Game Over.

Let's begin with an anthology. Once upon a time, I discovered the existence of Avengers Arena, and I wrote a lot about it. How much? Well...

Marvel NO.

Marvel NO, #2.

Marvel NO: REDUX.

(Adam joins Comic Vine specifically to complain about this series)

Because I've Never Been One to Keep My Mouth Shut...

A Few Thoughts on Avengers Arena...

The Rather Gaping Hole(s) That Will Need to be Filled

Hopeless. Heartless. Careless?

"You won't want to miss this," they said.

How Would You React if...

Issue #7 is out. So let's talk.

I've also contributed to every conversation even tangentially associated with the book. I may have started other threads and can't find them right now. The point is, I've had a lot to say. And through it all, one point remained constant: this book, and what it said to me about Marvel in general, was going to be a lynchpin.

Today, at C2E2, Marvel confirmed a few things about Avengers Arena. First of all, campaigns to boycott or cancel the book have soundly failed. Hopeless and Rosemann introduced the cover for #14 as the beginning of a new story arc which will last at least until #18, by which point according to Hopeman, "you'll know who won/survived Arcade's twisted game." (Oh and in case you missed it in Issue 7, Hopeman clarifies in that interview that the virtual reality thing was never meant to be implied and that readers have been tricking themselves into thinking it might be).

But with ten issues to go, there are a lot of kids alive. That's not going to last. As Hopeman begins another interview, "Most of them won't make it, and those who do will be fundamentally changed." Most won't make it. That might have been obvious to some people, but for those who had been holding on with some degree of hope that the deaths would be few before the kids outsmarted Arcade and escaped...stop hoping. As for the ones who live? I've said before that as much as I want X-23 to survive, doing so would basically reverse all the character development every other writer had ever put into her to keep her from stuff like this. Fundamentally changed indeed. More like fundamentally ruined.

And as I considered that, I realized that Laura is already dead. Her "survival" has been taken for granted by so many people that I've already pretty much come to terms with the fact that her winning would be too obvious. I don't know what ostensibly "shocking" way Hopeless has in mind to make her lose, but it won't shock me at all. She's the fan favorite and considered an unfair match. She's going to die.

And the fact that the alternative is that she lives, having killed her friends and been forced once again to be used for someone else's bloody purposes, leaves me with little to hold onto.

Meanwhile, what of the others? I own every volume of Runaways ever published. I had been planning to read Avengers Academy in trades. And now, what for? What's the use of going back and falling in love with more characters the way I did with X-23, when I know they're destined for this? When I look at the odds and have now had guaranteed that at least some, if not all of them, will die?

Why, in fact, invest in Marvel characters at all, when they can be tossed into a meat grinder like this (for at the end of the day, that's what it is -- and don't forget the part where Marvel themselves marketed the book to people who wanted to see the roster of teen characters shrink)? When all the protesting in the world is irrelevant, and when there's always another person on the CV or CBR or Twitter to celebrate that killing and mock your pain and impotence? When money really does triumph over heart?

I'm sick of playing games.

With C2E2's news, I'm officially looking at a Game Over screen with Marvel Comics.

That means I am, today, removing all Marvel books from my pull list. I will not go back and buy their trades or back issues. I'm not even going to read the hundreds of free books I just got in the past month's promotion.

On this screen, I see the immortal word flashing: "Continue?"

The countdown timer begins.

10

9

8

...

It's not over until we hit zero. And because I don't want to make an oath I can't hold to, I am not going to make a permanent declaration just yet. But unless Hopeless and Rosemann blow me away with how Arena turns out, I will let that timer run dry, and I will promise never to buy another Marvel product ever again.

I envy those of you who are able to read comics (or anything, really) and not get emotionally invested. The ones for whom the fictional nature of a character means you never really care what happens. The ones who can say "oh well" and move on and not really be hurt. But I'm not like that, and this book has proved to be my breaking point.

Congratulations, folks who are sick of hearing from me about it. This is likely the last blog on the topic. And you won't see me tossing my two cents in on all of the conversations because I no longer care what happens. I'll inevitably hear about this character or that one biting the dust, and it will still hurt, but I'll have already been in mourning. Short of a miraculous resurrection, Marvel is already dead to me.

/gets off soapbox

/prematurely flips the bird to anyone who comes in here to mock me

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Edited by Ellie_Knightfall

Kudos to you for putting your money where your mouth is.

After the cancellation of X-Factor, I'm down to pulling one Marvel book. Once that gets cancelled, I'm done. I'll pick up stuff that interests me in trades (like Uncanny X-Men), but it's just one disappointment after another.

Posted by akbogert

@ellie_knightfall: It's a real shame. I was enjoying UXM and ANXM and the discussions about them. I was looking forward to the estrogen-fueled X-Men. And there are a lot of characters I really do think I'd love. But at the end of the day my brief relationship with Marvel has proven more abusive than rewarding... I think I"ll go listen to "Love the Way You Lie" or something, haha.

Edited by Ravager4

I once again applaud another well written blog on your part. I've read everything you've written about this topic and have agreed with all of it. It is a true tragedy that characters like this always seemed to be destined for death or worse. And you're right, there is no point in getting invested in them because of that. It's worse when you consider, say, the Runaways, where the whole theme of the series was forming tight bonds of friendship, surviving, and overcoming the horrors that life threw at you. Taking characters from that series and putting them in this story, where their purpose is likely to just die, completely nullifies any meaning or purpose that their previous stories had, and that is a real slap in the face to their fans.

I've already given up on Marvel completely, and to be honest DC is holding on by a thin thread. I am very close to giving up mainstream comics altogether and sticking with indies, where I don't get constantly abused as a reader. It really is sad how little creators in the big 2 seem to care about anything except dollar signs.

Game over, indeed.

Posted by akbogert

@ravager4: First, thanks. And second, futile or not, I do again hope that you will be able to find a way to not let this book make you enemies with X-23 (or, more accurately, with her loyal fans).

At the end of the first trade of Runaways, BKV included the original pitch he sent to Marvel, in which he had this to say about his reasons for making the book (emphasis added):

...Marvel could use a new all-ages series that's smart and edgy, but also PG-rated and absolutely continuity-free. I'm confident The Runaways can be that book. Combining action, romance, humor, and some Harry Potter-style darkness, The Runaways is a series that older readers will definitely enjoy, and a book that retailers can confidently put into the hands of younger customers.

I don't care where people stand on Avengers Arena. At this point it doesn't matter, so if you're able to love it, more power to you. But no matter what you feel about it, I want you to stop and take a good hard look at that quote. At the heart of the person who created Nico and Chase, at the sorts of stories he envisioned telling with them. At the fact that he wanted kids to be able to read stories with them in them, and not have to worry about it getting too dark or gritty.

Now look at Avengers Arena and just think about how far off the mark his vision has been twisted. He's not a fan. He's not a reader. He's a creator who worked for the company, and this is what they chose to do with what he gave them. If that doesn't make you a little uncomfortable, I don't know what will.

Edited by Ravager4

You seem to have misunderstood what I was saying to you earlier. Whatever happens in this book, and if some select things do happen that do make me hate Laura, that doesn't mean I'd suddenly hate her fans, too (at least those who don't act like dicks and rub it in or anything). It wouldn't be your fault that any of it happened and I have no issue if you continue to like her, but to me personally, if a couple certain things do happen, then that's just how it is in regards to the character (and only the character). No one's fault except Hopeless'.

Posted by akbogert

@ravager4: I didn't misunderstand (though I can see how what I said might convey that). I just mean that there's bound to be enmity between you and, say, me if you're frustrated by mention or sight of the character I love to see and talk about. Truly blaming Hopeless would mean not even taking it out on the character -- liking or disliking her the same as you did before the book even started, and treating the book as non-canon in your head. It would be saying "Dennis Hopeless killed _____" instead of "Hopeless had X-23 kill _____." That's what I'd hope for you to do, though I understand it's not exactly easy.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I'v been kicked in the teeth far to many times by DC/Marvel that I actually don't read any of there books now and haven't done for months. There are clearly not being aimed at pepole with my tastes, with every character/book that'v liked being changed to something I have ether no interest in or actively dislike. This Avengers Arena book is just one reason in a long list of why I hit the Game Over screen a long time ago.

Posted by Ravager4

Yeah my brain doesn't work that way, sorry. I will say it again, though, me hating a certain character doesn't make me hate their fans (except in extreme cases where I've come to hate a character BECAUSE of their fans... Storm, for example). So it's a character that you like talking about... yeah, okay? So I'll just avoid those topics, lol. Simple. But don't expect me to just look straight past her to the writer. While I know at the end of the day, it is ALL Hopeless, if Laura is his chosen tool... well, that's just me. My brain isn't wired in a way that allows me to ignore that.

Edited by Pyrogram

@akbogert: This is true, Marvel are fast becoming less important to me quickly, the last thing I read was like.... 2 weeks ago...And that was recommended. Marvel have run out of ideas so delve into the ideas of doing this to characters. Slightly pathetic.

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Posted by Nerx

Marvel have been focusing to much on big events that fans lose touch with the characters they love, but if you feel upset then just torrent that sh!t. No need spending money for something you hate, plus that is a good way to take a stab at them.

Posted by akbogert

Well, glad to see my pre-emptive wave to douchebags won't be going without a recipient.

@jonny_anonymous: Indeed, while I'm new enough to DC that I've not been burned yet, pretty much everyone I know who has been devoted to them has been made livid by at least one aspect of the New 52 situation. Having come to where I am with Laura, I can empathize a bit with those who don't know which is worse: the favorite characters who no longer exist, or the ones who exist in name only and have otherwise been distorted past recognition. I'm actively expanding my indie repertoire. This will mean a little more money for doing so, I guess.

@ravager4: Hey, like I said, that's just what I hope for. I completely understand not being able to do it.

Posted by Pyrogram

@nerx said:

Marvel have been focusing to much on big events that fans lose touch with the characters they love, but if you feel upset then just torrent that sh!t. No need spending money for something you hate, plus that is a good way to take a stab at them.

@akbogert: Dude, This is when Torrenting becomes Ethical >_>

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Posted by akbogert

@pyrogram: Haha. I did find it amusing that my notification of that post (suggesting I torrent) coincided with my notification of you posting.

@nerx Suffice to say I'm pretty hardline Lawful Good when it comes to things like that :P

Edited by Pyrogram

@akbogert: Hey, if you are so pissed, Don't spend money on it, just buy, life was not made to be hard, and at the end of the day, these are just comics, if you don't like, don't read :P

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Posted by akbogert

@pyrogram: Haha. This whole blog could possibly be summed in "I don't like, so I won't read" :P

Posted by Pyrogram
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Edited by akbogert

@pyrogram: But I never did claim to be brief :P

Also, I've had people over the months tell me they look forward to and read my commentaries on this series, so I figured it was worth letting folks know not to expect much more in that regard, and why.

Edited by End_Boss
@akbogert said:

Well, glad to see my pre-emptive wave to douchebags won't be going without a recipient.

Edited by Pyrogram
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Edited by Nerx

@akbogert: Be a rebel kiddo, screw them over >.>

Posted by Jaegerjaquez

I think I like you.

Posted by Mercy_

@end_boss: C'mon. That's really not necessary.

@nerx said:

Marvel have been focusing to much on big events that fans lose touch with the characters they love, but if you feel upset then just torrent that sh!t. No need spending money for something you hate, plus that is a good way to take a stab at them.

You've been here long enough to know the rules, man. CV doesn't endorse piracy or torrenting and talk of it in the forums is prohibited.

Moderator
Posted by akbogert

@jaegerjaquez said:

I think I like you.

Be careful. I've been told I give off "odd vibes" today.

@mercy_: Merci, Mercy.

...

For the so-inclined to really get their money's worth from me, I had a friend try to convince me to renege on my decision. I've actually had a few people (as when I first suggested that this book might lead me to doing so) try to talk me down from the "no more Marvel" ledge. Suffice to say, I used the Continue? timer for a reason -- my mind isn't absolutely set, I may choose to make some exceptions, even if it means a willingness to pick up the occasional trades or back issues.

But in the meantime, I felt compelled to very explicitly tell him why I felt so strongly, and so if anyone's interested, that explanation is here.

Posted by Aiden Cross

I'm sorry to hear that, mate. I've followed your blogs and although i do not read this title (thankfully, if i judge it by your words) I do feel your pain. I've been leaning more and more towards independent comics, and currently the only Marvel title i'm still reading is the Gambit solo series. But i have to commend you for sticking by your words, it's a rare thing these days :)

Edited by Pyrogram

I'm sorry to hear that, mate. I've followed your blogs and although i do not read this title (thankfully, if i judge it by your words) I do feel your pain. I've been leaning more and more towards independent comics, and currently the only Marvel title i'm still reading is the Gambit solo series. But i have to commend you for sticking by your words, it's a rare thing these days :)

I was looking into the Gambit series...is it any good then? I take it as you are reading it, its a thumbs up?

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Edited by akbogert

@pyrogram said:

@aiden_cross said:

I'm sorry to hear that, mate. I've followed your blogs and although i do not read this title (thankfully, if i judge it by your words) I do feel your pain. I've been leaning more and more towards independent comics, and currently the only Marvel title i'm still reading is the Gambit solo series. But i have to commend you for sticking by your words, it's a rare thing these days :)

I was looking into the Gambit series...is it any good then? I take it as you are reading it, its a thumbs up?

Funny, Aiden, you're the second person today to tell me that Gambit is the only Marvel book you're still following. So I'm guessing it can't be too bad... unless you and Ellie are the same person >_>

Posted by Pyrogram
@akbogert said:

@pyrogram said:

@aiden_cross said:

I'm sorry to hear that, mate. I've followed your blogs and although i do not read this title (thankfully, if i judge it by your words) I do feel your pain. I've been leaning more and more towards independent comics, and currently the only Marvel title i'm still reading is the Gambit solo series. But i have to commend you for sticking by your words, it's a rare thing these days :)

I was looking into the Gambit series...is it any good then? I take it as you are reading it, its a thumbs up?

Funny, Aiden, you're the second person today to tell me that Gambit is the only Marvel book you're still following. So I'm guessing it can't be too bad... unless you and Ellie are the same person >_>

Aiden wishes :P

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Posted by Aiden Cross

@akbogert that's a pretty big compliment to be seen in the same light as Ellie ;)

But i do enjoy the Gambit series, i think it's a consistentand solid series. I've also read a few issues of Hawkeye and that's good as well. Those two i'd recommend :)

@pyrogram Who doesn't? :O

And the Gambit series is good yup! I wouldn't say spectaculair but it's a solid read imo.

Posted by Pyrogram
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Posted by Aiden Cross

@pyrogram if you hate, i take no responsibility :p

Posted by Pyrogram

@aiden_cross: Nah, I think your judgement is fine enough for me! Gambler also said its good, so thats 2 good vs no bad comments :P

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Posted by Aiden Cross

@pyrogram ah well, Gamblers opinion carries more weight than mine, he's a huge Gambit fan :)

Posted by Pyrogram

@aiden_cross: Nonsense, Your opinion is as valid as his! ONLY JOKING! HEHEHE

Double joke!

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Edited by End_Boss

@mercy_: Aw, poo. Fine, spoil my fun.

Posted by Jaegerjaquez

@akbogert: No, no. I read all your things, and I agree. With the small exception that I love Chase and Nico in addition to X-23.

Posted by RazzaTazz

I have learned that if something is really bothering you that it is better to put it down or put it away. It is only fiction after all, it does not really exist.

I would drop WW for what DC has done to her, except I have kind of read most of the series and don't want to give up such a streak. For something like Avengers Arena though which will likely end up getting ret-conned away from existence you shouldnt lose too much sleep over it.

Luke 12:25

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Posted by akbogert

@jaegerjaquez: Well, I have read the first four volumes of Runaways and I own all of them (took a hiatus for a while, sadly, but I've meant to return). I'm not as invested in them but they are certainly second and third on the preference list after Laura. And I'm sure if I'd read Academy I'd be having a real heart attack right now rather than just ranting about feeling like one.

Also, you read all of them? Haha. I think I like you.

@razzatazz: Quite fair, regarding the impotence of worrying. I suppose that's why I'm not going to give this series my attention anymore, not in the manner I'd been. That said (and I addressed this in my other blog, which I linked to a few comments back), I'm not willing to wait years for Marvel to admit this was terrible and retcon it. Perhaps if a retcon does happen, that will be sufficient for me to sigh and hit "continue." But I hardly consider that inevitable, and if it is, it's no more inevitable than the fact that Marvel will sooner or later craft some new series or event which infuriates me just as badly.

Condolences for Diana, by the way. I feel like I need to apologize to all DC fans, usually. I know no one who got through the New 52 transition without gruesome emotional scars.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@akbogert: Ret-cons of characters' deaths are inevitable. I think the past even certain characters have died only for writers to use them again with no knowledge of that death.

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Edited by Ravager4

@razzatazz: I'm pretty sure he has explained rather well why the whole "inevitable retcon" argument is not a valid deterrent for himself and others in this case...

Posted by Xwraith

I only have one Marvel book on my pull-list... and it doesn't come out until a month from now.

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Posted by RazzaTazz

@ravager4 said:

@razzatazz: I'm pretty sure he has explained rather well why the whole "inevitable retcon" argument is not a valid deterrent for himself and others in this case...

Well then make sure to stick by it and to stay away from the characters when times are good, not only bad.

Moderator
Posted by Ravager4

@razzatazz: Uh huh... spoken like a truly indoctrinated comic fanatic.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@ravager4: I am the fanatic? I read two titles from the big two right now. I read a lot of Zenescope, Dynamite and Image though.

Moderator
Edited by Ravager4

@razzatazz: What I mean is that, from your responses, you seem to be the type of fan who, if a company told you that some of your favorite characters were unimportant and then threw them into a book to be slaughtered, you could put your blinders on and say "oh that's okay, they'll be back in two or five or ten years, I can wait" and then go on your merry way, because well that's just how comics are supposed to be. I don't understand how, but good for you if you can. Not all fans think that way, however, nor should they be expected to think that way.

Now if you're not that type of fan, well then I apologize for the assumption, but in that case it would strike me as odd that you're telling someone to just not worry because some of these characters might be back within a decade or so.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@ravager4: Well you and I are writers. I think we have the best approach to solving the problems of our favourite characters. When writers succumb to market forces instead of creative impulses then it is time to write your own and give up on the industry as a whole. The OP does not write fiction (that I know of) and so therefore the best suggestion I could come up with was to wait it out or forget it completely.

Moderator
Edited by Ravager4

@razzatazz: Well I'm not going to give up on the industry as a whole, I've put too much time and love into it and I still remember why I first got into comics, even if that doesn't seem to be why comics are written anymore (at least not from the big 2), and I don't accept defeat that easily. That's why I am writing my own stuff... original stuff, to be precise. I've always wanted to get into comics before as a writer, because I love the medium and I think there is still a lot of good it can offer its readers, but ever since I've seen this brutal new trend, I've been more determined than ever to make something happen. Been working on scripts for the past year or so, working with artists, putting together a pitch for a project right now, and I'll be damned if I stop trying before I get in.

It's things like this, though, that make it so frustrating to love comics. As a writer myself, it wounds me to my soul to see characters treated this way, especially ones that I love. Regardless of whether or not they might be back in ten years, it still hurts right now, and there's no changing that. Characters are the lifeblood of any story you will ever write. Without them, you have no story. They should be treated with love, care, and respect, not as disposable plot points that can be changed to fit whatever story you want to tell. The story should be molded to fit the characters, not the other way around. I could never dream of being this disrespectful to my own characters, let alone other people's creations. It's just a sad, sad example of some of the more disturbing things in comics that unfortunately overshadow a lot of the good, for many the casual reader and longtime fan alike.

Edited by RazzaTazz

@ravager4: I have read some of your stuff before. I think you are too good to write comics honestly, for reasons that you state - that you care about the characters too much. Perhaps better path for you would be NY Times bestseller then to be offered a comic position like some famous writers get. I think if you broke into the industry without enough cred behind you that you would find yourself going up against a brick wall. You would have a great idea and then the editor or publisher would say "awesome! but let's also make the character have break dancing robot as a sidekick."

Moderator
Posted by Ravager4

@ravager4: I have read some of your stuff before. I think you are too good to write comics honestly, for reasons that you state - that you care about the characters too much. Perhaps better path for you would be NY Times bestseller then to be offered a comic position like some famous writers get. I think if you broke into the industry without enough cred behind you that you would find yourself going up against a brick wall. You would have a great idea and then the editor or publisher would say "awesome! but let's also make the character have break dancing robot as a sidekick."

See, that's the thing, though. I want to do what I really love, and quite frankly I like scripting comics and seeing them come to life with wonderful art a lot more than I do writing a novel (which I've tried multiple times before, and burned out halfway through every time). I also have no desire to work for DC or Marvel, not that a newcomer would start there anyway. With creator owned work, such as stuff published by Image, for example, there is no editor interference, because you maintain the ownership of your property. You're able to write the story how it's meant to be written, without someone suddenly coming in and going, "hey, you know what would be cool? Kill off that one character to give that other character some angst. Yeah, do that. Or your fired."

Posted by RazzaTazz

@ravager4: That being the case then I retract my suggestion to write books. Best of luck, I think you have what it takes. You should see if you can get in on something like Womanthology: Space.

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