The vast majority of Marvel’s biggest properties — Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four — are products of the 1960s or even earlier. (Captain America debuted way back in 1941.) One of the few characters who debuted in the last 40 years that comes close to the impact of those landmark creations is Deadpool, who was first introduced in the pages of 1990’s The New Mutants #98, and created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld.

Initially portrayed as an antagonist of the New Mutants (and the team that subsequently replaced them, X-Force), Deadpool gradually became a star on his own, then an anti-hero, then even a heroic member of X-Force, and later the X-Men, and even the Avengers. While he became successful on the page, his popularity skyrocketed thanks to his film franchise, starring Ryan Reynolds as the title character. To date, the Deadpool films have grossed $1.56 billion worldwide.

In the 30+ years since his introduction, many other writers and artists have left their mark on Deadpool, but Liefeld has remained a consistent presence; drawing covers and writing and drawing stories about his most famous creation. But this week, Liefeld announced, at the age of 57, that he is retiring from working on the character.

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“I’ll be 57 at the end of [his next, upcoming Deadpool comic],” Liefeld explained, “and my eyes are still functioning, the work continues to be strong, I want to go out with the best effort I can muster. The hand-eye coordination won’t be there forever.”

Liefeld has worked for both Marvel and DC, and was also one of the founding members of Image Comics, where he created the popular series Youngblood among other titles. In recent years, his contributions to the Deadpool universe include illustrating the Deadpool Corps comic, which featured popular Deadpool spinoff characters like Dogpool. (Yes, Deadpool is popular enough to have a veritable Deadpool-verse of alternate versions of himself.)

Deadpool 3 is scheduled to open in theaters on July 26, 2024. Liefeld’s final Deadpool comic is slated to come out later this summer. (One imagines it will be timed to coincide with the hype around Deadpool 3.)

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