When David Finch was announced as the latest exclusive artist at DC Comics, fans were pretty sure they knew where his art would fit: Batman.
Not only does the artist tend to gravitate toward darker characters and landscapes, winning fan praise in particular for his Moon Knight pencils, but he had said publicly that he'd specifically like to draw Batman's world. "With Gotham, I could draw bridges and the sky and all kinds of crazy stuff, and the cars look so cool.... and the villains are so cool," Finch said during a convention panel in 2008. "There are a lot of things, visually, that I think I would be very comfortable with at DC."
Now Finch is getting the chance to draw Batman, and in a pivotal issue.
This weekend at C2E2 in Chicago, DC announced that Finch's first interior work for the publisher will show up in Batman #700, an issue where his cover has already been revealed. Drawing a six-page story by Grant Morrison, Finch joins artists Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert and Frank Quitely on the issue as they also draw stories by Morrison.
Newsarama talked to the artist about his new-to-DC work on Batman and the story he'll be drawing.
Newsarama: David, just overall, how was it getting to draw a story for Batman #700?
Finch: This is such an important milestone issue for Batman, I was obviously very happy to be involved. What really makes it special is the script by Grant. I certainly don't hold out hope to do Grant the kind of justice that Frank Quitely does, but I feel like it's bringing out my best. His writing is incredibly vivid, and it creates pictures in my head that are pretty awesome. We'll see how much of that awesome I can translate to the page.
Nrama: I think a lot of people guessed that you'd show up on a Batman story sooner or later, because it seems to fit your artwork well. Do you think your artwork is particularly fitting for Batman's universe?
Finch: I tend to be much more comfortable drawing darker and angrier things, and I think that's a skill set that fits the Batman universe pretty well.
Nrama: Your covers have been released to rave reviews. What can you tell people about your first interior work for DC that might be similar to or different from the covers they've seen so far?
Finch: I think a lot of the covers exist in a bit of a vacuum. I've only got a snapshot of information to work with. Grant's given me so much raw material that I think it'll naturally give the work a bit more of a feeling of reality. 'Hyper-reality' might be a better term for it. He is pushing a lot of boundaries with this.
Nrama: I was going to ask you about how it's been working with Grant. But you've been answering that question without me even mentioning him.
Finch: That has to tell you something about how much impact his work is having on me.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the subject of the story?
Finch: It's very expansive for six pages. Grant is touching on a lot of future Batmen and incorporating them into the wider mythology that he's building.
Nrama: Anything you got to draw for this story that stood out as a favorite or a challenge?
Finch: I don't want to ruin it, but one scene in particular is very surreal. I had to incorporate elements of manga and pop surrealism among other things, and I can only hope that it shows a portion of what's written on the page.
Nrama: Anything about the story that surprised you?
Finch: Everything about this story surprised me, and I don't want to spoil anything at all.
Nrama: Then to avoid spoilers, let's talk about the covers you've been doing for DC. We've talked before and I know you were always more of a Marvel reader. Are you having to get up-to-speed on any of the characters you're drawing? You're drawing a pretty wide variety of DC characters.
Finch: It's been a comic book geek's dream so far drawing the Brightest Day and Action Comics covers. I've only been with DC for a short time now, and I've already gotten the chance to draw a very long list of characters. I've found that my favorites have changed quite a bit already, which always happens to me when I draw characters that are new for me.
I've been trying to get up to speed with the DCU for a while now, and I've been reading almost everything that comes out every month. That's made me a much bigger fan of the characters, and it's made them much easier for me to draw. It's very helpful for me when characters are real in my head. I want to know them the way the fans do, because I think they can tell when you don't.
Nrama: You mentioned that your favorite DC characters have changed. Can you give me an example?
Finch: I knew that I would really enjoy drawing Hawkman going in, and I did, but it was a very big surprise to me how much I enjoyed drawing Green Lantern and a few others. Green Lantern is very energy-based, and I tend to feel less comfortable with that sort of character, but his costume is such a pleasure to draw, and I love the way his mask works on his face.
Deadman was a surprise too. I'm a big fan of Kelly Jones, but I knew that I couldn't draw him in such a stylized way, so I thought it wouldn't connect for me. He just felt right the minute I drew him the first time, and I feel like I'm naturally finding something for him that's more my own.
The biggest surprise for me was Aquaman. I didn't know what to expect from him, and I know that he's never been as prominent a character as some, but he has so much regal power. I can feel it when I'm drawing him. He just feels very intense to me.
Nrama: Hearing you talk about all these DC characters begs the question: Will we see more interior work from you soon for DC?
Finch: I'm gearing up to do more interior work right now. I've got a big project on the horizon, and I can't wait until I can start talking about it. I'm going to have a stroke trying to keep this stuff in!
Nrama: Then for the sake of your health, to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell your fans about your work on Batman #700?
Finch: I think everyone already knows about Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert, and Frank Quietly working on Batman #700. That's an all-star lineup, and I feel very privileged to be included.