Ahmed shared some process art from Kamala Khan's 50th issue!

Writer Saladin Ahmed is ready to get you excited for MS. MARVEL #31! This marks the 50th issue featuring Kamala Khan as the stretchy Super Hero, and this jam issue will be written by Ahmed, G. Willow Wilson, Rainbow Rowell, and more. That roster of writers will be joined by a pack of excellent artists including Nico Leon and Gustavo Duarte, plus a great cover by Valerio Schiti and a variant cover by Stephanie Hans!

MS. MARVEL #31, which will hit stores on June 27th, is just as big as its gang of creators and will feature a slumber party for the ages — Kamala will host a sleepover with her best friends Nakia, Zoe, and Mike. But the party is rudely interrupted when calamity strikes Jersey City. Can Kamala save the day and keep her party going at the same time? You’ll have to get the issue to find out, but in the meantime, Ahmed shared previews of some of Duarte’s artwork on Twitter! You’ll find even more familiar face, including your favorite teleporting pooch Lockjaw!

From Bob Quinn, who also worked on the issue:

And from Rainbow Rowell:

Here are all the panels plus the cover:

MS. MARVEL #31 will be available June 27th! Be sure to pre-order your copy with your your local comic book store!

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Catch up on Runaways with writer Rainbow Rowell!

Nico, Karolina, Molly, Chase, Old Lace—and even the recently resurrected Gert—have reunited; together again after years of painful separation. But after the initial celebrations, the friends now find themselves struggling to repair their once fractured family.

Ever since Chase brought Gert back, something sinister has been stalking the team. And on February 7, this looming threat becomes a menace in writer Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS #6!

We caught up with Rowell to talk about the fate of Victor Mancha, relationship drama, and Gert’s rocky return.

Marvel.com: Now that this story arc is coming to its climax, what did you aim to achieve over the course of the first six issues?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, Gert and Alex died in the original run. After that series ended, the remaining characters were scattered to the four winds. Nico and Chase were taken to Murderworld. Victor joined an all-robot Avengers. And Karolina and Molly kind of disappeared.

We’ve been telling a getting-the-band-together story. I wanted to reunite the Runaways in a way that felt real and authentic, and then to give each of them a chance to choose whether to stay together. They were thrown together in the beginning; it wasn’t a choice. But in our story, they get to decide: are these the people I want to spend my life with?

Marvel.com: The big plot development on everyone’s mind has been the long-awaited return of Gert. How did this miraculous revival come about?

Rainbow Rowell: Chase and Nico brought her back in issue #1. Basically, Chase used Gert’s parents’ time machine to go back and save her from being stabbed. But he got there too late. So he brought Gert back to the present, knowing she was mortally wounded, and asked Nico to save her life with magic. Nico ended up performing magical surgery with the help of a doctor. (You have to read the issue to really appreciate how Nico pulled this off.)

Marvel.com: How has Gert’s return affected the group? How has it affected Chase?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, Gert has been gone for two years. Everybody else has grown up without her. Chase was already almost two years older than Gert—now he’s four years older. She’s 16 and he’s 20. Gert feels like her boyfriend has been replaced by an adult. It’s been hard on them both, but I think you can still see how much they care about each other.

Marvel.com: For her part, Gert seems awfully grumpy to be brought back to life…why is that?

Rainbow Rowell: [Laughs] Well, Gert has always been kind of grumpy. It’s something I love about her. Gert is disappointed with the rest of the gang for letting themselves drift apart. She can’t believe they’d abandon each other. Back in her time, they were all for one, one for all.

Marvel.com: Elsewhere, can you remind us what that disembodied head of Victor Mancha is all about?

Rainbow Rowell: Victor met a sad end in the VISION series by writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta (which is one of my favorite Marvel comics). Victor lost control of his powers and killed Vision’s son. Then Vision’s grieving wife killed Victor by pulling out his heart. His old friends assumed Victor was dead; the Avengers even sent Chase a box of Victor’s personal effects. But when they opened that box in issue #2, they found Victor’s head inside. Presumably someone—perhaps Tony Stark?—saved Victor’s head and sent it to Chase for safekeeping.

Chase has managed to jumpstart Victor’s processor, but so far, Victor has been playing dead. He’s not sure he wants to come back to life…

Marvel.com: What’s going on with the dynamics of the rest of the team?

Rainbow Rowell: Everyone is trying to find their way. They’re not used to being together. They’ve lost touch. Gert has become their shared burden. She’s back and she’s traumatized, and they need to take care of her—but they’re still kids, too. So far, Karolina has decided to stay in college and protect the forward momentum she has in her life.

With Karolina and Nico specifically, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface every time they talk. They’ve each felt rejected by the other in the past. They’ve never been able to feel their feelings for each other in a safe way.

Marvel.com: There’s been a group of cats mysteriously watching the team. What’s brewing there?

Rainbow Rowell: There is definitely something sinister happening with those cats! Beyond just general cat-ness. Actually, the mastermind behind the cats is revealed in issue #5. And we’ll learn even more about that scheme in issue #6.

Marvel.com: How has Kris Anka’s art enhanced this story?

Rainbow Rowell: Oh, in more ways that I can say, really. I wrote the first arc before an artist was assigned, so I didn’t really know what to expect from that relationship, stylistically and otherwise. Once Kris came on board, it became a daily collaboration. We talk a lot about what we want from the story and for the characters. We’re both huge RUNAWAYS fans, so it’s important to us that our run on this comic enriches and shores up these characters; we want them to feel more like themselves than ever.

Marvel.com: You’ve mentioned before that you’ve been a fan of the series for a long time. How has it felt bringing new life to these characters—literally and figuratively?

Rainbow Rowell: You know, it’s weird: I feel like I’m writing this comic and consuming it at the same time. I’ll make a decision that I know is right for a character—like Gert and Chase sort of breaking up after he saves her—but then my heart will break as a fan.

I feel so honored to be writing them, and so joyful. And I also feel very responsible. I know these kids aren’t really mine and won’t be mine forever, but I’m looking out for them right now. And I just want to give them the best stories I can.

Join the team in RUNAWAYS #6, by Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka, on February 7!

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Does the youngest Runaway want to reunite the team?

When the Runaways broke up, it was the end of an era. But the team members all had to go on with their lives in their own ways. For Molly Hayes, that meant living with her grandmother and moving forward as a relatively normal tween. Will she want to give up that stability to jump back into the fray with her old pals? We talked with writer Rainbow Rowell to find out more about RUNAWAYS #4.

Marvel.com: Gert drove the effort to get the team back together. The others seemed kind of reluctant at first. You’d expect Molly to feel the most enthusiastic — as the youngest, she always really wanted to feel included in the group with the older kids. But now she has a normal life of her own, and she may not want to walk away from that.

Rainbow Rowell: I think Molly was part of what kept the older kids together back in the day. She needed a family, she needed to be taken care of… It would have been so much easier for the older kids to drift apart without Molly – and later, Klara Prast, the 12-year-old mutant they rescued from the past.

Letting Molly go really weighs on Chase and Karolina and Nico’s consciences. But what were they supposed to do? Molly has a grandmother who loves her and wanted to take care of her. She has real family, so to speak.

When the rest of the kids come back for Molly, in Issue #4, she doesn’t see it as a choice, Runaways versus her grandma. She can have both. She loves them all.

It’s really Gert who sees it as more of binary decision – are you with us or not?

Marvel.com: It makes sense that sticking with her normal life would seem appealing. But at the same time, no one will really ever relate to her or understand what she has gone through like the other Runaways.

Rainbow Rowell: That’s true for all of them, I think.

The Runaways has always been less of a team and more of a club – the “My parents were evil, so I sold them out, and now they’re dead” club. Maybe that’s why Victor fit in so well. He met the membership criteria.

Runaways (2017) #4

Runaways (2017) #4

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Marvel.com: Molly always had intelligence and bravery, but she also had a silly, light-hearted side. Have events that happened since the last time we saw the team changed that at all? Where do we find Molly psychologically and emotionally these days?

Rainbow Rowell: Molly is a little older, a little more mature. But she’s still Molly. She’s still high-spirited, open-hearted. She still wears the cutest hats. Molly came into this world to have fun and be with people she loves; she doesn’t waste time on chumps.

If anything, being with her grandma and having some stability has allowed Molly to be even more carefree. She feels safe for the first time in a long time.

Marvel.com: Since all the drama that went down previously happened to Molly at a younger age than the others, did it have more of an effect on her as she started to grow up?

Rainbow Rowell: Molly didn’t really witness her parents’ depravity the way the older kids did. They protected her from the worst truths. And I think, because of that, she’s not as convinced that her parents were bad guys. They were loving parents to her. They were good. How do you process that at 11? At 13?

In a way, her grandmother is giving Molly a second chance to connect with her parents, with the ways they were good.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease or mention anything else?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, Issue #4 is special to me because it’s the issue that brings Victor Mancha back to the Marvel Universe in a real way.

Victor died (sort of? mostly?) in the VISION series, one of my all-time favorite Marvel books. But we came up with a really cool and compelling way to bring him back. And I am just elated about it. Victor’s an absolute joy to write. He’s smart, humble, kind – he has a wonderful dry sense of humor.

I love writing him, Kris [Anka] loves drawing him. Victor isn’t an original member of the Runaways, but he’s a core member. I just couldn’t imagine doing this book without him.

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Rainbow Rowell on how things have changed when Molly makes her way back to the team.

Make way for the princess… Princess Powerful that is. Molly Hayes returns to the RUNAWAYS comic thanks to writer Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka. Similar to Karolina Dean, Molly enjoys a normal life, getting to be a real kid, when her old teammates show up out of the blue. Will the youngest Runaway leave the comfort of middle school and the warm embrace of her grandmother or will she tell her close friends to take a hike?

Marvel.com spoke with Rainbow Rowell to try and get a grip on the “Powerful” reunion coming up in RUNAWAYS #4.

Marvel.com: We recently discussed Karolina Dean living a normal life at college. Where do we find Molly in life right now?

Rainbow Rowell: Molly is living with her grandma in the Hollywood Hills. She’s back in school – the seventh grade – and she’s loving life. She plays soccer, she plays tuba, she has lots of friends … She has a real home again. Her own room, her own stuff. Pets. She’s gotten a second-chance at a more normal childhood.

Marvel.com: Molly was the youngest Runaway at the time of the original series. How has she matured since then?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, she’s 13 now. So she’s entering that space between childhood and adulthood. I think Molly has always had a strong sense of self. (We’ve seen her tell Wolverine and the Avengers to get packing.) But she’s becoming an even better advocate for herself and for what she wants in life.

Marvel.com: As a mutant, is she facing any discrimination from the world at large?

Rainbow Rowell: I don’t think so. Molly’s power isn’t evident when you look at her. So most people at school don’t know her complete identity.

Marvel.com: I don’t think many of us knew she had a grandmother. What can you tell us about her? Is she actually related to Molly? 

Rainbow Rowell: I don’t think Molly’s extended family has been mentioned before. That’s true of most of the Runaways. Nico goes to a cousin’s wedding, Chase has a mysterious uncle… But we don’t really know much about their families beyond their parents. So this is a new character. And yes, she’s Molly’s blood relative. What we know so far is that she lives in the Hollywood Hills – and she’s really happy to have Molly back in her life.

Marvel.com: Molly was named one of the toughest women in the MU just a few years ago. How will we see her toughness on display in this issue?

Rainbow Rowell: In this issue, we’ll see a lot of emotional toughness – resilience. Despite everything that Molly has been through, she’s found home again with her grandmother. She’s still able to let people into her heart. My favorite part of this issue was reuniting Molly and Gert. Molly never made peace with Gert’s death. Now Gert is back – and closer to Molly’s age. They get to have a different kind of friendship.

You can pick up Runaways #4, from Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka, on December 13.

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Writer Rainbow Rowell details Karolina's headspace in the new series.

We’re coming up to the three-issue mark of Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) and Kris Anka’s (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) RUNAWAYS series and things are only becoming more trying for our favorite band of young heroes. They’re not the tight-knit family they once were with some of them (cough Karolina cough) just wanting to live normal lives away from all that world-saving stuff. They’re the same characters, but definitely not the same people. What does that mean exactly? Marvel.com caught up with super Runaways fan and writer Rainbow Rowell to discuss the answer to that very question and much, much more.

Marvel.com: So we’re nearly three issues into your debut Marvel series. What’s it been like so far?

Rainbow Rowell: EXCITING. I’ve been working on RUNAWAYS for almost a year now and it‘s been such a long wait to actually share this story. All those months knowing the kids were coming back and not being able to tell anyone… It feels so good to finally be able to talk to other RUNAWAYS fans! That’s one weird thing – being a fan and also the writer. Like, obviously, as a fan, I wanted Gert back. But, as the writer, it was my responsibility to bring her back in a way that felt right and real.

Marvel.com: In Issue #3 itself, we find a Karolina Dean who is complacent with just being a college student. What’s her journey been like since discovering her extraterrestrial origins to now?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, I wouldn’t call her complacent! I think she’s the only Runaway with any direction at the beginning of this arc. She’s in school, she’s in therapy, and she’s in a healthy relationship. Karolina has always been so generous, so willing to sacrifice herself. But her good intentions have backfired on her. She rushed into an arranged marriage to save her home planet –and then her wedding led to her planet’s destruction. That’s a lot of guilt and shame to carry. Someone else might bury those feelings and let them fester. But Karolina wants to process them. She wants to be a good person – a functioning person.

Marvel.com: What kind of arguments can we expect the other Runaways to make to convince her to join them?

Rainbow Rowell: I mean the biggest argument is just, “We’re a family.” Gert especially doesn’t understand how Karolina – or any of the other kids – could walk away from the Runaways.

 Marvel.com: Can you describe the thing keeping the Runaways together at this point and the headspace they’re at when one of them just wants to live a normal life without responsibilities?

Rainbow Rowell: Well, I think Karolina is in many ways the most responsible. Gert wants something that doesn’t exist anymore; she wants her gang back. She wants it to be us-against-the-world again. And Chase wants whatever Gert wants. He wants a do-over where she never died at all. Until Issue #3, Nico’s motivation is less clear. She seems unwilling to burst Gert’s bubble. I think Karolina comes in as the voice of reason: Things have changed, we’ve grown up, we can’t go backward.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask: What the heck is Chase keeping in his backpack and what are the Avengers gonna do about it?

Rainbow Rowell: What does Chase have in his backpack? My heart. This is a MAJOR SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read Issue #2….At the end of that issue, the gang realized that the Avengers had sent Chase a box with Victor Mancha’s head inside. (Victor was killed in the VISION series by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, which you should read right now if you haven’t already. Victor is one of my favorite Marvel characters. He’s smart and kind and humble. He has this wonderful dry sense of humor. I was so hyped for him to be in this book that I went to the comic shop as soon it opened that Wednesday morning, just to see Victor’s face in print. And of course, in Kris Anka’s hands – with color by Matt Wilson – Victor looks breathtaking. Not just handsome – but real. I’m in awe of how good all these characters look. Somehow Kris makes them look exactly like themselves and also better than ever.

Check out Runaways #3 from Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka on November 8! And don’t miss “Marvel’s Runaways” debutting on Hulu this November 21!

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Listen to part one with the RUNAWAYS writer about her new gig!

In a special This Week in Marvel / Women of Marvel two-parter, Ben, Judy and Lorraine speak to RUNAWAYS writer Rainbow Rowell about her new gig and how she got here! Tune in tomorrow for the second part of their interview with Rainbow on the Women of Marvel podcast.

Download episode #303.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Tuesday and Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media Ben Morse with Manager, Video & Content Production: Blake Garris, Editor Marc Strom, and Assistant Editor Christine Dinh. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM, @BenJMorse, @blakegarris or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka detail the original team's epic return!

One of the breakout hits of the early 2000s, RUNAWAYS exploded onto the scene and set a new precedent for young super groups across the Marvel Universe. Its team of relatable, plucky, young protagonists has lived long in the memory ever since—and much to our delight, the Runaways are entering the fray once more.

On November 21, the group makes their on-screen debut with “Marvel’s Runaways” on Hulu—and on September 13, the original cast returns in comic book form with RUNAWAYS #1, by writer Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka!

We caught up with Rainbow and Kris to find out what’s happened to Nico, Karolina, Molly, Chase, Old Lace, and Gert since we saw them last.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen Nico go through a lot lately (most notably with A-Force and Ulysses)—what kind of mindset will she be in at the start of issue #1?

Rainbow Rowell: We’ve seen more of Nico in the Marvel Universe than any of the other Runaways—and she’s been through so much trauma. (I mean, she was a prisoner on Murderworld.) Then, just when she started to find some stability with A-Force, she lost them, too. When we meet Nico in RUNAWAYS #1, she’s alone and wondering where she fits—and still (always) struggling to understand her relationship to her own power. That’s a core theme for Nico: she wields great power, but she doesn’t understand it. It just dropped in her lap. And it comes with all these painful limitations.

Marvel.com: When we last saw Karolina, the Runaways were going through a difficult time. What’s she been up to recently?

Rainbow Rowell: I feel like Karolina is the stealth Runaway. We know the least about what her life has been like since the book ended. But we do know that she has a girlfriend—Julie Power. When we meet up with Karolina again, she’s been doing a lot of emotional work to make peace with her past. (Having super villain parents, betraying them, causing interstellar disasters, etc.) She’s doing her best to move forward, which means leaving the life she had with the Runaways behind.

Marvel.com: Molly’s a mutantwhere has that taken her over the last few years? Can you describe her headspace these days?

Rainbow Rowell: Molly is living off the super hero grid. She’s living with a loving guardian, who’s trying to let her have a normal tweenhood. I think Molly’s reunion was one of the most fun to write—because she just really misses everybody.

Marvel.com: Chase often served as the friendly, upbeat member of the group. Will we see more of that from him? How has he been impacted by his recent experiences?

Kris Anka: Yes, definitely [he was the upbeat teammate]. We pick up with Chase looking to bring his family back together. I think he’s been through a lot of trauma over the past few years and I think that’s made him feel a bit rudderless and desperate to find something to drive him again. Rebuilding his Runaways helps with that a lot.

Marvel.com: Old Lace—the Runaways’ favorite dinosaur! How has she gotten along without Gert? Does she still have a telepathic link with Chase?

Kris Anka: I feel like she’s been doing alright. She’s missed Gert a lot, of course, but knowing that Chase would also do anything for Gert has given Old Lace someone to bond with. But she’s immensely glad to have her Arsenic back.

Marvel.com: Without giving too much away, can you tease anything about how Gert comes back to life? After being dead for so long, what kind of state will we find her in?

Kris Anka: Well, it hasn’t been too long for her. She’s going to be dealing a lot with how, to her, it has felt like a quick nap. It’s quite a shock for her. As for a tease, you’re not going to have to wait long to find out how!

Marvel.com: How’s your experience been resurrecting such a popular series?

Rainbow Rowell: Oh, I hope people are looking forward to it. Fortunately we’ve managed not to focus too much on people’s expectations…I had the arc written before the series was announced. And when I’m working with Kris, we’re just really focused on the characters. (We were both huge fans of the original series by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, so we hit the ground running.) It’s been such a gift for me to collaborate with someone who’s as invested as I am in this story. I can talk to Kris in minute detail about these characters—and he’s right there with me. It feels like we’re making this book for the Runaways.

Kris Anka: It was hugely daunting. It actually took some convincing to get me on board with this, honestly [Laughs]. Having grown up on this book, it wasn’t something I wanted to mess up. It’s been a great book to work on though. It feels a lot like meeting up with old friends again.

“Marvel’s Runaways” debuts on Hulu this November 21! And on September 13, Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka present the original team in an all-new comics adventure with RUNAWAYS #1!

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The Runaways fight for the future in the second volume by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.

Before Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS launches in September, take a look at all of their major adventures as seen on Marvel Unlimited!

After taking on the Wrecking Crew, the gang returned to their hideout under the La Brea Tar Pits Museum only to discover a time traveling Gert appearing out of thin air. She gave warning of an all-powerful foe named Vicot Mancha before dying, thus giving the team a new threat to focus on.

Meanwhile, a group dubbed Excelsior attempted to track down the kids at the request of a mysterious benefactor. Dedicated to offering former teen heroes a chance at a normal life, Turbo, Phil Urich, Chamber, Julie Powers, Richocet and Darkhawk agreed to take on the assignment in exchange for a healthy cash infusion to their organization.

This, of course, did not sit well with our heroes. Everyone wound up smashing into each other at East Angeles High School where Victor attended. The Runaways landed right on the football field to grab their prey, but Excelsior appeared not long after.

In the ensuing super hero brawl, the kids made an escape with Victor in tow. They returned to their base where he continued telling him that his parents consisted of a mom working three jobs and a Marine who died in the line of duty.

Before long – and right in the middle of a less-than-great escape attempt on Victor’s part – the group headed out to save Mancha’s mom Marianella from his real dad, Doctor Doom! Well, that’s what they thought at least. See, Mancha turned out to be a cyborg created by an Ultron who also got his steely hands on a Doombot and used that as a ruse. After revealing his true identity, Ultron killed Victor’s mom.

While taking over Victor’s programming and using his pseudo-son to knock the Runaways around, Ultron gave the young man a tour of their shared past. As the kids lost the advantage in the battle, Karolina literally blew the roof off the place, giving the members of Excelsior a pretty good indicator of where the action was.

As the more experienced heroes jumped into the fray, the proved effective enough to take out the android while Chamber watched the kids in another room. He let them bail out, this time with Victor attending of his own free will, though devastated by the loss of his mother.

LOST & FOUND

At the end of this arc, the members of Excelsior learned that Rick Jones acted as their mysterious benefactor after Captain America let him know about the Runaways. Though Chamber turned out to be an impostor – more on that in the next installment – Jones asked the others to continue working together which lead to an appearance in MARVEL TEAM-UP #15, a name change and a spinoff limited series in 2007 by C.B. Cebulksi and Karl Moline called THE LONERS. Their ranks grew to include Mattie “Spider-Woman” Franklin, the second Red Ronin known as Namie and former Generation X member Penance, then going by Hollow. Eventually, the remaining members signed up for further work in AVENGERS ACADEMY #21.

Next time, Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa introduce the gang to new heroes, enemies and a very important person in Katarina’s life in RUNAWAYS #7-12.

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Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka reunite the teen super heroes this fall!

For most kids, finding out your folks belong to a world-dominating cabal of super villains would be about the craziest thing in the world—but they’re not the Runaways! Back in 2003, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona introduced us to a book called RUNAWAYS and a cast of characters that we instantly fell in love with. The adventures of Nico, Karolina, Chase, Molly, Alex, and Gertrude grabbed a faithful fan following that led to a number of volumes as well as appearances in other books like AVENGERS ARENA and A-FORCE.

In September, the newly announced RUNAWAYS creative team of novelist Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka will have plenty of plans for the kids as they continue to grow up in a world jam-packed with threats large and small constantly threatening existence. The gang will get back together again starting with Chase and Nico who haven’t exactly been on the best of terms lately. We talked with Rowell and Anka about the importance of this book, where they plan to take it, and how they’re working together to get there.

Marvel.com: Was RUNAWAYS a book you got into when it was coming out? What does it mean to you as a comic reader and a creator?

Rainbow Rowell: Yeah, I read it in real time when it was coming out, and stuck with it ‘til the end.

I think I started reading RUNAWAYS because I’ve always liked teen teams. I was really into NEW MUTANTS and GENERATION X, too. But then it became my favorite comic—and introduced me to Brian K. Vaughan, who is one of my favorite writers, in any genre.

RUNAWAYS felt like nothing else I was reading at the time. It was completely character-driven. It had teenagers that acted like real teenagers. And they were so funny and heartbreaking. And they made so many mistakes.

Also, thanks to Adrian Alphona, the book didn’t look anything else I was reading.

I just loved everything about it. I remember trying to talk my friends into reading it. Even people who didn’t read comics.

Now that I’ve written books of my own and created my own teen characters, I realize how hard it is to write an ensemble where every character feels distinct and engaging.

Kris Anka: That first issue of RUNAWAYS came out just as I was about to be a freshman in high school. I was born and raised in L.A. There had never been a book that so distinctly lined up with me and my friends. I remember passing around the first few issues with all my friends. It didn’t quite hit me until I was reading the script for the new series that I fundamentally have been preparing for 28 years of my life to draw this book.

It’s not an understatement that I understand this book and these kids through and through. As I was rereading the previous runs and preparing for the new book and getting into the [heads] of the characters it really struck me that I know these kids. Each of the characters reflected someone I grew up with. I mean I literally went to high school with a blonde girl who was the daughter of a well-known actor! I knew a Karolina, I knew a Gert, I knew a Nico. You could almost say there are no other characters in the Marvel Universe that I understand better then these characters.

Marvel.com: The Runaways have gone through a variety of trials and tribulations since their last series ended. How does this new volume find them when it picks up?

Rainbow Rowell: So many trials and tribulations! The series picks up with them really down on their luck. I mean, half of them are dead. They’ve been squashed and scattered, and the ones who are left don’t even think of themselves as Runaways, necessarily. They never chose each other, you know? They were just kids who got thrown together in a crisis.

This whole first arc is about trying to getting the band back together—when you can’t even agree there was ever a band.

Marvel.com: It sounds like the book kicks off with Chase and Nico reuniting. How does she react to letting him back in her orbit?

Rainbow Rowell: She’s so fed up with him. Nico and Chase have spent the most time together since RUNAWAYS ended. They’ve—maybe literally?—gone to hell and back together. And he was a thorn in her side the whole time, constantly on her nerves.

So, Chase shows up in Nico’s living room, trying to get her to help him with this spectacular mess he’s made. And she doesn’t want to! She doesn’t want to get dragged back into his dysfunction.

Marvel.com: Kris, Would you say it’s more difficult working on a super hero comic like this where the characters have very distinct looks and styles, but don’t have regular costumes?

Kris Anka: Absolutely. On most other books I’d have the costume to fall back on that they’d probably be wearing most of the time. On a book like this it’s entirely reliant on a robust and character fitting wardrobe that I have to build for all of them.

Marvel.com: These characters have grown and evolved so much over the years, what still makes them “Runaways?”

Rainbow Rowell: These four people—Chase, Nico, Karolina, Molly—have been through something so tragic and so traumatic and so specific. They betrayed their parents, they saved the world, they made themselves orphans. There’s so much unspoken between them that no one else will ever understand. I think they’ll always feel like home to each other. They’ll always be Runaways.

Marvel.com: Given their ages, the Runaways are always evolving. When coming up with their current looks, how was it balancing what we’ve already seen of them while also evolving them forward? 

Kris Anka: The first big challenge of this book was boiling down their essences and finding what their styles have developed in to in modern L.A. The trouble with teen looks, especially in L.A., is that they don’t last very long. A lot of the styles from the early 00s just aren’t around nowadays and I didn’t want 18-20-year-olds to look dated.

Karolina who started as the daughter of actors sort-of-flower child Socal blonde would definitely be a Yoga-doing-Coachella kid nowadays. Nico’s Goth look has become the witch and crystals look. I spent weeks building Pinterests for each of the characters so I could have a multitude of outfits for them. What we see on the cover just happens to be the first look I [came] up with, but it is in no means the only look for them.

Marvel.com: Kris mentioned looking back at earlier runs; Rainbow, how much did you look back at the previous series or other teen comics to get a feel for these characters?

Rainbow Rowell: A lot. I’m a continuity junky. So there was never any question for me about whether to go back. I reread everything. The whole run. And then I read every appearance the characters have made since. Then I went back to the Vaughan/Alphona stuff again.

I didn’t really need to get a feel for the Runaways or teen comics; I already had that. But the exciting part of the project for me was moving these characters forward in a way that felt true to who they really are and what they’ve been through so far. Really bringing them back to life.

I wanted to write them in a way that would feel true to old Runaways fans—like me—and that would endear them to new readers. I hope that new readers fall for these characters the way I did 14 years ago.

Marvel.com: From a writing perspective, how has it been shifting from prose to comic scripting?

Rainbow Rowell: I’ve spent the last two years working on screenplays and the graphic novel I’m doing with Faith Erin Hicks, so I was all warmed up for RUNAWAYS.

But I’m still getting used to the pacing of a 20-page book—and how fast it goes. I think my original pitch for this six-issue arc would actually cover five years of monthly comics. Kris and Nick Lowe, our editor, have been really patient and generous with me.

Marvel.com: Kris, Rainbow comes from the world of prose writing. Do you think that gives her a different approach to comics?

Kris Anka: Definitely. In sort of a selfish way Rainbow’s new-ness to comics really helped me sort of specify early on and help us develop our work flow better so that we worked more fluidly with each other. There would be normal things you’d put in to a script that for this book I wasn’t looking for this time that helped lessen the learning curve for her and gave me more freedom.

When I got the first [drafts] of the scripts Rainbow had broken most pages down into beats, but it read so clearly to me and was so captivating I had no trouble in figuring out the panels and pacing that I asked her not to bother putting the panels in because it was already so clear. Plus given Rainbow’s skill in capturing characters I just couldn’t put down the scripts and I kept wanting to read more and more, which definitely helps get me excited to draw the book.

Marvel.com: Along similar lines, how has it been working with Kris on this series so far?

Rainbow Rowell: It has been, without exaggeration, a pure delight. Kris is a bountifully talented artist. And he brings everything I was specifically hoping for to the book. Adrian Alphona set the bar high for these characters. He drew them with distinct body types and each with their own sense of style. Kris gets that. I remember looking at Kris’s first drawings of Chase and thinking, “This looks exactly like Chase, but also brand new, and also somehow better than ever.”

Kris was already a RUNAWAYS fan. So we were both starting at the same place, and I think we immediately trusted each other with the evolution of these characters.

To see that next step in their evolution, check out RUNAWAYS #1 by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka in September!

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