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Sunday, March 6, 2016

The DC fan art of Denny Fincke

Stunning commissions of 80's era DC Comics characters by Denny Fincke (writer/illustrator of Twit Troo Of The Moon and Anti-Star):

Check out the rest of his online portfolio via his gallery.

Denny took a few minutes from his busy schedule to chat with us about his work:

DCinthe80s: I'm noticing a lot of Golden Age characters in your portfolio (ex: Rex Tyler Hourman, Alan Scott Green Lantern, Jay Garrick Flash, Ted Knight Starman, Al Pratt Atom, etc). I'm going to guess you were a fan of the Golden Age Justice Society of America. Were you a big fan of Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron title from the 80s?

Denny Fincke: I fell into comics in the 70's.  I was reading all sorts of comics: DC, Gold Key, Harvey and just a few Marvel (they seemed a bit dark for me at the time). What really made me into a DC Comics fan was Justice League of America #100-102 (1972).  This was a three part story (rare at the time) involving the JLA, JSA and the Seven Soldiers of Victory and it blew my mind!  After that I was a comics fan for life.  At the same time, DC was also publishing 100-page Super Spectaculars with plenty of Golden Age reprint stories so I was discovering all this wonderful vintage material.  That fed into my love for the JSA characters.  But for some reason I did not follow through on All-Star Squadron.  Lately I've been thinking of going back and exploring it.

DC80s: I'm also noticing a lot of Legion of Super-Heroes love in your works. Were you a fan of the Levitz/Giffen era? What about the 5 Year Later story line (LoSH v4 1989)?

Denny: I did like the Giffen/Levitz, but again my formative comic years were in the 70's so the Cockrum/Grell/Bates issues were my favorite.  As a kid who wanted to be  a comic artist one day, and Grell and Cockrum heavily influenced me. Again in the 70s DC would reprint 60s Legions tales so I was also exposed to the LSH history and the art of Curt Swan. The older I get the more I appreciate him.  His work on World's Finest is also amazing.  I enjoy the Giffen/Levitz run but I haven't read it in a while so it's hard for me to comment on it. But I will say that it was the last block of LSH comics to genuinely entertain me.

DC80s: You were scoping out the Paul Kupperberg/Vigilante interview and casually mentioned that the cover of Vigilante #49 was your one and only DC job. Did you want to tell us about that? Also, how old were you at the time?

Cover of Vigilante #49 (1988)

Denny: I met Paul [Kupperberg] in a comic shop in Brooklyn in 1986 and he was trying to do a comic called Shadow Play with Now Comics and I did some pages for that. Unfortunately the book fell through for a variety of reasons. During that time he helped me get the Vigilante cover.  I believe Mike Gold was the editor at the time.  I was very lucky to have Dick Giordano as the inker because I thought the layout was good but I'm sure at the time my pencils were unrefined.  I was in my early twenties.

DC80s: Do you have any anecdotes about trying to 'break into' DC comics?

Denny: Wow, breaking into comics is not easy and it truly never happened for me.  I ended up working in animation. I've done many conventions and have sold many commissions of DC and Marvel characters but I always feel a bit like a fraud because, besides the Vigilante cover, I never worked for the big two.  But I do conventions for the love of it. I get a thrill when someone comes to my table and asks for a commission of an obscure character.  At my last con someone asked me for a sketch of Karnak.  I always liked that character but had never drawn him. Now someone wanted to pay me to do it. So great.

DC80s: Who were your big influences in regards to art?

Denny: I'm a huge George Perez fan and I loved everything he worked on especially Teen Titans.  I was also influenced by John Byrne and would buy anything he did whether it was Marvel or DC.

DC80s: What are your stand-out comic runs from the 80s?

Denny: The Giffen/Levitz Legion, Teen Titans, Paul [Kupperberg]'s run on Doom Patrol, [Kevin] Maguire's JLA, anything Byrne did.  His X-Men work is amazing.  He also did a short run on Champions that I loved (but that's creeping back into the 70s).  John Buscema's Avengers.  There's probably more but these are the standouts. Watchmen was great of course, but I'm not a big Dark Knight fan.

DC80s: Tell us a bit about your creator-owned projects Anti-star and Twit Troo of the Moon...

Denny: Anti-star came from sample Green Lantern pages that I did.  I had started to create a Green Lantern story to send to DC but never sent it in. A couple of years later I still liked the layouts and over time changed GL to Anti-Star and it grew from there.

cover of Anti-Star #3

But I love all cartooning including newspaper strips.  I love Charles Schultz as much as I love George Perez.  I'm also a Calvin and Hobbes and Doonesbury fan.  At a certain point doing Anti-Star I thought that I needed to do something a little bit lighter in tone. I was working full-time and it was harder to get highly detailed superhero pages finished.  I thought with a comic strip that I could post online, I could get more immediate artist satisfaction.  Twit Troo of the Moon arose from some stream of conscious sketches I did while on vacation in England.  For the past few years TTOTM has been my main creative endeavor although lately I've been going back and coloring some Anti-Star pages. 


Thank you, Denny!

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