In his online newsletter a few weeks ago, former Captain America writer and Winter Soldier co-creator Ed Brubaker expressed “mixed feelings” over The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+ series, and over Marvel and Disney’s treatment of the creators behind their cash cows. On Monday night, Brubaker appeared on the Fatman Beyond podcast hosted by Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin where he spoke in greater detail about his dissatisfaction.
Brubaker mentions turning down a check for a “Thank You” credit in Captain America: Civil War because he found the tiny amount to be such an insult. To add insult to injury, Brubaker apparently had to attend the premiere in the overflow theater as opposed to the main big theater with the big stars. Since the basic premise of the B-plot for Civil War involving Bucky hunting down rogue agents of the Winter Soldier program was based on his Captain America comics run, Brubaker’s indignation is understandable.
Apparently Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, the team who reinvented Joe Simon and Jack Kirby‘s Bucky Barnes as The Winter Soldier, didn’t even get an invite to the Captain America: Winter Soldier movie after-party and had to text Sebastian Stan (the actor who plays the character in the MCU) to get them in because Kevin Feige‘s assistant apparently didn’t have them on their list. Adding salt to the wound was that Feige’s assistant was more than happy to let in other assistants and bloggers.
Brubaker also recounted a near drowning experience almost two years ago that has him more reflective about how his wife would survive if something were to happen to him. The experience is what inspired his Western Pulp graphic novel with artist Sean Phillips.
I can’t help but be reminded how Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, the widow of Dwayne McDuffie, had to fight on her late husband’s behalf over the Milestone 2.0 relaunch that left McDuffie’s estate out of the deal. After a few years though, the lawsuit was eventually settled with a positive outcome for all involved.
Not one to mince words, these are just few Brubaker quotes from the podcast that stood out:
“I remember sitting in that movie and just remembering this Jack Kirby ulcer growing in my stomach going, ‘This is what it felt like, kid.’”
“When I see ads for the show, it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.”
“When I work with people I try to give them the best deal possible. And if something ends up being a bigger thing I try to actually adjust their deal so they can take part in that too.”
Brubaker contrasted it with Netflix, who did right by Dave Chappelle by pulling Chappelle’s Show from its streaming service after the comedian revealed his original “raw deal” with Comedy Central that was settled last February.
“There’s nothing preventing anyone at Marvel from looking over how much the Winter Soldier has been used in all this stuff and calling me and Steve Epting and saying, ‘You know what, we’re going to try to adjust the standard thing so you guys feel good about this.’”
As he said in his aforementioned newsletter, Brubaker has absolutely nothing but respect for everyone at Marvel Studios, and his issues stem from publishing.
Perhaps most surprising is the revelation that appearing in the Winter Soldier film for a brief cameo makes Ed Brubaker more royalties than actually co-creating the character.
“I have made more on SAG residuals than I have made on creating the character for my one line that got cut.”
It seems not dissimilar to how comic creator Jim Starlin revealed in a Facebook post that he received more money from DC Comics Entertainment when Anatoli Knyazev (better known in the comics as KGBeast) appeared for a relatively minor role in Batman v Superman than for appearances by his creations, most notably Thanos the Mad Titan, in the Marvel movies combined.
Other quotes from Brubaker of note.
“It’s just weird that they’re so ungenerous to me. It’s especially weird because a lot of them are friends of mine. Or people that I thought were friends of mine.”
“There is a corporate mentality. Right now someone inside Marvel publishing somewhere is watching this and laughing that I think I got ripped off. There are people that think it’s funny that I’m unhappy about it. I know for a fact because I’ve watched them be that way about other people in person.”
“I look at those credits and there’s all these other executive producers [of] people who were just at the publishing level who had nothing to do with it. I know how much that EP credit actually makes you in a TV show at Disney. These people have made so much money on stuff that Steve and I did.”
As frustrated as Brubaker may be with his own “raw deal,” he doesn’t want that to detract from others enjoying The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Nevertheless, much like Dave Chappelle, here’s hoping that Brubaker’s appearance on Fatman Beyond to air his grievances will lead Marvel/Disney to reconsider things.