Chip Zdarsky’s Batman: The Knight #1 hits stores this week, and I got the chance to talk with him about it! The mind behind books like Daredevil and Sex Criminals is bringing us his take on Batman, but not like you might think. Zdarsky’s take on the Dark Knight takes place at an early point in Bruce Wayne’s journey of justice: before he even becomes Batman! Here’s what he had to say about his new book, and the process of writing it!
I know the “Marvel’s Batman” joke gets slung around a lot in regards to Daredevil, but what’s it like writing both him and Batman in such quick succession? Is there any influence or common thread? What do YOU think sets the Man Without Fear apart from DC’s Moon Knight?
Chip Zdarsky: It’s pretty surreal? I mean, the big common thread is that they’re, for the most part, considered to be the main dark, human, somewhat “grounded” vigilantes of each company. Batman’s sense of law and justice is more clear-cut than Daredevil’s, I’d say. Daredevil is always questioning what’s right, while Batman mostly knows what’s right.
But because we’re in Bruce’s early years, that’s not necessarily true here! He has a lot to learn. And not just about nunchucks and science. About, dare I say it … life?
You’ve done comic work as an artist in various capacities, be it Sex Criminals, Monster Cops, The No-Sin Situation (one of my faves, btw!), etc. How do you write scripts differently for books you write yourself vs books drawn by other people? Do you find it easier to communicate with your artists because of your experience?
Chip Zdarsky: I would imagine it’s easier for me? For the most part I think artists enjoy working with me because I never ask for an impossible thing to be drawn. Like, if I’m writing it, I can draw it. Poorly, but still!
It helps to be able to speak the same language. There have even been moments on projects, usually with newer artists, where I do quick sketches for them when things aren’t working and I can’t explain it with words.
I’m really digging the angle of young Bruce Wayne getting called out for being an edgy little brat in issue #1. Is Bruce learning that his actions have consequences going to be a major theme for the series?
Chip Zdarsky: He’ll make mistakes. It would be a boring book if he didn’t! But yeah, figuring out blind spots for a young Bruce Wayne is a lot easier than it is for a grown-up Batman, you know?
At the risk of being a bit boring, what made you decide to do a young Batman story? What about Bruce and his career drew you towards this point in his life?
Chip Zdarsky: It’s the one early-years period where there isn’t a singular story. We’ve had bits and pieces over the years. Flashbacks, backups, etc., but I was super interested in telling one full story about this time and the change from young Bruce Wayne to Bruce Wayne with a plan.
Also, I just fucking love Batman. So any chance to write him is a dream.
Would you rather be up against an army of heavily armed ninjas with machine guns with Adam West Batman or stuck on a father-son bonding style road trip with Frank Miller Batman?
Chip Zdarsky: Oh, Adam West all the way. There’s got to be something in that belt to stop the ninjas. If not, who would you rather die with, really? The have him call me “chum” as we pass on to the next world? Glorious.
There’s bound to be some comparisons from fans between this and Batman: Year One. What do you think sets Batman: The Knight apart from this and other stories like it? Or is the similarity something you want to embrace?
Chip Zdarsky: I mean, this is a different period. Comparing this to Batman Year One is like comparing Year One to Year Two, really. These are various stages of Bruce’s development. Ours goes from him leaving Gotham to his return, which feels like really fertile ground for a story, which is all I’m really concerned about.
Also, Year One is the perfect Batman story. I couldn’t come close to touching the hem of the cape on it. With this, I just want to tell the best story I can and just hope people enjoy it!
A massive thank you again to both Chip Zdarsky and DC for the amazing opportunity, and a reminder to all of you good folks to go check out Batman: The Knight #1, out now!