Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
“Everyone who’s ever written Captain America has wanted to bring Bucky back, and I was the first person who arrived at a time where they were willing to … The whole thing when Bucky died was a ret-con that Stan Lee did because he didn’t like sidekicks, and Jack Kirby went along with it because he thought it was this great way to add tragedy to Captain America […] But honestly, when I got the book, I was asked, ‘What would you want to do?’ and I said, ‘Well, I have this idea about how to bring back Bucky, where he is like a really cool bad guy who’s actually an adult.’ And Joe Quesada said, ‘Oh, that’s really interesting, because we just this big summit where we were arguing over whether we could bring back Bucky or not, because Captain America is not selling.’
I was working on a thing with Gene Colan years later — his last comic that he ever did; he drew Captain America, he co-created the Falcon — and I asked him, ‘How come you guys never brought Bucky back?’ And he said, ‘Oh, y’know, we were doing this story where Bucky came back and he turned out to be a robot, and I asked Stan, “Why don’t we have it be the real Bucky?” and he said, “Aw, sales aren’t low enough yet.”‘ Stan was always OK with [resurrecting Bucky], because he always left the door open — like when Bucky died, they always put the word ‘supposedly’ in there, so I felt like the door was left open. I got a lot of flak for it at the time, because it was a ret-con, but I also tried really hard to make sure the ret-con worked with the actual con, if that makes sense.”
– Ed Brubaker, in a wide-ranging discussion that touches upon his Captain America run, his collaborations with Sean Phillips and Steve Epting, and the five-year deal he and Phillips signed with Image Comics