YA novelist Rainbow Rowell to reboot “Runaways” comic book series

Graphic by Natalie Kulak ’21

Graphic by Natalie Kulak ’21

BY SIDNEY BOKER ’21

Rainbow Rowell, the YA author known for “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl,” is bringing back Marvel’s comic book series “The Runaways,” along with artist Kris Anka. The original comic book series, created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator Adrian Alphona, ran intermittently from 2003 to 2009. It followed a group of five teenagers and an 11-year-old who ran away from home together with a telepathic dinosaur after discovering their parents’ involvement in a supervillain crime ring The series covered their escapades on the periphery of the Marvel comic book universe, as well as their attempts to save humanity from their evil parents. The series ended with some characters dead — others, as Rowell puts it on her website, “[were] scattered to the four winds.”

Rowell wrote on her website that she was contacted by editor Nick Lowe “a few years ago” to write for Marvel, and, as a huge fan of the series herself, she said “my first thought was bringing back ‘Runaways.’” Together, the two have “been talking about how to bring the team back for three years.” Commenting on her collaboration with Kris Anka, the new artist for the series, Rowell said “The last few months have been so much fun –– digging into the characters and then working on their evolution [...]. Kris is also a ‘Runaways’ fan, so all his designs come out of a deep knowledge and love for the characters.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, the new “Runaways” series will start by “reuniting most of the original cast [of characters].” These include Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, Old Lace the dinosaur and even Gertrude Yorke, brought back from the dead. It will maintain continuity with the Marvel comic universe, picking up a few years after the events of the previous “Runaways” series.

Rowell elaborated on the hurdles the crew will face, saying “one of the challenges [in the new series] is who are they when they’re apart? [The Runaways] got thrown together, but now they’ve been pulled apart. They’re trying to figure out who they really are without each other.”

On her website, Rowell mentioned that fans have contacted her about getting into her new series, given its existing history and previous issues. She emphasized that “comics can be really confusing and intimidating,” but that her contribution to the series will be “friendly to new readers.” She also strongly encouraged potential fans to pick up the comic’s original run, because “‘Runaways’ has always operated sort of independent of the larger Marvel Universe, so you don’t really have to know the lay of the land.”

Margrit Rindlisbacher ’21 has high hopes for this reboot. “I am excited to get into the new series,” said Rindlisbacher, “especially since Rainbow Rowell is a YA author that I think understands the whole idea of fandoms and teenagers.” The first issue of Rowell and Anka’s collaboration on the monthly comic came out in September 2017. The first volume, collecting issues one through six, was published April 18, 2018. The second volume, collecting issues seven through twelve, is expected to be released on Oct. 17, 2018.

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