Newsletter #58: The Best Loser

I came here to WIN. Oh ... wait. I lost? I ... sorry, I guess I'll go now

So, yeah, I lost all the Eisners Friday night.

Does it hurt? No, because I’m dead inside. The person I feel badly for is you, the reader, because my victory speeches were top notch and now you’ll never hear them.

OH COME ON GIVE US A TASTE

ugh I hate when you ask for a “taste”

PLEEEEASE

…okay. Below is the text I had prepared if I’d won in the Best Endless Comics category!

WOW IS THERE AN AWARD FOR BEST SPEECH

If there is, then it would’ve been a tie as well, ‘cause here’s my speech for if I’d won Best Writer!


NO CHIP THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AT AWARD SHOWS

Anyway, after my losses, while I lay at the bottom of a dark pit of my own making, this ray of light shone down on me:

The Hollywood Reporter did a huge piece on our favourite eternally angry duck and there was this fun tidbit in there:

I’ve talked about this a little bit before, how I flew out to HoLlYwEiRd and pitched a movie to Marvel Studios with Ms. Thompson. It was a very surreal time, especially when I pounded my fist on the board room table and shouted “this duck FUCKS” and then quietly muttered “poorly” to a room full of executives.

While nothing ever came of the pitch, I’m still reluctant to post the images that Joe and I created for it, because, hey, who knows, right?

But, because you’re loyal zdarsky.substack.com newsletter readers, I feel okay sharing this EXCLUSIVE look at one of the pieces!

He’s beautiful. And the MCU needs him.

AGREED

Okay! On to commerce! This week, Eisner-losing fan favourite DAREDEVIL is back with part two of LOCKDOWN! It’s bad news for Elektra and Matt as both Daredevils are up against their worst nightmares! With an ending that’ll have tongues wagging ew that’s gross

Mike Hawthorne is back and man oh man I’m gonna miss him (he’s not dying. I mean, we’re ALL dying, he’s just moving on to more impressive projects that will probably win Eisners). He’s a master of layouts and the human form, dynamic while grounded in reality. DON’T GO MIKE DON’T GO

EVERYONE LEAVES EVENTUALLY

Whoa just … ease up, okay?

SORRY

Beyond that, my big things this week are all audio!

I joined some pals to talk DOOM:

And I joined OTHER pals to talk GARF:

It turns out I know a lot more about Garfield than I do Dr. Doom.

And then there’s MANGASPLAINING!

This week’s episode isn’t up yet, but last week’s was a doozy! We got into the world of BL (Boys Love) manga in a roundabout way with the heartwarming story of friendship in BL METAMORPHOSIS! I highly recommend the series and the podcast and especially our show notes which are the best in the biz!

Okay, that’s enough! I’m done! Bye!

Love,
Chip

Newsletter #57: Workin' The Odds

The Eisner Awards Ceremony is this Friday. It’s virtual, so nobody gets to see the amazing parade of dusted-off suits, the dresses that are a little TOO nice, and the stellar Hawaiian shirt / cargo short combos that the event is truly known for. I am up for three awards #blessed and I am not going to win any of them #notblessed

People keep saying to me, “But Chip! That’s probably true based on what literally everyone is saying but why would YOU think that?”

Well, let’s look at the first category:

I fuckin’ split the vote

classic mistake

And the next category?

Look, unless people read this list like it’s the credits in a TV show, so in their mind they can hit the end and go “…and Chip Zdarsky as The Fonz,” I’m sunk. Too much talent in this category.

So, who’s going to win? Well, who really stands out?

Every single one of these pasty bastards are absolute cowards when it comes to their faces, save for one. A man who isn’t afraid to show a little skin to get what he wants, my much more successful Canadian associate Jeff Lemire. Congrats on the Eisner win, Jeff. You and your chin truly deserve it.

No I will not be watching the livestream. I’ve got too many comics to write!!!

IT’S OKAY I’LL WATCH IT AND TEXT YOU WHEN YOU’VE LOST

But … you’re me …

YEAH

Man … this newsletter’s getting creepy.

Speaking of creepy! STILLWATER #9 is out this week!

AMAZING SEGUE

Thanks, me!

And what does it feature?

It’s got some weird bits, some surprising bits and some violent bits! All from EISNER-NOMINATED artist Ramón Pérez! He’s up for his Stillwater covers! And for good reason! Look at this creepy cutie!

AWWWWWW

I know, right?!

And you know how babies are made? Through sex! Speaking of sex—

FUCKING AMAZING

…the final hardcover volume of Sex Criminals is out today! BIG HARD SEX CRIMINALS 3 is our grand finale and I highly recommend you pick it up along with volumes 1 and 2 if you don’t already have them. It’s the biggest project of my life, the one closest to my heart, and I think it’s also really good. Also, I don’t want to put out an omnibus.

And, like with previous volumes, there’s our Very Special Section called “CHIP’S BITS” which are all my background jokes that were unreadable or covered up within the story. Some true gems and worth every penny imho

Truly the end of an era.

CHIP ANSWERS QUESTIONS

Every week I’ll answer one POLITE and RESPECTFUL question about my life as a great segue-er or about my work. The email is zdarskyletters@gmail.com.

Hi Chip!

Is Donny Cates your best friend?

-tanzidtonmoy7 

No.

Newsletter #56: Breakin' In

And entering. And staying a while. Maybe too long?

A lot of fans, when they meet me at conventions, say the same thing: “Why? Why you?”

Their eyes narrow as they size me up, wondering what it is about me that caught Marvel’s eye when there are so many other white, bearded men who could handily write 20 pages a month that always have a fistfight and a lesson learned (“with great power I will fuck you up doctor octopus”).

As most readers know, in 2013 I co-created Image Comics’ Sex Criminals, a book that surprised all of us by not being immediately cancelled. I was its illustrator, riding on the hot, hot coattails of beloved chum and world-class writer Matt Fraction. Life was good! Before all of that I’d made my own black & white comics that I wrote and drew, and wrote and illustrated for a national newspaper in Canada, but I was pretty pleased to just focus on drawing and jokes for our dumb, filthy book.

Then in 2014, with my higher visibility as an “artist,” I was approached by Marvel editor Wil Moss for an art job. It was a simple one. I just needed to do a “fun” Deadpool take on these Original Sin covers of characters interacting with a, uh, giant floating eyeball.


As a kid growing up reading Marvel comics my ultimate dream was to draw their beloved character “Big Eyeball,” so I was over the moon. I submitted my rough:


And then, once that was approved, I submitted the final:

Man, was I excited! My work on a Marvel cover! I couldn’t wait to show my parents and spend an hour explaining to them that no, this isn’t Spider-Man, and yes that’s a floating large eyeball and no the pay wasn’t amazing and ffs why can’t you just be happy for me

I thought that was it, my one big Marvel project, but then Wil emailed with some great news: they were going to print a rare version of the cover to give away at San Diego Comic Con! A version that was just my pencils only!

Which, hey, fun idea, but there WERE no pencils. I drew this digitally and any underdrawing was long gone. I felt like I’d fucked up! So I proposed something different. What if I did the pencils retroactively and thoroughly fucked them up and covered it in the editor’s fake corrections?

Wil was game and so I sent in this:

To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever made anything better.

The moral of this story is, my parents don’t know who Deadpool is. And also, I think Wil saw that I was fun to work with, met the deadlines, and had a sense of humor that translated to the page. After this gig, he offered me two pages in the Original Sin anthology, “Original Sins” (that’s solid brand awareness) to write and draw! Apparently, years prior, Wil had purchased my self-published kids comic “Monster Cops” from me at San Diego Comic Con, so he knew I could somehwat write as well as draw.

So I did it, and also managed to colour and letter it. If there was one thing I learned from working at the newspaper, it's that if you can show the editors you can do more than one thing, they will very happily work with you.

This is what I did:

I went ALL-OUT. ‘Cause, much like the cover job, I thought that this would be it for me, my one chance to write and draw Marvel characters! And, again, like the cover job, I sent it in early and wasn’t an asshole. Or at least, I expertly HID that I was an asshole!

Wil liked working with me, I liked working with Wil. Soon after this job, he emailed me to say he just saw the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie where a familiar duck popped up in the end credits. And would I like to pitch a series about that duck?

And that’s my Marvel origin story! The only really unfortunate part is that Wil Moss, the editor who believed in me, recently lost his mind and grew this moustache, so we can no longer ever work together.

So, yeah, if you want to break into writing for Marvel, uh, write and draw self-published books that an editor happens to purchase and then illustrate a successful Image book and then do a good job on a Deadpool cover?

Sorry, my path is not very helpful.

HMM? OH, DID YOU START YOUR NEWSLETTER ALREADY?

God damn you

Anyhoo! That’s ye olde newsletter this week! In comic shops today it’s a rare QUADRUPLE CHIPPLE with FOUR comics out! I won’t bore you with my usual sales patter, but if you’re keen on running into your comic shop and shouting the titles out loud so people know, they’re:

  • Batman: Urban Legends #5!

  • Spider’s Shadow #4!

  • Justice League: Last Ride #3!

  • Skybound X #2 (with a special Stillwater story)!

All right! That’s it for me! Who cares, right? Bye!

Newsletter #55: It's A Weird One

2 many chips

In my experience, if you go META then you have to do it in such a way that YOU look like the asshole. Which is obviously very easy for me to pull off. The last thing you want to do is to wink at the reader and be like “see what I did? aren’t I very cool?”

In Howard The Duck (omnibus comign soon!!), I made myself and the artist Joe Quinones the villains of the story. Just a couple of losers ruining the life of a duck:


And in Sex Criminals, Matt put us in as “ourselves,” which was basically Matt doubting himself and me being a coked-up asshole getting rich off of Jughead:


But this time … it’s different!

Months ago Donny called and asked me if I would fill in on an issue of CROSSOVER, the hit book he was writing. In case you don’t know, it’s about a world where fictional comic book characters suddenly come to life, but there’s a subplot where the comic book creators start going missing. One of those was “Chip Zdarsky.”

So now I get to tell the story of me being missing!

Along for the ride on art are Phil Hester and Ande Parks, two of the all-time greats. Combined with the amazing ongoing series colorist Dee Cunniffe they really manage to capture my natural tired sadness.

It’s weirdly … the most personal story I’ve ever written?! It’s a strange one and I think you should rush out to buy it!

UGH IT ALL COMES BACK TO COMMERCE WITH YOU

No! I mean, yes! But I’m just proud of this weird little one-shot! Also, it’d be nice to help Donny out with sales for his plucky li’l Image book.

ISN’T IT OUTSELLING EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER DONE

That’s—that’s not the point!! I’m just trying to help!!!!

Also out this week is Daredevil #31! Mike and Adriano are back, delivering the first part of our new story arc, “LOCKDOWN!” They make it look so easy, so good. Both Matt and Elektra are unleashed here and everything goes well off the rails, aka a Daredevil comic.

And look at this gorgeous Marco ‘n’ Matt cover!

This arc leads to a massive moment which will surely be spoiled by solicitations, so if I were you I would simply stop reading the internet. ZDARSKY.SUBSTACK should your ONLY source of news from here on out as I will never post spoilers!!

WHAT IF I NEED INFO ON THE ONGOING PANDEMIC

What? Haven’t you heard? It’s over!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DELTA VARIANT AND THE RISE IN—

La la la la I can’t hear you it’s overrrrrrr!!

This week on Mangasplaining the gang talks about A BRIDE’S STORY, a historical fiction manga that is maybe one of the best books I’ve ever read? The art alone is worth it! You should buy the book and read it and then listen to the podcast

COMMERCE AGAIN WOW

It’s not even my book!!

Speaking of not-even-my-book, I just finished Danielle Henderson’s memoir THE UGLY CRY and it’s a staggering piece of work. Anyone who knows Danielle knows she’s an amazing writer, but also probably knows about her horror-loving grandmother, who, if she wasn’t a real person, would be in my all-time favourite fictional characters list.

This book is beautifully told with tremendous insight and humor and I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be insanely jealous of her perfect conversational style of writing!


CHIP ANSWERS QUESTIONS

Every week I’ll answer one POLITE and RESPECTFUL question about my life as a fictional character or about my work. The email is zdarskyletters@gmail.com.

Hi Chip,

Is there such a thing as a perfect piece of work you've created upon which you can look back a week later and not nitpick or are you left forever chasing that elusive beast, clutching at thin air, staring forlornly at the green light?

-Ashwita 

The latter.

Bye!!!

Newsletter #54: Real Heroes

wait batman does what

I had a bit of week!

DO TELL

Actually I can’t.

OH GREAT THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE NEWSLETTERS

I’m writing a bunch of fun secret stuff! Sorry!

But! I can talk about one of the big things, which is public!

Last week I was nominated for … THREE EISNERS!

BEST CONTINUING SERIES for Daredevil!

BEST CONTINUING SERIES for Stillwater!

And BEST WRITER!

Which is, of course very exciting. Though looking at that Best Writer category is pretty embarrassing as it’s chock full of us white dudes. At least four of whom are bearded, truly cementing how cliché it all is. Come on!

But in positive news, it’s super nice looking at the full list of nominees, seeing so many friends getting recognized, including my collaborators, like Marco for BEST PENCILER/INKER, Ramon for BEST COVER ARTIST and Matt for BEST WRITER! I have told myself that when Matt beats me for Best Writer it’ll be for Sex Criminals which basically means that I won it too.

SMART

Yeah, I know.

Anyway! Good times! If you’re in the industry in some capacity as a creator, retailer, librarian or educator, you can VOTE in the EISNERS, right HERE!

If I win Best Writer I promise to deliver a scathing speech about the industry, destroying my career! Fun!

HAVEN’T YOU DONE THAT A COUPLE OF TIMES NOW HOW ARE YOU STILL WORKING

Sorry, maybe you didn’t read earlier about me being a white, bearded male

Anyhoo! This week STILLWATER #8 is out!

It’s my favourite of the series, focusing on our small-town Sheriff Tanya. What would you do to live forever if you’ve got nothing to lose?

I DON’T KNOW

It’s a rhetorical question! Go buy the issue! Ramon and Mike are next level:

Also this week, Mangasplaining tackles a super fun manga series, MONTHLY GIRLS’ NOZAKI-KUN! It’s about comic making, so I super super recommend my fellow comic creators check this one out!

And in other news, I wasn’t on twitter yesterday

GOOD FOR YOU

I know I know, but … it meant I couldn’t participate in clowning on this story:

By the time I logged in after dinner … it was over. Every possible joke was made, every comment uploaded. It pained me to put my paying work ahead of cunnilingus comic book jokes, but I guess that’s what happens with age? Sorry, honey, I can’t take Billy to swim class, I need to somehow work Batman creator “Bill Finger” into a joke about Batman pleasuring Catwoman.

Anyway, it’s over. It’s gone. Like the Anakin meme, like my lost youth. It’s all dust in a parched mouth. All that’s left to do is to purchase this limited edition Funko Pop at their booth at the next San Diego Comic Con:

Take care,

Chip

P.S: Next week my ASK CHIP QUESTIONS segment is back!

Like before I’ll answer one POLITE and RESPECTFUL question about my life as a munchmaster or about my work. The email is zdarskyletters@gmail.com.

P.P.S: I did text Matt about doing a sequel to his acclaimed JIMMY OLSEN run:

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