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Blackest Night putting retailers in the black

by Matthew Price Published: August 28, 2009

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DC Comics announced this week that it has sold out of “Blackest Night” No. 1, which kicked off the zombie-thriller superhero tale by Geoff Johns.

A second printing will be in stores Sept. 16, along with “Blackest Night” No. 3. “Blackest Night” No. 2 is in stores now. Local stores say the issue is moving well from their shelves as well.

“It’s our bestselling comic,” said Brian “Buck” Berlin of New World Comics in Oklahoma City. He said the black ring promo, which allowed stores to order a plastic “Black Lantern” ring with every issue, helped raise awareness of the series.

“We’ve ordered more of it than any other comic, and we’re still selling out of it,” said Eric Neal, an owner of Second Chance Books and Comics in Warr Acres.

The Black Lanterns are the villains of the series, the zombified versions of some of DC Comics’ greatest heroes, including Aquaman.

Neal said that fans are drawn to this series because it’s happening in the main DC Comics continuity, as opposed to in an alternate universe.

“This is actually in the DC Universe,” he said. “In the first issue, they killed off Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and they instantly became zombies.”

That conclusion was intended to shock, Johns said at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

“That scene pushed the boundaries for sure,” he said. “I felt like ‘Blackest Night’ was a horror superhero story. For me, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, I love those characters. I’ve spent a lot of time with them. They represented a love that was never to be.”

Their deaths and revival as zombies, at the hands of the zombie Elongated Man and his wife, Sue Dibny, was meant to be particularly unsettling.

“The most horrifying Black Lanterns are the lighter ones, the ones like Elongated Man and Firestorm,” Johns said. “I wanted to take the couple that had kind of represented this pure love, like Elongated Man and Sue, and put them against Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who are finally coming to terms with theirs, in the most horrific way I could. … Why Hawkman and Hawkgirl are chosen specifically by Black Hand is part of the bigger story. They are characters who have escaped death over and over and over.”

Berlin said the shocking scene will draw more interest to the characters.

“I think it’s kind of an original way to reinvigorate the flailing characters,” he said.

“Blackest Night” has tied into some other of DC’s titles, including miniseries “Blackest Night: Batman” and “Blackest Night: Superman.”

Johns and artist Scott Kolins will create “Blackest Night: Flash” in November.

“It’s kind of a follow-up to our ‘Flash’ run, as well as a continuation of ‘Flash Rebirth’ and ‘Rogues’ Revenge,’” he said. “Lots of dead rogues coming back to say hello.”

The tie-ins, including “Green Lantern,” where the story began, are also seeing strong sales, stores reported.

“It seems to be building. There are more and more people reading it,” Neal said. “The tie-ins are all doing real well, too. ‘Green Lantern’ is doing just as well as the ‘Blackest Night’ issues.”

- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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