Active on the US market for many years now, Marco Checchetto was the absolute protagonist of both 2019 and 2020 thanks to the popular run of Daredevil (a series he had already worked on several times in the past) realized together with Chip Zdarsky. In recent years his style has further evolved and refined, and Daredevil represents the peak of this path so far. On the occasion of the release of Daredevil – Know Fear, a volume that collects the first six episodes of the current cycle of the “hornhead”, we interviewed him to find out all the background of this series.
Hi Marco and thanks for your time. Let’s start with the first typical question: you have already worked on Daredevil in the past, but this time as the regular artist of the title. At which point of the project were you involved and what convinced you the most about this project?
Actually this is the third time that I cross the road with the Devil. The first time was after a couple of years I was in Marvel, when I finished my work on The Amazing Spider-Man. They asked me to be the guest artist of the series but in the end I drew the same number of pages of the main artist. I was still looking for a style and I was not satisfied with the pages I was making. The second time, however, was only for an issue, on the occasion of the crossover The Omega Effect with Avenging Spider-Man and The Punisher, the title I was working on at that time. I had a lot of fun drawing that story, written by two great authors like Mark Waid and Greg Rucka. Now I’m back on the series, as you say, as regular, cover artist and character designer. I have been involved since the first issue by C.B. Cebulsky in a very simple way. He said to me: “Marco, do you want to relaunch Daredevil with Chip Zdarsky?”… And I couldn’t say no!
Chip Zdarsky is nowadays working mainly as a scriptwriter, but from time to time he also returns to the drawing table. How was working with him?
Working with Chip is very inspiring. He’s a great scriptwriter, he writes in a very detailed way and he knows what he wants, plus he’s also a good artist and we always end up influencing each other, especially when we’re working on the ideas for the covers. Sometimes we disagree on some feature, it’s something that can happen in a job like this: in the end, however, we always find the right way to bring the best possible work on the pages, at least… we hope so!
The series is having great success with audiences and critics, and each issue adds a piece to the puzzle that redefines both the main character and his supporting cast. What do you think is the most incisive element of your run?
From the point of view of the script I think it’s Chip’s skill in sticking both to the character and his story and, at the same time, in developing some details from another point of view. I think the same can be said of my work as well: I wanted to remain faithful to the iconography of the series, especially the one from the 1980s, but at the same time I wanted to add some modern detail too.
You’ve worked on Daredevil several times and you seem to have a great feeling with the character. What do you like the most about him and the stories that can be told?
The feeling transpires because he’s one of my favorite characters. I love urban heroes, I grew up reading their stories and I know them very well. There isn’t much to draw in terms of impact, there are no spaceships or monsters or super-dudes. The action scenes are mostly street brawls, I draw many expressions, dialogues and sad moments. This is what I like about Daredevil: he’s human.
If you had to choose a single run for the character, which one would you choose and why?
I would definitely choose the miniseries The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. Wonderful origin story that in the end, with its last page, makes you feel an endless desire to have a sequel, to read more, to retrieve the stories that you missed: it is the beginning of what you already know to be a legend. Romita Jr. is amazing and in that series he gives us the best Kingpin and the best Elektra ever.
Comparing your work done on Daredevil in 2011 and the one on this new series, I noticed some changes: an even finer stroke, more lineworks. Am I right? What new nuances have you introduced into your style and what changes have you made to your working method?
Yes, you are right. Apart from the time that has passed, actually 10 years, I slightly changed my drawing style with the work on Daredevil. I have extended the production times, I am not as fast as I used to be. Chip’s scripts are complex, they require more attention and I want my drawings to match the story. I have refined my line, I use a lot more lineworks and blacks.
I was also very impressed by Sonny Gho’s coloring, which seems to leave even more space for your sign and integrate well with your style. What was it like working with him?
Color is a sore point. Not for Sonny, who did a great job, but because we changed a lot of very good colorists due to both the pandemic and various projects that have intersected with the series. We have finally found a balance with Marcio Manyz for the interiors and Matt Wilson as the colorist of my covers.
Since on our site we have a column dedicated to “First Issues”, we would like you to tell us which was your approach and what were your thoughts while drawing the first issue of Daredevil. Is there a particular memory that binds you to this issue, a different emotion in returning to Daredevil?
When I was entrusted with the series I had been spending five years on sci-fi series like Star Wars and Gamora and in the dystopian world of Old Man Hawkeye. It was a bit like coming back home. I took a month off from all work and started studying and preparing for how I wanted the series to look like. I wanted a more casual Matt Murdock, a Kingpin more similar to his old “gargantuan” version, an Elektra that recalled Romita’s one, but still with its own originality and so on.
Is there a particular panel that required specific decisions, or that you enjoyed making more than others?
The most beautiful panels were certainly those in which Matt finds Spider-Man in his house, in issue #5. I think in those few pages Chip wrote the best Spider-Man of the last few years.
Besides being an interior artist, you are also very active as a cover artist. How did you approach the creation of the covers of the recent miniseries on US Agent? The cut you have chosen is particularly “dirty” and “realistic”, both in the settings and for the main character.
I really enjoy doing the covers because they give me the opportunity to work on other characters as well. As for US Agent, I was specifically hired to do the covers of the miniseries because they just wanted the dirty-urban style I’m doing on Daredevil.
Our last question is about future plans, both for the character and for yourself as well: are you working on anything other than Daredevil? And what should we expect for the character’s next year?
I’m working on two big projects outside the comic-world that I can’t talk about yet. As for comics, however, at the moment I’m drawing a short story for the new series Carnage: Black, White and Blood, with Carnage and Spider-Man, together again with Chip and which will be published entirely in black and white (and red). Obviously, my engagement with the Devil from Hell’s Kitchen continues, but I can’t spoil anything except that we will see him busy managing something very big by the end of the year.
Thanks a lot Marco and see you soon.
Thanks so much! Buy, and read, lots of good comics!
Interview done via e-mail on February 2020
Translated by Emanuele Emma
Born in Venice, Marco Checchetto is one of the most appreciated Italian comic book artist in the US. He started his career doing covers for viedogames magazines and shortly afterwards he was noticed by Marvel Comics, which started to commision him his first works: since then he has drawn almost every superhero of the Hose of Ideas, from Amazing Spider-Man to the Punisher, from X-Men to the Avengers, until the Old Man Hawkeye. In 2015 he has been recruited as part of the art crew of the Star Wars comic series. At the same time, he started Life Zero toghether with Stefano Vietti, an international project mixing sci-fi, action and horror. Since 2019 he is the regular artist on Daredevil, working on scripts from Chip Zdarksy.