The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to a scale that couldn't have even been imagined during its inception in 2008.
Back then, all the studio had to worry about was Iron Man, and the hand full of characters that came with him. Now, the studios— namely Kevin Feige —has to juggle hundreds of characters all at once, as they continually weave in and out of different projects.
Every one of these characters has a creator. Most of those creators are still alive today. So one would think it'd be a given that said creators are handsomely compensated for their role in creating their original pieces of the MCU puzzle. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.
In fact, Thanos creator Jim Starlin has had a longstanding beef with Marvel due to a lack of compensation for his role in creating what is now one of pop culture's biggest villains. Many other creators have voiced similar feelings. With the release of Falcon and the Winter Soldier , another creative has added to the conversation.
BUCKY'S CREATOR SPEAKS OUT
In one of his newsletters , former Captain America writer and Winter Soldier co-creator Ed Brubaker expressed his "mixed" feelings about the brand new Disney+ show Falcon and the Winter Soldier .
"And of course, today the Falcon and Winter Soldier show debuts on Disney+, which I sadly have very mixed feelings about. I’m really happy for Sebastian Stan, who I think is both a great guy and the perfect Bucky/Winter Soldier, and I’m glad to see him getting more screen time finally. Also, Anthony Mackie is amazing as the Falcon, and everyone at Marvel Studios that I’ve ever met (all the way up to Kevin Feige) have been nothing but kind to me… but at the same time, for the most part all Steve Epting and I have gotten for creating the Winter Soldier and his storyline is a “thanks” here or there, and over the years that’s become harder and harder to live with. I’ve even seen higher-ups on the publishing side try to take credit for my work a few times, which was pretty galling (to be clear, I’m NOT talking about Tom Breevort, who was a great editor and really helpful).
Brubaker continued to elaborate, discussing how he loved his time at Marvel and how the lack of recognition and credit they've received for their creation ate away at him.
So yeah, mixed feeling, and maybe it’ll always be like that (but I sure hope not). Work-for-hire work is what it is, and I’m honestly thrilled to have co-created something that’s become such a big part of pop culture – or even pop subculture with all the Bucky-Steve slash fiction – and that run on Cap was one of the happiest times of my career, certainly while doing superhero comics. Also, I have a great life as a writer and much of it is because of Cap and the Winter Soldier bringing so many readers to my other work. But I also can’t deny feeling a bit sick to my stomach sometimes when my inbox fills up with people wanting comments on the show.
However, he assured his fans that he will still likely be watching his creation in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
So… I’m sure I’ll watch it, and you should too if you’re a Marvel movie universe fan, but I’ll probably be waiting a while to check it out myself. So please don’t email me any spoilers, I guess, but go give Sebastian Stan lots of love wherever he is online.
THE MCU IS GREAT, BUT NOT PERFECT
There are plenty of praises that can be thrown at not only the MCU in general, but to those that run the show. While those praises hold true, it doesn't change the fact that there are those on the sidelines watching their creations break box office records , with nothing to show for it.
There's nothing defensible about their absence in the profits and recognition—without them, Marvel Studios wouldn't have any stories to tell.
Ed Brubaker's feelings on the matter are certainly justified. It's hard to tell just who to place the blame on, not to mention all the legal complications of the many contracts and agreements in play are wide-reaching and endless.
Having been responsible for as many record-breaking box office hits as they are, one would think that Marvel Studios/Disney would have the money to better recognize those that made the world's favorite characters.
Sadly this world isn't perfect, and creatives like Brubaker and Starlin are left in dust. Hopefully more creatives will continue to speak out, and maybe the issue will be brought closer to Marvel's attention.
At the very least, it's good that Brubaker is still open to watching and experiencing his creation play an important role in the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—right in the spotlight on the world's stage.