Hickman plans to leave X-Men after ‘Inferno’

The architect of the Krakoa era of the X-titles will move on to something new for Marvel after ‘Inferno.’

After relaunching the X-Men titles back in 2019 and writing some of the books over the course of the last two years, Jonathan Hickman told Entertainment Weekly that the upcoming Inferno will be his last X-book for now.

Hickman said that wasn’t his plan initially, but came about because of how well the current storyline has been received by the creators he’s been working with .

“Oh, plans have changed entirely,” Hickman told EW. “When I pitched the X-Men story I wanted to do, I pitched a very big, very broad, three-act, three-event narrative, the first of which was House of X. And while this loosely worked as a three-year plan, I told Marvel upfront that I honestly had no idea how long the first part would last because there were a lot of interesting ideas that I had seeded that other creators would want to play with, and so, we left this rather open-ended. I was also pretty clear with all the writers that came into the office what the initial, three-act plan was so no one would be surprised when it was time for the line to pivot.”

Hickman added that instead of serving as a first act, the changes that came with House of X felt more like Giant-Size X-Men #1, which introduced the world to a new team and status quo for the X-Men (and also involved Krakoa).

“So, during the pandemic, when the time came for me to start pointing things toward writing the second-act event, I asked everyone if they were ready for me to do that, and to a man, everyone wanted to stay in the first act,” Hickman said. “It was really interesting, because I appreciated that House of X resonated with them to the extent that they didn’t want it to end, but the reality was that I knew I would be leaving the line early.”

But this doesn’t mark the end of his work for Marvel. After setting up the X-line for the foreseeable future, Hickman will move on to something else for the publisher. He also said to expect a weekly X-series in January that “that leads into the very cool, refocused, line of books.”

The article was one of two stories posted by Entertainment Weekly this week on the X-Men. The other one features several creators, including Hickman, reflecting on their work thus far. It’s long, but definitely worth a read if you’re into the current X-Men titles.

And if you enjoyed the world-building that was on display in the X-Men titles over the last couple years, you should definitely check out Hickman’s “Three Worlds. Three Moons” Substack newsletter. Hickman was one of several creators mentioned in the initial Substack announcement, and he’s been working with Al Ewing, Ram V, Tini Howard, Mike Del Mundo and Mike Huddleston to build out a brand new universe for their Substack stories.

And to tie this together with the Inferno announcement, Hickman revealed in one of the early newsletters that in 2020 near the beginning of the pandemic, when Diamond shut down and print comics weren’t being distributed, he actually put together a pitch for a digital line of X-Men comics:

But the biggest thing I wanted to try never came to fruition because Diamond (our largest comic book distributor in the North American comic industry) was able to get back up in the middle of the pandemic and start shipping books again, when, for a few weeks, it looked like they might not be able to. This was a good thing, of course, but when the news first hit that they were halting distribution, Marvel paused a huge chunk of their line and I was pretty concerned that the company would make increasingly radical decisions regarding content and deliverability because the one thing Marvel doesn’t tolerate is a prolonged assault on profit margins. 

So with the mindset of chaos breeds opportunity, I sat down and wrote up a plan to take the entire X-line digital. 

Which went absolutely nowhere because Diamond and the market recovered. Again, that was great because everyone had their jobs restarted and the stores got to stay open and the fans got to have new comics to read, but there were some pretty great ideas baked into the plan I wrote and I was secretly kind of bummed that I wouldn’t be able to try them.

And then this opportunity presented itself.

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