When word arrived that legendary artist Gene Colan’s liver was failing, Captain America writer Ed Brubaker wanted to do his part to help raise funds for Colan’s medical treatment. Teaming up with the Hero Initiative, a committee devoted to assisting comic professionals in need, Brubaker will auction off his writing notebook, which details over two years’ worth of his fan-favorite Captain America run.
“I saw that people were coming together for Gene and I was trying to think of something I could donate that would be really cool [to raise money] for Gene,” explains Brubaker. “I just have so much affection for Gene and so much respect for his work, so I wanted to do whatever I could to help him. This is the only thing I could think of that I created that’s a one-of-a-kind thing. It’s the notebook where we killed Captain America.”
In his tenure as the writer of Captain America, Brubaker has turned the book about an icon thought by many to be an outdated character that had run its course into a critically acclaimed must-read. His bold storylines include the return of a sidekick long thought dead for decades, reminding readers why the Red Skull has always been Captain America’s main villain, and, as Brubaker noted earlier, killing off the book’s main character – something that garnered nationwide media attention.
“I keep a specific notebook for every [writing] project,” adds Brubaker. “I’ve been keeping this notebook since the summer of 2004, when I first got the Captain America gig. This is the notebook that I’ve had with me at all times while trying to figure out the first two and half years of [the series].”
“[The notebook] is the inner working of how I chart [my projects] out. It’s something I’m always going back to and scribbling things in. It’s got the initial ideas for the ‘Winter Soldier’ story. It’s got the return of Bucky and when [Captain America] impregnated Sharon Carter.”
Brubaker believes that notebooks such as these are perfect for the hardcore fan or an aspiring writer.
“It’s a total writer’s tool. It pieces together the creative process of this series that’s become so popular, definitely the most popular thing I’ve ever worked on. It’s a writer’s version of a sketchbook, but much more organized since it’s a project notebook.”
“You can see the chart progression of where I thought the story was going after issue twenty-five and where it started going instead. You watch it go from a shorter arc to a longer arc and building on itself. You’ll also see bits and pieces of things that didn’t make it into issues – some things that like that.”
The notebook includes the plots and descriptions of the first thirty-eight issues of Captain America, and includes the plots for annuals, the Young Avengers special, and the House of M issue, as well as some surprises.
“I’ve charted out every issue and some other stuff that I’ve written down that didn’t end up in the comic,” adds Brubaker.
The lucky winner of the notebook will also get a glimpse into a side of Brubaker not often seen – that of notebook doodler. “There’s tons of little Captain America doodles in there. There’s no real publishable art, that’s for sure,” Brubaker warns with a laugh. “There are a lot of little sketches and things.”
A longtime fan of Colan’s artwork, Brubaker finds it appropriate that he’s donating his writing notebook for this particular series. “It’s connected to Gene,” says Brubaker. “A lot of my love for Gene comes from reading his Captain America stories. He’s such a great guy.”
“The comic that [Colan’s] working on right now,” Brubaker explains, “is this Captain America Annual I wrote for him a while back. I wanted so much do that with him. He’s been working on it for almost two years now. Hopefully, he’ll finish it this year. I think it may be the last comic he draws because he’s threatening to retire after that.”
Fans of Brubaker’s work, Captain America, or of the writing process itself can learn how the milestone run progressed from idea to fully realized comic book. In addition to the notebook, the winner of the auction will win a copy of Brubaker’s original “Captain America” pitch and a personalized autographed copy of the “Captain American Omnibus,” which contains the first twenty-fives issues of the series. As Brubaker explains, it allows one “[to] compare the process to the final project.”
To learn about the Hero Initiative and how you can help Gene Colan and other comic veterans, visit http://www.heroinitiative.org/. To bid on Ed Brubaker’s “Captain America” notebook, visit the eBay listing here