While comic creators often sign on the line with a single company in this age of exclusive contracts and even big name superstars are known to jump from one company to another from time to time, it's rare that an exclusive announcement represents a true seismic shift in a marquee creator's own career path. However, that's the case today as DC Comics has announced via The Source that best-selling artist David Finch has signed an exclusive contract with the publisher.
"I've been a DC fan for a really long time, and I always knew that I'd love the opportunity to work in the DCU at some point," Finch told CBR in an exclusive first interview on his new deal. "It was just a matter of the timing being right. I've talked with [Executive Editor] Dan DiDio a few times in the past, and his enthusiasm is very infectious. He's got so much great stuff planned that I just really wanted to be a part of it."
While Finch remains one of the most successful pencilers in comics today thanks to his work on big events like "Ultimatum" and "Avengers Disassembled" as well as critically acclaimed solo books like "Moon Knight," his move to DC will be practically the first time the artist has drawn heroes such as Superman and Batman. Though he did some work on a "The Darkness/Batman" one-shot early in his career at Top Cow, Finch has never illustrated a story for DC on his own.
"I've drawn just about every big DC character, either through commissions or at conventions, at one point or other, but it really does feel like new territory for me," he explained. "There's something very special about putting pencil to paper knowing that you're drawing the actual, official characters that will be published in the books. It really makes me think about just how I feel about each character, and what they represent for me. Characters work best for me when they become human. Their gestures and posture, and even their lighting is always calculated to get some kind of effect, and if I know what they're really about for me, that's when things start clicking."
DC has not yet announced what Finch's first interior project will be, but the artist did promise he'll be providing some cover work early in 2010 before moving into a regular gig. "I will be doing some covers, which is a thrill! And I do have a pretty good idea what my first project will be, but I think it may surprise [the fans]."
When it comes to which characters he'd like to take on at DC, Finch was quick to run down a list of his favorite books. "I love the big three, obviously, along with every other comic book creator that aspires to work on superheroes. I'm a huge Lobo fan. Simon Bisley is the greatest, and his Lobo work still has a big impact for me. I love Legion a lot, and Doom Patrol. The Flash is great. Justice League may be the holy grail of the DCU, though. It's got so much in one place, and such a rich history of stories.
"That's really only one side of the coin, though. I'm especially drawn to DC's great cast of villains. They're easily as iconic as the heroes, and they're what keep the books so interesting."
Another under-appreciated aspect of DC that Finch hopes to explore is the larger-than-life tone of DC stories, which can range from gritty detective tales to sci-fi superhero epics. "[That] really touches on the central appeal for me of the DCU. The setting for a story plays such a major part in the narrative, and being able to create in such vivid colors is very exciting. Buildings, cars and environments can be so much more over the top. They can be futuristic and bright, or dark and dirty with wild pipes and gargoyles, and any kind of mixture in between. There's just so much more dramatic effect that I can get from such wild environments."
As for whether he'll continue on with an event-like epic a la "Ultimatum" or focus his efforts on the world of a solo hero, Finch said, "I think every project is such a learning experience, and what I've learned more than anything is that there is no single project that has everything. The huge, universe spanning crossovers move so quickly and have such a range of visuals that they can be exhausting, but they're also never, ever boring to draw. More focused stories with single characters can have more involved storytelling moments that are very satisfying, and there's a connection with that single character that you don't get with a crossover, but that focus can also become constricting. I enjoy doses of both, and I'm not going into this with a particular format in mind."
Finally, hoping to tease some details about who he might work with, CBR asked if Finch had a "hit list" of writers for whom he'd like to draw. "Yes, there certainly is!" the artist exclaimed. "Geoff Johns would be a huge pleasure to work with. I've talked to him a few times, and he's a great guy. I love his work. Grant Morrison is like no other writer that I know of. He really knows how to make you think and surprise you. Paul Dini is one of my favorites, along with Keith Giffen, JMS, Peter Tomasi, Judd Winick, Gail Simone, Tony Daniel... There are so many!"
Check back with CBR for more info on Finch's first DC project as it becomes available, and sound off on what you'd like to see him draw on the CBR message boards!