If you haven’t seen someone cosplay as him or a trailer or, hell, pretty much anything else you can put a character on, you may want to check your surroundings. You either live under a rock or lead a miserable, cold, dark shell of an existence that is Deadpool-less. Seriously, he deserves your attention, maybe now more than ever. Deadpool 2 is already on its way to a theater near you, but before you grab your refillable popcorn bucket and head off, you should consider reading these comics to prepare yourself for all the awesome to come.

Deadpool 2 Movie PosterDeadpool 2, Marvel/20th Century Fox

Deadpool was the little superhero movie that could, and oh boy, he could. But his, let’s say, not-so-subtle humor and ultra-violent ways clearly meant he wasn’t a good fit for the big screen or at the very least a PG-13 rating. It took 11 years and lots of hardships to make that movie happen. That (relatively) low-budget film smashed all expectations and made over $780 million at the box office. A sequel was inevitable!

And that sequel is almost here. Look we all know you’re going to go see it. I’m here to help so you can at least pretend to know what you’re talking about when you inevitably talk about it with… everyone you meet. You’ll sound like a BADASS know-it-all when we’re done. Here’s a list of the funniest, freakiest, and most-notable Deadpool comics for you to catch up on before you’re off to see the sequel.

NEW MUTANTS #98 (1991) Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza, Steve Buccellato, and Joe Rosen

NEW MUTANTS #98 (1991) comic book cover

Let’s start with the classics. It doesn’t get more classic than Deadpool’s first appearance in New Mutants #98. This issue is a riot as it’s Rob Liefeld at his most Rob Liefeld-est: abstract, colorful, and utterly strange. It introduces us to our anti-hero, though in Rob’s original version, he’s essentially just knock off Deathstroke, a serious killer with a mask. Hell, his name is even a play on DC’s famous assassin’s legal name: Slade Wilson. Get it?!? He was originally hired to kill cable and is a bad guy in this story. I mean he’s never really a good guy but this time he’s definitely bad!

DEADPOOL VOL. 1 (1997) Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Norman Lee, Nathan Massengill, Chris Lichtner, Comicraft, and more
DEADPOOL VOL. 1 (1997) comic book cover

If you love the irreverent, fourth-wall breaking, surreally strange and humorous Deadpool that’s now a cultural touchstone, then McGuinness and Kelly’s ’97 Deadpool book is for you. This is where Wade Wilson became the darkly funny anti-hero that so many comic fans know and love. This series also introduced Deadpool’s sidekicks and movie co-stars, Blind Al and Weasel. The creative team endlessly pushed the boundaries of what was expected from an ongoing superhero series. It was a breath of “fresh” air for readers at the time. Most of the stories comic book companies were putting out were darker and serious. This is also where Deadpool breaks the fourth wall for the first time.

CABLE & DEADPOOL (2004)Fabian Nicieza, Reilly Brown, and many more

Cable & Deadpool comic book cover

Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza returned with this 50-issue series where our “hero” teams up with his ex-nemesis Cable for many-a-wild adventure. The “odd couple of the Marvel Universe” started off strange and never came down. This is after Cable absorbs and throws up Wade in the first arc to save them both from a dangerous virus. For fans of Cable, this comic gives him a lot of space to try and understand his mutant powers whilst also dealing with the ever-annoying Merc with a Mouth.

DEADPOOL CORPS (2010) – Victor Gischler, Rob Liefeld, Adelso Corona, Matt Yackey, and Clayton Cowles

DEADPOOL CORPS (2010) comic book cover

A family of Deadpools, you say? Well, you’re in luck! Rob Liefeld returned with this outrageous outing. This series gave us fan-fave Lady Deadpool her first real outing, alongside Headpool (it’s an alternate universe version of Deadpool’s decapitated zombie head), Dogpool (it’s a dog), and Kid Pool (you get it). This is probably the most cosmic and ridiculous of the Deadpool comics. You think Deadpool by himself is a handful, imagine a whole team of foul-mouthed off the wall mercenaries. This one is full of violent weird “family” fun.

DEADPOOL VOL. 2 (2008) – Daniel Way, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Marte Gracia, Cory Petit, and more

DEADPOOL VOL. 2 (2008) comic book cover

This entry is seen by many as the seminal run. As Way and Medina leaned into the very weird side of Deadpool and pitted him against the X-Men in his quest to join them. He also runs into Spider-Man, and together they fight a deadly foe named Hitman Monkey (yeah you read that right) and is also a pirate. This story goes all over the place and at one point Deadpool decides he’s going to kill a planet. Well, not really a planet, but more like a selfish moon. So, you know, the usual comic book stuff. So if you’re looking for a slick, funny, and frantic book with a lot of cameos, I highly recommend this run of the Merc with a Mouth.

If you haven’t read Deadpool’s comics, you are missing out on some seriously good stuff. There is so much more I didn’t even get to touch on. Like the time he lifted Thor’s hammer or the time he spent WAY too much money on guinea pigs ($25,896.92) and ends up working for Galactus. I highly recommend you pick up a few of his comics – you won’t be disappointed. You can find all matters of weird Deadpool comics at your local Bookmans. Come on by and grab some today!