Trade Perspectives: How would you collect Blackest Night?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Now that we know that the trade Blackest Night hardcover collection is on the horizon (though not, unfortunately, in a deluxe edition), it's time to start considering how YOU would want to see Blackest Night collected.

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Even more than Final Crisis, it seems Blackest Night has a whole bunch of moving parts that need to be included in this. Let's take a look at them.

* Blackest Night: The Series

Final Crisis was seven issues; Blackest Night clocks in at eight issues, the first of which is an oversized 48-pages and the rest at least 40 pages (though likely issue #6 or #8 might be oversized, too). Right off the bat, that's 328 pages, whereas the Amazon listing for Blackest Night only cites 304 pages. Though a page count this early is usually just a placeholder and could change, it makes it very unlikely that the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps crossover issues will be included in this volume.

As discussed in the comments of our original post on this, there's some debate as to how the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps issues will read separate from Blackest Night (the former perhaps better than the latter, but basically, there doesn't seem to be room in the hardcover for any). Chances are we're looking at a Blackest Night hardcover, and then Green Lantern: Blackest Night and Green Lantern Corps: Blackest Night companion hardcover volumes, which'll make about as much sense on their own as the Final Crisis crossover "Last Rites" in Batman RIP, but such is the life of reading comics in collected format.

Another interesting suggestion in the previous post is that we might actually be looking at two volumes of the main Blackest Night hardcover, which could then include the Green Lantern titles. DC did this for The Sinestro Corps War, though that was a largely in-title event; a two-volume crossover collection would be a first for DC Comics.

* Blackest Night: Tie-in Miniseries

None of that takes into account, however, a whole slew of ancillary Blackest Night miniseries published in addition to the main title and the Green Lantern books. Not only is there the three-part Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps, there's also six three-issue miniseries starring DC Comics heroes -- Batman, Superman, Titans, Wonder Woman, Flash, and JSA -- and eight "resurrected" issues DC just announced for January. That's twenty-nine (!) more Blackest Night issues that must (of course), be collected.

This is where I venture we'll see a Blackest Night Companion like the Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis companions before it. And twenty-nine issues probably means Blackest NIght Companion volumes one, two, and maybe three -- as this moves farther from Blackest Night proper, I'd hope to see paperbacks of these.

* Crossover Titles

As of November, DC Comics has solicited a number of in-series Blackest Night crossovers -- Adventure Comics, Booster Gold, Doom Patrol, and more. And I say: Well played, DC, well played.

See, I wait for the trade, on one hand, and on the other hand, my budget isn't what it used to be. So when I'm faced with two new series, for instance, and I have to think, "Do I want to buy Power Girl: A New Beginning, given that I read the introductory Power Girl trade and I follow Justice Society, or do I want to pick up R.E.B.E.L.S.: The Coming of Starro?" R.E.B.E.L.S. is brand-new and I don't already follow the series ... BUT I know that the next R.E.B.E.L.S. trade is going to contain the Blackest Night crossover, and if I want to be up-to-date for that, I might pick up R.E.B.E.L.S. instead (or, frankly, in addition). The same is true of Doom Patrol, a title on which I might otherwise have passed for a while.

Kudos to DC, by the way, for including a bevy of the "Origins & Omens" pages in the requisite trades. They're included as far as I know in Nightwing: The Great Leap, Robin: Search for a Hero, Booster Gold: Reality Lost, and Teen Titans: Changing of the Guard, and I'm sure there's more. If I knew a trade that I otherwise might not pick up (few as they are) had the "Origins & Omens" pages in it, would the completist in me then want to pick it up ...? Probably. Well played, DC, well played.

* Conclusion

So that is, frankly, an almost dizzying amount of material due to land on our doorsteps in 2010 related to Blackest Night.

I open it up to you now: how do you want to see Blackest Night collected, what will you buy, what could you do without ... and will the final product be thick enough that you can beat zombies with it when the dead will rise? Chime in!
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16 comments:

  1. hmm.

    I can see 2 trades for the core series with GL issues
    A Blackest Night: tales of the Corps trade with the GLC and the Tales of the corps issues

    Then each of the minis being collected seperately or in pairs with tie in issues just being part of their respective titles.

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  2. How many of those comics pages are story pages versus ads? A standard 32-page comic has 22 pages of story and 10 pages of ads; how do the Blackest Night issues fare?

    Separating the GL stories from the main miniseries (if that's the direction DC is headed) might make financial sense, but I can't imagine it'll read well.

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  3. Hey, don't forget the BLACKEST NIGHT #0 from FCBD - that's like 8 1/2 issues.

    I'm unsure how they'll collect everything as the main GL and GLC books have been running tightly next to the main series, with at least one issue a month.

    We could be looking at three volumes alone: BLACKEST NIGHT, BN: GREEN LANTERN & BN: GREEN LANTERN CORPS.

    As for the tie-in minis, it's difficult to say - they should either all be collected together, three at a time, or in six separate, smaller volumes. Something like BLACKEST NIGHT COMPANION Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. (The "Tales" mini could be with either BN: GL or BN: GLC.

    The regular series issues (Outsiders, R.E.B.E.L.S., etc.) should just be included in the regular tpbs. If someone is reading OUTSIDERS monthly, they'd probably want to read all of it, despite the tie-in tagging. (It worked with MANHUNTER during INFINITE CRISIS.)

    As for the "resurrected" issues - who knows? They don't seem to have anything to do with each other, other than the 'crossover'. They could probably just be collected in a (semi-)related series. Or something.

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  4. The GL issues would be nearly worthless if collected on their own. They're extremely important when read between Blackest Night issues so far, but they don't stand very well on their own since they've mostly got the feel of what amounts to 'director's cut' content.

    On the other hand, I love GLC, but I've never felt it should be collected in the same volume as the normal GL book. The tone is just so completely different between the two books, and even though they may both be united under the same event, they cover different fronts of the battle and remain separate from eachother. This was even true in SCW; I'm still kind of upset they're collected together in that rather then a SCW:GL and SCW:GLC because the transitions between issues of the two series are somewhat jarring.

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  5. I'll get BN: Wonder Woman in softcover because Greg Rucka rocks my socks. If they end up bundling it with the horror (not the good kind) that is BN: Superman or BN: Batman then I'll track down the singles.

    Other than that, I'm one of those buzzkills who really hasn't been digging this crossover so I'll likely pass.

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  6. Id like an omnibus-like collection of Blackest Night 0-8, Green Lantern 41-50 (not sure the numbers on this one, but from the prelude with Black Hadn to the end of Blackest Night) and GLC 38-46 (again, not sure on numbers).

    Dont think the Tales of the Corps warrant inclusion in a huge collection like this, but the GL and GLC books all weave in and out of Blackest Night and are logical extensions of each issue. Id hate to see them thrown off into their own GL and GLC trades.

    Instead of an omnibus version, they could just do like Sinestro Corps War and have the Blackest Night/GL/GLC books all interlinked and spread over a few different trades. They could then have 'companion' trades with 2-3 of the miniseries in them. Companion 1 could be Superman, Titans and Batman while Companion 2 could be the upcoming Flash, Wonder Woman and JSA 3 issue minis. If they want to have 12 issues, the first one could add the Tales of the Corps to the list.

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  7. Good question how many actual story pages fit into a 48-page (or 40-page) issue; that influences what we might expect.

    Interesting idea that Green Lantern might be in the Blackest Night hardcover, but NOT Green Lantern Corps -- if I were Peter Tomasi, I might feel rejected, but indeed switching between Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps in the Sinestro Corps War trades at times interrupted the direct flow of the story.

    What strikes me here is so many people who seem to be reading the monthly issues, who are ALSO intending to purchase the trade. Is it because you read some of the issues but not all of them? How many people buy both?

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  8. All of this confusion regarding what's getting collected almost makes me want to go out and buy all the singles so I know I've got everything!

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  9. One thing that we might also consider is that this might not even be the only hardcover of the series. This would be the regular Blackest Night mini proper. That doesn't mean DC isn't also planning "directors cut" style volumes. If that happens and there are "directors cut" style trades that collect everything, then they can do whatever they want, I suppose.

    The thing is, Geoff Johns has outright stated before that he wants Blackest Night, when collected, to be done up like a "directors cut" of the event, with the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps issues. Frankly, this is the way I want it as well. I want the story to be put in the best order for flow and such, to get the full experience of it.

    I'll be honest, if it's collected in separate volumes, I'm not buying Blackest Night. At least not at that junction. I'm not buying three separate volumes where one of them reads like it was surgically removed from any semblance of coherancy since it's been removed from it's context in the event proper. I'm not fond of switching between trades either for the best reading experience. That's a massive annoyance, which may not be enough to deter some but I'd prefer my reading not to be a complete hassle.

    Two trades that collect the mini, the Green Lantern issues and maybe Green Lantern Corps? I'd be all over that. But I would prefer not to have to juggle three different trades when trying to get the full experience; I was never a rodeo clown, so juggling is not my thing.

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  10. Got a link to a Johns interview where he states his Blackest Night collection preferences? That worked -- in all seriousness -- when Grant Morrison did the same.

    ... dl316bh is not a rodeo clown ... check. :)

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  11. I'm personally wondering what will become of the January books (the extra-final issue things). A couple of them can probably make their way into a related series's schedule (Suicide Squad into a Secret Six trade; Question into the same collection as the Detective second feature), a lot of them aren't going to have any particular home at all. If they get reprinted at all, I'd imagine that it'd be in a Blackest Night Companion, probably alongside Tales of the Corps and any important crossovers from titles that aren't going to trade right now.

    As for the minis, I can see each one of them in their own small trade as making the most sense, really. Or maybe by twos, if that's entirely too small.

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  12. For the Singles/Collections overlap question:

    I was a wait for trade person for years, but last fall I found myself picking up issues occasionally, and within a few months I was a regular weekly DC reader. Stories I really enjoy justify a hard cover or collection for me; stuff like the Johns Action Comics, Batman & Robin, Rucka's Detective Comics, or Robinson's work in Superman with Mon-El right now. I've really enjoyed the Blackest Night issues so far, and I will likely be purchasing the main hardcover no matter what's in it, but if the GL issues are collected separately, I will probably just ignore them in favor of my floppies.

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  13. Sure thing. I just looked for where I saw it. Found it pretty easy, thankfully; I don't always get that lucky when looking for old interviews I've read. X_x

    http://io9.com/5278108/geoff-johns-talks-blackest-night-with-publishers-weekly

    And yes, no rodeo clown for me. I'd probably be more of a "Man-Eating Chicken". =P

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  14. So far it would make the most sense to collect BN proper and GL together, since many of the events in those books lead right in to each other.

    GLC, on the other hand, feels like "Meanwhile, on Oa...", though it's possible that upcoming issues will be tieing in more directly with the heroes and events in the Geoff Johns-written titles.

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  15. Here's Johns' full interview:

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6662137.html

    Unlike what the io9 writer said, Johns never said he'd prefer Blackest Night to be collected along with its GL and GLC tie-ins. He only said he's fine with whatever the collected editions department at DC chooses. He even said he would have preferred Sinestro Corps War to be collected a little differently, which makes sense, since the chapters he wrote can be perfectly understood even if you skip the GLC issues.

    Here's the page count for the main Blackest Night series so far:

    #0 - 12 pages
    #1 - 39 pages
    #2 - 27 pages (including the 3-page "The Book of the Black" segment at the end)
    #3 - 28 pages (including two "The Book of the Black" pages)

    Assuming issues #4-7 will be 27-28 pages long and the last one will clock at 39 pages just like #1, there would still be room for one or two more regular-sized issues in the hardcover.

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  16. Great. Oh well. I guess that person got it wrong.

    I really hope DC doesn't screw this up and go with just the event in the collection. I would prefer not to have to go to the enormous hassle of picking up every issue of the crossover that matters and binding them together. That would also inevitably leave some ads in.

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