Every week, we'll tap one creator to browse Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and pick some of their favorite work from the expansive catalog. This week: ULTIMATUM writer Jeph Loeb on FALLEN SON: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA
"FALLEN SON was an extremely personal experience. As many people know, I lost my son to cancer when he was only 17 years old. I'm not an expert on grief by any means but this story did come from a place that I knew something about for myself.
From the moment that [Marvel Executive Editor] Tom Breevort said at [a Marvel creative summit] that Cap was dying, I wanted to stop the Marvel train to reflect on how the Marvel U would react to losing their finest soldier. It was [writer J. Michael Straczynski] who came up with the idea of using the Kubler Ross stage of grief and the moment he said it, I had the entire five books in my head. Honestly, it just popped, which never happens. And it was fortunate too since given the tight schedule I had to write all five books at the same time so the artists would be able to take a break from their regular work and jump on this. They truly came through on every page as did the inkers and colorists and my good luck charm Richard Starkings and [his] fine Comicraftsmen who did the lettering and design.
"The first book, 'Denial,' was the Wolverine story. I was working with Wolverine on the Evolution storyline where Sabretooth got killed and this was a very different take. This was Wolverine more like he is in the Avengers. Adding in Doc Strange and Daredevil was cool too. If anybody was to going to be in denial it had to be one of the oldest characters in the Marvel U. He even knew Cap in World War II! I hadn't worked with [artist] Leinil [Yu] on an entire issue—we did a short Thing/Dragon Man story for FANTASTIC FOUR #50—but this was a chance to see a real talent at work.
"The second book, 'Anger,'was with my ol' pal Ed McGuinness. It gave us a chance to do two teams on a big action book that Ed does so well. Anger is a very easy concept for the reader to hold onto. When we deal with death, it's probably the first thing we think of—the basic reaction. Having two teams of Avengers allowed me to split the differences in how they react. There was a MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE story that Frank Miller did where a bunch of Avengers were playing cards with Ben Grimm. That's what inspired those scenes. I really liked when Wolverine came by and Spidey didn't like how indifferent he seemed to Steve's death. Everyone deals with it differently.
"The third book, 'Bargaining,' [I] think was the one most fans wanted to see. Would Hawkeye—or Clint Barton—take over for Cap? He had the skills. Heck, he even had the look. I wanted to use Hawkeye and Patriot [from YOUNG AVENGERS] because they could be the voices of who Cap was to them—and call Clint out for what he had done by putting on the costume. Working with John Romita Jr. was a dream come true. I had been bugging him since I came back to Marvel to find something. He's just a master storyteller and it shows on every page and every panel."
Check out more by Jeph Loeb at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
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