Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wow, people really like this David Finch character.

I was sort of surprised to see this announcement regarding Marvel artist signing an exclusive deal with DC on the latter publisher's The Source blog today. Not because the fact that Finch would work with the company is any big shock or anything—not the way that, say, Brian Michael Bendis or John Romita Jr. inking an exclusive would be—but rather I was surprised that DC would want Finch or that anyone would think it was at all exciting news.

That just goes to show how little I actually know though. DC obviously trumpeted the move, and the comments thread regarding the announcement at Blog@Newsarama, my online home away from my online home, currently has over 30 comments, the overwhelming majority of which are extremely positive. Blog@ readers seem super-excited, and most of them are simply saying different variations of "Great news!" or listing the books and characters they'd like to see him on.

I don't like Finch's work at all, personally. He can clearly draw, but I can't remember ever being particularly struck with how well he told a story or depicted something in particular, and when I think of his work, all that comes to mind are his boring, static covers in which identical-looking, way-to-muscle-y people pose and grimace. In other words, it is completely generic superhero art, mainly differentiated by the fact that its usually colored really murkily.

But hey, that's me. I'm certainly not Evan Everyfan or anything over here.

I think what I find most perplexing about the announcement is the perception that Finch is some sort of a get. I was looking over his credits earlier today, in preparation for another (hopefully more thoughtful and better-written) post on the subject than this one and it was striking that he's an artist whose popularity is almost impossible to quantify.

He's got some monster hits to his name. He did "Avengers Disassembled" and the first story arc or so of New Avengers with Brian Michael Bendis. But were those stories popular because of Finch's art, or because of Bendis, and the novelty/outrage factor involved with radically changing the direction of Marvel's Avengers franchise? He drew Ultimatum and an issue of that Crying Superheroes series (Captain America: American Son—Spider-Man Has a Sad or whatever) with Jeph Loeb, and those sold pretty darn well, but was that because of Finch's artwork, the superstar status of Loeb or, again, the fact that they dealt with big events?

Other than a run on Ultimate X-Men, some Moon Knight and some work on Marvel's ill-conceived post-9/11 emergency workers-are-the-real-heroes series, that's about all Finch has done at Marvel, beyond a shitload of variant covers. UXM was in decline and that The Call stuff and Moon Knight didn't stick around long.

Sales aren't everything of course, but they've gotta be a big part of the equation for DC when they're thinking of handing out exclusives, right? The announcement also mentioned he'd be writing as well as drawing a project for DC, so maybe the exclusive was contingent on him having the best Batman and The Club of Heroes* pitch anyone at DC had ever seen.

I just can't get over the fact that DC is pumped enough about the guy's work to hire him in such a manner (and announce it as if it were big news), and to see so many DC fans so excited to see Finch on a new Aquaman monthly or taking over JLoA. Not to be too negative or anything—ha, too late!—but it seems more likely to me that DC just acquired someone to draw a miniseries and do variant covers for them.

At any rate, congratulations and good luck to Mr. Finch. With any luck, no one at DC will ask him to draw an enormous fat man eating the intestines out of a dying woman or anything like that.

*Seriously, how is it that there's an Outsiders books, two Titans books and two JSA books, but no book devoted to a superhero team consisting solely of Batmen? It'll be like printing money, DC!


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you about not being a fan of his work. I don't think the pouty lipped style he uses really works too much for me at all.

Having said that, I could see how this looks like a big move for DC. There are plenty of people who do love everything he does regardless of the writer. These people of course will flock to DC, thus making it big news.

Furthermore, this is kind of a kick to Marvel. By making this such a high-profile announcement, it screams "look what we just stole". He has been a high profile guy for the Marvel group, and when he was doing Moon Knight, those early issues flew off the shelves.

It's hard to understand why people like him, but they seem to do so, and there's nothing the rest of us can do about it. Marvel has officially lost two of their higher profile people (I'm including Bagley) to the competition, it will be interesting to see if anyone else goes.

Dean said...

Look on the bright side, Caleb- if Finch is put on Justice League, you'll probably see less Ed Benes-drawn issues in the future. :)

Timbotron said...

Same here, I'm just not a big fan. But if you can't get Silvestri, I guess Finch is the next best thing.

I'm with you on that Club of Heroes thing too, but man, you'd sure need the right person writing it! (I'm thinking Peter Milligan?)

Peter said...

Have all the artists for Morrison's twelve issue mega-arc for Batman & Robin been announced yet? Cause he'll probably be doing something with Batman. Hopefully they don't put him on Superman, but for some reason I think they will.

Hdefined said...

Caleb, you question if the draw of Ultimatum was Finch's art or Loeb as the writer. Think about that. If a writer as shitty as Loeb could be a potential draw, why couldn't an artist as bland as Finch?

The way I see Finch is that if you took Marc Silvestri and split him in half, all the dynamic, expressive, and tonal qualities would become Jim Lee, and all the static characters, bland backgroudns, and pinup poses would become David Finch.

(Not saying Jim Lee represents a "piece" or Silvestri, but more the opposite - that Silvestri has a modicum of talent, but only a piece of what Lee possesses.)

jason quinones said...

this guy kinda sounds like the kim kardashian of the funny book world: insanely famous for no particular reason whatsoever!

but what guy who draws static, uninspired, over muscled juice heads with no feet and forever encased in murky shadows isn't nowadays.

my love/hate relationship with comics continues....

Dave of Apocalypse said...

I missed this; thanks for bringing it to my attention!

I don't really "get" the majority of Finch's stuff either. He's got chops, and I liked his "pure" early work on New Avengers, (and is a really nice guy in person) but I feel like somewhere along the way somebody said, "So Dave, could you work more like Silvestri, no wait, I mean Turner, and throw in some Liefeld-ly excessive cross-hatching?"

But, to each their own. For example, I am not much a fan of JRJR's more recent work, but there are people who'll buy whatever he draws, even if I find it to look cubist. Whatever the case, I wish Finch well at DC!

Maddy said...

I misunderstood you there for a second and thought there was actually going to be a new Aquaman title. Got my hopes up and everything!

Seriously, how is it that there's an Outsiders books, two Titans books and two JSA books, but no book devoted to a superhero team consisting solely of Batmen? It'll be like printing money, DC!

That...is a very good question. A team book with all the Bat-family characters would be fantastic.

Jeremy H said...

I suppose it's a big deal because Marvel made a big deal about him a few years ago, when they named him one of their Young Gun superstar artists of the future.

Hdefined said...

I think it could legitimately be considered a big deal because the guy's already had a Batman run at Marvel that sold particularly well. It was called "Moon Knight."