For David Finch, putting the spotlight on villains in this fall's Forever Evil event fits with his "comfort zone," because he tends to enjoy drawing the darker side of comics.
But the comic also provides plenty of different challenges as he draws gritty, street-level villains like Captain Cold, to the zombie-looking version of Bizarro, to space-based aliens like Sinestro.
Despite the challenges, the project is almost custom-made for Finch. It allows him to continue working with Geoff Johns on the project, after he helped launch the writer's Justice League of America earlier this year. And because Batman is apparently still alive in Forever Evil, he'll get to draw the character that is so familiar to him after drawing Batman: The Dark Knight when it launched at DC.
The seven-issue Forever Evil kicks off in September during DC's "Villains Month." During September, 52 villains will get the spotlight, taking over the whole DCU line, then the Forever Evil mini-series will continue the following months.
(In October, Justice League, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark, Suicide Squad and Teen Titans will tie directly into Forever Evil, but every other DC comic will finish storylines that take place before Forever Evil until it ends — then they'll skip to the mini-series' end point.)
Newsarama talked to Finch about drawing Forever Evil, and we got some insight into David's take on Lex Luthor, Batman's role in the mini-series, and the New 52 version of Bizarro's origin.
Newsarama: David, how does the opportunity to draw a comic filled with villains fit with your art style? Did you feel like this was a particularly good fit for you?
David Finch: Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure that probably played a part in me getting the assignment in the first place. It's just something that's so much in my comfort zone. And it's always where I'm happier working.
I mean, I like being able to draw a range of things. I like being challenged with different projects. But this book has that comfort of drawing villains, but it also gives me a wide range because there are just so many different villains, and they all have such a different feel.
Of course, the one thing they really have in common is that they have a level of unpredictability and craziness, and that makes it really fun for me to draw.
Nrama: I know Lex Luthor plays a big part in this series. Is that a character you enjoy drawing in particular?
Finch: Oh yeah. Absolutely. First of all, Lex Luthor is bald, and I've been bald all my life, so I can't help but love a character like that.
The way that Geoff writes him, he's the ultimate opportunist. No matter what happens and how bad something is for him in the moment, he's going to instantly look at that and, quicker than anyone else around him, find a way to take the most advantage possible of the situation, and turn it into something he can profit from.
That's why he's a fun character to draw. It's easy to get behind somebody that is always thinking, that... even though he's a villain, he looks on the bright side of villainy, you know? He looks for that silver lining, in a way — just in a way that will profit him.
I'm not sure "silver lining" is the right term...
Nrama: I think it fits, because that idea of him looking for "opportunity" actually points out how he might react to the Secret Society of Super Villains and the whole idea of Forever Evil. In a world without heroes, he seems like the kind of guy who would step up and be a heroic character.
Finch: Yeah, because it's in his interest to... I mean, chaos is great for Lex Luthor, as long as he's controlling that chaos. And this isn't a chaos he controls.
And he, in a way — in a big way — takes advantage of the kind of stability that heroes can give to the world. It gives him a stable world that he can exploit.
So now that that's being taken away from him, he has to make a decision about whether he wants to just continue to look out for his immediate interest, or whether he has to play, perhaps temporarily, for the common good so his long-term interests are protected.
Nrama: The cover of issue #2 highlights some of the characters that are playing a big role in Forever Evil. Lex Luthor's in his armor, which is a great way to see the character.
Finch: Yeah, he's a lot of fun that way, for sure.
Nrama: But it also has Catwoman, and I know she's been mentioned as someone who's important to the mini-series. Of course, you're not new to Catwoman because you've been drawing her in JLA, right?
Finch: Yeah, I drew her in JLA for a few issues. And I also got to work with Geoff Johns on the character, so there's been a lot of consistency on her for me. He really writes her in a cool way. For me, she's actually kind of a sad character. I'm excited for people to see her role in the story. But it's great that I'm working with the same writer on Catwoman all this time, and I know he has the same thoughts about her, and it really makes me feel like the character I'm drawing is someone I know.
Nrama: The issue also has Batman on the cover, which is a character you know well. But wait... this being a "no heroes"-slash-villains story, is that Batman?
Finch: Yeah, that's Batman. And yeah, I have a little history with Batman as well. And you know, I think Batman's like a cockroach. You can't kill him. So no matter what happened to the heroes, Batman's going to still be around.
Nrama: And then Sinestro is on the cover.
Finch: Yeah, and I'm drawing him with a pretty cool looking costume too. Some of the costumes that are on there, I saw for the first time before I drew that cover.
Nrama: And then you've got Black Adam and Black Manta — we know they're both playing big roles in Forever Evil because the writers on their Villains Month titles both revealed their importance to Forever Evil.
Finch: Yep. I think you can look at Geoff Johns' past career at DC, over the years, and look at the villains he's used more and that he's kind of known for, and those are some of the villains who will be taking more of a central role.
I mean, it makes sense. They're characters he really relates with and they're some of the strongest characters at DC — especially now that he's written him so long. You know?
Nrama: Yeah. And this cover even has Captain Cold, who is another Geoff's favorite characters. But there's also Bizarro. He's new.
Finch: Yeah. There's Bizarro. I don't know if Bizarro has actually appeared in Superman yet.
Nrama: No, I think he shows up in September, in Villains month. So if you've got him in Forever Evil #1, that's probably his first appearance.
Finch: He's such an important character for Superman, though, that Kenneth Rocafort designed his new look, which I think looks incredible.
So if I'm the first one to draw him, I want to make it clear that I didn't design him.
Nrama: He looks a little different from what we've seen before. Is the character different?
Finch: I'm not sure how different the character himself is, but his new origin is tied to the world going awry. The way that he was described to me was that he's Lex Luthor's attempt at creating his own Superman.
Nrama: And he failed?
Finch: Well, not exactly. It's more like he was forced to use him before he was... done. He's not fully formed. But I don't want to say too much about that.
Nrama: But that "not fully formed" part of him informs the way you're drawing him, I assume?
Finch: Yeah, he's super-strong, but his face isn't completely formed, you know? The nose is really off. It's just really cool, and it makes him a creepy looking character.
And you know, Vaneta, that I've always loved drawing characters who have that creepy look about him. I'm a huge Bernie Wrightson fan, and he did that better than anybody I think ever has or probably ever will.
So trying to play with that a little bit is always fun.
Nrama: I know you've done street level stuff, like Batman: The Dark Knight and Moon Knight, and more bombastic stuff, like Ultimatum and Avengers. Where would this fall? How would you describe Forever Evil, or at least the way you're drawing it?
Finch: You know, first of all, I would say that this is about as big as it gets, really, just in the sense that it's an event that is going to affect a lot of books.
And with the amount of characters and amount of fictional real estate that it's going to take up, it's pretty epic. I mean, it's in Gotham City and Central City and Metropolis, so it's everywhere. It's going to be a huge, huge story.