Batman: The Dark Knight launched in December 2010, it was the best-selling comic of the month, carrying publisher DC Comics to the top market share spot in dollar share.
The comic, which was both written and drawn by fan-favorite artist David Finch, was filled with the depth and darkness that has become the artist's signature. While reviews on the writing were mixed, few could deny that Finch's detailed, moody style works well on Gotham City and its Dark Knight.
But soon after the comic's launch last year, DC moved shipping dates for subsequent issues, pushing back the title's second installment to March.
Now, Batman: The Dark Knight #3 is solicited for June, with issues #4 and #5 scheduled for release in July and August with pencils by Jay Fabok. Newsarama talked with Finch to find out what happened, what's changing, and what's coming up next in the comic.
Newsarama: David, before we start talking about what's coming in Batman: The Dark Knight, let's get the schedule issue out of the way. Can you address the delays this comic has experienced?
David Finch: Really, most of it just comes down to me. It's a lot of work writing and drawing a comic, and I found that writing the book has turned out to be more work than I expected. And that's had an impact on time, for sure. We had some issues here, too, at the house that played into that.
I've been back on schedule for a bit. Unfortunately, it's not reflected in the book yet. But it will be really soon.
Nrama: Is the comic going to come out every couple months going forward?
Finch: I'd actually like to see it come out more regularly than that. It would be nice to see it coming out on a proper schedule, and that's something we're shooting for now. And it's something I'm capable of doing. The writing's getting more comfortable. And I sat down with editorial and we really took the time to hammer down exactly what the story is, going into the future for quite awhile.
This book is so important to me, and that's been a factor, you know? I want it to be done right. I'm glad we've worked it out as tightly as it is now. It started out tight, but I lost that. Changes were made, and those caused changes down the line. But I have a much better idea of what to expect when I sit down to draw a book now, and what I'm going to get out of the script that I write.
Nrama: When we talked in October, you said the level of writing in the comic business has gotten so strong lately that you've been putting a lot of effort into the writing. You specifically said it's been "a strain because readers have such high expectations." The book is selling very well, so does that alleviate a little of the pressure, or make it worse?
Finch: No, I think I knew going in that I wouldn't be writing on par with Frank Miller. I didn't really want to come into this, putting that kind of pressure on myself. But I still did. I can't help it. I do that with everything. Whether I can actually put the work out to meet my expectations or not, I have that expectation.
I knew when we put the book out, there would be a negative reaction that I couldn't control no matter what I put out. For any creator, there are people who support them and people who don't necessarily. The last thing I want to do is ignore people who are criticizing it: I think even people that want to dislike what I do may have a legitimate point. So it's been a struggle to acknowledge that stuff, to try to learn from that stuff, yet not let it destroy my will to live [laughs].... or at least to keep it all in perspective.
Nrama: You mentioned things that happened at home. Is it more of a struggle when emergencies arise, because you were doing both the writing and art? I mean, it's not like you have a collaborator to hand something off to for a while, right?
Finch: Yeah, it really doesn't go that way. And my wife was in school, and she was in school every day, and so when things came up, I was the only one that was home. Logistically, that's how it worked out. But she's graduated, she's finished, and she's back home, doing all the stuff that she does. So that's making a huge difference in my life. There's a lot of pressure off.
Nrama: So just to clarify, Issue #3 is solicited for June 22nd. It's definitely finished?
Finch: Issue #3 is finished, so that should be a firm date.
Nrama: DC has announced that Jay Fabok is helping you out with penciling on issue #4 and #5. Is that going to be happening on an ongoing basis?
Finch: No, not ongoing. He's just helping me out temporarily. I'm hoping he's going to be doing more with DC coming up, and he's doing some stuff for Aspen right now.
Nrama: He described you in an interview recently as his "mentor." How did you start working with him?
Finch: He's a local guy here [in Windsor, Canada], and he showed me some samples a couple years ago, and I worked with him for about a year. And once he was ready, he started with Aspen. And he's just been rolling. He's really learned fast.
It's been nice. He comes by with the pages, and we go over them together and make sure we have everything the way we want it. I've wanted to work with him on this because I really trust his instincts. He's great. And I think he's an up-and-coming name.
Nrama: And his style is similar to yours?
Finch: Somewhat, since I taught him for a while.
Nrama: I thought there might be a bit of a similarity, since he's doing Michael Turner's Soulfire at Aspen, and you worked so long with Mike at Top Cow.
Finch: Well, yes and no. When he came to me with his work originally, it had that kind of a feel to it. That's the sort of stuff he was a fan of. He's a fan of Mike Turner. He's a big fan of Joe Benitez and Marc Silvestri and a lot of the Top Cow kind of look. And he's a fan of Jim Lee. So a lot of the punchy, Image kind of stuff is there.
But the thing that's exciting to me about his work is that he has a lot of other influences. He's a big fan of Ivan Reis, and I feel like that's really starting to show up in his work. And Bernie Wrightson, and Travis Charest is a big influence for him right now. A lot of them are influences I've had too, and a lot of influences are really different than any direction I've taken. And the more he's working, the more he's going there. So as time goes on, he's sort of finding his own style. That's the way I started too. I started learning from Marc Silvestri, so there's a big influence there. But then you develop that into your own thing. And he's really getting there fast.
Nrama: Since you said you've sat down with editorial and nailed down what will be happening in the comic long-term, can you tell fans anything about what's coming up?
Finch: As people have seen in solicitations, Ragman plays a role coming up, but it's a little different, because he's possessed. The thing about Ragman is that he has the ability to incorporate souls into his suit, but that also gives him a real vulnerability. And he has his power reversed on him and he's trapped inside his own suit, and is being controlled by one of the souls that has taken him over.
Early on, I touched on venom, and that Croc is addicted to venom, and that's something that I'm really emphasizing going forward.
We've got another story thread where James Gordon is having a lot of trouble with a new guy at work. As things go forward, he plays a pretty major role in creating a lot of problems for Gordon.
And it all leads into a major villain coming up very, very soon, who been in the background since issue #1, and it has a lot more to do with venom on the streets.
Also coming up, you'll see me drawing Arkham Asylum, because addicts of Venom end up there, and Batman ends up having to go there because of rioting. There are some great visuals, and there are a lot of villains who are off the street right now, that I can take advantage of for a while before we put them back in their cells.I think that's what I'm most excited about, is drawing Arkham Asylum.
Nrama: You mentioned that certain villains are in Arkham right now. That sounds like you're trying to keep this comic in continuity?
Finch: Yes, but it's being kept to a scale where it doesn't affect outside events as much as I can possibly help.
Nrama: I think your fans will be glad to hear that you're working to get this comic back on track.
Finch: Oh yeah, I'm absolutely dedicated to this book. And it's killing me that the schedule has gone the way that it has. That happens really quickly if you let it. I'm really trying to make sure that we won't have these kind of gaps in the future.Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think!