comic book superfan has said he achieved his “lifelong dream” by breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Deadpool memorabilia with a total of 2,250 items.
Gareth Peter Pahliney, from Cloghan in Ireland, kicked off his collection in 2006 and has since created his “happy place” full of Deadpool-related pieces, including a themed spatula, pot plant holder and a life-sized statue of the Marvel superhero.
The 41-year-old, who lives with his wife, Nikki, their seven-year-old son Liam and four-month-old daughter Sophie, said he acquires between 20 to 40 items a month – “sometimes more” – from all over the world.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to be in the book ever since I was a little kid,” Mr Pahliney told the PA news agency.
“Seeing all these people’s names in the book, I said, ‘Well, one day, I’ll find something I can be in the book for.’
“I think it’s my happy place… When I sit in the comic cave, I feel a sense of achievement.”
Mr Pahliney, who is currently a stay-at-home-father but volunteers as a club leader for Irish youth organisation Foroige, said he started reading comics at five years old and found himself “completely hooked” on Deadpool.
He had been collecting other comics and figurines long before 2006, but liked that Deadpool was “more of a fringe character”, and his clever quips as well as difficult past “made him special.”
“I think he’s dealt with a lot of hardships in his life and that just makes him more of a rounded character,” he said.
“I bought as many comics as I could… and as the action figures started to come out, I collected them and had them in a little display.
“And I think it just grew.”
Mr Pahliney explained that he thought he had enough memorabilia to win the record in 2016 and contacted Guinness World Records.
At the time he fell “slightly short of the 2,000 mark” and decided to try again in 2023 after building a comic cave in his home.
The whole process is something that he has “found” happiness in, especially since giving up alcohol 14 years ago.
“In my sobriety, I found things that made me happy,” Mr Pahliney said.
“And also that’s where I spent my money – all the money I saved from going out and everything else, I then put into comics and my collection.
“Something where I can look around and be proud of.”
One of Mr Pahliney’s earliest – and favourite – items is a figurine by collectible brand Sideshow of Deadpool holding a rubber chicken.
“It just made it so different and funny,” he said.
“Compared to all the other statues that you saw, which was serious and museum poses.
“(And) there’s a sentimental story that goes with this – my aunt was able to get it for me and bring it back to me when I was living in South Africa.”
Another notable piece is a rare bust of Deadpool used when moulding the character’s mask in the first film, signed by Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee and actor Ryan Reynolds – who Mr Pahliney said “truly embodies” Deadpool.
“I think he’s brilliant,” he said.
“And I couldn’t have imagined another actor playing that role.
“I think what’s really great is that he’s a dad too and you can see he makes time for his family – he’s just a really good guy.”
An added factor is the enjoyment of Mr Pahliney’s young son, Liam, who likes to join his father in the “comic cave”.
“(He) absolutely loves it,” he said.
“He will come sit downstairs with me, he loves being down there.”
He also has a YouTube channel dedicated to weekly comics and entertainment news, as well as item reviews in his Deadpool collection.
And Mr Pahliney shows no signs of stopping his hobby.
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop,” he said.
“I will continue to keep collecting as long as I’m able to.”