Steve Murray (born December 21, 1975), known by the pen-name Chip Zdarsky, is a Canadian comic book artist and writer, journalist, illustrator and designer. He has also used the pseudonym Todd Diamonte. He worked for National Post for over a decade, until 2014, as an illustrator and humorist (as Steve Murray) and wrote and illustrated a column called “Extremely Bad Advice” for the paper as well as The Ampersand, the newspaper’s pop culture section’s online edition.
He uses the Zdarsky pseudonym for comics-related work, using it to create Prison Funnies and Monster Cops and as artist and co-creator of Sex Criminals with writer Matt Fraction. Comics attributed to him include Howard the Duck, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Daredevil and Spider-Man: Life Story for Marvel Comics, Batman for DC Comics and Jughead for Archie Comics.
Steve Murray was born in Edmonton, Alberta and raised in Barrie, Ontario.
Murray has illustrated for such clients as The Globe and Mail, New York magazine, CBC and Canadian Business.
In 2000, Murray created Chip Zdarsky as a pseudonym and alter ego for his persona as a comic book writer and illustrator, developing his own independent projects, such as Prison Funnies and Monster Cops (which can be read online or in print) as well as collaborating on a variety of projects, including Dark Horse Comics titles Fierce and Rumble Royale. About his alter ego, Murray said “I wanted to have a sad-sack cartoonist persona that lives in his mom’s basement, paints figurines for money, has restraining orders against him. And that became a character.” He describes the character as “an idiot who doesn’t know what I’m doing. I’ve had no success in my life. No matter what, I’m going to mess things up.” Murray initially attempted to keep the identities separate and secret.
From 2008 to 2014, Murray penned and illustrated a weekly advice column for the National Post called “Extremely Bad Advice”. He also wrote another column in that paper, Tear Jerk, in which he reviewed films to see if they could actually make him “weep like a baby”.
Along with Kagan McLeod, Ben Shannon, and Cameron Stewart, he is a co-founder of the studio The Royal Academy of Illustration and Design, which produced Rumble Royale.
In 2010, he also launched a mock campaign for mayor of Toronto. He was not an officially registered candidate, launching his satirical “campaign” through social networking platforms after the deadline had passed to register as a candidate in the real campaign.
Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction
In June 2013, Image Comics announced that Chip Zdarsky had teamed up with Invincible Iron Man and Hawkeye writer, Matt Fraction, on a new creator-owned series titled Sex Criminals. The first issue was released on September 23, 2013. Sex Criminals was declared number 1 on Time magazine’s list of “Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels” of 2013.
In 2014, Murray won a Will Eisner Award for Best New Series for Sex Criminals.
Zdarsky wrote the first series arc of the relaunched Jughead comic for the 2015 New Riverdale relaunch.
On February 15, 2017, it was announced that beginning that June, Zdarsky would be writing a brand new “back-to-basics” Spider-Man series Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man that would run alongside writer Dan Slott‘s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Zdarsky later wrote the two Spider-Man miniseries Spider-Man: Life Story and Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow.
In November 2018, it was announced that Zdarsky would serve as the writer on Daredevil, with Marco Checchetto serving as artist. The series began publication in February 2019 and lasted until November 2021 with issue 36. This leads into the event Devil’s Reign, also by Zdarsky and Checchetto. A new Daredevil #1 will launch in June 2022, with Zdarsky and Checchetto returning from the previous volume. The series will explore the fallout of Devil’s Reign and the effect it had on both Matt and Elektra, as both are operating as Daredevil.
In 2020, DC Comics announced that Zdarsky would be among the creators of a revived Batman: Black and White anthology series to debut on December 8, 2020.
In February 2022, it was announced that Zdarsky will serve as the new writer for the mainline Batman book, starting with issue 125 on July 5, with Jorge Jiménez serving as the artist.
[Latest Update: May 26, 2022]