Captain America &
Bucky #625 cover.Generation Hope writer James Asmus is adding another ongoing series to his growing list of credits later this month, as he joins Ed Brubaker for a co-written arc on Captain America & Bucky.
For the first arc of the series — which took up the flagship Captain America title's numbering after that book was relaunched to coincide with the feature film release this past July — Brubaker was joined by writer Marc Andreyko. The news that both Asmus and recent Black Panther: Man Without Fear artist Francesco Francavilla were joining the book was revealed in late September as part of Marvel's December 2011 solicitations.
"I think it was as sudden for me as it was for the solicitation copy," Asmus told Newsarama in an October phone interview. "Basically, I just got a phone call a few months earlier from [Marvel editor] Lauren Sankovitch, who said, 'Do you want to collaborate on an arc of Captain America & Bucky with Ed Brubaker?'"
As a fan of Brubaker's seven-year run on Captain America, Asmus definitely did. Captain America & Bucky marks his first major Marvel work outside of the world of X-Men — along with Generation Hope, his previous credits include several short X-Men stories in books like X-Men: Manifest Destiny and Nation X, and even his Steve Rogers: Super Soldier annual was produced through Marvel's X-office.
"I think I got dizzy for a little bit," Asmus said. "Ed Brubaker's run on Cap over the last couple of years literally was one of the only comics I was reading constantly."
Like a lot of people, Asmus got drawn in to Brubaker's Captain America in 2007 with the title character's post-Civil War death in issue #25 of the book's previous volume.
"Then I just found that the texture of it is so fantastic and relatable and human in a very real way," Asmus said. "It felt like a recognizable world, and yet, the stories were just so badass. From that point, I caught up and kept reading."
The Captain America & Bucky gig marks another first for Asmus; the first time he's written a book with a collaborator. And given that his co-writer on the story is one of the biggest names in comics and part of the "Marvel Architects," it's certainly a high-profile place to start.Captain America
& Bucky #626 cover."Obviously the nerve-wracking thing was to be asked, 'Do you want to come in and participate in this thing that's been working perfectly fine without you?' There's certainly the nerves of just not wanting to mess it up as a fan," Asmus said. "It's been a really fantastic collaboration."
Asmus characterized his relationship with Brubaker as "email buddies," and said that working with the writer has been an invaluable learning experience for him.
"Getting Ed's thoughts, and hearing his thought process, I feel like I'm taking master classes," Asmus said. "Anytime he's excited by an idea I have, that's a very big, heartwarming experience for me."
Asmus is also excited about working with Francavilla, who's coming off not only Black Panther, but a recent run on DC's Detective Comics pre-The New 52 revamp, plus several eye-catching covers including the upcoming "Archie Meets KISS" storyline at Archie Comics.
"I had picked up a bunch of Black Panther after meeting David Liss in Chicago earlier this year," Asmus said. "Talk about an artist who just really is impactful. There's something about Francavilla's art that feels really raw and real at the same time."And the craziest thing is — Do you know how fast he works? He basically pencils inks and colors a book in 22 days."
Asmus, Brubaker and Francavilla's story — which picks up in Captain America & Bucky #625, currently scheduled for release on Dec. 28 — takes place primarily in the present day, unlike the previous Captain America & Bucky arc. And though Asmus was hesitant to reveal too many details, he did share that the arc doesn't actually feature the original and most famous Bucky, who's starring in the new Winter Soldier ongoing come February.Captain America
& Bucky #627 cover."We're actually telling the story of one of the other people who has been Bucky, and the way he gets pulled back into the cycle of life-threatening superhero adventure," Asmus said. "The vast majority of our story takes place now, in the present-day Marvel Universe, with some flashbacks to the World War II era that might make for a smoother transition."
Asmus also told Newsarama that the story will be "pulling in a crazy, fun villain from an earlier era and updating him as a modern, hopefully terrifying, threat," though he didn't go so far as to name names.
Clearly, Asmus is pleased to be working with Brubaker — calling the process "invaluable" — and true to the writer's roots in improv comedy, he's handling it with a degree of good-natured self-deprecation.
"He's there making sure I don't screw it up," Asmus said with a laugh.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!