Runaways (comics)

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Runaways
Issue 25 Cover by Jo Chen
Group publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Runaways #1 (July 2003)
Created by Brian K. Vaughan
Adrian Alphona
In-story information
Base(s) Malibu; formerly a lair beneath the La Brea Tar Pits
Leader(s) Nico Minoru
Alex Wilder (formerly)
Agent(s) Current Members:
Karolina Dean
Molly Hayes
Victor Mancha
Old Lace
Nico Minoru
Klara Prast
Chase Stein
Former Members:
Topher
Alex Wilder
Xavin
Gertrude Yorkes
Runaways
Series publication information
Schedule Monthly; currently on hiatus.
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date (Volume 1)
April 2003 - August 2004
(Volume 2)
February 2005 - June 2008
(Volume 3)
August 2008 - November 2009
Number of issues (vol 1): 18
(vol 2): 30
(vol 3): 14
Creative team as of June 2009
Writer(s) Kathryn Immonen
Artist(s) Sara Pichelli
Inker(s) David Newbold
Colorist(s) Christina Strain
Creator(s) Brian K. Vaughan
Adrian Alphona
Editor(s) Nick Lowe

Runaways is a superhero comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The series features a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are part of an evil crime organization known as "The Pride". Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, the series debuted in July of 2003[1] as part of Marvel Comics' "Tsunami" imprint. The series had been canceled in September 2004 at issue eighteen, but due to high numbers of trade collection sales, Marvel revived the series in February 2005.

Originally, the series featured a group of six kids whose parents routinely met every year for a charity event. One year, the kids spy on their parents and learn they are "the Pride", a criminal group of mob bosses, time-travelers, dark wizards, mad scientists, alien invaders and telepathic mutants. The kids steal weapons and resources from their parents, and learn they themselves inherited their parents' powers; Alex Wilder, a prodigy, leads the team while Nico Minoru learns she is a powerful witch, Karolina Dean discovers she is an alien, Gertrude Yorkes learns of her telepathic link to a dinosaur, Chase Stein steals his father's futuristic gloves, while young Molly Hayes learns she is a mutant with incredible strength. The kids band together and defeat their parents, and atone for the sins of their parents by fighting the new threats trying to fill in the Pride's void. After being betrayed by Alex who was killed by the Gibborim (The Pride's God) they are later joined by cyborg Victor Mancha, shape-shifting Skrull Xavin, and plant-manipulator Klara Prast.

Since the original groups' introduction, the Runaways have been portrayed as a somewhat dysfunctional yet loving family. Series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona left the series at issue twenty-four of the title's second volume. The second volume was continued by Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan until they departed at issue thirty. Writer Terry Moore and artist Humberto Ramos became the creative team for two story arcs. After one issue written by Christopher Yost and James Asmus, Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli became the new creative team.[2][3][4] The book was cancelled in 2009, though this was initially called a hiatus;[5] the last issue released was Volume 3, number 14, released in September 2009, cover-dated November of that year.

Publication history[edit]

Writer Brian K. Vaughan signing hardcover copies of the series at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

Series creator Brian K. Vaughan pitched Runaways in 2003 as a part of Marvel's Tsunami imprint, the goal of which was to attract new readers, particularly young readers and the manga audience. Marvel editorial staff agreed to it immediately,[6] prompting Wizard Magazine to name the series as "one of the best original concepts from Marvel in thirty years."[7] The Tsunami imprint turned out to be unsuccessful, and the series ended at issue #18. After the series' sales in digests,[8] Vaughan pitched the idea again to Marvel, who accepted it.[6] As of 2009, the series has been in continuous publication since its relaunch - though Volume 2 was ended with issue 30, with the following month seeing the first issue of Volume 3. However, the final issue printed from the series was in November, 2009.

Writer Brian K. Vaughan has claimed that he had only planned to write Runaways for six months (six issues), but because of the popularity of the series and new ideas from Vaughan, Marvel decided to continue issuing it on a monthly basis.[6] In 2007, Brian K. Vaughan announced his departure from Runaways, deciding to leave the series at the top of its game.[9] Longtime Runaways-fan Joss Whedon was hand-picked by Vaughan to write an arc; although Whedon had declined at first, he later accepted.[9]

In Blair Butler's "Fresh Ink" segment on the cable television station G4 show Attack of the Show Marvel revealed that Kathryn Immonen and Sarah Pichelli were the new creative team.[10] They started with issue #11, which will "start with a prom and end with a death"; Marvel editor Nick Lowe quotes that "It feels so right and so wrong at the same time? To be honest, and no offense to Joss or Terry, I hadn't felt this way since Gert died."[2] The story ended with a major cliffhanger that has yet to be resolved since the series hiatus began.

The Runaways later appeared in Daken's comic book in an uneasy alliance with him in order to take down Marcus Roston, a superpowered criminal with ties to the Pride. They appeared in Avengers Academy #27-28.[11] Since then, Victor Mancha became a regular character in the robot themed comic Avengers A.I.[12] while Nico Minoru and Chase Stein became part of the cast in Avengers Arena.[13] and its sequel Avengers Undercover.[14]

Main series[edit]

Plot[edit]

When Alex, Chase, Gert, Karolina, Molly and Nico witness their parents ("the Pride") sacrifice a girl in an occult ceremony, the group runs off.[15] As the story progresses, the children learn of their heritage and abilities, and steal resources from their parents, including futuristic gauntlets, a dinosaur, and a mystical Staff. Using these resources, they manage to remove their parents from their criminal hold of Los Angeles, but they lose Alex in the final battle, due to Alex's true loyalty to his parents.[16] With the Pride defeated, the Runaways now vow to prevent other villains from filling in the void left by their parents.[17] They eventually meet cyborg Victor Mancha and shape-shifting alien Xavin, and invite them to join the team.[18] Right before the Runaways defeat a new incarnation of the Pride and Alex's resurrected father, Gertrude is fatally wounded.[19]

In the Marvel Comics' 2006 crossover Civil War, the Young Avengers travel to Los Angeles to help the Runaways fight off the government. The two teams encounter Noh-Varr, who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. and attempts to capture the teenagers.[20] When the Runaways are accidentally time-displaced in 1907, they encounter the deceased Runaway Gertrude Yorke's parents.[21] After defeating the Yorkes and deadly gang war, plant-manipulator Klara Prast joins the Runaways' return to the present.[22] Upon returning from 1907, the Runaways find themselves in New York, where the Skrull Armada has invaded, seeking Hulkling. After being attacked, with Xavin pretending to be loyal to the Skrulls to protect her friends, they retreat away from the battle while Xavin helps Hulkling escape his pursuers. This was part of Marvel Comics' 2008 crossover, Secret Invasion.[23]

In 2008, writer Terry Moore, alongside artist Humberto Ramos became the new creative team.[24] The Runaways are hunted by several remaining Majesdanian soldiers with the desire to capture Karolina for the problems caused on their planet; in a twisted turn of events, however, Xavin shape-shifts into Karolina and leaves with the Majesdanians. Moore's stint on Runaways ended on vol. 3 issue #9.[25]

After three years the runaways returned in Daken: the Dark Wolverine story arc "Pride Comes Before It". Then they appeared again in issues 27 & 28 of Avengers Academy.

Style[edit]

The series does not use concepts of regular superhero behavior, such as aliases, uniforms, and team names. All the characters in volume 1, except Alex Wilder, adopt codenames,[26] but they stop using their codenames by the end of volume 1.[27][28] Unlike other super hero teams[citation needed], the Runaways have more females than males.[15] At one point, there was only one male on the team with four females, prompting other groups to refer to him as "the girls' getaway man".[29] At another point, the team has two males, four females and one gender shifter (and a female dinosaur).[30]

Early in the series, Molly is the only character who makes a costume but creates it from old bed sheets and clothes,[31] not the traditional spandex of superhero costumes[citation needed]; she never wears the costume again.[32] During battle, the Runaways mainly fight in their street clothes and call each other by their given names.[33] Furthermore, the children almost never refer to themselves as "the Runaways" as the series' title might suggest; their team simply goes unnamed, except for one brief instance, when Nico calls them "the Runaways", and tells them to "run away".[34] Other Marvel characters in the Marvel Universe usually refer to the nameless team as "the Pride's kids" or "those kids in L.A."[35] Vaughan even mocks the notion of superhero catchphrases such as "Hulk smash!", "It's Clobberin' Time", or "Avengers assemble!".[36] During a battle with Swarm, Nico semi-sarcastically tells Victor the team's rallying call is "Try not to die".[36] However, despite Vaughan's efforts to break down the superhero clichés within Runaways, Marvel's handbooks and website still refer to the characters by their codenames.[1] The Marvel miniseries Mystic Arcana features Nico Minoru under her superhero alias "Sister Grimm," a name she has not answered to since Runaways volume two began.[37]

Spin-off[edit]

Excelsior was a support group consisting of former teenage superheroes from defunct Marvel comic series (though one of their members - Lightspeed - was and remains a cast member of a financially and critically successful series of Power Pack books aimed at younger readers). Excelsior was founded by Mickey Musashi (Turbo of the New Warriors) and Phil Urich (the heroic former Green Goblin), and the group's stated goals were to help fellow/former teenage superheroes to adjust to normal lives and dissuade other super-powered teenagers from becoming heroes, though this rationale (and by extension the team themselves) was made redundant by the events of Civil War (in which it became a legal requirement for all U.S. resident superheroes in the Marvel universe to register with the United States government for training, or face imprisonment). Though they originally debuted under the name "Excelsior," the title of the spin-off series was changed from Excelsior to Loners, due to copyright issues, as Stan Lee holds a trademark on the term "Excelsior!"[38][39] The team do not refer to themselves as "The Loners", however, as this is not the name of the group within their story (in such a context it would be an oxymoron), and the group is simply not named directly by characters.

Characters[edit]

Originally, the team featured six main Runaways, remaining constant throughout the first volume (18 chapters) of Runaways.

The original six are:

Later members include:

Other versions[edit]

Heroine[edit]

At one point, Gertrude's future self travels back in time.[33] She is in her thirties, and without Old Lace, and her superhero name is Heroine at this time.[33] Nico reveals, with the aid of magic, that this version of Gertrude is the leader of the Avengers of her time line.[29] Superheroes in her time includes characters to yet make an official appearance in the regular Marvel Universe, including an "Iron Woman", a heroic Scorpion, the "Fantastic Fourteen", and "Captain Americas".[29] She, the rest of her team, the X-Men (led by Armor), and the Fantastic Fourteen are killed by Victor Mancha's future self, who completed his original mission programmed by Ultron to become the ultimate supervillain "Victorious".[29]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality warp, the Pride is mentioned as ruling not only Los Angeles, but all of Southern California. Unlike in the normal reality, their children stay with their parents.[42] Karolina is mentioned as being a "go-to" girl for the Wolfpack.[42] When the Scarlet Witch takes majority of the mutants populations' powers, Molly is one of the handful that keeps her powers.[43]

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Brian K. Vaughan revealed that Runaways (despite being in the main Marvel Universe) will not refer to the House of M reality warp. Vaughan's reason for not wanting Runaways to refer to the Scarlet Witch's attack was because he did not want the readers of Runaways to be confused about the complex House of M storyline.[43] He did, however say there would be a brief one-line reference, which happened in the following issue: after Molly angrily punches Wolverine out of a church, he lands in the snow and bitterly says, "Only 198 mutants left on the planet... and that girl had to be one of them."[44] The events of House of M and "Decimation" are referred to later in an issue written by Chris Yost with Wolverine encountering Molly again and stating, "I don't know if you're keeping up with the current events, but there used to be millions of mutants and now there's under 200."[45]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #2, the Blob is chased by various zombie super heroes. Behind him, in the background, zombie versions of the Runaways are shown feeding upon Old Lace.[46]

Wha... Huh?[edit]

Goofy versions of the original team, including Alex Wilder, are seen in the Wha... Huh? one shot as part of a joke about Wolverine appearing in every comic including Archie, Yu-gi-oh, and Pokémon.[47]

What If...?[edit]

In December 2008, all five issues of What If...? featured the Runaways becoming the Young Avengers as back-up stories.[48] The five-part back-up feature (entitled What If Runaways became Young Avengers?) illustrates how Iron Lad recruits the Runaways as the next new wave of the Avengers,[49] forcing them to be an actual super-hero team with costumes. Although it is later revealed that the Iron Lad that brought them together was actually Victor Mancha- Iron Lad ran into Victor's future self when attempting to flee to the Avengers' era, with Victorious travelling back with him and using Victor to hi-jack his equipment-, Kang's attempt to rescue his younger self results in Iron Lad being killed and Kang being erased from history while Victor destroys his future self and departs via Kang's time-belt to find his own way, leaving the Runaways to continue as Young Avengers with Chase now using parts of the Iron Lad armor after he was injured in a fight with Victorious.[49] Written by C.B. Cebulski and drawn by Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante, the story had originally been called What If the Runaways didn't run away? But it was not until Cebulski accidentally stumbled onto the Young Avengers storyline that he decide to merge the two stories.[49] Joe Quesada, editor in chief of Marvel Comics revealed early in his online interview feature, "MyCup o' Joe," that the main villain in the What if? storyline is Victorious, though Kang the Conqueror makes an appearance.[50] A reviewer, Jesse Schedeen of IGN cited What If...? itself as "a let down," although the Runaways back-up story was positively received.[51]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, a version of the Runaways exist, but as an all mutant covert team under S.H.I.E.L.D. Director General Nick Fury called Ultimate X.[52] After the events of Ultimatum, Nick Fury contacted former X-Men Jean Grey aka Karen Grant with a purpose to unite fellow mutants to combat threats mostly a conflict in Southeast Asian Republic/SEAR with two cities of superhumans. Members include Jimmy Hudson, son of the late Wolverine,[53] Elizabeth "Liz" Allan aka Firestar, a former classmate of Spider-Man who discovered she was a pyrokinetic mutant,[54] and Derek Morgan aka The Guardian, a vigilante in Chicago who can sprout wings, talons and glowing red eyes.[55] The team was officially named The Runaways in Ultimate Comics: Ultimates.[56]

Bibliography[edit]

In addition to the three volumes of The Runaways, the group has appeared in two miniseries related to the intracompany crossovers "Civil War" (2006), which occurs between issues 21 & 22 of volume 2, and "Secret Invasion" (2008)[57] which occurs between volumes 2 & 3.

Collected editions[edit]

Runaways has been collected in several volumes, in several formats.

Title Material Collected Format Date Published[58] ISBN
Runaways vol. 1: Pride & Joy Runaways vol. 1 #1-6 Digest April 14, 2004 ISBN 0-7851-1379-7
Hardcover December 31, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7851-3558-6
Trade Paperback August 26, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3470-1
Runaways vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland Runaways vol. 1 #7-12 Digest November 1, 2004 ISBN 0-7851-1415-7
Hardcover July 8, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3973-7
Trade Paperback October 14, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-4075-7
Runaways vol. 3: The Good Die Young Runaways vol. 1 #13-18 Digest February 16, 2005 ISBN 0-7851-1684-2
Hardcover September 10, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3672-9
Trade Paperback December 9, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3673-6
Runaways vol. 4: True Believers Runaways vol. 2 #1-6 Digest October 12, 2005 ISBN 0-7851-1705-9
Hardcover December 23, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-4144-0
Trade Paperback April 14, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4145-7
Runaways vol. 5: Escape to New York Runaways vol. 2 #7-12 Digest April 5, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-1901-2
Hardcover January 13, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4146-4
Trade Paperback May 12, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4147-1
Runaways vol. 6: Parental Guidance Runaways vol. 2 #13-18 Digest October 25, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-1952-3
Hardcover March 10, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4149-5
Trade Paperback July 14, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4150-1
Runaways vol. 7: Live Fast Runaways vol. 2 #19-24 Digest April 25, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2267-2
Hardcover May 26, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4154-9
Trade Paperback September 9, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4155-6
Runaways vol. 8: Dead End Kids[59] Runaways vol. 2 #25-30 Digest June 10, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-2389-7
Hardcover July 9, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7851-2853-3
Trade Paperback December 31, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7851-3459-6
Runaways, vol. 9: Dead Wrong[59] Runaways vol. 3 #1-6 Digest October 21, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-4119-8
Hardcover March 11, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-2939-4
Trade Paperback June 10, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-2940-0
Runaways, vol. 10: Rock Zombies[59] Runaways vol. 3 #7-10 Digest April 21, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-3315-5
Hardcover July 1, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3156-4
Trade Paperback October 21, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-4074-0
Runaways, vol. 11: Homeschooling Runaways vol. 3 #11-14;
What If The Runaways Became the Young Avengers?
Digest September 8, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4085-6
Hardcover November 18, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-4037-5
Trade Paperback March 24, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7851-4039-9
Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #1-4 Trade Paperback May 2, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7851-2317-0
Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1-3 Trade Paperback February 25, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7851-3266-0

Runaways has also been collected in the following oversized hardcovers:

Title Material collected Date Published ISBN
Runaways, Vol. 1 Runaways vol. 1 #1-18 January 18, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-1876-4
Runaways, Vol. 2 Runaways vol. 2 #1-12, X-Men/Runaways: FCBD December 6, 2006 ISBN 0-7851-2358-X
Runaways, Vol. 3 Runaways vol. 2 #13-24 May 16, 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2539-6

From 2014 on, Runaways will be collected in The Complete Collection:

Title Material collected Date Published ISBN
Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 1 Runaways vol. 1 #1-18 August 12, 2014 ISBN 978-0-7851-8558-1
Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 2 Runaways vol. 2 #1-18, X-Men/Runaways: FCBD December 2, 2014 ISBN 978-0-7851-8784-4

Awards[edit]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • While talking about All Hail the King, Pearce revealed he had been thinking about the possibility of Runaways being adapted as a TV series.[70]

Film[edit]

In May 2008, a film version of the comic was in the scripting process, with Brian K. Vaughan writing and Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President of Production, producing.[71] Feige has said, "In our discussions with Brian, we wanted him to be the person to bring it to life. I think it won't be a precise story line of any [of his comics], but certainly it will be most similar to the tone or origins of his structure in its initial run".[72] A 2011 release was considered,[71] as Feige had expected a finished script in early 2009.[73] In April 2010, Peter Sollett emerged as the front runner to direct the movie.[74] In May 2010, British screenwriter Drew Pearce, known for the TV series No Heroics, was reported to be writing the film for Marvel Studios.[75] In July 2010, it was reported that filming would begin sometime between March - July 2011.[76]

On August 5, 2010, preliminary casting for the film began.[77]

Since the casting call was released, a significant amount of fan controversy arose due to the fact the casting call hadn't specified an Asian-American actress to play Nico Minoru, despite the fact that the casting call specified an African American to play Alex Wilder.[78] Marvel responded by saying, "To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly."[78]

Actress Keke Palmer revealed in an issue of Essence magazine that she had been approached for the Runaways film. The exact quote was, "I've had a nice little break with the steady TV show but I'm definitely ready to do some more films again. I was just asked to join a new Marvel comic project called Runaways."[79] Not long after, Lucas Cruikshank revealed he also auditioned for the film.[80]

In October 2010, production plans were halted due to Marvel focusing on The Avengers. It was hoped for that the film would be scheduled for release sometime in 2014,[81] but it has since been confirmed that the only two releases scheduled for that year were Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.

In March 2013, Kevin Feige said during an interview that they elected not to make the film, but that Drew Pearce had been reassigned to Iron Man 3 on the strength of his Runaways script. Marvel Studios are developing Blade, Ms. Marvel, Iron Fist, Black Panther, Runaways and Doctor Strange films.[82] On September 24, 2013, Pearce revealed that the film is currently shelved due to the success of The Avengers, but also suggested it could see a release at some point in the future.[83]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Lowe, Nick (2009-03-25). "Editor Nick Lowe announces the new writer and artist of Runaways". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
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  28. ^ Runaways: Volume 2, #14
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  30. ^ Runaways: Volume 2, #30
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  34. ^ Runaways: Volume 2, #26
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  36. ^ a b Runaways: Volume 2, #7
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  45. ^ Chris Yost (w), Sara Pichelli (a). "Mollifest Destiny" Runaways v3, 10 (June 2009), Marvel Comics
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  56. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #5
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External links[edit]