Making a plan and being able to deviate from it – Part I
At the end of his time at Marvel, where he mainly worked on the Captain America series, Ed Brubaker said the following: “I hoped for two years, and planned for three, because three years was about the longest I’d stayed on any other book. My pitch document had the first 12 issues mapped out, which I mostly stuck to, actually, and then sketched out the next year in broad strokes. I never imagined I’d go even 50 issues, let alone the I think 102 issues I did, counting mini-series and one-shots and annuals.” He also added, “More than anything, it was that each issue kept wanting to be longer or I kept feeling like I had more ideas and wanted to spend more time with the characters, and realized I was stopping myself from doing that with an arbitrary structure I’d imposed on myself” (“The Ed Brubaker ‘Captain America’ Exit Interview,” David Brothers, comicsalliance.com, November 1, 2012).
There are two opposing ideas here: the idea of a plan that guides the author, and the idea of the flexibility the writer must maintain to include new ideas or developments that hadn’t been originally anticipated. In our project, one of the ideas that just evolved like that was Votan’s identity. At first, he was going to remain mysteriously anonymous over a number of stories, if not all the way to the end, but ultimately, we dropped that concept, preferring instead to reveal his identity quickly, because this opened up more dramatic opportunities.
What you didn’t see in “A Free Man,” “A Man to Kill” and “Dead Man”
Initially, Tucker was going to have to be tracked because, in a previous story, he had seen his parents. While this idea was part of our initial story plotting, we couldn’t find a way to work it into the stories. We didn’t try too hard, though, because we decided that such a meeting would have been just too much of a coincidence. So we dropped that, and now, Valasquez’s reaction seems even more of a threat for the rest of the staff.
What You Didn’t Seen in “At Large”
Originally, Jason was going to kill Paul Thomas. We decided against it because we figured Jason’s character was already pretty clear to the readers. We didn’t need to add to the body count to make the point. And, by keeping John alive, we may make good use of him in a later story…