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Daredevil writer Chip Zdarsky preps to "Change everything" about the character

(Image credit: Chip Zdarsky (Marvel Comics))

With the comic industry getting in motion following an extended pause, Marvel Comics is getting the ball rolling with a series of releases including the long-awaited Daredevil #20 on June 20, which picks up from a cliffhanger left by March 4's #19.

Of course, series writer Chip Zdarsky tells Newsarama if he'd have known there would be such a long pause between the cliffhanger and its resolution, he'd have planned things differently. But with #20 finally coming out and putting a point on the first chunk of Zdarsky's planned run, the writer has opened up to Newsarama about what's happening and comes next.

Drawing on some modern classic Marvel tropes with the title "One More Day", Zdarsky will follow up the Battle for Hell's Kitchen with a story he promises will shake Matt Murdock - and readers - to their core.

Newsarama spoke with Zdarsky ahead of Daredevil #20's June 20 release to get the skinny on his ongoing partnership with artist Marco Checchetto, his love of Daredevil, and why Matt Murdock is so easy to push all the way to his limits.

(Image credit: Thought Bubble)

Newsarama: Chip, Matt Murdock has been through a hell of a lot in your run so far. And now we’re on the cusp of Daredevil #20, which will lead to the next big chapter of your story. Since it’s been a while, catch us up to speed – what’s Matt’s status quo as #20 hits?

Chip Zdarsky: In issue one, Matt killed a man. He gave up being Daredevil, but damn it, wouldn’t you know it? He’s been dragged back to costumed life, but different. Better, more whole.

Marco, Lalit Kumar Sharma, Jorge Fornes, Francesco Mobili and I had a really great year dissecting Matt and the violence he lives with. He questioned God, his place in an imbalanced society, and what his responsibility to his community should be. It’s been heavy!

Nrama: With the comic industry largely having been on pause for some time, how has that changed your perspective on Daredevil and writing an ongoing series like this? How does it feel to have Daredevil #20 finally coming out?

Zdarsky: Well, f--k, if I’d known there’d be this big of a gap, I wouldn’t have ended issue #19 on such a cliffhanger.

It’s been surreal, hunkered down, worrying about the world and continuing to write beyond issue #20. I’m grateful we’ve been continuing along, but it’s been hard to focus on Matt and his story in the middle of everything. Recently that’s shifted in me, where I really relish getting to disappear into writing this world, and hopefully readers feel the same reading it.

(Image credit: Marco Checchetto (Marvel Comics))

Nrama: The solicits for #20 mention Hell’s Kitchen ablaze and Matt Murdock discovering “what it means to be Daredevil.” That’s a lot – but it usually is for DD. What’s at stake in this issue?

Zdarsky: It’s the Battle for Hell’s Kitchen! Daredevil versus a lot of big bads who have been hired to tear the place apart by Marvel’s wealthiest family. It’s really the culmination of our first year on the title and will dictate the NEXT year of Matt Murdock’s life. There have to be repercussions for what he’s done. Him AND Fisk.

Nrama: After this, you’re starting what’s described as the next chapter of your Daredevil run with a new enemy in Matt’s turf. What can you tell us about this new threat?

Zdarsky: Heh. Well, I can’t really give away too much about his new challenge, but an old one is surely getting a foothold, and that’s Typhoid Mary, who has been hiding in plain sight all along. A new one will be revealed in our Daredevil Annual, though they’re not exactly “new.” UGH I’M SO VAGUE.

Nrama: While all this is going on in Hell’s Kitchen, you’re invoking a classic Marvel title in “One More Day” for August 26's Daredevil Annual #1. You called it an essential part of the story that “changes everything.” How does this stack up to the times Matt’s been through the ringer in the past?

Zdarsky: Oh, this one’s easy for Matt. His brother though…

Nrama: What inspired you to borrow that title from Matt’s pal Peter Parker? There was a ‘devil’ involved in the original “One More Day” too…

Zdarsky: The title came later! As I was writing it, there felt like a lot of similarities to “One More Day”: about the past, about mistakes, about choices. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is ESSENTIAL to the run. It changes everything for Matt and also gives readers a huge reveal in a character that will really set the stage for New York City’s future. I can’t stress this enough. If you read the main Daredevil title, this is one you’ll need.

(Image credit: Chip Zdarsky (Marvel Comics))

Nrama: The cover you drew for Daredevil Annual #1 shows Matt as a boxer. He’s done a lot to follow in his mom’s footsteps. Will he be connecting with Battlin’ Jack Murdock now?

Zdarsky: Jack Murdock features heavily in this in flashbacks! Chris Mooneyham handles the art on those scenes and he’s just a perfect fit for gritty classic Daredevil (and especially boxing! Such amazing gestural work!). And I just worked with Manuel Garcia on Hulking’s Empyre one-shot (Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1) and he’s a HUGE talent! He handled the present-day pages, and they’re beautiful!

Nrama: You’ve been working with Marco Checchetto throughout your Daredevil run, including #20 and #21. How has your working relationship with him evolved? What makes him the perfect partner for telling this story?

Zdarsky: Like any creative partnership, I think we just trust each other more now? We’re really on the same page with this title in terms of tone and look and direction. He’s such an extraordinary talent. I regularly gasp when new pages come in ‘cause he just keeps leveling up.

A lot of people look at Daredevil as a “writer’s book,” but they’re wrong. The classic runs on these are teams: Ann Nocenti/John Romita Jr., Brian Michael Bendis/Alex Maleev, Mark Waid/Chris Samnee, the list goes on and on. I love the artists who come in and support us (come on, Jorge Fornes? He’s OUTSTANDING!), but this is Zdarsky/Checchetto all the way. I love him.

(Image credit: Marco Checchetto (Marvel Comics))

Nrama: Without being too spoilery, is there a particular moment he drew in #20 that really stands out? What’s your favorite thing he’s drawn for this arc?

Zdarsky: He made Stilt-Man look cool. STILT-MAN!

God, all of issue #20 is perfect. There was a lot of choreography we had to work out for the epic fight, and he pulled it off so elegantly, it’s just a masterclass in fight scene illustration.

Nrama: Daredevil has a history of facing up to challenging circumstances, and that’s no different as you’ve been writing him. What makes Matt Murdock such an easy guy to drop into these increasingly difficult positions?

Zdarsky: He’s a lawyer who breaks the law. A Catholic who dresses as the devil. There are so many parts to explore with Matt Murdock, throwing him into difficult situations just reveals so much about who he is. I think he’s the best Marvel character, better than even Donny Cates.

Nrama: The way solicitations make it out, you’ve got no end in sight for your Daredevil run. How far along are we in your plan? What can you tease us on as we enter this new chapter of the series?

Zdarsky: Year two is locked in. I’ll stay as long as I’m wanted.

Things go big. The main question leading to issue #25 is: WHO IS THE DEVIL?

Newsarama staff writer who learned to read from comic books and hasn’t shut up about them since.