There are a lot of Deadpool fans out there, enough to clamor for — and eventually, get — what looks like a faithful feature-film adaptation. That’s no easy feat. He’s quite possibly one of the top ten barely-filmable Marvel comics characters in existence.
Deadpool is weird — he’s an unkillable mercenary that’s horribly scarred and has an obnoxious sense of humour. Deadpool is violent. Deadpool knows he is a comic book character and frequently breaks the fourth wall to tell you so.
But above all things, Deadpool is irreverent. It’s that last quality that has made him a big hit in comics conventions, thanks to the antics of cosplayers like the man known as D-Piddy.
I was put in touch with D-Piddy (who chooses to remain anonymous) via current “Deadpool” writer Gerry Duggan, but I had seen much of his work before — and you probably have, too. Over the past few years, he’s made a name for himself by dressing up as Deadpool, going to conventions, and filming his antics. The end result is often a heavily shared and thoroughly GIF-ed montage like this one:
“I mess around with people. I try to stay in character,” Piddy told Tech Insider via email. “It got on Reddit, and I liked what people said about what I did, so I kept doing it. As for my name … I wanted to call myself ‘something Deadpool’ (like LA Deadpool and Dancepool came to mind) since that’s the character I was most known for, but I didn’t want to use ‘Deadpool, in case I wanted to cosplay something else (also, the name “Deadpool” wasn’t mine, it’s Marvel’s, and I wanted to be me). Still, I wanted something kind of to do with Deadpool. I saw a Variant cover with Deadpool wearing a do-rag that said D. Pooly
, and I thought that was cool, but I just changed it to D-Piddy.”
Piddy doesn’t come across as someone out to achieve viral fame and glory, but rather as someone who stumbled across a good thing and figured he’d go for it. A longtime fan of comics and attender of fan conventions (he calls himself a “jack-of-all-trades kind of nerd,” equally into all of the traditional geek culture pastimes), Piddy discovered Deadpool not in a comic book, but in a cousin’s collection of trading cards.
“My cousin used to collect Marvel Fleer trading cards, and I came across this one card — Spider-Man was my favourite comic book character, and I thought he was a guy who looked like Spider-Man except he had guns,” says Piddy. “I didn’t know much about him, I just thought he looked cool. And then I started buying my own comics when a comic book store opened nearby so I started collecting the ‘Civil War’ crossover series. I really liked Cable at the time, so I bought ‘Cable and Deadpool.'”
And just like that, he was off.
By the time he discovered Deadpool in earnest, Piddy was already a regular cosplayer and attendee of fan conventions of all stripes, and saw a certain Internet-friendly appeal in the character thanks to the work of writer Daniel Way.
“It was very internet meme-y. All those things that the Internet is known for, that are kind of /b/ type material,” says Piddy, referring to message board 4Chan’s notorious “random” board where anything goes — from harmless memes that have been absorbed into the wider internet culture to some of the most objectionable content the web has to offer (If you want to head there, you can click here, but it’s full of content that’s NSFW). “That’s what Deadpool ended up being. He can break the fourth wall. He can do anything with any character and it makes sense,” adds Piddy.
This made Deadpool the perfect character for him to cosplay.
“I took that as an opportunity to channel Deadpool with me,” says Piddy. “So if I’m at a convention with other cosplayers from all types of genres, I can be there [as Deadpool] and it makes sense. So that went around, and people found that very interesting.”
Part of the appeal of Piddy’s particular brand of Deadpool cosplay antics was the fact that he was a dancer, something that seamlessly blended in with other fun bits that he could do on the show floor.
But one of the biggest things that led to Piddy becoming really well-known was simple: timing.
In the summer of 2012, Korean pop sensation Psy released the ridiculously viral music video for his song “Gangnam Style.” It spawned countless parodies, many of which also went viral — and a certain Deadpool version of the routine just happened to be one of Piddy’s very first viral videos.
Piddy’s parody came near the very start of a fresh wave of meta pop-culture riffing for the Deadpool character that also helped establish his persona as one of the most prominent Deadpool cosplayers. With the publishing of a Gangnam Style cover which arguably was inspired by his video, a guest appearance on the New York Comic-Con panel for the “Deadpool” video game, and a sly shout-out or two within the pages of the comics themselves, Piddy found himself sucked into the memetic ouroboros of Deadpool fandom as his videos were posted on huge sites and endlessly GIFed.
“It’s a bit flattering how people find the things that I do humorous,” says Piddy — but he’s still pretty set on remaining anonymous. “I think once [people] have a sense of who’s under the mask, it’s not about the character, or what you do. Because when I cosplay, I want to be that character.”
This even extends to the “Deadpool” writers and artists he’s met over the years — D-Piddy tells me that he’s never introduced himself out of costume.
Piddy is still wearing the Deadpool tights, but he’s hanging them up more and more these days — out of all of the convention montages on his YouTube channel, only three feature the cosplayer dressing up as Deadpool.
“He doesn’t really have a sense of justice even though he wants to be righteous — he kind of just does whatever he wants to do that fits him,” says Piddy, reflecting on what makes him connect with the character. “People try to go the righteous route, even though it hurts them. Deadpool is just in it for himself, and that’s kind of like me? If you have the opportunity, go for it, but he’s just trying to hustle his way through, surviving … I guess his core being is this dude who just wants to make a living at what he does best.”
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