Robot 6

Brubaker to focus on creator-owned books after Captain America

Captain America Volume 5 #1

If I’m doing the math right, Ed Brubaker’s time on Captain America will end with issue #19 of the title. And while he’ll continue to write Winter Soldier “as long as I can,” the writer told Tom Spurgeon in an interview at The Comics Reporter that he plans to focus on creator-owned work versus picking up another work-for-hire project after his Cap run ends.

“I hit a point with the work-for-hire stuff where I was starting to feel burned out on it,” Brubaker told Spurgeon. “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.”

Brubaker’s run on the character started in 2005 when he brought the long-dead Bucky Barnes back as the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed Soviet operative who clashed with Cap and eventually remembered who he really was. When Steve Rogers was killed in the well-lauded “Death of Captain America” storyline, Barnes took up the shield and became Captain America–at least until Rogers was brought back to life and eventually put the uniform back on. Those fantastical superhero plots seem secondary, though, to the overall tone of Brubaker’s noir-ish run on the title, which included everything a good Captain America run should have–intrigue, spy vs. spy plots and some real-world political references that piss off real-world political folks.

Brubaker’s final full arc of the series is being co-written by Cullen Bunn and runs in issues #15-18. After that Brubaker told Spurgeon he would write one final issue of the title.

“It was less of a decision and more just following my instincts, trying to make sure I’m only writing things I really want to write,” Brubaker told Spurgeon. “I used to have a lot of ideas for superhero stories, and they scratched a real old-fashioned pulp writer itch for a long time. But the past few years, I’ve wanted more and more to just focus on my own projects, and most of my ideas have been for new things, or things outside comics. I remember just sitting there with my Cap notebook, trying to figure out what to do after the next arc was finished, and suddenly I just was like, ‘I think I’m done here’ and it was this huge relief. I talked to Dan Buckley at Marvel, and told him what I was thinking, and he was really supportive of me, really great about it. I mean, I know I’m still going to be doing the Winter Soldier for a while, potentially a long while, but this feels like a major change, anyway.”

Brubaker, of course, is no stranger to creator-owned material. Even while he was firmly entrenched in the Captain America side of the Marvel Universe, he’s produced numerous creator-owned series with Sean Phillips, including Criminal and their current Image series Fatale. Go check out all of Spurgeon’s interview for more on that series, plus a whole lot of other stuff from Brubaker–it’s a wonderful interview well worth your time.



Good for Bru. 7 yrs is a long time to write Cap/Rodgers. Looking forward to more of his created own stuff along with Winter Soldier. Maybe Johns can do the exact same thing like Bru and just pass on the reigns of GL to someone else like Tony Bedard. But alas, that is only a pipe dream because he is making too much money.

yeah, I could sort of see that in his run on Cap. Winter Soldier is fine, but Cap has felt a bit “by the numbers”, if not phoned in.

It’s for the best, and I doubt we’ve seen the last of Bru on big Marvel/DC properties either. Rucka needed a break too and now his Punisher is fantastic.

I slowly got more bored of his Cap stuff over time and dropped it around the Heroic Age. I still love his work with Sean Phillips though, so more creator-owned stuff from Bru is good news for me.

Judge Fred MANSON

June 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I hope that his creator-own project will be bring to life under the Vertigo imprint, and not the ICON one, or the Image Comics one.

A wish…

I’ll take Brubaker creator-owned projects from anywhere, so long as the production quality’s good. And Image and Icon offer more control and better paper, so while Vertigo would be fine, I can’t imagine why the other two would be somehow inferior.


This is great news, one of my favorite writers, and I feel his best work is his creator-owned work.

I think Brubaker learned his lessons after Sleeper.
He knows the importance of staying in possession of your own creations, now.
So I strongly doubt he will ever get anywhere near Vertigo again.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I guess this means that we’ll be seeing some more Criminal, Incognito.
Although, I can’t see Sean Philips doing those until Fatale is finished first.

Maybe he’ll revisit the world of lowlife from the perspective of someone who has experienced a lot of success.

Or perhaps he’ll revive DeadEnders somehow.

Or you know, whatever. He’s a good writer, I’ll read almost anything he does.

Great news. Can’t wait to read Ed’s future work!!!

Good for Bru, so few artists know when to walk away

Why would a fan care what imprint a project is on? I never really get the brand loyalty of a Vertigo over Icon or Image. Kurt’s comment about production quality and IP control cut to the chase, and strike me as much important as whose imprint is on the cover.

That said, I’m thrilled that Bru is going to focus on his own stuff for awhile. I rather thought his Cap was played out once Steve returned. And his collaborations with Sean Phillips have never been anything less than superb. If he can built on that type of model with other collaborators, that’s an easy buying decision for me.

Simon DelMonte

June 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I haven’t loved everything Bru did with Cap – the “death” seemed unnecessary to me, and he does seem to have a lot of “character X from the past comes back” stories. But he did the impossible with his revival and redefinition of Bucky, who was a much better Cap than I ever expected. And he restored the luster to Steve Rogers after a short but painful stretch of mediocrity following the Waid runs. Not every Cap story was a gem, but Bru clearly loves these characters. And clearly had some idea how to connect the symbol of America at its best to the real America at its best and worst.

Best of luck to Bru on whatever comes next. I assume we will be treated to more Criminal stories at some time. And who knows what unexpected treats are on the way?

Now if we can only hope the the next Capt America film will be half as good as these comics.

I’ve yet to really get into Fatale or Criminal, but I LOVE Incognito and hope to see more of it in the near future!

Winter Soldier is great, one of Marvel’s best series right now.

Jake Earlewine

June 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I hate to hear Brubaker’s leaving Cap, because that and Daredevil are the last Marvel super-hero comics I was still buying. If Cullen Bunn is going to take over, it will probably be about the same quality as Bunn’s “Captain America and Hawkeye” — that is to say, awful.

Here’s wishing the best to Mr. Brubaker. Criminal and Incognito were some of the very best comics of the last few years.

Rollo Tomassi

June 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Wow. He did almost 100 issues. That’s impressive in this day and age.

Good for Bru. I’m just glad he’s staying on Winter Soldier as it’s absolutely great. Hopefully it’ll continue on for a long run.

I’d certainly be interested to see what a Brubaker comic without Phillips would be like. Don’t think we’ve had one of those since Deadenders.

I imagine he’ll continue going with Image giving how well Fatale has been doing.

Marvel, DC, creator-owned…it really doesn’t matter. Brubaker’s name on the cover is always an instant-pull for me.

Anyone who wants people to put stuff out under Vertigo doesn’t really understand what that means.

Excellent, excellent stuff. I love Brubakers work. Hes a great writer and his taste and aesthetic sensibilities are fantastic, which means his creator-owned stuff will be miles beyond Cap. Ive read every crime/noir comic hes done and they’re all brilliant.

I remember reading an interview with him many years ago where he said he’d like to do romance comics, to revamp that long-dormant genre, once very popular in comics, and his strong characterization leads me to believe he’d do a really cool, sophisticated romance book. Im hoping he does something smart yet grounded in reality like that. Or a western. (I admit I didn’t read the Spurgeon interview yet, ill check it when I get home)

I really don’t understand why all this hatred for Vertigo….

LOL Vertigo.

Everybody knows (and thus are referencing) that Vertigo is “creator-owned” in name only. So while the indicia may SAY “(c) Creator’s Name,” Vertigo (DC Comics) has a lot of control that is unnoticed by us in the audience.

After all, why do you think that their shining stars won’t have anything to do with them? Gaiman, Ennis, Ellis, Vaughan, etc…have all moved to different publishing houses?

“Vertigo,” please.

The ‘hatred’ for Vertigo is because it’s no longer as creator owned as it once was. The deals have been tightened-up. And that includes WB having what is essentially a permanent (or as long as DC/Vertigo maintains the print rights) option on the comic for other media. Which, on the one hand, is understandable from the WB perspective. But they have allegedly held projects back from other studios that were interested, to the long-term detriment of the creators’ wallets.

I’m all for DC getting a *piece* of movie/TV money if they take the risk to publish the comic. But they’re holding the rights hostage with their current contracts.

Flavio, Vertigo contracts are much much less creator friendly than Image or Icon or Avatar or Dark Horse…

Time Warner since about 2004/2005 has got new measures in place to exploit the properties far more, and to prevent the creators of a comic having complete control (for example television and film rights).

Even back in the days of Preacher and Transmetropolitan, Vertigo kept some printing rights which Image would not have done.

Kevin how are you “all for” WB “getting a piece?”

Seriously what sense does that make. The entire point of Vertigo is a creator centric publishing imprint. Why would some person create something then give half the rights away?

That’s why Vertigo fell off. Nobody is playin that game. Nobody with their futures in mind.

More Sleeper? although that might be owned by DC. (it was a part of the John Lynch Wildstorm books they tried to do some time ago)


“A piece”. As in, we pay you a page rate up front (unlike Image) and we get a piece of ancillary media money. I didn’t say it’s an option I would personally chose if it were put in front of me, but it’s at least better than DC is offering now. Now they’re the gatekeepers to exploiting Vertigo books in other media. Which leads to a lot of closed gates.

Vertigo might take a piece of the media rights, but the creators retain the copyright and get paid upfront for their work. Image doesn’t take anything in terms of rights, but they don’t give anything in terms of compensation, creators only get paid on the back-end. I know that Matt Fraction has said he never made a single cent on Casanova when it was published at Image, so there’s a risk there for creators.

I think the deals offered by both companies have their pros and cons. But this new internet meme that Vertigo steals your first born and Image drives a dump truck full of gold to your front yard is patently ridiculous.

While I’ve lost interest in Cap, Bru got me back into the game with the Winter Soldier and I will buy that until the series ends.

Ed’s initial arc for Captain America revitalized my interest in comics, leaves me in awe each time I reread and is very, very special to me. As an aspiring writer, I look to the original Winter Soldier arc for a story and characters that work on every level.

I will miss seeing his name on Captain America even though I’ve stopped reading (I may pick up the Patrick Zircher arc in trade.), but I’m thrilled to have the Winter Soldier for however long that lasts.

I wish him all the best in his creative owned works, he’s a talented writer. Marvel will not be the same without several Brubaker books every month.

Thanks for posting,

RJT – Vertigo has always taken 50 percent of the ownership and all the control of the property. Once you get established in the field, there’s no reason to ever take a project somewhere you won’t get complete ownership of it.

“Ed’s initial arc for Captain America revitalized my interest in comics, leaves me in awe each time I reread and is very, very special to me. ”

Ditto this. It’s the comic that got me back into the medium after decades away. I’m eager to read WINTER SOLDIER when it comes out in hardcover.

He is by far my favorite writer. I got back into comics by purchasing the Cap omnibus from amazon. I purchased the next 2 about 3 days later after I was enthralled by the 1st one. He made Iron Fist one of my favorite characters and Winter Soldier is really the only title that I get excited about on a monthly basis. I hope that he stays on for a long time. Bucky is his character and I don’t see anyone writing him near as well.

Rarely post, but just wanted to chime in my very best wishes for the good Mr. Bru.

I remember before Bru was coming onto Cap with the new volume, the naysayers were talking about “Great. Another story about the Red Skull and Cosmic Cube.” and Bru was saying “Just wait. It’ll be different. You’ll see.”.

Talk about an understatement. Though I like the character, I’d never followed the Cap comic with any regularity (other than Waid & Garney’s run)…but was planning on reading it purely based on the previous work of Mr. Brubaker. (Which reminds me, I’ve been hankering to re-read “Sleeper”).

Now look where we are. The Winter Soldier on the Avengers cartoon (which, BTW, leave it to MARVEL to produce my favorite cartoon ever and a fantastic representation of the feel of MARVEL comics as a whole, old and new…and then pull the rug from under it).

Keep on Criminal-ing, Incognito-ing and Fatale-ing…or whatever else your little heart desires. I’ll be there.

(…and Mr. Busiek…let’s please have you Astro City-ing while we’re at it!)

All the very best, Bru. Thank-you for countless hours of quality entertainment.

When he said creator owned he did not mean having his comics published under Vertigo which is owned by Dc man wants to focus on his own creations while having his work published under a company that isn’t one of the big two.

Ed Brubaker- I’ll obviously defer to you with regards to contracts. The fact that many Vertigo titles have been subsequently taken to other publishers (Seekers Into the Mystery, The Crusades, Outlaw Nation, for example) led me to believe that there was a rights reversion clause in the Vertigo contract.

To be fair to Vertigo, they do offer a page rate.

But that’s about the only advantage I can think of, these days. Vertigo books don’t even sell anymore, so the trade-off for that page rate is a loss of ownership and control, heavy editorial meddling, potentially endless rewrites and tinkering before you’re being paid anything for your trouble, inferior production quality AND what amounts to a snowball’s chance in hell that your book will reach more than 10,000 people, even if you’re an established and critically acclaimed creator.

So, even assuming Vertigo would go for your project, the worst-case scenario is you’ll end up spending months “developing,” and investing time in, a project with editors who may or may not get what you want to do, expecting that their higher-ups will change their minds and pull the plug at any second, only to end up getting cancelled at issue #7 once you finally get to the point where you’re being paid that page rate, because your sales dropped to 7,000 with issue #2.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be published at Vertigo these days, unless the page rate they pay is REALLY good and worth all the hassle. With the exception of the Fables franchise, I expect Vertigo’s comic-book department to be gone five years from now, to be frank, unless something changes radically in the market. They can’t even manage to sell single issues of Brian Azzarello’s stuff anymore.

I followed almost every Marvel series Brubaker has written these last 7 years (Captain America, Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, Immortal Iron Fist, Secret Avengers, The Marvels Project, Winter Soldier) and i loved it.
I never read Cap on a monthly basis and it will be tough for anyone who takes it over after him.

While I enjoy Bru’s work, Incognito, Fatale, Captain America…….his writing is boring as hell, I don’t see a reason for this massive appeal by most fans ……(shrugs and walks away)

I mean there’s no way I wanna read anything of his if the premise is just straight crime stories…..

So… who is going to write Cap after Brubaker? I am scared to think what might happen if they don’t get the right person to do it. Thanks, Ed for a great run of great story-telling.

RJT – Yes, there is a reversion clause, but it’s not simple and takes a long time. But yes, it’s there.

Trey – You enjoy my work, but it’s boring? Okay.

like Christina responded I didnt even know that some one able to get paid $6141 in one month on the internet. have you read this site link(Click on menu Home more information)

Matthew B. Solomon

June 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I’m very sad to hear this. Before, he wrote the book, I knew nothing of Captain America other than what he looked like and that he was a super soldier. To me just looking at him made him seem so jingoistic and i thought of him as flag waving asshole. But Ed Brubaker showed me what Cap was all about, and showed me the soul of Steve Rogers. With 2 volumes of Captain America under his belt plus the Captain America: Reborn and Steve Rogers: Super Soldier mini series, Brubaker has truly written the definitive Captain America run. And the opening arcs of Secret Avengers that he wrote were very Steve Rogers centric as well. But at least he knows his limits, unlike Brian Bendis who long since burned out on The Avengers books, and should have left by now like he said he would. i hope Brubaker does some work for DC too in addition to indie creator owned books. He is needed on Catwoman very much. Judd Winick is starting to find his way on that book, but nobody quite wrote Selina Kyle like Ed Brubaker did.

Bru wrote Cap honoring all of the established history. By doing so he seemed to bring a fresh take on beloved Steranko, Stern & Byrne, and Lee & Kirby masterpieces. I appreciate the work he put in on one of my favorite characters of all time.

Thanks for your dedication, Bru. You are going to be a hard act to follow!

I’m missing Bru on the book already! What a legendary run; those first 3 years were unlike anything seen in a Cap book before. I’ve been loving Winter Soldier too. Hopefully that final issue of Cap he writes is a great end to his work on the character.

I appreciated his candor during the rest of the interview too. It was interesting to hear that he was never told no on the book. We as fans have this picture of editorial interference in the creation of so many books, but it was nice to see that Ed didn’t have that problem during his time at Marvel.

Your Iron Fist and Captain America runs were spectacular. I’m looking forward to the Winter Soldier hard cover.

Hey, man. Good for him. I’m looking forward to seeing where else he wants to go.

Ed Brubaker kicked some butt on Cap’s comic. Reading it gave me the same the feeling I had reading Englehart’s run as a kid (or as close as I can get to that feeling at my age). He took Cap’s comic to places it hadn’t gone before (although it sort of had been there before, which is why it was so good, if that make any sense). I knew the end was coming, it was till technically proficient, but the inspiration just wasn’t what it once was. Bucky is his true love now, and Winter Soldier’s a great comic. Sorry to see Brubaker leave Cap, but at least we’ll have that. Thank you Mr. Brubaker, I thoroughly enjoyed your Captain America.

Top notch writer. Along with Matt Fraction, Brubaker actually made Iron Fist a must read for me back in the day. Next writer on Cap has a lot to live up to IMO

They better line up someone who has writing skills to keep the momentum going. Brubaker’s run is/was simply amazing.

I mean no offense here, mr. Brubaker, but your comments to Comics Reporter about “Before Watchmen” almost made me vomit in my mouth. I never seen (or read) so much hypocrisy in a long, long time….

P.S.: But i still think you’re a great writer.

I don’t understand the appeal of Ed Brubaker, the universal praise he gets from the readers and the critics. I gave in to the hype, in one of my moments of weakness, and started reading Captain America from #25, but stopped a few issues later. The dialogue was boring, the stories always ended in silly cliff-hangers – did anyone really think Bucky was going to shoot Sharon Carter? – there was no meat per issue, since it was decompression gone mad. Brubaker is a crime writer and he basically turned CA into a crime series, full of a faux noir atmosphere that has no place in a character like him.

Recently I read Fatale because it came well recommended: it was another disappointment. Neither the noir nor the horror bits were any good, they say the man is an expert on noir, I think he’s an expert on noir clichés; at one point I was having more fun guessing which bit was ripped from which movie from the 1940s than anything else.

I don’t think I’ll read Brubaker ever again; he’s clearly not for me.

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