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Interview: David Finch - Writer/Artist for Batman: The Dark Knight

David Finch is ready for his new ongoing Batman title.

David Finch has been earning his reputation as an amazing comic book artist over the last few years. After signing an exclusive contract with DC Comics, we've been enjoying his covers for Brightest Day and Action Comics while wondering if he would take on a regular series.

Eventually it was announced that he would not only be drawing the new Batman: The Dark Knight ongoing series, but would be writing it as well. We had the opportunity to ask David a few questions about what it's like to take on Batman in a slightly different setting.

Comic Vine: Congrats on Batman: The Dark Knight. How long have you been working on it so far?
David Finch:
In terms of the story, I've been working on it for quite a while, for the better part of a year. I've been working on the artwork for five months or so.

Batman: The Dark Knight #3

CV: The series is supposed to dip into the supernatural areas of Gotham, can you give us any examples besides the fact that Etrigan the Demon will appear?

DF: Etrigan is my best example. It's Etrigan that really made me want to go in a more supernatural direction. I really want the book to be very grounded. It's a traditional Gotham City-Bruce Wayne-Batman. So in the sense that it's more supernatural, I think the closest thing it would relate to is the Neal Adams' stuff from the early 70s. It's Batman. It's Batman's traditional villains just with a flavor of more supernatural. Something shows up in Gotham City and is possessing an existing hero. It's causing all kinds of havoc. Etrigan shows up and eventually Batman is brought into it and everything starts to relate to everything else. I really wanted the story to encompass not just the supernatural elements but really bring in James Gordon, Alfred and all the traditional things about Gotham that people would expect.

== TEASER ==

CV: How did the project come about? Did you approach DC and say, "Hey, I wanna do a supernatural Batman book," or did they ask you?
DF:
When I was initially talking to DC about coming in and doing Batman, the supernatural angle really came from me. I had a few things I really wanted to get across visually…and not just visually. Sometimes it's difficult for me to separate the visuals from the story because visually there are sequences I really want to get across. That stuff just really lends itself to a more supernatural direction. And I really wanted to use Etrigan and that being an essential part of what I wanted to do, it kind of angled things that way.

CV: Is Batman, Inc going to have any crossover affects or will this stand on its own as a Batman book?
DF:
Batman, Inc. is a reality that every Batman book is existing in now. Grant Morrison is really the driving force of what's happening creatively with Batman. There's certainly no way I could say this book is completely separate from that and I wouldn't want it to be. I think he's really bringing some interesting things to what everyone's doing. At the same time, I'm drawing Bruce Wayne in Gotham City fighting crime so it really fits in the margins of what Grant is doing while Bruce Wayne is all over the world. He has a lot of responsibilities in Gotham City that he can't really easily shake. I think his traditional villains in Gotham don't really take highly to the idea that he's looking past them now. He's looking at a much broader picture of being able to help humanity all around the world. All his traditional villains want to say, "Look, you belong to us buddy." I think they're not going to let him go so easily.

CV: Do you have to attend big Bat-summit meetings to make sure all the creators are on the same page and don't contradict each other?
DF:
I haven't done something quite as formal. We are in constant contact. We have an e-mail chain going on right now. We're making sure to include any characters that were referenced, members of the police force, that sort of thing so there could be that sort of crossover. I sat down with David Hine, Tony Daniel, Gail Simone and Scott Snyder. We've all batted some ideas back and forth. We've talked about the overall direction of what we'd like to do.

Batman: The Dark Knight #2

CV: You're going to be introducing a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, is this your creation or is she based off of an existing character?

DF: It's a character I came up with on my own. I'm sure it has some roots in other things that I've read though, but not so much as existing in the Batman Universe. It's a new character.

CV: This is a friend from before Bruce's parents were killed?
DF:
Right, a friend from before his parents were killed that really drifted away once that happened and when Bruce himself would've been really cut off from the social scene. For a long time he wouldn't have had the connection of his parents going to these parties and inviting these people over to the house. Some of his friends from very early on were cut off. But this is a friend that really resonated with him. He remembered her for his whole life and now that she's missing it's brought it to the surface. It's really becoming an obsession for him.

CV: You've written books like Ascension before, what's it like being the writer and artist? Is it easier? Is it harder since it's all on you?
DF:
It's certainly not easier. On any level I don't think it's easier but I really had a tone I wanted to get across with this book. It was very important to me that it became the book I wanted it to be. The only way for me to really do that was to write it. It's been a big challenge. I feel like I've been learning as I go along. I'm finding that the tone I initially wanted for the book has changed as I've learned. It's very difficult to not lose yourself in the story and to not lose what I wanted the focus to be. I'm really trying to keep that in the forefront of my mind because that was my real reason for me writing it in the first place. It's a real challenge.

Brightest Day #19

CV: What's it like working with Scott Williams (on inks)?

DF: We've done some Brightest Day covers and he inked the Batman story I did earlier this year. We've been talking, I talked to him years ago about doing something. Just having him on the project really means a lot. I think his name brings a lot. I feel we're still kind of early in our working relationship but I've already learned quite a bit. Danny Miki, who I worked with early on, taught me a lot. And Batt…they all bring something different to the artwork and it really changes the way that I draw. I think that Scott is such a…he puts so much thought into each page. He really completes artwork in a way I'm not used to so I've already learned a lot from him. I think over the course of the next…however long I can convince him to work with me, I'm going to learn a lot and grow from it.

CV: Are you still going to have time to do other covers for DC?
DF:
I'm doing the Brightest Day and that's continuing for the short term anyway. Between Action Comics covers and Batman, I don't have any other cover commitments. I think I might cut back as this book goes along. It's definitely a real time commitment. When I'm not drawing, I'm thinking about the story and I'm thinking about the story while I'm drawing. I forget half of what I'm thinking about when I sit in front of the computer. I'm still going to be doing covers but I'm going to concentrate on this book as much as I can.

CV: How far are you story-wise? Do you have the next arc planned out?
DF:
I have the first six issues well planned. I've found that as much as I say that and sit down to draw a scene, things change. It's always a bit of an evolving process and it can be a little frustrating thinking I have everything completely mapped. I had it completely mapped six months ago and I've watched things change quite a bit. I don't think it's something I can resist. For the most part, I have the first six issues and I have the six issues after mapped out. I'm introducing elements that will lead into the next arc already. Even in issue 1, it's something that I'm trying to do and think ahead to connect things as well as I can. It always has a wild card factor to it. I'm sure that if I had the kind of experience that Bendis has it'd be a bit of a smoother process.

CV: I know we're going to see the Penguin, can you give us any hints of other villains we might possibly see?
DF:
Penguin is going to play a pretty major role in the story. I love Penguin. Visually he's great and I love everything that he's about. I've got a lot of Croc ongoing and I have my own villain, obviously, that I'm introducing. I'm keeping him a bit mysterious right now. Aside from that, Batman has allies that have their own loyalties that they can't really ignore. Etrigan the Demon for example has his own masters that he can't ignore. There comes a point when that really directly conflicts with Batman. It turns into a pretty major battle. Even Batman's friends are enemies sometimes.

CV: Thank you so much for your time, we're super-excited and can't wait for this. We wish you lots of success with this.
DF:
Well, thank you. Thanks a lot.

UPDATE

Here's a review for issue #1.

46 Comments
Posted by kungnima

"Hot stuff!"
Can't wait for this!

Posted by deadpool1109
@kungnima said:
" "Hot stuff!" Can't wait for this! "
Posted by GenesisX
@kungnima said:
" "Hot stuff!" Can't wait for this! "
Totally! :D
Posted by NightFang
@kungnima said:
" "Hot stuff!" Can't wait for this! "  
2nd!
Posted by Decept-O

Sometimes the supernatural and magic don't work well with some characters, but here with Finch's turn on Batman, I think it will be a good interpretation and his style really lends to the "Gothic" in Gotham City.  
   
The artwork shown is so exquisite--just blows me away on all levels.  That Black Manta cover to Brightest Day #19--damn.   The Penguin really looks like Penguin!  Can't tell if that is Ragman or not in the art shown for Batman: The Dark Knight #3 but it looks like it!
Posted by darksoul7th

This is gonna be AWESOME! Can't w8

Posted by johnny_spam

I am not opposed to the supernatural element in Batman it's been there since the beginning I am bothered by David Finch using words like darkness in Bruce and obsession when the whole point in the past few years is that he became a zen master of crimefighting and I hope he does not undo that and use the Batjerk.  

Posted by Mumbles

we already know his pencils are gong to be great for batman.(see Moon Knight) problem was hudston story was bad, and finch couldn't save him with his art.  not sold on him writing the book....waiting for reviews before i pull the trigger on this new series

Posted by ateygheyev

I was on the fence about having another Bat-book and the supernatural element...but I think I'll pick up the first couple issues just to be sure (BUT COME ON ANOTHER BAT-BOOK, ARGH!).

Posted by entropy_aegis
@johnny spam said:
"I am not opposed to the supernatural element in Batman it's been there since the beginning I am bothered by David Finch using words like darkness in Bruce and obsession when the whole point in the past few years is that he became a zen master of crimefighting and I hope he does not undo that and use the Batjerk.   "

Agreed,the art looks sweet though.
Posted by Supreme Marvel

I could read this with just Finch's pencil and ink, no need for colour with him. ::D

Posted by kungnima
@Decept-O said:


The artwork shown is so exquisite--just blows me away on all levels.  That  Black Manta cover to Brightest Day #19--damn.   The Penguin really looks like Penguin!  Can't tell if that is Ragman or not in the art shown for Batman: The Dark Knight #3 but it looks like it! "

 
 Just realized.. Both the Penguin and the Ragman picture are made by Andy Clarke.
Posted by longbowhunter

I'm a fan of Finch's art, just dont know if I wanna pick this up or not.
Posted by Krakoa

The mere fact that he name dropped Neal Adams as an inspiration has me onboard. Plus, with all the other Bat books, it'll be nice to have something a little more grounded in the classic mythos.

Posted by thatlad

Cool interview, I would've asked him a bit around the long delays the book has suffered though

Posted by mabecker

I think I'll read the first few issues of this book because of David Finch, but I worried about this supernatural aspect.

Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

Can't wait for this. It comes out today right? Or is it tomorrow due to the holiday season?

Posted by ComiCCloseup

Hmm not really a penguin fan BUT I ama Killer Croc fan so..... I'll give it a whirl
Edited by ArtisticNeedham

Sort of a side note, little off topic:
Since Batman is now working more WITH the Governments of the world, like back when DC gave him a badge and made him part of the cops because the Worthem trials said vigilantism was a bad influence on children, instead of him being the dark and brooding creature of the night,
should Batman wear more of a costume similar to his old one from back then?

Back then he was given a badge, worked more with the police and the law, and smiled more.
Since he is no longer hiding so much in the shadows, should he maybe pick a costume that seems more heroic like Superman?
Posted by GalactaSurfer

Im a big Finch fan and he may get me to finally pick up a Batman title!

Posted by The Devil Tiger

Meh. 
 
Truth to be told, I dropped Finch after I readed Aphrodite and Ascencion, so it was a loooong time ago, but still, he had several flaws that I finded critical at the time : lack of good story, and very very bad writing that were going nowhere. 
 
Still, it's been a while, so maybe he honed his skill and can make something about that. I'm somewhat curious.
 
Posted by Decept-O
@kungnima:
Well if so props to him, because those are excellent as well!
Posted by Axvald

That sounds promising! :D

Posted by goldenkey

I like the connection ideas he wants to go with.  Seems like the norm lately, and if done right works really well.  I hope it's great.  Finch can draw some grit, and Batman has a lot of grit in his world.

Posted by daarkanjel

i second galactasurfer, i've picked up a few Batman issues, maybe a story arc here and there, but having Finch do the title, i'm intrigued to see his writing style.  May have to go out and get these.

Posted by spider-man 2996

I would love to get it but I don't have the money.
Posted by tonis

A Finch interview, awesome one G-Man. 
This is gonna be a beauty to see, and the Demon is a cool bonus.

Posted by fenixREVOLUTION

I really hope this book is good, if nothing else it'll look fantastic.

Posted by mickoreo_LZ

Another Bat-title? There's just so damn many these days, but Finch's art is very promising and I think it'd be hard not to at least give this book a chance

Posted by greenenvy

 The only reason I am curious about this series is killer croc's role in the story right now. 

Posted by dondasch

Batman and the supernatural ?  Where oh where can I sign up for this awesomeness !

Posted by LP

Man I can't wait, haven't been this excited about a Batman story since Grant came on the scene, I love how the two writers are working together to make this flow. I always had faith in GM's idea, it just needed more time to marinate!

Posted by JonesDeini
@Mumbles said:
" we already know his pencils are gong to be great for batman.(see Moon Knight) problem was hudston story was bad, and finch couldn't save him with his art.  not sold on him writing the book....waiting for reviews before i pull the trigger on this new series "
This wasn't bad, but I wouldn't spend four bucks on it again, personally. That being said I do plan on buying the next to issues to see how things develop and give him a chance to prove me wrong. Right now my initial reaction is this is average and it's clear that this is Finch's first shot a writing something big. The dialog reads more like a caricature of how Batman thinks and speaks and lacks that organic feel that seasoned writers' (especially those versed in the character) has.  
Posted by JonesDeini
@The Devil Tiger:  
 I never read those titles but these initial issues suffer from stale writing and truly felt like nothing happened. 
Edited by brc2000

Definitely up for it. Don't think I've read anything he's written before, but it'll probably be better than what's going on in most of the other current Bat books anyway.

Posted by The Devil Tiger
@JonesDeini:
That's what I feared. 
 
It's kind of a tradmark to him. T 
 
he good news is, he will not destroy the batman 'verse in the same way that Loeb did with Ultimats line. 
  
The bad news is that the long time followers will have nothing to get under their teeth a part some good drawing.
Posted by Chris2KLee

I'll check this out. A single person handling art and writing often leads to a clearer product, and I love Finch's stuff.

Posted by WatchWorks

Finch is great. Glad to see him on Bat.

Posted by ReverseNegative

All villains' action related to one final villain? Childhood friend? From before Bruce's parents were killed? Sound a little like Hush.

Posted by Danial79

Is this why Finch went DC-exclusive, because they offered him his own title?

Posted by novakidx

cool preview for a awesome looking series!

Posted by G Bird

I just read issue #1 and was blown away! It was great, and I'll definitely be buying it every month. I loved everything about it, I didn't have one thing to complain about. I can't stand Morrison's Batman books but seeing Finch was writing and drawing this, I thought I'd pick it up and boy am I glad I did! This is the only Batman title I read... I wish it came out twice a month!

Posted by MonsterObsessor

Well, I'm so gonna enjoy this story.

Edited by entropy_aegis
@ReverseNegative said:

"All villains' action related to one final villain? Childhood friend? From before Bruce's parents were killed? Sound a little like Hush. "


It even started like hush.(killer croc).
Posted by entropy_aegis
@Danial79 said:
"Is this why Finch went DC-exclusive, because they offered him his own title? "

Yup, and i honestly dont think it'll last , same old ideas on top of massive delays,sweet looking art can only get you so far.
Posted by xerox_kitty

@Danial79 said:

"Is this why Finch went DC-exclusive, because they offered him his own title? "


I'm glad he did. He seems to b e doing a good job :)
   
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