Marvel is making a major change to this year's Hellfire Gala, the (now) annual interactive event that lets Marvel fans vote on a new team of X-Men. The Hellfire Gala is just one of the big crossover events that Marvel has launched in its rebooted "House of X" era of the X-Men – and ultimately one of the biggest promotional successes. However, a lot of Marvel fans were also critical of the Rashamon-style story Hellfire Gala tried to tell across so many comic book issues – so now, Marvel Comics has chosen to simplify things!
The 2022 X-Men Hellfire Gala even won't be an entire crossover story that rolls out across the X-Men books, instead, it will be a one-shot that reveals the new X-Men team lineup in one issue!
Marvel's X-Men creative team started teasing the yearly Hellifire Gala event during Marvel's X-Men Comic-Con At Home panel 2021, with X-Men and Marauders' Gerry Duggan stating, "The interesting way we're gonna do this from now on is, we'll have a yearly Hellfire Gala with a newly elected team...perhaps." It's Duggan now confirming the new state of affairs, tweeting that:
"#XMenVote ends soon. You'll see more of ALL the candidates whether they win or not. We let you in on the vote b/c it's fun. Please go easy on each other. It's a cruel world, be kind, and read the X-Men Hellfire Gala one shot to learn who won."
#XMenVote ends soon. You'll see more of ALL the candidates whether they win or not. We let you in on the vote b/c it's fun. Please go easy on each other. It's a cruel world, be kind, and read the X-Men Hellfire Gala one shot to learn who won.— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) January 14, 2022
At the same time, there were clear logistical issues with the rollout of the first Hellfire Gala; fans found it tough to keep the sequencing of the event straight (which was literally cataloged by the hours in the books), and often had events of one chapter spoiled by another. Ultimately, there were two real big promotional wins for Hellfire Gala:
- Getting both Marvel Comics and mainstream fans alerted, interested, and interacting with the X-Men team roster vote.
- Getting a bunch of celebrities and famous figures to lend their likenesses to the event, so that Hellfire Gala took on the meta effect of mirroring the Met Gala real-world event, with big "celebrity appearances" included as Easter eggs in each book.
When you really think about it, both of the above goals can still easily be met in the space of an epic one-shot. It's also a fine excuse for Marvel to treat Hellfire Gala one-shots as a premium book, and tack on all the bells and whistles that will justify a higher cost, as well as some desirable exclusives for collectors.
Marvel's Heillfire Gala 2022 Arrives in June.