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!