SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Captain America" #600, on sale now.
As detailed this morning by ROBOT 6, news broke Monday that Steve Rogers, the original Captain America who was murdered two years ago in "Captain America" #25, is confirmed to return in "Captain America: Reborn," a Marvel Comics miniseries by Ed Brubaker and Byran Hitch & Butch Guice that begins July 11. The story is preceded by "Captain America" #600, also written by Brubaker, which in a highly unusual move, went on sale today -- as opposed to Wednesday, when comics traditionally ship to Direct Market retailers.
The news was made plain by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada in a short piece in New York's "Daily News," in which he said, "The original Captain America is finally coming back."
For more on this story, CBR's Jonah Weiland and Kiel Phegley spoke with Quesada.
For a 10-page preview of this week's "Captain America" #600, just click here.
Jonah Weiland: Some pretty big news broke today about the future of Steve Rogers. Tell us about "Captain America" #600.
Joe Quesada: He's baaaaaaaack. Steve Rogers is back. We told people it was going to be a big deal, at least story-wise, so now let's see how the rest of the world reacts. We've been planning this for quite a long time and [series writer] Ed Brubaker's been holding onto this for a very, very long time. Now all that's left for fans to see is exactly if it really happens, how it happens and what happens from that point on. There are a lot of Winter Soldier/Bucky/Captain America fans out there, so how this all works itself out is going to be fun to read.
Jonah Weiland: When Rogers was killed, was "Reborn" already figured out?
Joe Quesada: I think Ed could probably give you a more accurate answer, but my recollection of it was that Ed had two or three really great ideas. And Ed is the king of wafflers. The king, I tell ya! If you talk to Ed one second, he's like, "Well, I think I want to do this." And if you talk to him the next it's, "Eh, I think I want to do that." And the screwed up thing about it is that all the ideas are great. So the frustrating thing is going, "Ed, just decide for crying out loud!" I remember that Ed had at least two or three different theories on how Steve Rogers was going to return. And then I think he started solidifying the ideas, I want to say close to a year ago, and from that point on he was locked and loaded. Ed's one of the smartest writers I know so it made sense that not only would he know exactly how to bring Cap back in a way that would have fans going nuts, but he had several ways of doing it. I hate people that talented.
Kiel Phegley: "Captain America" #600 is on sale today and despite delivering a lot of story on its own terms, it also sets a lot of ideas and mysteries up to be carried into July's "Reborn." You helped put together the creative team and brought Bryan Hitch over to draw it, which precluded his wrapping up his run on "Fantastic Four." What was it about getting Hitch on "Reborn?" Did you want to see him get a crack at classic Cap after drawing the Ultimate version for so many years?
Joe Quesada: There was certainly the fun aspect of that, seeing Bryan actually draw the Marvel Universe Captain America was certainly a hook. But look, when you have a weapon at your disposal like Bryan Hitch - Bryan is like having a nuclear bomb in your back pocket. You try to use him for the biggest projects possible. We try to do that with our very best talents. So when Ed had the idea of "Reborn" and we knew it was going to be a big deal and wanted to get the most out of it, we wanted to use one of our nuclear bombs to draw it, and that's Bryan Hitch. So it was literally that simple. You want to bring your A-Team for your A-Story and have them bring their A-Game. That's easy math for us.
Jonah Weiland: Brubaker has been on "Captain America" for a long time and he's done a lot with the title, even when there's been no Captain America, Rogers or Barnes. He's now killed him Rogers and brought him back, which are two huge moments in the history Captain America. Do you see a point in the near future where Brubaker might not be writing this title anymore?
Joe Quesada: Oh God, I hope not. [laughs] At this point, I can't imagine anybody but Ed writing this title. I think he is going to go down in the history of comics as the quintessential Cap writer outside of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Jonah Weiland: Do you know how much longer Brubaker plans on remaining with the book?
Joe Quesada: I have no idea -- unless you know something I don't. I think with respect to Ed, you're going to have to pry it out of his cold, dead hands. I don't think he'll be leaving "Captain America" any time soon.
Kiel Phegley: As we're having this conversation, we're real early into this announcement, but word will soon get out in the mainstream media that Rogers is coming back. What do you guys do to prepare for the onslaught of media inquiries? Are Marvel communications guys Jim McCann and Arune Singh going to be freaking out and working the phones all week long?
Joe Quesada: Yes. I fully expect that if the mainstream picks up on it that I will be on a press junket, which used to be fun and now tends to be really tedious just going from one network to the next network to the next and saying the exact same thing. I have infinite amount of respect for actors and directors who do that upon the release of a movie because it is hard work. Actually, let me take that back, working construction is hard work. It's more like mind-numbing and tedious work.
What I've found myself doing more and more these days to alleviate the tedium of it is limiting myself to only the bigger news outlets. In the past, I used to do every single possible small town paper, etc. Nothing wrong with that except that these days my job has expanded so greatly that there just aren't enough hours in the day. It's also going to be interesting as I'm in LA this whole week.
Jonah Weiland: When Steve Rogers died, was there one mainstream question that you kept getting where you had to hold back from rolling your eyes?
Joe Quesada: Yes. The one question was, "What are you trying to say about America and or American politics?" [laughs] I was like, "I don't know. We're just trying to tell a great story. There's nothing more to it than that!" But they were trying to get deeper, trying to find that controversial nugget where there really wasn't any, and at the end of the day, if we were trying to say something about American politics, we'd never be able to time it anyway because the amount of time it takes to create a comic book, etc. etc. Things happen the way they happen. But that's the tricky thing about writing stories with a character that wears the American flag as his costume, people are going to read stuff into his stories that sometimes isn't there.
"Captain America" #600 is on sale now from Marvel Comics. "Captain America: Reborn" #1 goes on sale in July.