Monday, November 20, 2006

Link du Jour: Ed Brubaker

I think that the first thing I ever read by Ed Brubaker was Gotham Central. If you're not familiar with it, it was a realistic cop drama in the tradition of NYPD Blue that just happened to be a comic book set in Gotham City. So, instead of trying to catch a standard mobster or serial killer, the characters -- regular, everyday cops -- were trying to catch guys like Two-Face or The Joker. It was a brilliant idea for a comic and was brilliantly executed thanks to the fact that Brubaker and his co-writer Greg Rucka wrote the whole thing straight, as if it were a CBS TV show rather than a DC comic.

I'd also heard great things about Brubaker's work on Catwoman and the spy thriller he wrote called The Sleeper. So, when Marvel announced that he was taking over the writing duties of Captain America, I got real curious about it. Turns out, Brubaker was up to the hype. He turned Captain America into something that's as much spy adventure as it is superhero comic, and he's reminded readers about how lonely a man-out-of-time like Captain America must be. It's exciting, dark, touching stuff.

He hit gold again with Daredevil, proving that he was probably the only person who could successfully take over the crime title from former writer Brian Michael Bendis. Brubaker's take on it has gone from prison drama to international caper story. That's Brubaker's strength, I think: the ability to take superheroes and figure out how to tell fresh stories about them by abandoning the typical superhero formulas and using a completely different genre. The only time it hasn't worked perfectly for me has been his space operatic take on Uncanny X-Men, but I cannot wait for his and Matt Fraction's upcoming stint on Iron Fist.

Anyway, Brubaker's talented enough that I wish he had a blog in order to talk more about his process, but his website is still very helpful for keeping up with the latest news about his projects.

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