Break out the chimichangas, because advance tickets for Deadpool 2 are now officially on sale here at Fandango! To celebrate the Merc with a Mouth’s triumphant return to the big screen, we’ve done something we've never done before: we've teamed up with the creator of a character -- in this case, Deadpool's Rob Liefeld -- on a poster that's available to anyone who snags their tickets on Fandango. 

This ain’t no ordinary poster, either. Longtime Deadpool fans will immediately recognize the similarities between this art and a particular comic book that started it all.

Check out the poster below.

Click image to enlarge

 

For more on the poster and the Deadpool sequel, Fandango spoke exclusively with Rob Liefeld to get the story behind the art… and so much more.

 

The poster is an homage to one of the most iconic comic book covers ever

Rob Liefeld: The cover to New Mutants #98 has become an iconic image, and it is the comic that introduced Deadpool and Domino to the world. New Mutants #98 has become a key image in the comic book pantheon, so I thought it would be great to pay homage with the movie cast… and I gotta be honest, man -- it turned out better than I imagined! I teamed up with a guy named Mike Capprotti, who I have worked with several times on many Deadpool covers. He has such a beautiful palette, and so we jammed together and came up with this great piece.

Look, at the end of the day, I'm still an artist, and I'm slow to pull that image up, or pull it out of my portfolio, or be more nervous about responses. But then when people respond well, you're like, "Yes! We hit a bullseye!"

Recreating that New Mutants #98 cover for Fandango is a pinch-me moment

Rob Liefeld: I didn't know that I was going to get a chance to recreate the cover of New Mutants #98 with actors as all these characters. That was my calling card. I brought the world Cable, Deadpool, Domino, and it changed the course of my career. It gave me the career that I've had, and so it was just a pleasure [to pay homage]. And now the fact that it's going to be a poster with Fandango! Fandango's a big deal. That’s huge. It’s my pinch-me moment.

 

The first Deadpool movie has turned the character into a global phenomenon

Rob Liefeld: Ryan's portrayal of Deadpool just took him to a level that I hadn't experienced myself. The character is now a really big deal. When I was a kid, my favorite character was Wolverine. Wolverine was the most popular X-Men character, but then you see what Hugh Jackman did to Wolverine, and he made him a global phenomenon. Now, since the 2016 film, Deadpool has become just as big. You walk into a store – and nowadays it can be any store -- and there's tons of Deadpool everything. I got a Deadpool coffee pot, I got Deadpool grenade mugs. I mean, no shortage of apparel and stuff. That's a blast to see something that you created, you conceived, you designed, and it's on the shelves looking back at you everywhere, and that is just the end result of what Ryan's portrayal of the character has achieved. You would have to go to great efforts to even attempt to convince me otherwise. It's not gonna happen.

 

The X-Force are a much more aggressive arm of the X-Men

Rob Liefeld: You know, back when I created X-Force, as a fan I was kind of tired with the X-Men. They had become what I would say kind of a mopey group. A mopey bunch of people. They were always drowned in their own sorrows, and I like action -- I like kick ass characters --  so when I transformed the book and turned it into X-Force, I think each of the characters, from Cable to Domino to Deadpool are a kick ass group of badass mutants that don't take any sh*t. They knock down your wall. They ask questions later. They are very much a more aggressive arm of the X-Men.  I took a book that was selling a hundred thousand units, and the last issue that introduces X-Force sold one million units, and that was a 14-month journey. It is the second best-selling comic book of all time for a reason. People rallied around it. I mean, my X-Men had weapons. They had attitude. They had aggression.

I just felt like somewhere between Xavier's pacifists views and Magneto's terrorist views there had to be an activist view. So you had pacifist and terrorist, and I introduced a much more aggressive arm of the X-Men.

 

But can the X-Force rival the Avengers?

Rob Liefeld: Well, this version, yes. I'm confident about the X-Force -- that it's an R-rated Avengers in the making. You can see where Fox is building up a roster that rivals what happened over with the Avengers. They built up piece by piece this impressive group of personalities, and actors, and talent that people just responded to. So I'm obviously at a disadvantage. I've seen more than the average Joe has seen, but I see how well it clicks, and I think that when you throw the R-rating in there, the X-Force can absolutely rival the Avengers. X-Force is not family friendly, and that matters, too. I definitely do see them building their version of the Avengers with this.

 

Cable is the next best-selling comic character to hit the big screen

Rob Liefeld: Cable is a giant character. He's gigantic. He is the last best-selling character yet to be cast. I mean, he has been the face of an entire wing of X-books for 26 years. X-Force #2 is the number two best-selling comic of all time, and it has stood that record for 27 years, 1991 to 2018. Cable's a big character, so they got a big actor [in Josh Brolin], and he brought all of his talent. Just wait till you see the way they play off each other. [The studio] was very generous and gave me some days to choose in regards to coming to the set, and I said, "Hey, I just need to see Ryan and Josh together if at all possible above all else." It was magic, man. It was pretty awesome. I would go back to my hotel and dance around.

 

How is Deadpool 2 different from Deadpool?

Rob Liefeld: The shots are bigger, the scope is wider. Honestly, it's the heart and soul of the first one that drove the film, and it doesn't matter how big the movie got if they didn't have the heart. This movie has that same heart and soul, and you are going to be rooting for crazy Wade who is just in over his head again, and it's a great. It’s a great adventure. David Leitch can paint a beautiful frame. I mean, the guy is just a fantastic director, from the John Wick movies to Atomic Blonde. It's not just the blocking of shots, but the work with the actors, the flow of the frames. He has a color palette that I just dig. He has a very signature way he shoots things.

Without saying anything, I would say that the trailer really sets the tone. It says there's a big party that's being thrown on May 18th, and you're gonna wanna be a part of it. It's a party you're not going to want to miss out on.

 

Deadpool 2 hits theaters on May 18. You can snag your tickets right now here at Fandango.