The Zdarsky Top Seven

Chip Zdarsky, otherwise known as Todd Diamonte, or by his parents and family as Steve Murray, has been involved with illustrating and writing comics since around. the year 2000. Under the pseudonym or ”alter ego” of Chip Zdarsky, he worked for the National Post writing humorously bad advice columns and reviewing movies, which helped him hone his comedic talents. Later, Diamonte/ Zdarsky ran a fake Mayoral Campaign to be the Mayor of Toronto using the National Post and social media as his canvas. Sadly, he did not win but mainly because he didn’t register by the deadline. All these lovely detours helped him get his big break with Matt Fraction and Image Comics where he illustrated (and probably shared his comedic wisdom) in creating Sex Criminals back in 2013.

Along his journey throughout this marvelous medium, we all love so dearly, Zdarsky’s talents have been nominated three times for Eisner Award’s having him win every stinkin’ time while managing to earn numerous other awards for his brilliant work within comics! Currently, he’s spearheading Daredevil, wrapping up X-Men/ Fantastic Four for Marvel Comics, AND even has a newsletter you can sign up for by clicking HERE to satisfy all your Zdarksy needs. Sure, he can be capricious and ridiculously funny with a satirical style that’s hilariously entertaining and surreal but his prevailing Daredevil run can prove the wide range of talent Zdarsky has in the comic realm including a more sentimental and emotional technique that really hits its mark.

Speaking of hitting the mark, let’s dive into the meat and cheese of the article, which is ultimately why you’re all here today. Let’s rank some of the best Chip Zdarsky series of all time while I lay down the exact “science” behind how this reviewer ranked Zdarsky’s top seven issues. Before I dive into the ”science”, let me merely say that I have not read every issue of every series on this list. However, I have read a ton of comics within almost every series attached. I’ve even reviewed many of these issues personally myself. And if I didn’t, many of my colleagues at Weird Science have reviewed the issues as well. So, I didn’t think it right, sound, or logical to completely state my thorough opinion in ranking entire series based on only reading parts of many of his works. For example, I feel overly confident in my opinion of Daredevil since I’ve read ever each to date, as well as Spider-Man Life Story, Invaders, and many more. However, I’ve read bits and pieces of Howard the Duck, and Jughead. So to be fair, I used a basic standard to measure where a group of reviewers took the time to rate and review his stories all in one place… and that place was Comic Book Roundup!

Now, before we judge my “science”, keep in mind that the Roundup has a wide variety of opinions. From people who give out 10’s like their cars on Oprah to hard$&@ jerks who give no fair reason for giving the comic/ writer the score they want to give them. So, seeing as Comic Book Roundup has both ends of the spectrum, I found it fitting to use the average series review as my guide. Furthermore, I used the foundation of a series being at least 3 issues. Yes, I know two issues could technically be a series or “run” but I knew one issue wasn’t a series and I needed to find a quantity that I felt wasn’t just a stop-gap for a writer to take a break while Zdarsky simply filled in for a couple of weeks. Therefore, I came up with at least three issues marking a “series” or “run”.

Lastly, I personally do not entirely agree with this order. So, as we go through, I will state my opinion from what I’ve read, remembering I’m merely basing my opinion on the issues in the series I personally have read. So, below is a list of the Top Seven Chip Zdarsky Series as they appear on Comic Book Roundup from countless comic bloggers, journalists, and reviewers. And while you’re at it, take a look at Comic Book Roundup HERE to check out my many reviewers as well as thousands of others! Heck, if reviewing and stating your opinion is something you feel you have a passion for, the Roundup also has a user rating and review option you can dabble with too. So, go for it and take a shot! And finally, each series has a description and link to get your hands on the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ digital Kindle version on Amazon. If the series sounds interesting to you, then go snag a copy while you’re stuck inside on your Coronacation.

So, here goes: The Zdarsky Top Seven or as my only three friends like to call it… The Diamonte Dozen

7a- Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Adam Kubert, Goran Parlov, Joe Quinones, Chris Bachalo, Chip Zdarsky, and Juan Frigeri

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: June 17, 2017

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was a 7.8. Personally, this would make it into my top 5 of Zdarsky titles. Peter Parker/ Spider-Man is the perfect character for Chip to write and he does it wonderfully. Zdarsky’s sarcastic quips lend itself beautifully to the character and the series was definitely unique and interesting with the avenues portrayed by Zdarsky. Therefore, I’d put it in my Top Five. But, alas Comic Book Roundup placed it in a tie for 7th place.

Excerpt:

The web-slinging, wallcrawling wonder returns to New York City in the all-new PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. A companion series to the best-selling Amazing Spider-Man series, Peter Parker is going back-to-basics for big heroics in the Big Apple. Featuring adversaries old and new, be there as Spider-Man returns to his friendly neighborhood for his never-ending battle against crime and the dreaded “Parker Luck”.

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if Spider-Man is your guy, click HERE for some of the best Spidey Trades/ Graphic Novels available into Amazon!

7b- Kaptara

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Kagan McLeod

Publisher: Image Comics

Released: April 22, 2015

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was also 7.8. Honestly, I have never read this series. However, I love space adventures and I’ve only heard good things from those who have read the series. I’d definitely give it a shot now that new releases have been stopped. As the band Styx once said, I got too much time on my hands.

Excerpt:

A space expedition goes horribly wrong because if it didn’t there would be no story! Reluctant explorer Keith Kanga and his crew crash land on KAPTARA, a world filled with danger and weird danger and dangerous weirdos! And if he can’t survive, then Earth, the place where YOU live, is doomed! Join Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals the Duck) and Kagan McLeod (Infinite Kung Fu) as they put the “fi” back into “sci-fi” and pretty much disregard the “sci” part in this epic story of punching and love!

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if Image Comics are your jam, click HERE for some of the top titles at the company right now!

7c- Invaders

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Butch Guice and Carlos Magno

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: January 16, 2019

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was again a 7.8. Now, I’ve not only reviewed this series but I’ve read every issue. The beginning six issues were strong and at the time made this one of my favorite series. However, it did tail off towards its conclusion. That said, the first six issues alone place this in my top three of Zdarsky’s series and everyone needs to pick this up ASAP! It’s totally worth the money and shows a different range of Zdarsky’s talents.

Excerpt:

In commemoration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary and springing from events in the pages of AVENGERS and THE BEST DEFENSE, the Marvel Universe’s first super-team is back! CAPTAIN AMERICA. THE HUMAN TORCH. THE WINTER SOLDIER. NAMOR. They fought in WORLD WAR II together as THE INVADERS. But now NAMOR is the enemy, a global threat more powerful than ever. His deadly plans are as deep and far-reaching as the ocean and REVELATIONS about his past could THREATEN the MARVEL UNIVERSE! It’s up to his old teammates to stop him, but what chance do they have against the man who knows their every move? “War Ghost” begins here!

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if Captain America is your fav, click HERE for some of the best Cap Trades or Graphic Novels!

6 – Afterlift

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Jason Loo

Publisher: Comixology Original

Released: October 30, 2019

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was a 7.9. This series has the fewest reviews from users as well as critics on the Roundup. Additionally, I have not read this series nor have I heard much talk about it yet. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested but I haven’t had the time presently to sit down with the title. On a positive note, I did hear that the latest issue was released last week for 99 cents. So, maybe it’s worth checking out for cheap?

Excerpt:

Ride-share driver Janice Chen has enough to deal with, from annoying passengers to overbearing parents. But when she picks up a pair of mysterious passengers who are pursued by otherworldly forces, Janice realizes that her already-terrible day might be headed straight to hell. From CHIP ZDARSKY (Sex Criminals, Daredevil) and JASON LOO (The Pitiful Human-Lizard) comes a new series featuring car chases, demon bounty hunters, and figuring out your place in this world and the next. Part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content only available on comiXology and Kindle. This title is available as part of comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading.

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! I think it may be free for prime members RIGHT NOW!

5a – Marvel Two-In-One

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Jim Cheung, Valerio Schiti, Paco Medina, Ramon K. Perez, and Declan Shalvey

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: December 20. 2017

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was an 8.1. This series was actually my very first taste into Chip Zdarsky since I show up late to almost every party. It was this series that hooked me into checking out other Zdarsky titles in the first place. I loved his character progression between a lost Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm without Reed and Sue. This series is what ultimately got me excited for the relaunch of Fantastic Four and some elements of the story are still playing out today. I’d personally place it in my top five, possibly top three, and think it’s an excellent read for Fantastic Four fans as well as comic fans alike.

Excerpt:

The Fate of the Four Part 1

THE FOUR ARE NO MORE, SO TWO MUST DO! Something is very wrong with THE HUMAN TORCH and only THE THING can help him! It’s the Marvel Universe reunion you’ve all been waiting for (well, HALF of it, at least!).  Plus: What monumental secret has DOOM been hiding since the end of SECRET WARS, and how will it completely change the lives of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm?

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if the Fantastic Four are your super team of choice, click HERE for some of the very best Trades and Graphic Novels from Marvel’s First Family!

5b – Jughead

Writer: Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North, and Mark Waid

Art: Erica Henderson, Derek Charm,

Publisher: Archie Comics

Released: October 7, 2015

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was also an 8.1. I’ve only read a sprinkling of issues in this series and have left pleasantly surprised. I’ve never been a huge Archie Comic fan myself. So, I took the dive after being introduced to Zdarsky and rather enjoyed the issues I read. However, as a comic reviewer, I’ve been bogged down with other genres and titles and haven’t managed to go back and read anymore. It’s definitely on my list and I will no doubt get to it at some point. Maybe now is the time during my social distancing away from society?

Excerpt:

In the grand tradition of comic book reboots like Archie #1, Archie Comics proudly presents Jughead #1 from the comics dream team of Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck) and Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)! Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, Jughead Jones swears vengeance! Well, we mean, he doesn’t “swear.” This is still Archie Comics after all.

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! Plus, if Archie Comics are your jam, click HERE for links on Amazon to some amazing Trades and Graphic Novels.

4a – Spider-Man Life Story

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Mark Bagley

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: March 20, 2019

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was an 8.2. This series may be my second favorite Zdarsky series to date. Life Story checks all the boxes and really captivated this reader… and I’m not really a huge Spider-Man fan. I loved his style, his take, and the essence of the series. More importantly, it was the perfect series for longtime Spidey fans. If you love Spider-Man, this is a MUST READ bar none. I would highly recommend picking this series up and giving it a read. I simply can’t say enough good things about it. You need to get your hands on this series.

Excerpt:

In 1962, in AMAZING FANTASY #15, 15-year-old Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became the Amazing Spider-Man! Fifty-seven years have passed in the real world since that event – so what would have happened if the same amount of time passed for Peter as well? A special high-end limited series that’s a part of the celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY combines the talents of Chip Zdarsky (SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, MARVEL 2-IN-ONE) and Mark Bagley (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN) to tell the entire history of Spider-Man from beginning to end, set against the key events of the decades through which he lived! In this first oversized issue, when Flash Thompson is drafted to serve during the Vietnam War, Spidey must weigh the question of where his responsibility truly lies!

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if Spider-Man is your guy, click HERE for some of the best Spidey Trades/ Graphic Novels available into Amazon!

4b – Howard the Duck

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Joe Quinones, Kevin Maguire, and Veronica Fish

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: March 11, 2015

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was also an 8.2. This is another title where I dipped my toe into the water and enjoyed the flavor and spice but never went back for seconds. I truly can’t tell you why. My guess would simply be time. Plus, as of late, Marvel has been relentlessly dropping issue after issue upwards of 30 per week seeing what will stick. And let me tell you as someone who tries to keep up with everything, it’s nuts! So, this hiatus of issues has prompted me to go back and finish up some series I’ve been hoping to find the time to look over. Maybe now is the time to finish Howard the Duck?

Excerpt:

HOT off the pages of the … the post-credits scene at the … the end of a … popular movie … HOWARD THE DUCK is back! Join him as he takes on the weird cases that only a talking duck can crack as the Marvel Universe’s resident private investigator!

Let Sex Criminals’ CHIP ZDARSKY (a writer known mostly as an artist) and JOE QUINONES (an artist known mostly as a lover) guide you through his new world as he takes on THE BLACK CAT and MYSTERIOUS FORCES FROM OUTER SPACE! WAUGH!

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon!

3- X-Men/ Fantastic Four

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Terry Dodson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: February 5, 2020

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was an 8.3. Personally, this WOULD NOT be in my top 7, or even my top 10. This is actually the first series I’ve read by Zdarsky that I really haven’t be pleased with at all. Issue one was rock solid and had so much promise. However, it’s gone downhill fast. Maybe his hands are tied? Maybe this series was all just a money grab? I really hope not… but we got nothing with one issue left and I don’t see how else this series can really end if he can’t progress the character of Franklin Richards AND if he can’t divulge any information about Krakoa. So, he’s stuck. Maybe it’s his fault and maybe it’s not? I don’t know. But what I do know is… I’m not a fan. Maybe you are? If so, grab a copy below. Different Strokes for different folks.

Excerpt:

KRAKOA. Every mutant on Earth lives there … except for one. But now it’s time for FRANKLIN RICHARDS to come home. It’s the X-MEN VS. the FANTASTIC FOUR and nothing will ever be the same as the world has been re-shaped by the X-MEN. But you can’t reshape a world without encountering its true master … DOOM.

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if you’re interested in the current Dawn of X titles that go along with this run, click HERE.

2a – Sex Criminals

Writer: Matt Fraction

Art: Chip Zdarsky

Publisher: Image Comics

Released: September 25, 2013

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was an 8.7. Now, notice that Chip is the artist here. This isn’t to say he didn’t have any input within the series. This is just me merely stating that I get that he’s technically not the writer. But, it’s still a series where he was a heavy contributor and he deserves the credit for its success. That said, comic fans need to read this. It’s completely different than anything else on this list and it’s funny as $&@$. The premise is original, unique, and very comedic. I highly recommend taking a look. Now, even though I enjoyed the series, it’s not completely my style. It wouldn’t make it in my top 7 but I can recognize a good comic when I see it. Give it a look. The title says it all!

Excerpt:

Suzie’s a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John…  who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. In the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS, Image Comics invites you to come along with MATT FRACTION (Hawkeye, SATELLITE SAM) and CHIP ZDARSKY  (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops) for the series that puts the “comic” back in “comics” and the “sexy” back in “sex crimes.”

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! Plus, if Image Comics are your jam, click HERE for some of the top titles at the company right now!

2b – Daredevil

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Marco Checchetto, Lalit Kumar Sharma, Jorge Fornes, and Francesco Mobili

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: February 6, 2019

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was also an 8.7. This is my number one! I’ve read every issue to date and look forward to this series each month. It’s graphic, thorough, well thought out, and taking Matt Murdock through an interesting journey. It checks all the boxes and has always been a reliable issue to hang your hat on each and every month. Some series waver up and down but not Daredevil. It’s been insanely enjoyable causing me to recommend this to any Daredevil or comic fan. This should currently be on any Marvel fans pull list right now. Go pick some past trades and volumes and get caught up while you still can.

Excerpt:

The next chapter in the ever-surprising saga of Daredevil! After a brush with death, Matt Murdock must piece together his shattered life – and that includes returning to action as Daredevil! But years of trauma have taken their toll and becoming the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen he once was won’t be easy. Mistakes will be made along the way – and this time, one might actually prove to be the end of him. Because when a criminal dies, and Daredevil takes the blame, Matt must go on the run in a desperate bid to clear his name! But even he can’t outrun judgment forever. And with DD’s absence from Hell’s Kitchen, the real devils can come out to play

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And if Daredevil is your guy, click HERE for top Daredevil trades and graphic novels!

1- Star-Lord

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Kris Anka

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Released: December 21, 2016

Thoughts:

On Comic Book Roundup, the average score from all reviewers was a 9.0. Now me personally, I want to be honest. I’ve never read this series. I’ve heard some grumblings about it, however not in a bad way. But, I can’t really elaborate on this title much more than the six-issue series averaged a 9 overall from dozens of critics all over the spectrum of reviews. That’s got to say something. And may I add, averaging a 9 for a series is ridiculously hard to do. So personally, this is my number one Zdarsky title to look into even before finishing the other titles I haven’t yet. If everyone seems to like it so much, I want to see what the fuzz is all about. So, mark me as intrigued!

Excerpt:

Peter Quill might have been born on Earth, but he’s been away a LONG time. How does a man go from soaring through the stars as the legendary Star-Lord to living with his feet planted firmly on the ground? What kind of job options are available for a guy whose CV mostly consists of “guarding the galaxy”? One thing is certain, Earth has a new guardian. Also, a new bartender.

Interested in this amazing Zdarsky hit? Click HERE for a link to the Trade/ Graphic Novel/ Kindle digital option on Amazon! And, if you’re interested in some of the best Guardians of the Galaxy Trades and Graphic Novels, click HERE.

So, as I bring this list to a close, I’m sure you all agreed completely with my ranking from the great Comic Book Roundup (sarcasm). And if not, maybe you agreed more with my personal top five? Or, you think I’m an idiot and so are reviewers in general. Well, guess what? I AM an idiot so you’re half right. But either way you slice it, whether you agree with my list or not, I’m sure we can all acknowledge that Todd Diamonte/ Steve Murray/ Chip Zdarsky is one heck of a writer and all of these titles deserve a fair shake… or two. If you enjoyed this article and were looking for something similar, click HERE for my recent article on Jonathan Hickman’s Greatest Hits or click HERE for my Writer Spotlight on Donny Cates. Both have links to fantastic comics and series that you can really sink your teeth into. And if you want something more specific, take a look at my X-Men Reading List HERE, my MUST READ Incredible Hulk Comics HERE, or my MUST READ Daredevil Comics HERE. And last but certainly not least, please do your best to stay safe and stay healthy.

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