By Kevin Mahadeo
It was a day that will live in infamy.
Television news stations, talk show hosts and comic shops across the nation broke the shocking and unimaginable news: Captain America—the symbol of hope and freedom, the embodiment of the American dream—was dead.
The "Death of Captain America" storyline saw the end of an era as S.H.I.E.L.D agent and Cap's on-again, off-again love interest Sharon Carter—under the nefarious influence of the Red Skull and Doctor Faustus
—tragically shot Steve Rogers to death on the steps of a courthouse. The Sentinel of Liberty's death sent ripples throughout not only the Marvel Universe, but the entire world as both comic fans and the general public stood in remembrance of one of fiction's most famous characters and one of the world's greatest heroes.
Rounding off Captain America Week here at Marvel.com, we talked to some members of the Marvel family and asked them their thoughts and feelings on the death of Steve Rogers and posed the question, "Where were you the day Captain America died?"
ED BRUBAKER (writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA, orchestrator of Cap's murder)
"I woke up and looked on the Internet and it was the [number one] story on all the news sites. We had no idea. You could never plan for that kind of press. Every paper and every news agency in the country picked it up. It was all over the world. [Writer Brian] Bendis was in Italy and that Friday, it was the front page of the paper in Italy.
"It was sad. I wasn't like, 'Thank God [we killed him].' I mean, I knew I was writing a story. I knew we weren't really killing a human being, but it was a big issue. I tried to make sure that issue would resonate with people. To me, the most important part of the issue was that it wasn't that he got beat to death by a robot or that he got blown up. I wanted him to go down like a lot of American heroes go out—assassinated. I wanted it to be like Martin Luther King or JFK or Lincoln."
MARK WAID (former writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA)
"I was staring wistfully at my authentic Captain America shield and mourning. I thought it was a daring move for Marvel to make. At first, I was resistant. But seeing how Bucky as the Winter Soldier and Sharon and others have dealt with Steve's death—or, in some ways, refused to deal with it—makes for compelling stories. Sometimes you don't realize what you've got until it's gone."
ROGER STERN (former writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA)
"I wasn't aware of his death until some time after it happened. Frankly, I didn't take it seriously at the time. Steve had died at least twice before: in Jim Steranko's CAPTAIN AMERICA #111, and in Mark Gruenwald's last issue, CAPTAIN AMERICA #443. Okay, the Steranko story was part of a fake-out that Steve engineered, but in the latter case things looked pretty serious. The point is that Steve Rogers has come back from the dead more than once. It wasn't until I had a chance to catch up with Ed's stories that I understood why everyone had been taking it so seriously.
"It's still a tragedy that he was killed, but Bucky has really come into his own as Steve's successor. And Ed has written some masterful stories where Steve is conspicuous in his absence. [CAPTAIN AMERICA] is again a book I look forward to and it seems I'm not alone in that. So in that respect, I guess you could say that Steve didn't die in vain. But I still miss him."
DALE EAGLESHAM (upcoming artist of CAPTAIN AMERICA)
"'In my studio battling a deadline' would be the answer I'd give for any 'where were you when' question and be right 99% of the time. Oh yeah, there was that one time I came up from the basement and saw the sunlight—couldn't have been that day!
"A super hero world without Steve Rogers in it? The thought is appalling, even though news of Captain America's death was a distinct possibility every single day. He was one of the greatest heroes ever because his 'powers' were his physical ability, along with his shield throwing; and with these and his wits alone, he faced villains with superpowers. Rogers confronted his enemies as a human without invulnerability, without mutations of any kind, without guns, without energy weapons or any other devices. Gunned down while in handcuffs, prone and bleeding on a cold cement staircase—the image enraged and depressed me. He faced death constantly in his career but not like this. It's seeing Cap in cuffs that gets to me. It would make me want to assume the mantle and take up the fight in his stead, only I'd probably behead myself with the shield on the first throw. This was a genuine super hero tragedy and we won't forget it."
DAN SLOTT (writer of MIGHTY AVENGERS)
"I was in a comic shop trying to get a copy of CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 and very angry. My first thought was, 'Skrull!' Ed Brubaker and the team on CAPTAIN AMERICA [have] really gone the distance in showing that Captain America is a mantle that will last forever. And as sad as I am so say, maybe it doesn't need Steve Rogers. Maybe it just needs the legacy of Steve Rogers"
STEVE MCNIVEN (artist of CIVIL WAR)
"I have a huge respect for Ed Brubaker and I thought he was [cooking] up something really cool. It was a great storyline. It was really interesting to see how they dealt with it in the book. It definitely kept me coming back and it was brilliant how he managed to work that storyline. It's a testament to really good writing to bring in Bucky as the new Cap and have it go so really well and pick up such critical claim. We're just lucky we have such good writers and storytellers."
JONATHAN HICKMAN (writer of SECRET WARRIORS)
"I was in Montreal. I thought he was a goner at the end of CIVIL WAR, so because he didn't die then, I was pretty shocked when it happened. Some good writing there. I summed up everything I felt about the character in the SECRET WARRIORS preview [in DARK REIGN: NEW NATION]."
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor)
"I was here sitting at my desk, orchestrating the whole thing! It serves [Captain America] right for standing in the way of my criminal ambitions! Brubaker's next!"
Thank you for joining us for Captain America Week and keep coming right back here to Marvel.com for more breaking news in the world of Cap!
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