The Deadpool movie was a surprise hit in the cinemas, and there’s already a lot of buzz surrounding its upcoming sequel. With the unconventional superhero now enjoying more popularity and visibility in the public eye, many people are wondering if the Deadpool comics are as inappropriate for kids under 13 as the movie?
Wade Winston Wilson is a fictional anti-hero who worked as a mercenary until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. To cure it, he joined the Weapon X program where Wolverine’s DNA was implanted into his system, giving him superhuman healing powers. Unfortunately, this also disfigured his face. After escaping confinement, Wade Wilson then took up the mantle Deadpool.
To date, the Deadpool movie is the seventh highest grossing movie of 2016 and is now the most successful R-rated movie ever, eclipsing The Matrix.
Movie Vs. Comics Ratings
Starting in 2001, and continued through to the current day, the Deadpool comics use the Marvel Rating System. Today, the rating consists of five categories:
- ALL AGES – Appropriate for all ages.
- T – Appropriate for most readers. Parents are advised that they might want to read before, or with, younger children.
- T+ – Appropriate for teens (13 and above).
- PARENTAL ADVISORY – Appropriate for readers age 15 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes
- MAX: EXPLICIT CONTENT – 18+ years old. Mature-themed titles are designed to appear distinct from mainline Marvel titles. The “MAX: Explicit Content” label is very prominently displayed on the cover. The newsstand doesn’t sell these titles to younger readers.
Whereas the film uses the MPAA film rating system. This has the following labels:
- G – General Audiences. All ages admitted.
- PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
- PG13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
- R – Restricted. Under 17 requires an accompanying adult guardian.
- NC17 – Adults Only. No one under 17 admitted.
The Deadpool comics have the Marvel rating of Parental Advisory, with the occasional MAX, while the film carried an R rating. It includes “strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity.”
Yes, the comic books can be as violent and as random as the movie. However, the writers considerably downplay much of sexual innuendos. Meanwhile, the movie portrayed more violence than the comics do, and the vivid real-looking blood is far more graphic and believable than the comic book art.
How Can Parents Tell What’s Appropriate?
There is a certain level of inappropriateness that is not allowed in comics, and Deadpool has only come close to that level in the MAX comics. Deadpool is a goofy lighthearted interpretation of what should be a vicious, callous murderer. He also doesn’t curse, but instead uses more innovative insults. As for the violence, the comic artists often formalize it or portray it off panel (such as finding Deadpool surrounded by bodies).
However, Wade Wilson is pansexual who flirts with anyone and anything. He is a character who will blow his own brains out to avoid boring conversations and someone who shot a man because he preferred the Star Wars prequel trilogy to the original.
For parents to get an idea of how inappropriate the comics are, it’s best to check reviews and ratings beforehand as the themes can be graphic, mature, violent, and random. In addition, it’s best to pay attention to the ratings on the cover as the comic’s level of appropriateness can vary from issue to issue. As a general rule, however, the earlier Deadpool comics are also less graphic than the more recent ones. A good example would be Cable & Deadpool which ran from 2004 to 2008 and has a rating of 12+.
Is Deadpool Harmless?
Deadpool is an unpredictable character which makes him quite harmful and someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. However, would these comic books negatively affect younger readers? Probably not. Younger readers aren’t likely to pick up on the few sexual references in the comic, and as Deadpool can’t swear, there is no offensive language. Most gore and violence in Deadpool is usually stylized and the earlier comics barely have any bloodshed at all. In later issues, Deadpool usually just out talks or tricks his opponents, or simply runs away. Given these factors, the comics are ultimately less graphic and less vulgar than depicted in the movie.
However, this doesn’t mean that the comics are advisable for very young readers. He is a sexually active and violent character. The Marvel guidelines recommend that the comics are for readers aged 12+ as the themes are quite mature. Younger readers aren’t likely to understand nor get much out of the humor. On the other hand, the movie is extremely graphic is more appropriate for viewers 17+.