Petitions are everywhere these days. With quick access online from a variety of platforms, it’s easier than ever for interested people to engage their authorities en masse and appeal for change. We’ve seen a petitions to Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government, ban Lion Burgers, and to request that President Obama be impeached.
Now comic book fans are getting in on the action, using Change.org to mount a petition calling for the cancellation of Marvel Comics’ Avengers Arena. The controversial title has drawn criticism from some fans for what they see as unwarranted killing off of a large number of younger Marvel heroes.
The entire concept behind this book is that a group of Marvel’s next-generation characters are kidnapped to a remote island, where they are forced to battle until there is only one survivor. If this concept sounds familiar, that’s by design. The title has heavily marketed its derivative nature, with homage covers that reference Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and more.
What’s particularly fascinating about this petition is that it touches on a long-running criticism levied by the fan community against comic book publishers, especially Marvel. Character deaths are used, with varying degrees of effectiveness, by most of the mainstream publishers, as a way to raise the stakes on a given title. One can point to those events that got national media coverage, going all the way back to Superman in 1994 and, most recently, the ending of Amazing Spider-Man.
It has become so widespread that comic fans (with the exceptions of those who take it seriously enough to level death threats against writer Dan Slott) have begun to acknowledge that comic death is, at best, impermanent.
Whether this campaign will be successful is something worth watching. The petition is seeking 30,000 signatories, a number which, if met, would represent numbers sufficient to either make or break the title in terms of sales.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on it here at Capeless, so keep it tuned here for more news as it develops.