Post-Mortem: Ed Brubaker on the Death of Captain America

CBR News in association with Phoenix, AZ retailer Atomic Comics brings you a quick chat with writer Ed Brubaker to discuss the assassination of Cap as see in today's "Captain America" #25.

Panel from "Captain America" #25

CBR: To start with, we have to ask, is Cap really dead or just hanging out with Nick Fury in some undisclosed location?

Brubaker: Nick Fury? Undisclosed location? Huh. That's not a bad idea. I wonder how Nick would feel sharing it with a corpse.

CBR: Indeed. So, what makes this death more compelling than say the Death of Superman, which was also well reported on in the mainstream media?

Brubaker: Well, hopefully because Captain America is intrinsically more interesting than Superman. But also, I hope because it's the beginning of a much larger mystery/tragedy storyline, and it grows organically out of the run we've been doing for over two years. I've been planning something along these lines ever since I brought back Bucky.

CBR: Mark Millar is quoted as saying Marvel wanted to kill off a major character in "Civil War," but he refused – much to Goliath's detriment. Was this something you wanted to do or was it dictated from the higher-ups?

Brubaker: Millar also said Eminem was going to star in "Wanted," so I'd take that with a grain of salt. No version of "Civil War" I ever heard of had Cap or Iron Man dying in it, and I was in the room for three days while the last act of "Civil War" got hammered out. The reason this is happening in the book now, right on the heels of "Civil War," is because "Civil War" left me with a few options, but most of them I felt had explored already in "Captain America" or in other recent books - such as my own first arc of "Daredevil." So, since I didn't want to do a "Cap gets on a motorcycle and finds America" story, or a "Cap behind bars" story, I decided to bump up the timeline on my big "Red Skull Strikes Back" story instead, and go straight for the jugular. The basic idea of this arc – "The Death of the Dream" – is something I've been building towards since issue #1. Some of the beats and the way it goes down, of course, have been altered since this follows "Civil War's" ending so closely.

CBR: With so many major characters having died and returned – some multiple times – how difficult is it to come up with a fresh way to resurrect dead iconic heroes? Do you go so far as to plan the return when you plot the death?

Brubaker: I didn't, no. But I've got the next two years of Cap plotted, if that says anything.

CBR: How long ago was the decision to kill Cap made and how has that affected the stories you've told in the meantime?

Brubaker: The final decision was made between me and [Editor] Tom Brevoort after the big "Civil War" summit meeting. I told him what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to do it, and then I began laying the groundwork for it in the "Civil War" tie-in issues of "Captain America."

CBR: Allright, final question, letting go of the seriousness for a bit – Do editorial mandates require you to make Cap a big crybaby like Millar made him in the end of "Civil War?"

Brubaker: I don't think there are any editorial mandates. I think Millar just hates America.

UPDATED MESSAGE FROM ED BRUBAKER 10:45 AM 3/8/2007: After reading Joe Quesada's interview, I think I am remembering some details wrong and he and Mark Millar are remembering them right. Plus, I was trying to be a bit cheeky, which doesn't always work in print.

So, while I think the basic idea of Captain America being killed in Cap 25 was something I initially put out there, I think there was actually some debate about whether it should happen in Civil War instead of Cap. I don't remember it being discussed much, but Joe's interview sparked my memory a bit, and I know there was some back and forth on this. In my defense, we were locked in a room for three days straight, well over a year ago, talking about every book Marvel publishes in detail, and none of us were getting much sleep.

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