Hail Hydra

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Poster by Eric Tan

 

This phrase, popularized in the second Captain America film, The Winter Soldier , is making front page news across the country. For the initiated, Hydra is an evil terrorist organization that first appeared back in 1965. While James Bond and MI6 had ‘Spectre,’ Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. had Hydra. These guys were so evil that they creeped out the Nazis.

In recent years, Hydra has been presented in comics and in film/tv as an organization so insidious that it had secretly infiltrated certain aspects of government over a long game tracking back to its inception on WWII. As of this week, that infestation has spread to the star-spangled Avenger Captain America.

The fate of a fictional character is making front page news. That means one of two things, America is a very sad place where pop culture icons are more important than actual news involving real people in actual places… or these cultural icons are important.

Avengers - Captain America_PosterAs a cynic, I’m torn. I want to brush the dust off my shoulders and stand tall with my imaginary degree of comic book lore, stating that these ‘funny books’ actually mean something and have a direct impact on our culture… but I’m also frustrated by two things; one is that it is indeed not as important as real news pieces which could uncover insidious deeds or help those in need and there are far more people today with opinions on Captain America than there were yesterday. And they are not buying the comic book.

comic-book-rack-1975I have a pretty basic rule when it comes to these things; if you want to play along, you pay admission. I’m down to talk about comics with almost anyone, but my pet peeve is the uninformed angry person on the street with maybe a t-shirt and a dvd supporting their interest and a vague memory of the character. This happens all the time and it always annoys me. If you want to get outraged, join in, read the book and have an informed opinion rather than just outrage.

Upset about Blue Beetle’s death? Why didn’t you buy *one* of his comics. Furious over Spider-Man’s new status quot? Why does your collection stop at 1996? Personally pained over Batman’s death? Well… get in line.

Strangely, Nick Spencer,  current writer of both Captain America: Sam Wilson and the newly released Captain America: Steve Rogers series (as well as the hit series Morning Glories), is all a-flutter with the attention and assures readers that there is more to come.

Via the Daily Beast:

When you decide to do something like this, you understand obviously that people aren’t gonna throw you a party for it. You understand that this is the kind of story designed to upset people and shock people and worry people. That’s the response you’re supposed to have to something like this, when you’re seeing a bad thing. So, yeah, this is certainly the kind of response I expected, but in terms of the magnitude of it and just how many people are chiming in, that part’s unreal. That surpassed any expectation that I had.

I think it just comes down to [the fact that] this character, particularly since the movies, has really exploded in popularity. Obviously he represents a lot to a lot of people. They’re emotionally invested, which is good. The worst thing that could have happened today is people shrugging, or even being reasonable. That would’ve said that we didn’t stick the landing on it. So this is what we wanted, we just have even more of it than we imagined.

we’ve been holding onto this for about 16 months now, so it’s been well over a year that we’ve been keeping this under wraps. And that was a hugely gratifying thing, especially in the last couple of months as we started work on the issue. There’s an artist drawing it [Jesús Saiz] and a letterer [Joe Caramagna], and you start to worry because obviously the book is getting passed through a lot of hands and there’s something tangible out there that can get leaked. So yeah, I mean all the credit in the world goes to Tom and everyone at Marvel, they really went above and beyond to keep a lid on this. They took a lot of special measures that we’ve never had before—and it worked! We managed to keep this until it started leaking out last night, which was inevitable because that’s when the book started arriving at various places. But yeah, it was a big success. I was really surprised. I thought for sure it would be ruined.

One of the first things most people will probably think is, “But hasn’t he spent the last 75 years fighting Hydra?” How do you reconcile the twist with the character’s history?

48807535.cached.jpgI can’t say a lot on that front, but what I can say is that that is not a huge point of concern in the story. That question will be answered, at least for the most part, in the next issue. That wasn’t something that we wanted to drag out. We wanted to make that stuff as clear as we could upfront. So now that we’ve gotten the big surprise, we’re going to go back and explain some things to you so that you, as a reader, have a much clearer vantage point. But your vantage point may differ greatly from the characters in the Marvel universe.

There’s a lot of uproar online about how this storyline insults the legacies of Captain America’s Jewish creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Look, everybody who’s working on this story loves Captain America. I know that it may not seem like it today. But this book is edited by Tom Brevoort, who has been protecting this character’s legacy for a very long time now. He’s not gonna let me do anything that he thinks is going to endanger that character’s legacy and how the character is perceived. It’s always difficult when you’re at this point in a story, because you don’t just wanna tell people, “Everything’s gonna work out great!” Because that certainly may not be the case here. But what I think I can say with confidence is that with this story, our intention and our hope is that in its own unique way, it reinforces what everybody already knows about Captain America, which is his power as a symbol and what that means. We are approaching it from a different angle, but I think it illuminates the character in a way that we’ve never seen before.

It’s always tough. The eternal divide is the reader wants the character to succeed, to be happy, to win. Our job is often to put the characters through things and that can often be mistaken for a lack of respect or care for the character. It’s just the reality of what draws people into these stories, whether you realize it or not, and this is going to be a major test for a lot of characters in the Marvel universe.
(read more here)

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So there you have it from the guy who is actually writing the book that has earned him death threats and the ire of millions of lapsed comic book fans across the globe, suddenly invested in a character they had forgotten about until yesterday.

Oh, and on that other thing bouncing around the Twittersphere? Nick Spencer had some diplomatic words for the Captain America’s boyfriend movement.

Have you been watching the #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend campaign unfold?

Yeah. I think the only thing I can say there is it speaks to people’s passion for the character. Which probably isn’t much of an answer, but people strongly identify with these characters, they’re strongly invested in these characters’ lives, and I think that this is a reflection of that energy.

More as it comes… but keep buying the books.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try comicshoplocator.com!

Not into the physical books? Get thee to comixology or Marvel.com for digital comics offerings.

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First Look at Captain America: Civil War

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The first look at the third Captain America film based on the Marvel Comics story Civil War is here and it’s a doozy. It appears that Tony Stark will be donning a new suit of armor (in addition to new duds for the star spangled Avenger).

This is sure to mark a major turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Images Via HailHydra

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Captain America: Civil War has a May 6, 2016 release date.

More as it comes.

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

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I really dig comics. That probably does not come as a shock to you as my blog primarily deals with comic books (when I am not talking about outsider music, cult movies, video games or venting my spleen over Doctor Who) but I started this blog because comic book characters were becoming fashionable and I thought it would be a great opportunity to fill in the blanks for those unfamiliar with Green Arrow, Deadpool or Black Widow as they suddenly became important due to feature films, TV series or what-not.

But as some of these characters have become accepted into the current pop culture mindset, it’s important to see how far we have come. For ages, being a comic book fan meant hanging out in the dusty event rooms of suburban Howard Johnson hotels, collecting random beaten up magazines at drug stores and making shadow puppets from the light of your Captain America flashlight gun at night. Sure, there were a few attempts to bring these heroes to the small screen with the most recognized example being the Hulk starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. But there were other less successful attempts that are largely forgotten.

So as you sit in the cinema tonight, remember this oddity, a sequel to the other film that established young Reb Brown as the star-spangled shield-winger. This movie would strangely center on social security fraud, aging drugs and Hammer Horror alum Christopher Lee as a vague terrorist. Launched from the back of his sweet van, Cap’s motorcycle would fly through the streets delivering patriotic justice and lots of back flips. The movie barely holds up as entertaining today, but at the time it was terribly exciting to see these superheroes on TV… even if my little mind could figure out they got all the details wrong.

It is almost unimaginable today that a product like this would be conceived using Marvel superheroes as the properties are now revered money-making blockbusters. But many moons ago, Captain America looked like this…

Captain America welcomes artist Carlos Pacheco, readies Nuclear encounter

The current Captain America monthly book is just off the wall bonkers. Cult writer Rick Remender has hurled the character out of his comfort zone, placing him in an other-worldly war zone in another dimension. The book has been more unpredictable and wildly entertaining than ever before. With the arrival of Carlos Pacheco, Cap looks to be coming back to Earth, but the hits won’t stop coming.

I have enjoyed Pacheco’s art since his time on the Fantastic Four and followed him to Superman, X-Men and beyond. He’s an excellent artist and will bring a vibrant new life to the book. The creative team met with ComicBookResources to give a quick preview of what’s to come…

(note: I totally dig the cover with the homages to the many logos that have graced the series over its long life span)

Captain America Pacheco

Via CBR.com (click for additional info and more preview art)

Rick Remender: I’m a big fan of Carlos’ work going back to his work on books like “Starjammers” and “Avengers Forever.” He has a very crisp and clean style and is very versatile. He’s a great fit, because when we come back to Earth in this next arc, I want there to be this crisp and clean aesthetic. Editor Tom Brevoort and I spent a lot of time looking at the work of a lot of artists and decided on Carlos to get the book back to a classic Captain America feel. Issue #11 will be sort of a brand-new day for “Captain America.”

Plus, Carlos is an amazing storyteller with a dynamic style. We’ve got a lot of exciting stuff coming up in this arc, including the Weapon Minus Program, Doctor Mind Bubble, the Iron Nail, and in the center of it all is Nuke. I think when people see what Carlos has been doing, they’ll be blown away. I know I have been.

Carlos, What’s it like working with Rick? Which elements of his scripts do you find especially appealing as an artist?

Carlos Pacheco: He does a wonderful job with characterization for Cap, who comes from the first half of 20th Century. He’s a man that comes from a different era, different time, different way of living — and you cannot change this easily. His present identity is marked profoundly by all his sentimental education.

And Rick loves Zola! [Laughs]

I think we are in a new artistic direction for the character. He has been a superhero in an American flag. Those red, white and blues are the colors of a No-Doubt-He-Is-The-Good-Guy character, but Cap is also a soldier — he wore a Marine outfit during the Second World War. Now, he’s still a Marine. A modern one — and he will need to look like this. To be a soldier is his job. We cannot forget he’s a “Captain” and not on a baseball team.

Captain America is definitive authority incarnated in a man. This has to be shown in every panel where he appears. He was born to be a leader. There are no questions after his orders are given — except if you are Hawkeye. That’s why I love Clint Barton so much [Laughs].

Rick, you mentioned that Nuke, the rogue super soldier created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, will play a significant role in this arc. What do you find intriguing about the character? What kind of potential do you see in him?

Remender: Tom Brevoort and I worked hard to find a new angle for Nuke. He is sort of a Captain America of a different era who was abused and his mind was shattered. So he’s still a soldier and a patriot, but he’s absolutely lost the plot. His mind is so fried and he’s been through so many experiments and taken so many of these drugs that give him all of his strength.

He’s almost like a Captain America from the Iran-Contra era; a time when the government was doing things that they maybe shouldn’t have been. He was a victim of that. I like playing with the patriot who is misguided, but at the same time truly believes that the mission he is on is a sound one.

Secret government programs and rogue super soldiers suggest a shadowy tale. Carlos, what can you tell us about the overall look of the story? What kind of feelings are you hoping to convey with your art?

Pacheco: As an artist, my definitive objective is to show all the emotions and visual events the writer needs to show. Honestly, I want to be capable of drawing everything!

Remender: This is classic “Captain America.” The country and our standing in the world is at risk. There is a fellow super soldier out there doing some terrible things. He’s completely misguided, but he isn’t necessarily evil. Then, we’ve got a new villain in the Iron Nail, who will be revealed. We’ve got a new assassin in Doctor Mind Bubble, who will also be revealed. We’ll also see a lot of other familiar faces from Cap’s past, and we’ll see Cap dealing with the ramifications of Dimension Z, which are many.

It’s almost like a “Bourne Identity”-style story involving a rogue agent that needs to be taken down. Nuke is the Bourne character and Cap is the guy coming after him to take him down.

Tonally, it’s going to be similar to that as well. I did a crazy, sci-fi epic and now I’m going to take things back to ground-level and focus in on a classic Captain America story.

Artist Carlos Pacheco joins continuing writer Rick Remender on “Captain America” with September’s issue #11.

Quick review: Captain America #5

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By Rick Remender, John Romita Jr., Tom Palmer, Scott Hanna and Dean White

I was not sure what kind of Captain America comic book to expect from Rick Remender, the guy behind the madness of Uncanny X-Force, Frankencastle and of course Fear Agent. Five issues in and I am overjoyed by its weird, wonderful approach that feels like part B-movie, part Kirby’s Fourth World. I have noticed that for the relaunches of Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, the comics have all felt unique, taking the characters in new directions that place the heroes in all new environments to face new threats.

Captain America has become stranded in Dimension Z, brought there by the mad scientist ad part-time TV screen, Arnim Zola. Escaping capture, Cap managed to bring one of Zola’s clones with him.

Trapped in a weird world of monstrous creatures, Cap is no longer alone in a war against its ruler, Arnim Zola. His adopted son Ian stands by Steve Rogers as they brave the natural dangers of the environment and the ever present Zola who has been hot on their heels. Twelve years after finding himself in Dimension Z, Rogers has decided to take the battle to Zola himself.

Unfortunately, he has become infected with a kind of viral form of Zola’s genetic manipulation. A leering video screen image of Zola commands Rogers to give in to his control and reminds him that escape is impossible.

But Steve Rogers will never stop fighting, even against impossible odds and a never-ending sea of genetically created terrors hatched from Zola’s lab. Distorted super soldier clones, Doughboy and Ian’s amazonian sister Jet aim their attacks straight at Cap and Ian as they near the only way out of dimension Z, and then things get worse.

The monthly Captain America book has worn a lot of hats over the years from political thriller to high suspense drama. However, Remender’s vision is so otherworldly and alien that it leaves everything else behind. True, this book is not for everyone and the abstract art by John Romita, Jr is an acquired taste. I have to say that speaking personally, I am attracted to stories that raise the stakes for the hero, often stacking them so high that there is no way s/he cam overcome them. That is definitely the case in this revamped Captain America comic where at one point he is using his shield as a kind of wok to cook moss for food. There really aren’t too many things going for him.

I am unsure how this comic fits in with the regular time line of Captain America, but I figure it will all line up at some point. I had noted the influence of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and it is in full effect in this issue. Jet looks almost exactly like Big Barda and Dimension Z isn’t unlike Apocalypse. But rather than imply that Remender and Romita Jr. are stealing ideas, I instead feel that they are paying homage to the King.

If you are a big fan of the Ed Brubaker run, this may not be your kind of Captain America comic book… but it’s like nothing you’ve seen before and I am deeply enamored by it.

What a ride!

(click on the images below to enlarge)

Captain America sequel lands Anthony Mackie as the Falcon

Somehow this story got past me, but apparently Captain America’s long-standing crime-fighting partner the Falcon will be joining him in the highly anticipated sequel, The Winter Soldier. The first African-American super hero, The Falcon was introduced in the pages of Captain America by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, prompting a reaction so strong that for a time the series was renamed Captain America and The Falcon. He has appeared in animated form and also served in the Avengers and Defenders during his long career since his introduction back in 1969.

I’m very happy to see Marvel using another of its superb characters in film and I’m also pleased that anon-white hero is getting the motion picture treatment because not only is the Falcon a great hero, he is also adds more diversity to the comic book movie world. The origin of the Falcon is rather confusing (he started off as a social worker and later turned into a former pimp and drug dealer), but… I’m hoping that the movie avoids some unsavory aspects of the comic book creation, especially if the movie is directed at children.

In the comic, the Falcon was duped by the Red Skull using the cosmic cube into assisting his band of Exiles against Captain America. When he came to his senses, the Falcon joined Cap in his crime-fighting career. Later, writer Steve Engleheart added some extra notes to this story and caused the cosmic cube to not only fuse the Falcon and his bird Red Wing, but also introduce a new back story involving a forgotten life of crime. I’m all for the concept of societal reform, but found it weird to see actor Mackie talking about the Falcon being an ex-pimp and later mentioned how happy he is that kids will be dressing up as the hero for Halloween.

Anthony Mackie will be joining another co-star from the Hurt Locker, Jeremy ‘Hawkeye’ Renner, in the Marvel Comics Universe on film.

Back in July, it was reported that Anthony Mackie was in negotiations with Marvel Studios to play the role of the Falcon in the upcoming Captain America The Winter Soldier. Now, comes the first official confirmation that we’re aware of that he landed the role via an interview on Newsday.

When asked about his recent casting in the new Captain America movie, Anthony Mackie said, “I’m playing the Falcon. He’s this guy in Harlem who moved to California and became a drug dealer. His plane crashed, and he was genetically altered, and he can fly, has telepathic powers. He’s the first African-American superhero. It makes me feel all the work I’ve done has been paying off. I have a son, nephews and nieces, and I love the idea that they can dress up as the Falcon on Halloween. They now have someone they can idolize. That’s a huge honor for me.”

-Via Comicbook.com

While he was prominent in print during my childhood, I still recall the Falcon mostly from the excellent Mego doll based on him that I owned. As such,  I am looking forward to seeing the high-flying Falcon on the big screen.

The Falcon (from the Mego Museum)

Remender and Romita Jr. take over Captain America

Captain America has been a major hit with comic book readers since Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting reinvented the monthly series at a time when most fans had little to no interest (yours truly included). In the intervening years, even I have to admit that the quality has wavered some (especially after the comic was relaunched last year).

With the many announcements of creative team changes accompanying the mass relaunch of the Marvel Comics catalog, it is surprising to see that there are so many pleasant lineups, including Captain America. Romita Jr. is a staples of the industry who has earned acclaim from comics too numerous to name (anything from Kick Ass to Wolverine, the Punisher and more). Rick Remender has made quite a name for himself on Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers, Frankencastle (Punisher) and the under-rated Venom series. His unique combination of tight plotting, dark comedy and strong characterizations make him one of the luminaries of the modern Marvel bullpen.

In short, buy this series.


Marvel has already confirmed Kieron Gillen and Greg Land’s “Iron Man,” and Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s “Thor: God of Thunder.” Yesterday, CBR had the first word with Mark Waid and Leinil Yu on their upcoming “Indestructible Hulk” launch. Thursday saw two more pieces fall into place, as Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan and Tony Moore dished on “Deadpool” while Matt Fraction and Mike Allred talked about “FF” and Fraction and Mark Bagley’s “Fantastic Four.”

The latest Marvel NOW! confirmation is Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. taking over “Captain America” in November. iFanboy has the first word on the series, speaking with Remender about his plans for Marvel’s Sentinel of Liberty, from creating a “Year One”-style story arc focusing on pre-super soldier serumed Steve Rogers to building up Cap’s rogues gallery with names like the Green Skull and a reinvigorated Arnim Zola, all while balancing his take on the character with the version appearing in Jonathan Hickman’s “Avengers.”

“One of the mandates I have to myself is, I don’t want to touch the World War II stuff,” Remender told iFanboy of his plans for the title’s first major story arc. “I think that that has been done, now, and it’s been done perfectly. To go back and to keep focusing on Cap in World War II at this point, again, would be following too closely to what Ed has already done. What I’m doing is spending a lot of time in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 20s and 30s, showing Steve grow up. The first arc is 10 issues, and it’s called ‘Dimension Z.’

“I don’t want to give away too much, but a big portion of it is Cap dealing with Arnim Zola in Dimension Z. I’m trying to take Zola and do with him, what we did with Apocalypse over in Uncanny X-Force. Where we take what’s there, re-imagine it, build a new mythology and really expand Zola, and try and build Zola into a very, very big and important character.

“The other half of it is going to be a lot of flashbacks to a young Steve Rogers growing up in Depression-era Lower East Side, and getting to know his family and his friends, and how this 98-pound weakling became such a tenacious, strong person; focus on the fiber and the integrity of who he is, and really develop that for the first time.”

Via CBR.com

Captain America: Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World, Ant Man revealed at SDCC

Captain America director Joe Johnston’s Winter Soldier story continues without him, Thor enters ‘the dark world’ and the Edgar Wright Ant Man movie, rumored for almost a decade, is close to becoming a reality! All this plus a look at the line-up for the Guardians of the Galaxy film.

Late breaking news from the Marvel Entertainment panel at CCI yesterday…

Via Hollywood Reporter:

If there’s two things Marvel Studios lives by, it’s putting on a show and knowing its audience.

The company behind the biggest movie of the year and the third biggest movie of all time, started off by making a reel tying the success of its movies to Hall H, Comic-Con and fandom. “In this room” read one frame, cannily tethering the company to the crowd assembled, and “thank you” read another before finally proclaiming “Phase Two Begins…” and then simply “Now.”

Guardians of the Galaxy concept art

Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige also knows the audience is hungry not only for footage, but for actual news, so he revealed the full titles of the sequels to Thor and Captain America (Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier) plus unveiled the characters who would be in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Captain America versus former ally Bucky, now the Winter Soldier

The Thor sequel is scheduled for release on Nov. 18, 2013 followed by the Captain America sequel on April 4, 2014.

Then Edgar Wright made a surprise appearance and showed off test footage, unfinished, of his long and still-in-development Ant-Man movie.

Hank Pym- the original Ant Man

Perhaps the topper was introducing Iron Man 3 by having Robert Downey Jr. appear unexpectedly in the back of Hall H, then to the tune of a Luther Vandross song, skip to the front of the hall and onto the stage, with occasional stops with fans along the way.

The goodwill generated was off the charts.

And it’s some goodwill that Marvel, despite Avengers’ success, actually needs to a certain extent. While Iron Man 3 will no doubt be a success, there was some bitter after-taste among the studio’s fanbase after the lackluster Iron Man 2, and the fact that after helming the first two installments, Jon Favreau wasn’t returning to direct the third. (Those duties were handed off to Shane Black, who directed Downey on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.)

The gang assembled sold the new movie as a return to the roots of the Tony Stark character. Downey painted a picture that Black had always been involved, at least tangentially, with the Iron Man series.

He said Marvel execs watching Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was his “screen test before the screen test” and that even when making the first two films, if they had some issues, a call to Black wasn’t out of order.

Favreau, meanwhile, made it clear that even though he wasn’t directing Iron Man 3, he was cool with his role as an actor and executive producer.

“Shane made me feel very, very comfortable. As did Kevin and Robert,” Favreau said. “As far as executive producing, as opposed to directing, I feel like a proud grandfather who doesn’t have to change the diaper but gets to play with the baby.”
Iron Man 3 armor from the floor of CCI and more

Black too was on point, saying “We have Favreau. He’s back as an actor. I get to talk to him all day long…This is the same Iron Man you’ve always liked.”

How much of that subtext the crowd got is hard to tell since they were having too much fun with Downey and the gang riffing.

And of course, Marvel trotted out footage from the still in-production movie, which was not surprisingly well-received by the already primed audience.

After an amazing run, Captain America loses Ed Brubaker

When I was first getting into comics, I was attracted to the underdog, the misfit. I liked the X-Men because nothing ever went right for them. There were no successful romances. their house got blown up every month and they were often freakish mutants.

When I looked at the Captain America comic, below is an example of what I saw.


I just could not relate to it. He was very white-bread all-American and drove a van around the suburbs in full costume. It was absurd (and not in a good way). I’m not saying that there were no good stories in there, but the safe pastel image kept me from getting interested.

That all changed when the series was handed to Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, two men who catapulted Captain America into the realm of the coolest most exciting monthly book out there. Steve Rogers was a man out of time, taken out of one war and revived into a world at war where the enemy could be anyone. What was worse, his own enemies were far more powerful and numerous than he could anticipate. Frustrated and isolated, he fought a seemingly un-winnable war against a sea of troubles. Now THIS I could sink my teeth into!

A comic book creator most commonly known for his independent projects and Scene of the Crime for Vertigo, Brubaker seemed like an odd choice for this series. It had also been relaunched not that long before he penned a new #1. But he soon showed that he was a closet Captain America fanatic and brought such vitality to the series that I was surprised it hadn’t always been this good.

To add gusto to the new high impulse tone of the book, artist Steve Epting graced each issue with eye-popping visuals like the one below.

Captain America By Steve Epting

The Ed Brubaker run ranks up there with Brian Michael Bendis’ Daredevil, Matt Fraction’s Iron Man, Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man and Greg Pak’s Hulk. It’s so iconic and modern, giving the reader a feature film’s worth of entertainment in each and every issue. I’m very sad to see this era come to a close, but I am interested in what is next for both Cap and Mr. Brubaker.

Of course I am grateful that Winter Soldier is sticking around with Brubaker involved and recommend that with highest accolades.

Via

In an interview with Tom Spurgeon, Ed Brubaker confirmed he is stepping down as writer for Captain America.
Here’s an excerpt.

Now, you told me that you’re wrapping up on Captain America.

Yeah. By the time this interview comes out, I will have written my last issue.

Congratulations. And that’s… eight years on Cap?

A little less than eight years. I think I started in August or September of 2004 writing my first issue, which came out in November of that year.

So why now?

Partly, it’s the beginning of a shift from work-for-hire to books I own, instead. I hit a point with the work-for-hire stuff where I was starting to feel burned out on it. Like my tank is nearing empty on superhero comics, basically. It’s been a great job, and I think I found ways to bring my voice to it, but I have a lot of other things I want to do as a writer, too, so I’m going to try that for a while instead.

Now are you keeping Winter Soldier?

Yeah, I am. That’s going to be my only Marvel book soon. I’ll do The Winter Soldier as long as it lasts… or, I’ll do it for as long as I can. [Spurgeon laughs] Because I don’t know if it’ll last, but I’m really proud of that book and the second and third storylines on it are some of my favorite stuff I’ve done for Marvel, ever.

What do you like about it? What do you think is laudatory? Are you in that place where you can say, “I did that, and I did that very well.”

I think I got to tell a long story. In the early days, I got to create a big soap opera about Steve Rogers and Bucky and Sharon Carter and keep this thrilling adventure ride going. And each arc bled into the next. Then we did the “Death of Cap” thing and I go to really do an 18-part story that still didn’t end with Cap coming back to life yet. [laughs] I got to do some stuff that was really challenging. I got work with some great artists. Steve Epting, he probably drew 35 issues of my run in the early days. I think we developed a really great collaboration. And I always liked that kind of epic storytelling.

Don’t they team you up with a writer to transition out of these titles? Like baton pass it to them?

BRUBAKER: That’s not on purpose for this one. That was a situation with scheduling. Marvel is trying to do this thing now that with some of their better-selling books they want to get out more copies per year than 12. They want to get out 15 or 18 issues. Amazing Spider-Man’s been doing more than one a month for a while now; someone I know does Uncanny X-Men or one of those books, and that comes out 18 times a year.

I couldn’t keep up with that schedule, honestly. I knew I was getting to the end of my run. I wanted to wrap up my run earlier. And [Marvel Senior Vice President Of Publishing] Tom [Brevoort] was like, “Well, you’re going to leave a bunch of plot lines dangling… do you want to go out like that? It’ll seem like you threw up your hands and said ‘I can’t keep up with this schedule.’” I was like, “No, I don’t want to go out that way.” So we brought in Cullen Bunn to write an arc with me. I gave him a list of a bunch of stuff. “Here’s all the dangling plot threads and here’s where we need them all to be by the time I get to my last issue.” And then we figured out a storyline together.

It’s strange. I did all these issues as an uninterrupted run. Then there’s four issues co-written by someone. Then there’s a last issue. [laughs] It’s a little odd.

Brubaker’s last issue will be Captain America # 20

Via The Comics Reporter

Get ready for the Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier

Exploding from the pages of Captain America comes a third ongoing Cap monthly book. Since Ed Brubaker (Deadenders, Scene of the Crime, Criminal) started writing the star-spangled Avenger, the character has become a major success. Finding himself in the modern world of global terrorism, Captain America faced the threat of the Red Skull in a very new way and a secretive assassin, a relic of the Soviet Empire known only as the Winter Soldier. To Steve Rogers’ (and the reader’s) surprise, the identity of the villain proved to be none other than former side-kick James ‘Bucky’ Barnes!

This struck many as a cheap shot at bringing back a dead hero, but to Brubaker it was overdue justice from a young reader’s perspective. It is accepted now that Bucky died while attempting to stop an explosive-laden drone plane launched by Baron Zemo, this was actually a bit of clever retro-active continuity to explain away the fact that Captain America and Bucky were running about fighting injustice in the 1950’s whereas it was established that Rogers was frozen in deep sleep from the 40’s until the 1960’s.

The new story established that while many believed Bucky had been dead, he was in fact retrieved by the Soviets and turned into an expert assassin sent to perform deadly deeds against the free world. Finally coming face to face with his former mentor, Bucky finally broke his programming and returned to a life of superheroics.

The new series will follow the adventures of Barnes as he operates as a black ops agent in the global theater. Brubaker supplies the words and the astounding artwork comes courtesy of Butch Guice who remains one of the finest delineators in the business. Already hailed as one of the finest new comics of the year (before it has even hit the stands), this one should be a winner.

Make sure to reserve a copy today (do people still do that?) from your local retailer.