The convention circuit is important for a comic book artist, a chance to meet and greet their fans, and see the effect that their work is having first hand, and David Finch is no exception. The man who’s currently drawing DC Comics’ big crossover event Forever Evil has had a long and storied history in the business drawing Cyber Force, Ascension, New Avengers and Ultimatum before transferring to DC in 2010 and helping to relaunch the company and drawing Batman: The Dark Knight for the New 52. Taking time out from meeting fans at Toronto ComiCon, Finch talked about his past, his present, his new favourite character and his secret to drawing a good Batman.
Nerd Bastards: This is your first con of the season, yes?
David Finch: It is! Which is unusual because it’s already March. There are so many shows nowadays so it’s kind of nice to take kind of a break. I’ve been so busy with work…
NB: This is a big part of your job as an artist, coming to these events, meeting fans, how do you get into con mode after the winter break?
DF: You know I feel it’s like when I sit back down at the table. Everyone’s so nice. I love my job, I love drawing, I know I would do it if it was just a hobby, and I did it for nobody. But being able to put out a comic and having it be read and appreciated and hopefully liked by people, it’s incredibly gratifying, and being able to come to a show and meet some of those people, I get used to that pretty fast.
NB: What kinds of things have you been signing today?
DF: It’s really been mostly Forever Evil, the project that I’m working on now and I’m working on the last issue now. It’s got to be 90 per cent Forever Evil. I saw an old Cyber Force, the first issue of Cyber Force I did in ’95 today, and that’s pretty unusual. Every year that goes along, the older books I see less and less of.
NB: What do you think we do see those issues now? Are you highly critical of your earlier work?
DF: No, I’m not really just because it’s so old now. I’m more critical of my recent work because I’m a little more emotionally attached to it, but my older work, that’s where I started, I remember how much I had to learn and how much I was learning at the time. But more than anything it reminds me of where I was at when I was drawing that stuff. I was in California, working in studio with Marc Silverstri and Joe Benitez and Mike Turner and a lot of the Top Cow guys, and it reminds me of those days.
NB: Let’s talk about your current work on Forever Evil, that’s the first big crossover, you’ve ever done, right?
NB: And what are the challenges associated with that? I guess deadlines are a really big issue.
DF: Always. Deadlines are always an issue. These are complex stories to draw, a lot of panels, a lot of characters and a lot of things that need to be done properly. It’s been a real fight to stay as close to the schedule as possible.
NB: How have you been finding fan reaction to that, because these things are very galvanizing: people either love them or they hate them, what are people telling you about Forever Evil?
DF: My first real strong experience with fan reaction was when I did New Avengers and Avengers: Disassembled, and it was a shock to me at the time. Before the internet, you thought that everybody likes you because they come to shows and they’re all so nice, so it was very tough. I think I left New Avengers a lot sooner than I would have because I had a little trouble dealing with it, it was hard. At this point now, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve gotten used to the fact that there are people who are not going to like what I do. I would love it if everybody did, and that would be great, but I do what I do for me and for people who like it, and everyday I hope that the people that don’t I can win them over. When you put something out in the public, reactions are going to be mixed.
NB: The beauty of the big crossover events is that you get to play with everyone, including the big important heroes, is there someone you were particularly looking forward to drawing on Forever Evil?
DF: I’m trying to remember who I drew for the first time, I’m sure there were a bunch. I would say Lex Luthor. I did covers for Action Comics for a year, and that was Lex Luthor, so that was kind of revisiting it a little bit, but drawing interiors for a character is very different than drawing a cover, especially with a greater writer like Geoff Johns where I feel like I know the character, and I’m really attached to him. I would not have expected that I was such a big fan of Lex Luthor coming into this, but he’s a huge favourite of mine now.
NB: A lot of your art here is of Batman, and you’ve been associated with that book for a while, what is the secret to drawing a really good Batman?
DF: (Laughs.) You know that’s a good question, but I think you’d have to ask a lot of different artists because there are so many right answers. For me, my secret to drawing my Batman is to just use a lot of shadow and a very angry, aggressive, muscular character. That’s what I love, that’s what I do, and that’s kind of where I’m coming from. I think Batman’s a character that supports so many interpretations, and I love them all.