Bon voyage, Blackest Night — but where was the Final Crisis love?

by  in Comic News Comment
Bon voyage, <i>Blackest Night</i> — but where was the <i>Final Crisis</i> love?

Yesterday the eighth and final issue of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’s hit event comic Blackest Night came out, and DC has been celebrating its successful conclusion (how about that fold-out spread, huh???) in grand fashion. On Tuesday, DC’s official blog, The Source, hosted an open thread for fans to share their favorite Blackest Night moments and memories. Source blogger and PR guru Alex Segura posted a heartfelt encomium to the series, its spinoffs, and its creators once it wrapped on Wednesday. Today, editor Eddie Berganza contributed a eulogy of his own.

All well-deserved, as far as I’m concerned: Blackest Night clearly worked for its intended audience, myself included. A hook everyone could understand, a huge (and fun!) expansion of the Green Lantern mythos that convincingly roped in characters from the Flash to Lex Luthor to Hawk and Dove, rock-solid art from Ivan Reis, perhaps the most t-shirt-friendly concept in comics history…I had a hoot with this book and its parallel Green Lantern tie-ins as well, and judging from the uniformly positive fan feedback in the comments for Segura’s tribute, I’m far from alone.

But those same comments raise an interesting question: Do you recall seeing this kind of effusive praise and PR from the company when its last event comic, Final Crisis wrapped?

In a way, it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison: The Source didn’t exist when Final Crisis #7 came out in January 2009, so there really wasn’t an official channel for the company to utilize. Then there are the differences, quantitative and qualitative, between the series themselves. On a numbers level, though Final Crisis was DC’s biggest title at the time, it didn’t put up Blackest Night sales. Nor did its mostly indirect tie-ins thrive the way BN‘s more clearly linked spin-offs did. And even Final Crisis‘s biggest fans — you’ll find none bigger than me, by the way — admit that it’s an acquired taste, containing some of writer Grant Morrison’s most challenging and experimental superhero-comics work. Of course, for the book’s detractors — and again, check the comments for that Blackest Night tribute for more than a few — you can substitute “challenging” for “confusing” and “experimental” for “incoherent.”

All that being said, I think there’s still an observable difference in how the series were handled by the publisher. The clearest example is the way then-VP – Executive Editor Dan DiDio poked fun at Final Crisis during the 2009 New York Comic Con, DC’s first convention appearance after the series wrapped. Moreover, his promotion of the series in its waning weeks, during his last couple of Newsarama interviews prior to the final issue’s release, was minimal at best. And of course there was no Brightest Day-style linewide plan designed to capitalize on story threads from FC once it concluded — the closest DC came was the Final Crisis Aftermath minis, which launched months later. Linkrot makes searching the archives for the weekly DC Nation column that far back difficult, but a look at the January 2009 installments, including the DC Nation for the week Final Crisis #7 came out, reveals nary a mention of the book; indeed, the image in the January 28th, 2009 column is a teaser for…Blackest Night.

Again, you can chalk this up to many things — heck, I’d imagine some fans who thought Final Crisis wasn’t as good as Blackest Night would praise DC’s relative quiet about FC‘s conclusion as just a lack of BS. But as a person who enjoyed both events and a big fan of both their architects, Morrison and Johns, I just wanna see both series get the props they deserve.