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Petition calls for cancellation of Marvel’s Avengers Arena

While it’s not uncommon to see fans organize in an attempt to save a low-selling comic, it’s rare to see them actually seek a title’s demise. However, that’s the goal of a petition at Change.org, which calls for the cancellation of Avengers Arena, the new Marvel series whose kill-or-be-killed competition premise has invited comparisons to Battle Royale and The Hunger Games.

What’s more, the petitioners ask Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso to “retcon the deaths” that have occurred so far in the comic — there are three to date — which is referred to on the website as a “travesty against fans.” As of this morning, just 61 people had signed on.

Avengers Arena, which launched in December as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, finds 16 young heroes transported to Arcade’s Murderworld, where they’re forced to fight each other in a series of death matches. “[T]he story is about choices,” writer Dennis Hopeless told Comic Book Resources this week. “These young people have to make some very difficult choices that will affect the course of the rest of their lives — What would you do to protect yourself or your friends? What are you willing to sacrifice? Who are you willing to leave behind? What can you live with? They’re in no way ready to make these decisions, but they have to. To me, that’s what makes a teenage superhero death match relatable. Life is about choices and being young is about making choices you don’t fully understand. Take all the fantasy elements away and Murderworld starts to sound a lot like high school.”

However, the petition’s creator clearly doesn’t view the series as an exploration of deeper themes, but rather as a cold grab for sales.

“Marvel has gathered together our favorite teenaged characters in a gambit to ride the coattails of The Hunger Games recent success,” reads the statement at Change.org. “We cannot allow these young heroes in training to be killed off, it is an injustice to them and the future of comics – even if the majority of the comic populace; neither care, nor have heard of them. Each of these characters, established before this book, have seen substantial personal growth; growth which is about to be snuffed out in the name of sales. Let us show Marvel that we will not let this transgression go unremarked. Let us show that we will not allow our beloved characters to fade quietly into the night. Let us show Marvel that we are their dedicated fans and these are the characters we love! Join me by signing this petition, and help me show Marvel that this is not the right thing to do, that we will not sit idly by while they lump our beloved characters into the debris pile they have collected. Thank you, each and every one of you , even if you do not sign. So long as you have read this I have seeded the thought of this travesty against fans into your mind.”

In the comments at Change.org, which contain spoilers, one supporter referred to Avengers Arena as the “bottom of the barrel,” while another said, “the very concept of this book offends me.” Others, however, weren’t quite as sympathetic to the cause. “I can only assume that this petition implies the replacement of the title with Runaways: Puppy Brigade,” one commenter stated. Still another congratulated the publisher on its stealth marketing: “I think this petition will be great publicity for the book and applaud whoever at Marvel it was that thought of it.”

Avengers Arena #3, by Hopeless and artist Kev Walker, is on sale now.

(via Bleeding Cool)

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Comments

47 Comments

I hate the idea of the book as well, but they’re going about this all wrong. They should have started when the book was announced, should have made plans to boycott and most importantly, carry this boycott on to other books that actually matter. Now it’s too little (literally) too late.

Turns out I was already boycotting but didn’t realize it! I didn’t buy it from issue #1 and as soon as I understood the premise. Here’s hoping it dies a quiet death.

Now if we could just get people to stop buying Spider-man comics for a while…

This book has, surprisingly, been one of my favorite Marvel NOW! titles. It’s not the senseless bloodbath I was expecting and it’s actually introduced a lot of really great young new heroes, some of whom I’m already starting to care about due to some great character developments. In the end, I don’t think they’re going to kill most of these characters off, why would Marvel want to do that to their IP?

Also, haven’t only two characters died so far? I’m pretty sure Darkhawk survived at the end of this week’s issue, since they didn’t show an empty life meter next to him like they did for the previous two deaths.

I agree. I am no fan of the book but they should’ve planned this a bit better.

It’s actually been a good read so far. It is, after all, just fiction and should be looked at that way. On top of that, there is always the possibility that these characters will come back at some point. Again, this is a comic book we are talking about. Enjoy it (or don’t) as it is.

People realize this is just a comic book right? I mean this guy sounds like he is trying to revolt under an oppressive government instead of a person who hates a comic book, this guy needs to sit back and calm down. Marvel does not care as long as it is selling well, not because fans who get angry about something they wrote, because fans get angry regularly.

Well…now we know there are at least 61 people that don’t understand how comicbook death works…

It gets a little scary when you read that and realize that there are also 61 people who might believe that these characters are real people being killed. Like if they killed Darkhawk or something they’d have to take a couple days bereavement from work/school.

it STARTS with the comic, Cody…
…actually it started in another medium by another author from (I think) another country.
I’m buying it. Enjoying it enough. Not my favorite title but I don’t know most of these characters. I loved Battle Royale. Never read 600 pages in 2 days before (or since). I appreciate where these fans are coming from, but they don’t stand a chance of stopping the title.
But hey, if they play their cards right, maybe Marvel will reach out and ask them to write the introduction to the book. Or quote them on the back cover.

This book has been the best surprise to come out of Marvel NOW. Excellent writing, artwork and character exploration. I’m hooked and can’t wait to see where it all goes.

I don’t view characters as so precious that they have to live forever in order for me to appreciate them. Besides, as many have already pointed out, this is comics. Death is only as permanent as the whims of the editors and writers make it.

The book’s solid, and I really dig it. Luckily we all know petitions are bullshit. Right Stephanie Brown fans?

I stated my issues with this title. Just like my issues with Jubilee becoming a vampire to cash in on Twilight/True Blood and my issues with Thunderbolts when Alonso launched it as Fight Club-Lite. I will never see these kinds of tactics as anything but cheap so in that I am in agreement with these people. However…after a rather heated conversation with Christos N Gage I have to side with him on this because frankly he’s right: If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Just for some personal satisfaction of at least knowing I’m a little right I did buy the first issue so I could put my money where my mouth is, and it was everything I expected and decided to drop the title. But it really is as simple as that. We don’t have to like everything. Hell, there are a lot of titles I feel some people keep reading less out of enjoyment and more out of a pattern. This is comics folks. The fact that we care about these characters so much says a lot about the writers who came before. If however there is a part of the storyline that we just feel isn’t appropriate for these characters then we can just choose to ignore it. And I am choosing to ignore this one. Same with Spidey if you don’t like Slott’s new direction (which I do like btw because he is not predicating his story on someone else’s IP).

I have no doubt that not a single character has died. If the characters of AVENGERS ARENA aren’t in an artificially created, Matrix-like program, I’ll eat a hat.

…and btw…I agree with a lot of you here despite my feelings on the story. It is comics. There are much bigger issues. :)

If the petition reaches 25,000 signatures, does the Obama White House have to respond?

On one hand, I cannot help agreeing with the person who made the petition. I have grown so tired of ‘grim and gritty’ superhero comics that are just writers’ adolescent blood and gore fantasies.
On the other hand, petitions for comics, in themselves, seem really lame to me. They really do not accomplish what you think they do. They actually create fresh publicity for the product and cause more people to buy it. For example, a woman made a petition to ban Married with Children years ago, and caused it to be the fox network’s number one show because of the large number of people who heard about the controversy and wanted to see what it was about. At the same time, when Ben Reilly became Spider-Man, it was not a petition that caused Peter Parker to go back to being Spider-Man, it was the fact that people stopped buying the comic.
In the end, the only way anyone can cause anything to be cancelled is to not buy it. You should really try that. I stopped buying stuff I figured would just aggravate me and just buy stuff I like, and I am a much calmer person now.

I personally don’t believe any of these characters are dead, and they are just in some sort of cyber arena. I mean come on, when did Arcade get these god like powers he has in the book

I read the first issue, didn’t like it, and promptly forgot this book existed until just now.

This is why people hate America. I can’t believe there are even 61 people in thie entire country who can’t find something better to do than start a stupid online petition to have a book cancelled. Probably the biggest waste of time I have ever heard of, on so many levels, and I am no stranger to time wasting. Here’s an idea – why don’t you just not buy the book and use whatever time you spent on the online petition to try and improve someone’s life in a small way, even if it’s your own?

@Joseph: “This is why people hate America. I can’t believe there are even 61 people in thie entire country who can’t find something better to do than start a stupid online petition to have a book cancelled. Probably the biggest waste of time I have ever heard of, on so many levels, and I am no stranger to time wasting.”

So, if you hate people that waste time and you’re no stranger to wasting time (that presumably includes posting on the internet about people that waste time), does that mean you hate yourself too?

Why not boycott a book that is poorly written?
Why not boycott Dynamite, who regularly milks their properties with MANY superfluous books?
Where’s the outrage around THAT cash grab?
Lastly, I’m no mind reader, but I don’t believe anyone who says Avengers Arena was “just what they expected”, unless what they expected was a really well written take on the Teen Kill Tournament genre, full of emotion, cool new characters, and deaths that resonated even from the first issue. I know I was ready to hate this book. I read it just so I could have an educated hatred. Now it’s one of my fave Marvel Now books. :/

Where can I find the petition to keep the title going because I’m enjoying reading it?

Or does the fact there are people who enjoy it become irrelevant because a bunch of entitled brats with little better to do with their time are neging all over the place?

Pardon my ignorance, but “neging?”

:)

The petition is cute and all but, aren’t they just adding fuel to the fire? Personally, I thought the premis was cliched and trying to cash in on Hunger Games. After reading about this petition, I went back out and bought the first issue and it was actually pretty good. Going back for the next two issues this weekend. Oh, and if the petition group should need a catch-phrase to chant outside the Marvel corporate office, how about ,”greedo always shot first!” ?

“Pardon my ignorance, but “neging?””

Typo. I meant to say “nerging.”

For that one, it’s a portmanteau of “nerd raging.” You see it a lot more in the video game community than the comic book community, but I feel it fits our little subculture much better.

“After reading about this petition, I went back out and bought the first issue and it was actually pretty good.”

Bwahahaha! Suck it, nerds! No publicity is bad publicity.

Wow, really…number 1, its a comicbook. number 2, the characters are not being killed. They are in a computer generated environment hence the God-like Arcade. Finally number 3, the book will be gone by summer’s end due to cancellation.

Yeah, I mean….I just choose not to read stuff. I don’t want to try to get someone canceled or ban it….there are real people working on this who likely need jobs and insurance.

The problem with this petition is that 62 of the 77 current signatures are all Songbird/Diamondback.

The only problem I have with the book as of now is the lack of characters to care about. The Runaways have hardly appeared, and other than Cammi’s surprise appearance, most of the heroes are brand new. It’s hard to become emotionally invested in characters when the stated intention is to butcher most of them. I guess that once Mettle died, I realized that this was exactly what it seemed…just a bloodbath. It would be nice if a story actually came out of this, but I miss Avengers Academy. And if I want a high school of superheroes, Wolverine and the X-Men is far superior. The bloodbath there is no less intense, but the characters are cared for by the writer.

“The bloodbath there is no less intense, but the characters are cared for by the writer.”

If you really think that Hopeless doesn’t care about these characters, you haven’t actually read the book.

His second issue was a massive writing success. Death Locket is one of the best new Marvel teens introduced in years. He’s left me outright terrified about her fate.

This was dead to me the moment I learned that Mettle died in it.

“The Runaways have hardly appeared, and other than Cammi’s surprise appearance, most of the heroes are brand new.”

I forgot to address this:

This is mostly due to the storytelling method. Hopeless has admitted he’s emulating Lost’s method of character progression in that the focus will be switching for a while between various protagonists (As such, the Runaways crew will be the focus of issue 4 as I recall).

He’ll focus on them, but with such a large cast, it’ll take a while to explore them all, just like with Lost.

As others have pointed out, the chances of any of the people killed in this book being permanent is pretty flipping slim. Also, as others have pointed out too – this book is pretty bad-ass and is definitley worth a read.

It seems weird to be getting upset over… it seems pretty obvious it is all happening in a VR world – I mean, unless Arcade hooked up with the Grand Master for infinite power, the story as is, seems clear that he’s set Murder World in their head and will be more a study of the characters being pushed to figure it out… but I doubt any of the deaths will stay in the end.

Also… despite the gimick of the story… it’s been a pretty cool display of character, especially Deathlockette and Cammi…

It’s comics. Nobody ever really dies and you can vote with your dollars and your feet.

Plus the petition is kind of redundant. One has to assume that the people who signed it aren’t buying the book. So, from a financial standpoint, who cares.

Huh.

I read Young Avengers, Avengers Academy, Initiative, Runaways, et. al…

…And I like this book.

Guess that makes me a jerk :p

I didn’t like the way AA was going (stopped reading after issue 2) but I don’t think it should be banned. Don’t like it, don’t buy it and let the market decide…

Bruno Buccellati

January 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

They have all right to complain. They supported Academy, Runaways and the other various team books just to receive the finger by Marvel’s editorial with this book.

I just can’t understand why Americans are so annoyed that people made their frustrations public and as costumers, are giving feedback. If I lived in the US, I’d sent at least a handwritten letter.

“I just can’t understand why Americans are so annoyed that people made their frustrations public and as costumers, are giving feedback. If I lived in the US, I’d sent at least a handwritten letter.”

It’s not that they’re giving feedback, it’s that they are actively seeking to take away something that others find entertaining simply because they don’t. And, of course, the overall fact that it’s just a comic book and ultimately, is a kind of worthless, pointless thing to get so worked up about. Don’t like it, don’t buy it.

Think how boring this comic would be if you knew all your favorite charcters in it are are safe? I have read avengers acadmey and the runaways, and by all means I’m not attached to them soo much that if they kill them off I’m going to hate marvel forever. The Avengers Arena comic is constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat and never knowing hats going to happen next. Also who cares if its a rip off of the hunger games and lord of he flies, its still better because instead of sticks and rocks to kill each other, they have super powers and all of our favorite charcters. Before people start judging it, lets let the series go on and see what happens with it. And if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

I personally wish they involved more established characters to be killing off, only reason I have been reading this title is Darkhawk, would be nice to see see characters that are long remembered but not in much use lately, say Silver Surfer, Vision, Dr. strange, Ghost Rider, Falcon, War Machine etc. now that would get interest major characters getting killed.

This series is nothing but snuff porn, and anyone who enjoys watching kids being tortured and killed for their enjoyment should at least stop trying to justify it beyond that. Hey, the SAW series of torture porn movies was built on satisfying this desire. Yes, it’s just a comic book. But the whole idea of the comic book world is to get the readers invested in the characters. So yes, the publisher and writer are showing how little they care about either their characters or the readers.

The ironic thing is, anyone enjoying this series is on Arcane’s side, enjoying and justifying torture and death simply for the amusement value. Oh, you’re betting it’s just mind rape instead of actual death? That makes it all right? No, just admit you have a bit of a sadistic monster in you and that’s what this series is all about. It’s all right. That’s why we have fantasy stories, to explore every part of ourselves safely.

If there was anything particularly interesting about the comic, it might at least have some artistic merit. There isn’t, though; there is nothing “deep” or “thoughtful” about any of this. It’s a ripoff of far superior material, and it’s using the death of children as a marketing ploy.

This comic is nothing but an appeal to the lowest common denominator. Marvel should be ashamed to have their brand on it.

I’m surprised most people haven’t spotted the transparent coming retcon inherent in this book’s plot:

The tip off is Arcade having god-like super-powers in the first issue. Arcade doesn’t have a history of god-like superpowers. What he does have is a history of creating artificial environments made of illusion and trickery to mess with heroes in. His Murder worlds. Clearly Arena ends with people waking up with VR helmets on and finding their ‘dead’ friends unconscious. The fact that no adult superheros have noticed the absence of dozens of well known young heroes means the whole thing is happening in accelerated time.

I’m pretty disgusted by this. Regardless of how you feel about the comic (I myself have been pleasantly surprised by it’s quality), petitioning to have it cancelled is just so pathetically childish. As others have said, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but don’t try to ruin it for those of us who do enjoy it, and don’t try to take work away from writers and artists because they killed off one of your favourite C-list superheroes. I’m honestly struggling to express my contempt for the people who made and signed this ridiculous petition without resorting to profanity; one can only say pathetic, self-centred, infantile and moronic in so many ways.

I’ve seen petitions on change . org calling attention to abuses of human rights, of freedom of speech, to corrupt politicians and to victims of true injustice. Those are the kinds of things worthy of petition, not some whiny brat crying about a comic they don’t like.

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