Zeb Wells talks Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock [INTERVIEW]

We’re taking a brief intermission from our ongoing Devil’s Double column because we got a chance to catch up with writer Zeb Wells to coincide with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man #25. And while Wells remained tightlipped when asked, “WHAT DID PETER DO?”, he did talk to us about his brief stint in the Daredevil universe writing the “Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock” miniseries.

The four-issue series takes place on the night of Battlin’ Jack Murdock’s last fight as the story is told over the four rounds. Wells’ story dives into the psyche and motivations as Jack chooses not to throw the fight. While various Daredevil stories have provided a glimpse of Matt and Jack’s relationship, Wells fleshes out that relationship impressively. The dialogue is simple, the emotional beats are heart-wrenching, and Jack’s story is inspirational. It’s basically a really brutal version of Rocky Balboa’s story. To which Wells replied, “that might have subconsciously slipped in.”

BCP: I loved this story! How did you come to the decision to tell a story that predates Matt Murdock as Daredevil?

ZEB WELLS: It’s interesting. Artist Carmine Di Giandomenico had started the book without me in the Daredevil office. I think he had come to Marvel with an idea, but he had already drawn an issue and a half, so the timeframe was already decided. I can’t remember if they were finished pages or outlined. The mandate was to use as much of his stuff as we could, but I had some leeway to shape it. And that’s where we came up with the fights and that it would take place over one night, and we would flashback, so I could use as many of those scenes and jump around.

Di Giandomenico was so freaking good. I love that art so much. It was one of those magical comic book moments where two people come together and have a separate set of ideas and that book exists as a melding of what both me and the artist wanted to do.

BCP: That is interesting! How often do you have to write to preexisting artwork?

ZW: It’s never happened to me like that before or since. It was a very interesting situation – take my word for it.

BCP: What was the process like writing a story that had to fit into the larger Daredevil mythology and where the artist essentially started telling the story without you. Did you find the process restrictive?

ZW: No, it’s funny in writing everything that you think would be restrictive ends up being freeing in a way. The worst thing that anyone can say to you is you have a story here and it can be whatever you want. But as soon as you get some restrictions your brain starts problem solving and it gets very vibrant. That book wouldn’t be what it was if I wasn’t problem solving, and I’m really happy with how it came together.

BCP: You’re in the middle of your run with Spider-Man, and I have to ask because Daredevil and Spidey have some overlap in their abilities and even their mobility. Do you think you’ll come back to write a Daredevil story, or do you have any ideas of what it might be if you potentially told one?

ZW: I haven’t thought about it, but we are looking in my second year to get more into the nitty gritty of the crime world. So, I would like to have Daredevil show up. Daredevil for the last couple of years with what Chip’s [Zdarsky] been doing has been an epic, tightly plotted story, so it’s felt a little harder to get in there and grab the character because he’s going though such awesome stuff. Its interesting Daredevil is usually in the middle of an epic run whenever you want to use him. He doesn’t seem like the type of character that shows up to have fun for one issue; you’d want to have it be organic and make sense.

BCP: I found it so fascinating that Daredevil proper doesn’t appear in Battlin’ Jack Murdock. We get a glimpse of him on the cover of issue four, but that’s about it. But what is your favorite Daredevil costume?

ZW: It would have to be the original costume drawn by John Romita Jr. Oh man, that run he had with Ann Nocenti was so good! The way he drew Kingpin, Daredevil, New York, and Typhoid Mary was really formative for me that’s just my happy place.

Wells has a number of works in the pipeline. “The Amazing Spider-Man” #25 is available in comics shops now. He’s also got a writing credit on the upcoming “The Marvels” and landed the role of head writer of “Marvel Zombies.”

Believe us when we say we asked about those upcoming projects, but he wasn’t at liberty to talk discuss them… at this time.

The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511

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