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SDCC 2023: What is Marvel's Next Big Thing? Find out here

C.B. Cebulski hosts an all-star panel of Marvelites including Nick Lowe, Zeb Wells, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing at San Diego Comic Con 2023.

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Comics is at San Diego Comic Con 2023, sharing with readers old and new insights into all the exciting things they have planned for their current and upcoming comics. In particular, the publsher is hosting a panel called "Marvel: Next Big Thing" in order to discuss, well, exactly that.

The panel is hosted by Marvel's Editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, who is joined by creators Nick Lowe, Zeb Wells, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing to discuss the future in store for your favorite superheroes form the House of Ideas. Don't miss this one, True Believers!

Can't make it to SDCC? Don't worry, Popverse will be live in the room for this panel to break the biggest news and the most interesting insights about the whole thing. You can follow along live with our play-by-play, or come back later for a beat-by-beat recap of the entire thing.

Follow along to Marvel's Next Big Thing panel from SDCC 2023, as it begins Saturday, July 22 at 3:00 PM PST, 6:00 PM EST.

Popverse saw it and did most of it, and you can find all about our guide to All the big news, magic, and moments from San Diego Comic-Con. And if you want to go to SDCC next year, we have the San Diego Comic-Con 2024 dates as well.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

It's five minutes or so before we're about to get going on the Marvel: Next Big Thing panel, and let me tell you -- this is one busy room here at San Diego Comic-Con. (We're in 6A, which is a bigger room than the earlier Marvel panels this weekend; it's still absolutely packed, and the line to get in is extraordinarily long. People want to see this panel.)
The logo is on the screen! Looks like we're about to begin.
Editor Nick Lowe is out here, joking, "I'm a little bit tired, can I get some energy from you guys?" IT'S A TRICK TO GET PEOPLE YELLING, DON'T FALL FOR IT! (We fell for it.)
"Are you all ready to meet some of the greatest creators in the world?" asks Nick. "AND we have a giveaway comic that's going to come around. When it comes around, only one per person. Uncle Ben is watching!"
Who else is on the panel? Gerry Duggan, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Sabir Pirzada, Zeb Wells, Sarah Brunstad, Jordan White, and Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, that's who. That's a packed line-up!
We're starting with Gerry Duggan talking Fall of X. "Autumn is coming, and without spoiling too much, the mutants on Krakoa have enjoyed a really long winning streak, and I think it's safe to say that some of the winning is over."
"Less than a week away, until this punches everybody in the guy," Jordan White says of X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 this upcoming week. Duggan says that that and Iron Man #8 in the same week are a "crossover in a can." (Is that an Iron Man pun?)
Fall of X "spans the X-Men books and Invincible Iron Man. The whole line is affected," Gerry says. "It will give Steve Rogers the reason to reform the Unity Squad." The full cast of Uncanny Avengers has not been revealed, he teases. Iron Man will have a new stealth armor as the result of Fall of X and Tony Stark's involvement.
"It's the wedding of two people who can't stand each other," Gerry says of the wedding between Tony Stark and Emma Frost. "If you are repulsed by this, I promise you this: you will only want more come September."
X-Men #26 and Invincible Iron Man #10 are the wedding issues. Gerry jokes that the two will "descend into the new hell of marriage" together.
X-Men #29 is the Doom's X-Men issue. "He was keeping it on the downlow," Gerry says about Doctor Doom having his own X-Men. The mutants in Latveria are "not ideologically aligned with the X-Men." The art comes from Joshua Cassara.
Jordan White points out that Ms. Marvel is on the cover of X-Men #29. "I think she's dead, though," Zeb Wells adds. White suggests everyone checks out Hellfire Gala #1 this week in case people are thinking the same thing.
We're looking at the covers for Uncanny Avengers #2-4. "The Fenris twins are so, so awful, and they're really important," Gerry says. "It's really, really important, this book." Follows the fallout of the Hellfire Gala, and Gerry promises some crazy reveals before December. (What is happening in December...?!?)
"There was a great teaser for what happens at the Hellfire Gala in this year's Free Comic Book Day issue," Jordan White says. "It sets up Uncanny Avengers."
Now it's Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing talking about the new series of Guardians of the Galaxy. "Starting in Guardians #1, we introduced the idea of Grootfall, a mysterious and seemingly evil Groot... the Guardians are down to a thin squad," Jackson says. "We are now looking at the Guardians in their most desperate time." What is Grootfall? What happened to the rest of the team? That's in Guardians of the Galaxy #6.
Jackson just talked about the "second half of our run" beginning in #7, with a cover featuring Wiccan and Hulkling... which means that we're not only getting new cast members, but apparently the new series is only 12 issues long? (Or, at least, Collin and Jackson are leaving after #12.)
We're seeing a cover reveal for Guardians #8, featuring the team... looking as if they're made out of wood. Huh.
Collin and Jackson are also writing the new Thunderbolts seris, with art by Geraldo Borges. "Hopefully a lot of you have been reading our run on Captain America, and what we wanted to do is continue some of those threads," says Collin. "We're taking a lot of the [villain] energy that [Bucky] has had and taking on evil before it's started."
Jackson likens Bucky's new status as being a mix of the Punisher attitude with the backing of an organization like SHIELD.
"These are not the Avengers," Jackson says; the team won't hang out, the characters in the Mahmud Asrar promo art that was released are not all going to show up together.
Collin and Jackson are writing 2023's Timeless one-shot issue, with art by Juann Cabal and a cover of Kael Ngu. "Welcome to the dark future of the Marvel Universe," says Jackson.
There is one hero standing at the end of time is the Immortal Moon Knight... but he needs checking in his own right, which is where Luke Cage comes in, a Power Man charged by the power of Iron Fist and the Hulk alike. That's Timeless 2023.
We're talking about the death and rebirth of Ms. Marvel. "She's coming back," says Nick Lowe, to some laughter from the audience. (That's what you get for bringing her back after less than two months, I guess.)
Sabir Pirzada is co-writing the series with the MCU's Kamala Khan, Iman Vellani. "When Iman joined [the project], everything just came to life," he says, saying that it's difficult to separate Iman from Kamala.
Kamala is going to be undercover at Empire State University on a mission for the X-Men, Sabir reveals. The cover for #2 has been revealed, with Kamala in the Danger Room.
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant is "one of the joys of Fall of X," Gerry says. "It's been a joy to watch it." Now we're seeing a trailer for the book.
The trailer shows animated versions of covers for the series, with the tagline, "Welcome to the X-Men, Ms. Marvel - hope you survive the experience!" That sounds familiar...
Nick Lowe is teasing Spider-Boy #1 from Dan Slott and Paco Medina, coming out November 2023. "I've been at Marvel for 21 years, and I've never seen anything like the fever behind this Spider-Boy character when he debuted," Nick says. "We have such huge plans for this character."
Hey, what's Zeb Wells doing after killing Ms. Marvel? He's going to a wedding, as Tombstone's daughter is getting married to Robbie Robertson in Amazing Spider-Man #31. The wedding will go so wrong that it'll lead into the big fall event, he says. "This story is huge, the issue is huge," Nick says. "The last few pages are going to tease something that we're not going to talk about here." It'll be 80 pages.
What's coming up in ASM? Zeb's take on Kraven's Last Hunt, with Peter Parker "in a very bad mood" hunting Kraven. Also upcoming? Rep-Rak, who'll return in November's ASM.
"Rep-Rak makes Ed McGuinness so happy," Zeb says.
Starting in November, Spider-Man: Gang War. Runs though December, according to Nick Lowe.
"We wanted to go back there and do a ground-level Spider-Man story, where Spider-Man gets his hands dirty," Zeb says. Starts with Amazing Spider-Man: Gang War - First Strike #1, by Zeb and Joey Vazquez, with a cover from John Romita Jr. "The city gets set on fire," Nick says.
Gang War will also include spinoffs, including Luke Cage: Gang War, by Rodney Barnes and Ramón F. Bachs, with covers by Caanan White. "We're so excited to be launching this new Luke Cage book."
Spider-Woman #1 by Steve Foxe and Carola Borelli launches in November with a Gang War tie-in. "It's a back to basics Spider-Woman series, it puts [Jessica Drew] in a really bad spot," says Nick.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12 by Cody Ziglar and Partha Pratim will also tie-in with Gang War.
The first official chapter of Gang War will be in Amazing Spider-Man #39, by Zeb and John Romita Jr. Features the debut of Spider-Man's special team for the arc: Peter, Miles Morales, Elektra Daredevil, Spider-Woman, and She-Hulk... with the cover for the issue featuring She-Hulk with barbed wire wrapped around her arms. (Peter has a baseball bat, as well.)
We have even more Gang War announcements? Yes we do: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu: Gang War #1 by Greg Pak (artist unknown) launches in December! Covers will be by David Aja, Nick Lowe says.
Daredevil: Gang War #1 also launches in December, and Elektra is at the center of it. It's by Erica Schutz and Sergio Dávila. (Wait, Elektra is still Daredevil after the Chip/Marco run...?)
There's a checklist on the screen for Gang War -- "Gang War: First Strike is November, then the main thing runs December 2023 through March 2024. It's bigger than Dark Web, Nick promises.
It's fan questions time! "Disclaimer here! We are Marvel Comics. Some of us do stuff with Marvel Studios, but we cannot answer questions about the movies or the games or whatever," Nick says, hoping for the best.
First question: What is the creators' ultimate goal they want for fans to feel when they read their work? "I think our gold standard is to make you feel something," Gerry says. "We want you to feel like you were both entertained and feel horror or joy, or feel something."
"My goal is always that I desperately want to be in the top 2 or 3 when you bring your stack [of comics] home," Zeb says. Sarah Brunstad says that comics can tell story through action in a way that other media can't.
"It's really great when you can write something, or edit something, that readers say they keep revisiting again and again and again," Jordan White says.
"When you do decide that character has to die, what is your process?" asks Mark. "I think I killed someone most recently?" says Zeb. "I think that a character's death should be a very special thing, and it should be a culmination of their character. It shouldn't just happen to them, you want to see them make the ultimate decisions."
"You only die once, wink wink," says Zeb. "I think that's the trick," says Jackson. "When we attack death in superhero comics... I think a big part of the point of it feels like it doesn't have meaning, it feels very random, very sad, and very shocking. What you're going to do is tell a story about how that death ultimately matters to those around them."
"Respecting your feelings for what these characters are going through is central to what we're doing as storytellers," says Collin. "We're sorry for Guardians of the Galaxy #6." "Get the tissues ready for Hellfire Gala when it comes out next week," adds Gerry. "We don't do it lightly."
Wesley asks how characters decide between creating new characters versus existing obscure characters. "I'll just talk about what it was like in the room hearing House of X when Jonathan [Hickman] was initially proposing that story," Gerry says. "We have so many mutants that are your favorites, that's why there were so many team books, so we could service so many of your favorites at once."
"Some of it depends on the situation, right?" Nick adds; does the story need to be told that couldn't use existing characters? That's where Spider-Boy came from. "We started on Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty with a character on the table that we thought had been forgotten," Jackson says, talking about the Destroyer, one of Stan Lee's first creations for Marvel. "We figured, if we don't pick this character up, who knows if anyone will ever pick this character up ever again?"
Richard, a fan with a fandom, is asking how everyone became comic fans. "I really fell in love with comics, I was in second grade, I fell off my bike and broke my arms, and my brother brought me a bag with two X-Men comics in it," Nick says. "There's lots of on-ramps to comics," Gerry says, saying that he was reading his dad's tabloids and comic books as a kid.
Sabir's first comic was an anti-smoking comic starring Spider-Man, Storm, and Luke Cage, but he really fell in love with comics when Marvel's Ultimate comics were released online as Marvel's Dot Comics. Remember those?!?
Austin says that he's getting caught up on Amazing Spider-Man, and asks Zeb Wells if he's had this stuff in his head since he was a kid. "All the stories that were in the back of my head were gone," Zeb says. "It's been a terrifying, fun journey."
Cole asks for advice for aspiring creators. "Write comics and finish them," Jackson says. "Finish that comic, and make another comic. And then finish THAT comic and make another comic. Make comics."
And that's the end of our time! We're not done with liveblogs at San Diego Comic-Con, though: we have another one tomorrow, with the Woman of Marvel panel. As always, thanks for reading along!