Paul Jenkins On Being The Other Half Of David Finch’s The Dark Knight

So DC released their solicitations for Batbooks in October. And Paul Jenkins is listed as the writer on The Dark Knight #2 with David Finch as artist.

A curious affair, since it was reported that this was David Finch’s big writer/artist project.

So I had a wee Skype with Paul Jenkins. Who’s having a mad time of it as it happens, especially considering his new workload at DC.

But wrenching himself away from phone calls from friends, offering congratulations and advice, Paul Jenkins talked to Bleeding Cool about Dark Knight. And how readers will soon learn that he hasn’t just written issue two. He wrote issue one as well, it just never made it to the solicitations in time.

Jenkins explains that while Dave Finch is heavily involved in the storytelling of the series, the demands of writing were cutting into his drawing time. Finishing one issue of The Dark Knight, he’d then take a while writing the next issue, rewriting, dealing with editorial, getting the story signed off, before he could start work on the art, so the gap between drawing each issue was widening.

Jenkins sees Finch as a great storyteller, but hampered by the demands of schedule. “The monthly grinds, the nuts and bolts, the editorial, it all wears you down. This is a matter of logistics.” Working together, Dark Knight is still telling the “cool, big stories Dave wants to tell”, but now by the time Finch finishes another issue, there is a script waiting for him from Jenkins, written after long chats with Finch, then signed and approved by editorial, for Finch to move right onto.

Jenkins tells me that Finch wants to change the perception of the book so that readers and retailers feel more at ease with the delivery schedule – and that this will be achieved once Finch can spend more time concentrating on the art. He wants a reputation something closer to what he achieved with Brian Bendis on Avengers. Jenkins tells me he knows Finch can deliver on time, but they need to prove it to readers and retailers alike as a long-term monthly team on The Dark Knight. But this is clearly something that Paul really wants as well, being associated in the past with Jae Lee and Sean Philips, and it’s something he misses.

As to what happens to the previous Dark Knight series from Finch (issue 3 coming out this week), Jenkins tells me he hasn’t read it. And I can hear two hundred thousand eyebrows rising at the one.

But Jenkins thinks it’s important to his craft that he doesn’t know too much about too many comics, and that he doesn’t live in comics or is mired in continuity. As an example, he tells me that he wrote his very well received Inhumans series with Jae Lee after reading two four pages stories by Jack Kirby. That Finch has given him setup and character points for the relaunch, but as to what happened to the previous story… he simply doesn’t know. And doesn’t feel the need to find out. He’s all about the now

Well that answers the Rogue question as well, I suppose.

The other book he’s rather proud of it Fairy Quest, debuting at San Diego from Humberto Ramos, a lush hardcover graphic novel that Paul believes Humberto was “born to draw” and that when he saw the final version, years after its conception, in a state where he’s usually very critical of his past work, told himself “I wrote this fucking book and it’s brilliant.”

I confess I look forward to picking up a copy. There’s something so infectious about the man. Just look at his face…

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