The first episode of Marvel Studios’ The Falcon And The Winter Soldier premiered on Disney+ on Friday, giving movie-starved Marvel fans a chance to catch back up with Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and the federal government’s casual pattern of institutionalized racism. It was largely a good time, but one person who would like everyone to stop asking him about it is accomplished comic book writer Ed Brubaker—a.k.a. the co-creator of the Winter Soldier. Brubaker was the writer on the phenomenal Captain America run that reintroduced Cap’s World War II sidekick Bucky Barnes as a brainwashed Soviet assassin with a robot arm (along with artist Steve Epting), so it stands to reason that people would be eager to get his thoughts now that Bucky is the co-star of a big-time TV show, but Brubaker said that he has “mixed feelings” about The Falcon And The Winter Soldier in a recent newsletter (via Variety)
Brubaker makes a point to say that everyone he’s interacted with at Marvel Studios (“all the way up to Kevin Feige”) has been “nothing but kind,” but he says that he and Epting have pretty much only ever gotten a “’thanks’ here or there” for creating a character and a storyline that has become a core building block of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That being said, Brubaker does acknowledge that he knew this was the deal when he agreed to work for Marvel Comics, saying that “work-for-hire work is what it is,” and he also notes that he’s “thrilled” to see something he made become a big part of pop culture (he also seems to love Sebastian Stan’s Bucky, which he says is “perfect”), but it has all still “become harder and harder to live with” over the years.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has historically been pretty good about at least acknowledging the comic writers who laid the groundwork for its stories, both in the credits and in winky cameos (Brubaker appears in Captain America: The Winter Soldier during one of Bucky’s brainwashing sequences), but this isn’t the first time a writer has brought up the fact that those things don’t necessarily translate to, you know, money.
For example, The Infinity Gauntlet writer Jim Starlin had a cameo in Avengers: Endgame, but he also posted on Facebook years ago that he had gotten a “very big check” From DC Entertainment because they used his character The KGBeast in one scene of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (where he doesn’t use that name and doesn’t resemble the comic character at all), with the check apparently being “much bigger” than anything he had gotten from Marvel Studios at the time—despite having created or co-created Thanos, Drax, and Gamora. Basically, don’t assume that these massive corporations are giving money to people they have no legal obligation to give money to, so it’s good to find ways to directly support the artists you like.