This is a thing. I didn't expect it to be, and I actually kind of hoped it wouldn't be, but now it is, and ever will be, a thing. I should've waded gently into comics. Maybe dove in headfirst. Instead I tossed my heart in and now I'm drowning in an attempt to retrieve it. Joke's on me, I guess.
The funny (read: tragic) thing is, if fans would stop being so darn selfish, they might actually be able to create change. Might, not would, but still.
Thing is, there are a ton of people who really, really don't want at least one character in Avengers Arena to die. I'd guess the largest contingency of these people are Laura fans like myself, but there's a decent smattering of Academy and Runaways fans in there as well. We all have a common interest: that either this book goes away and never happened, or it happens but doesn't actually kill any of the characters. Some people have more reason for desperation than others, as their favorites are actually already dead. But nothing's for granted, not even Laura. Heck, I'd say especially Laura, because for a book that's all about trying to shock people and saying "see, and you didn't think we would go there," killing the supposedly favorite and invulnerable X-23 is just Arena's style.
There are far too many people, in my opinion, who are accepting this book on the assumption that either it's inevitable (so may as well make the most of it) or that their character might survive, and the rest be damned. Rather than turning their anger and frustration on Hopeless and Marvel, these fans have been turning on one another, either dismissing or mocking fans of other characters while asserting that either they assume their favorite is okay, or that they don't have too much investment in the characters to worry.
What bothers me more than that, almost (but not quite), is the people who like these characters and are buying the book. I absolutely cannot get my head around that. Grim fascination and/or eagerness to know if your favorite is lost can easily be served by reading just about any site on the web -- this one included -- which will be rife with spoilers and screenshots. The only thing your purchase of the comic does is convey to Marvel that you like what they're doing and want it to continue. If you actually "really hope this isn't real" or "really hope so-and-so doesn't die," then stop buying the comic, and be more vocal about it online. Ask other people, who don't much care one way or the other, to join you in refusing to buy it -- tell them if the protest fails and the series continues, they can always go back and buy the books easily and cheaply enough.
We don't need petitions. We don't need a million angry threads or flame-baiting posts on every article even tangentially connected to Hopeless and Arena.
What we do need -- and by "we" I mean anyone who wants any of these characters to live -- is to be organized in our refusal to buy the comic and in our ability to calmly and reasonably recruit people who don't care either way over to our side. We cannot make other people know or love these characters, but we can show them that we care, and that it would mean a lot, from one comic fan to another, if a little solidarity could be shown.
It's the kind thing to do. I know that's a crazy idea, being kind, but if the comic community can't lend a helping hand to its own, then we've all learned nothing from these "heroes," and everything that comics are supposed to be good for is a sham.
So what'll it be? Will people read this and agree? Or will I just get a million trolls calling me an emotional "manchild" who should shut up because "it's just fictional characters?" Do I come off as hilarious, as silly, as immature? I hope I don't.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal. But you know, if we used this as a rallying point to come together and send a message about how we want Marvel, and comics in general, to look in the coming years, then maybe it could be a big deal.
Time, as ever, will tell.
Thanks for reading.