watching all of that to make sure it all comes together the right way.

So we will never see Peter Parker have a cold one.

Spider-Man is a lot more family friendly than you think. Especially when you are doing a Deadpool book, you are riding this middle ground of pushing the Deadpool humor, which goes very far in the Deadpool books, but then also making it accessible to Spider-Man fans. We are also huge Spider-Man fans.

Would you be interested in writing a Deadpool movie?

I met with Tim Miller to be in Deadpool at one point, and I think he was surprised I had written some Deadpool. I thought Deadpool was perfect. It was super funny and amazingly visually cool, and it was great. As far as writing a movie like that, absolutely. It would be super fun. I think all this sort of stuff — you are always dealing with a committee, and you have to make it via committee, and that's tricky too because with Rhett [Reese] and Paul [Wernick], the guys who wrote Deadpool, they were basically told no by everybody. And essentially they kind of did it on the sly, and that's why I think it's so good. They kind of knocked out every bit of interference. The last thing I want to do is get noted to death and create a Green Lantern. The Russo Brothers have done an amazing job with their Marvel films. It's been amazing and so awesome. It's about finding the right people to believe in you and creating a script and finding something unique and original.

What's next for you and Nick?

Nick and I also just wrote a pilot that aired on Comedy Central called Bad Guys. It essentially does embrace the world of bad guys. We got to do something at Adult Swim, where we can do whatever we want and it's our own branded property. It's our own world and characters, and we can make them drink beers if we want to.  

Deadpool/Spider-Man No. 12 is on sale now.