Especially given how last week's episode ended, it's no surprise that Falcon and the Winter Soldier is on everybody's mind. Launching right after the tremendous success of WandaVision, audiences are now following Sam and Bucky as they deal with the fallout of Steve's absence. The legacy left in his wake isn't an easy one to fill.
These characters have come very far from where audiences first met them, none more so than Bucky Barnes. Starting as Steve Rogers' childhood friend, going to partner togetherin war, falling into being a brain-washed evil super-assassin, and all the way back around to basically an Avenger, Barnes has had a wild ride.
Barnes isn't alone in his rough journey, although it hasn't all been the most positive. Ed Brubaker, one of The Winter Soldier's co-creator's, hasn't had such a great time with the MCU since his character's entrance. But why?
WINTER SOLDIER AND THE CO-CREATOR
During an interview on the Fatman Beyond show, Ed Brubaker—co-creator of Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier—was on hand to discuss The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, it wasn’t in a very positive light. In fact, when he first wrote the famous Bucky Barnes storyline, he thought that it “would be the end of my career.”
Instead though, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have gone on to captivate audiences around the world. Although, this is something that is at odds with Brubaker’s feelings on the matter.
“As the years went on, I started to just think well,why am I not getting anything for this really? Like how can we really get a thanks to or a credit, but like these movies are making billions and billions of dollars, and it feels like we just kind of got a bad deal.”
Marvel didn’t leave Brubaker completely in the dust, however. The company actually did offer payment to the creator, but something akin to “an insult.”
“And I remember sitting there during the third movie, and knowing how much they—like I had actually turned down this tiny little thank you check, because I was like ‘this is in insult.”
Brubaker’s contributions go way further than just Bucky Barnes’ creation. In fact, he reckons that “the emotional architecture of the movie...would not exist had I not written these comics.”
“I write these things and I was watching that movie [Captain America: Civil War], and...a plot line that I wrote for a year in my comic book, about Bucky training all these other Winter Soldiers,It was like their B-Plot. A lot of the emotional architecture of the movie was like stuff that would not exist had I not written these comics.”
Being the creator of one of the biggest Marvel characters still around since the beginning of the MCU, one would think that financial troubles would be the last thing that Brubaker would have to think about. That however, was seemingly far from the case.
“It’s ridiculous that like being a co-creator of The Winter Soldier...I should not have to be worried about providing for my wife if I die. Like right now, I don’t live a high life...I do well...it started to feel like this kind of hurts a little bit. To be overlooked this way. I know that they’ve made deals with other people that have had less input on what they do. And I just kind of felt like, it just sucks.”
He went on to continue describing how watching some of these movies would make him feel.
“Like I remember sitting in that movie and just feeling this little Jack Kirby cancer thing—or like ulcer thing like growing in my stomach, of just being like this is what it felt like. Except a hundred times worse for me…it’s hard for me on like a personal level, it actually hurts my feelings a bit…”
Brubaker had plenty of people sending him letters and emails, wanting him to talk about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s not something that was on the forefront of his mind, seeing as just viewing the ads for the show made him “kind of feel sick to his stomach.”
“...like some press, fans...everybody wanted me to talk about the show [The Falcon and the Winter Soldier]. ‘Aren’t you excited about the show?’ And I’m like I think I might be the only person in America not excited about this show. When I see the ads for the show, it actually makes me feel kind of sick to my stomach.”
Why would a company as big as Marvel Studios, with the massive success that they have, want their creators to feel neglected like this? It’s something that Brubaker wonders as well, even going as far as to showcase how he sets an example.
“...as a company, why would you want that to be how the creators feel. Like wouldn’t you want the creator [happy]?...When I work with people, I try to give them the best deal possible, and if something ends up being a bigger thing, I’ll try to actually adjust their deal so that they take part in that too. Because it’s like I want everybody I work with to feel like they got a really good deal. And that they were treated well."
So is something stopping Marvel from doing anything to fix relations like these? According to Brubaker, that isn’t the case.
“And it’s like, there's nothing preventing anyone at Marvel from looking at how much the Winter Soldier has been used in all this stuff, and calling up me and Steve Epping and saying ‘you know what, we’re gonna try and adjust you know the standard things, so that you guys are actually...feel good about this.’”
Don’t mistake Brubaker’s disdain towards Marvel’s handling of his accreditations for outright hatred of everyone at Marvel Studios. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I like Kevin, I like the guys who write those Captain america movies. I love the Russo Brothers. They’ve been nothing but great to me, all the Marvel Studios people...James Gunn has had me around to like, to see early cuts of his movies. I love James. All of these people have treated me so great..."
Though according to Brubaker, the kindness he receives from those folks only amounts to so much.
“...but at the end of the day, I’m like, you know, don’t do me favors. I’m a professional writer, I wrote this stuff, I work in Hollywood...I’ve worked in TV, I’ve worked in film.”
Brubaker’s excitement for Marvel Studios’ work isn’t completely extinguished, however. In fact, there is one particular upcoming film that excites the writer:
“...a friend of mine is now working on the Black Panther 2, with Coogler that started Pre-Production today I think. And I’m like excited to see that. Cause I think Coogler is a once in a generation filmmaker. I met him years ago, before Fruitvale [Station] came out, cause he’s a real legit comic nerd. He was just, one of the coolest, nicest guys I ever met. And to see him go on this raging success, is amazing to me.”
So will Ed Brubaker ever end up watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
“...I’ll probably watch The Falcon and The Winter Soldier next year. I love those guys, Anthony Mackie is perfect as The Falcon. But it’s just like.”
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STEP UP, MARVEL
This isn't the first time that fans have heard about Ed Brubaker's disdain towards not only The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but towards Marvel as a whole. It's hard not to sympathize with him. As Brubaker notes several times, with how big Marvel Studios is, one would think that they would do a better job at compensating those that created the work that is the foundation of their entire world.
It is a shame to continue to hear stories like this from creatives. It's been widely known that Marvel Studios hasn't done their best at giving enough credit to those that actually started it all. Brubaker isn't the first to speak up, as even Thanos creator Jim Starlin has spoken out on the matter as well.
It is truly heartbreaking to know that some of these creators can't enough these films and shows like the audiences are able to. Hopefully, more will speak out on the same issue, in hopes that it will get the attention of Marvel Studios as clearly, they aren't paying attention.