Marvel’s Original Deadpool Existed A Decade Before The Merc With A Mouth

In the last ten years, Deadpool has become one of the most popular Marvel characters in pop culture. Half-unkillable cartoon character, a la Bugs Bunny, half-living Pagliacci joke, Wade Wilson is a violent Jester with a tragic backstory. Interestingly, he’s not the first such character to grace the pages of the 616. Believe it or not, Madcap, Marvel’s even more violent Jester with a sadder backstory, predates The Merc With A Mouth by almost a decade.

Madcap’s Origin Broke His Mind

Captain America #307(April 1985) introduced the world to the man who would become Madcap—a psychotic human Looney Tune of the first degree. The unnamed young man was a deeply religious soul on the way to a Church picnic with his family when disaster struck. The bus that not-yet-Madcap and his fellow Marvel churchgoers were riding on crashed into an A.I.M. tanker truck full of Compound X07.

Spreading Fun Across The Marvel Universe

The crash not only killed everybody else on board the bus but exposed the nameless young man to excessive amounts of the Compound. Upon finding out that he was the sole survivor of the crash, the young man lost his faith in God and a rational world and attempted to throw himself in front of a speeding car. To his surprise and disappointment, he discovered that not only was he unharmed, he no longer felt pain.

The young man’s realization that the world was random and nothing had any inherent meaning broke his brain. It was then that Madcap, Marvel’s proto-Deadpool, was truly born. Stealing a harlequin costume and a child’s bubble gun, he dubbed himself Madcap and hit the streets of NYC to spread mayhem.

Madcap Vs. Deadpool

Madcap discovered he had a penchant for driving other denizens of the Marvel Universe crazy. He used that ability, in conjunction with his indestructibility, to lead innocent people into cartoonishly violent situations. Madcap always walked out of these situations unscathed while his victims suffered horrible, often fatal, injuries.

Unsurprisingly, Madcap’s antics put him in the path of several Marvel heroes, including Daredevil, Captain America, and even She-Hulk. None of these encounters, however, hold a candle to Madcap’s first face-off with Deadpool. In case you were wondering, yes, the two invincible combatants essentially had a heal-off.

A Fight With No Winner

A chance encounter on a rooftop between Madcap and Marvel’s other regenerative degenerate resulted in the two comparing healing factors. This showdown led to one of the funniest exchanges in Marvel history. “Nice try, but you can’t kill me. I’m indestructible.” declares Madcap while holding his own head out in front of him. “No, that’s not right…you can destruct me. What’s the word for when, no matter how bad you dumpty my humpty, I Wolverine myself back together again?”

“Deadpool,” answers Deadpool with arms crossed defiantly.

One Of Deadpool’s Biggest Rivals

The contest ended with one of Thor’s thunderbolts reducing the pair to literal ashes. Initially, it looks like Madcap has met his match, as the only one to regenerate is Marvel’s cancer-ridden chatterbox in red. It’s soon revealed, however, that Madcap lives inside Deadpool’s mind. This only serves to further splinter Wade Wilson’s already cracked psyche.

The two characters were later separated but would continue to have a complicated relationship. Occasionally, Madcap would team up with Deadpool, but more often than not, Marvel’s living cartoon was too busy trying to kill Wade Wilson to become his ally.

Oh, and uh, at one point, Madcap attached himself to some guy’s torso like Kuato from Total Recall, but the less said about that, the better.

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