Black Hammer's Chip Zdarsky on Joining the Indie Superhero Franchise

This week, the Black Hammer universe grows with Black Hammer Visions, an eight-issue anthology series focusing on the heroes of the indie comic universe first created by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston. The series itself features a huge roster of big-name creators, anywhere from Patton Oswalt to Geoff Johns, Kelly Thompson, and Chip Zdarsky.

In fact, Zdarsky wrote the third issue for the series, featuring artwork by Johnnie Christmas. The issue features iconic Black Hammer hero Abe Slam and has echoes of a Captain America vs. U.S. Agent story. In support of the issue, we spoke with Zdarsky via e-mail about his brief time in the Black Hammer world. Keep scrolling to see our full chat with the beloved writer.

black hammer vision 3 chip zdarsky
(Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Chip Zdarsky)

ComicBook: How much begging did you have to do to land a Black Hammer title?

Chip Zdarsky: How dare you.

More seriously, how did this opportunity come about? Had you and Jeff previously talked about doing some Black Hammer work or did he first approach you with this anthology opportunity?

For years Jeff would call me every couple of weeks, yelling at me that he needs ideas for stories, that he “ran out” of ideas back in 2004. You could hear him sweating on the other end of the line, it was pretty weird. Eventually, he asked me if I’d write a single issue of his anthology series.

black hammer vision 3 Gerardo Zaffino
(Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Gerardo Zaffino)

Why Abe Slam?

I love sad, obsolete men!

While writing these characters, how much freedom did it feel like you had? Obviously, you introduce a new character here in your one-shot, so is that something you had to run up the chain?

Honestly, everyone I’ve dealt with at Dark Horse have been incredibly generous, letting me tell the story how I want. The Black Hammer universe is a lot of fun and Jeff has made it feel like a really collaborative space.

black hammer vision 3 Jason Loo
(Photo: Dark Horse Comics / Jason Loo)

Stillwater's off to a roaring start. Sex Criminals is a beloved comic. You're keeping yourself busy with Daredevil and all, but when will we get the ZdarskyVerse? Are there Black Hammer-esque universes brewing in your mind?

Yes! Thank you for asking! The ZDARSKYVERSE (aka the ZCU) has been brewing for a long time! It’s a universe where nothing interesting happens.

When we spoke with Jeff, he said your bedroom was practically a Black Hammer shrine. Under what circumstance was Jeff in your bedroom, Chip?

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Oh, he came over to set up the Black Hammer shrine.

Black Hammer Visions #3 is set for release on April 14th.