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Marvel’s ‘Next Big Thing’ Panel: Jeff Parker’s Red She-Hulk, the Future of the Runaways, X-Factor’s ‘Breaking Points’, Polaris’s Dad and Neal Adams’s ‘First X-Men’ [SDCC]

Marvel’s Director of Communications – Publishing & Digital Media Arune Singh introduced the members of the publisher’s “Next Big Thing” panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday: Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, editor Sana Amanat, talent scout C.B. Cebulski, writer Marjorie Liu, James Asmus, Daniel Way, Peter David, editor Jeanine Schaefer, writer Joe Keatinge and bona fide comics legend Neal Adams. The transition from Hulk to Red She-Hulk for Jeff Parker was discussed, as well as what it might mean for the future of the Hulk franchise; Peter David discussed his apocalyptic X-Factor arc “Breaking Points” (and definitively revealed Polaris’s parentage!); plans for the Runaways characters were teased; and Neal Adams provided insight as to the relationship between Wolverine and the First X-Men.

Introducing his Gambit ongoing, Asmus described it as a “super-sexy, fairly sophisticated thief thriller” where “you’re going to get satisfied every month by Gambit.” It will also start out with a shower scene that Asmus said was appropriate for the character, all with tongue planted fairly firmly in cheek.

Regarding Marjorie Liu’s Astonishing X-Men, Liu described the challenges of working on and promoting the Northstar/Kyle marriage, stating that they wanted to ensure it wasn’t a stunt, and that stories were built out of the marriage. October will have a special honeymoon issue to explore Kyle and Northstar’s relationship outside of the context of the X-Men.

Marvel then announced Daniel Way will be wrapping up his run on Deadpool, although Way will continue to a new title that matches the irreverent sensibilities he brought to that character, and Deadpool itself will continue with a new creative team.

Regarding X-Factor, Peter David said that the next few issues of the title would be very eventful — #240 is a one-off starring Layla Miller riffing on the movie Run Lola Run, and will be followed by a five-issue arc called “Breaking Points” that David described as the culmination of every single dangling plot point from his entire run, while also introducing new ones. He promised issue #245 would not be the last issue of the series, despite its ominous cover. Singh stated that the book was one of the most solid sellers at Marvel, almost never losing readers. When asked in Q&A if Marvel would ever delve into Polaris’s history more, Peter David stated that this would be an issue of “Breaking Points,” and that the question wouldn’t be whether or not Lorna was Magneto’s daughter — as far as David is concerned, she is.

Jeff Parker’s Hulk will become Red She-Hulk as of issue #58, drawn by Carlo Pagulayan. Singh pointed out that the events of Red She-Hulk will greatly shape what happens to the Hulk line in the Marvel NOW! initiative. In the Q&A session, it was pointed out that this arc would place Red She-Hulk at odds with the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Joe Keatinge talked about his miniseries Thanos: Son of Titan, which he’s doing with Journey Into Mystery artist Rich Elson. He described reading the first issue of Infinity Gauntlet as a child and being fascinated by Thanos, who hadn’t appeared for a while before that, and seeking out everything he could find about the character’s history, saying he wants to bring that passion to this project.

Neal Adams talked about his First X-Men book with Christos Gage. Although he stated he was reticent to discuss it without Gage being there, he described the story being about the early days of mutants before the formation of the original X-Men, and features Logan bringing mutants together as well as explaining the close emotional connection between Logan and the X-Men as well as the relationship between Sabretooth and Wolverine.

When asked about Doctor Strange, Alonso explained that the major problem with Doctor Strange is that Marvel needs to figure out what magic can and can’t do in the universe, and that they’re reticent to launch a new Doctor Strange feature until it’s perfect.

On the Runaways front, Singh responded to a question by pointing out that many Runaways characters will be in a new ongoing series not called Runaways. He provided a similar answer to a question about the future of the characters from Secret Warriors.

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