Ed Brubaker is one of five writers behind Avengers vs. X-Men, which puts him in the position of working on a company-wide "event series" for the first time in his career.
The writer of Marvel's Captain America, Winter Soldier and Image's Fatale participated in a Q&A conducted by The Hollywood Reporter at Meltdown in Los Angeles Tuesday night, and discussed what drew him to the project.
"It was the opportunity of working with my friends on something, and not having to write the whole thing," Brubaker told the crowd, drawing laughs. "Even my superhero work is sort of based on crime fiction or espionage fiction; I do the odd, crazy sci-fi story once in a while. But most of the stuff I do is much more grounded than a giant superhero event would be.
"I did really like the story, the way it was coming together," the writer continued. "I was really impressed that it wasn't just 'let's get these two teams on the opposite side of an argument and fight.' I can't ruin anything, and I wouldn't want to, but the places the story ends up going, as a reader, I was impressed."
Brubaker, whose creator-owned series like Fatale and Criminal commonly include bonus material found only in the print editions of the single issues, also shared his thoughts on digital distribution, a topic spurred by the augmented reality elements found in this week's Avengers vs. X-Men #1."I think what Marvel's trying to do here is a cool way to add extra content for what you're already paying for," Brubaker said of the initiative. "I like the idea of being able to buy the comic and then also get a free digital download of it, like when I buy a Blu-ray I can also put on my iPad so I can watch it when I travel without having to bring the DVD along."
Though Brubaker acknowledged that he has seen the impact of comic book piracy, he stopped short of classifying it as a "problem" in the industry.
"We'll see more people downloading an issue of Criminal than we have orders for it," Brubaker said. "It would be awesome if those people would just send me money, but how many of those people would have bought it?"
And while the writer expressed enthusiasm over new developments like Marvel's AR app, he also admitted a definite attachment to the print product.
"I don't know. I'm an old man. I've been buying comics since I was 4 years old, so I love print," Brubaker said. "I love giant, thick, print art books. My favorite book I bought recently was the Wally Wood Artist's Edition, which you don't even have a book case that it can fit in."Brubaker has written a lot of both the Avengers and the X-Men, but there are so many characters in Avengers vs. X-Men — both teams have dozens of members currently across several different iterations, including some overlap — so the series gave Brubaker a chance to write some of them for the first time, including one of his favorite superheroes since youth. "I actually got to write Spider-Man for the first time," Brubaker said. "I did a What If? [What If... Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?] issue, but that doesn't really count, because you have to fit so much story into a What If? Issue that you don't actually get real moments."
In fact, Spider-Man was Brubaker's answer when asked by a fan which Marvel title he'd like to write that he hasn't gotten a shot at yet.
"I bought every Spider-Man comic as a kid, that was just my thing," he said. "I still have not gotten to do a run on Spider-Man, but I'll have to kill [current Amazing Spider-Man writer] Dan Slott."Brubaker discussed a number of other topics during the Q&A, including his affinity for the work of Alan Moore, how the film Lady Snowblood inspired the Daredevil character Lady Bullseye, his fond memories of co-writing Immortal Iron Fist, and plenty about Captain America, including how the original plan back in 2007 was to bring Steve Rogers back from the dead after six months, and how he tailors current arcs on the series based on the strengths of the individual artists. Brubaker also revealed that he'll be working on a new project at Marvel with his initial Captain America collaborator, artist Steve Epting, in the near future.
Yet when asked how much longer his run on Captain America might continue — in light of other long-running Marvel stints, like Brian Michael Bendis on Avengers and Jonathan Hickman on Fantastic Four ending in the near future — the writer remained vague.
"I can't break any news," he said. "There are a lot of big things coming up at Marvel. There's so much big stuff coming in the works. I wish I could tell you, but we're not drunk at a bar."Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!