Marvel Comics surprised everyone last week when they announced during their BEA panel that the original Runaways would be returning in a brand new series by Young Adult genre author Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka. The news came after various teasers hinting at a possible new series with little information provided at the time. Now, in a new interview with Vox, Rowell details how she landed the gig and what it meant to her to be able to bring back one of the previously dead Runaways — while making it a point not to change her physical appearance.
Over the past couple of years, Marvel has steadily begun adding bestselling authors to their ranks with writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates on Black Panther and Margaret Stohl on Captain Marvel — Stohl also having penned two Young Adult Black Widow titles for their publishing arm. So it isn’t entirely surprising to hear that it was Marvel’s Nick Lowe that approached the author about possibly writing something for the comic giant, with Lowe telling Rowell that he’d love to see her “write a one-shot or something.”
Instead of taking Lowe up on a one-shot, Rowell pitched the idea of bringing the Runways back — including Gert, who died back in Runaways Vol. 2 #18. However, the author had one important requirement: if she got to bring Gert back, the character needed to remain “fat.”
“My favorite comic is Runaways, and I would really love to bring it back. And I want to bring Gert back, and I want her to be fat. Still. Don’t bring her back to life skinny! ‘She lost a lot of weight in the afterlife.’”
Although the series doesn’t officially launch until September, Rowell has revealed that she already has the first six issues finished. For her, getting to write a series with these characters — with the lone exception of Alex, of course — is exciting because of how much she loves them.
Instead of taking creative freedom with the characters, Rowell hopes to remain true to who they are and, instead, focus on telling the story in a way older fans will recognize.
For me it was more about, I love these characters. It felt like the sort of book that should have gone on for years and years. I just wanted to tell stories with those characters. I wanted to just bring them back, hopefully in a way that older fans like me will recognize. But I’m definitely writing it so that you guys can just pick up the first issue and would not be lost.
For fans of the Runaways, this a sure to be a big year. Not only will the original team be returning in the comics, but they’ll also be making their debut on the small screen when Runaways hits Hulu. The drama, which wrapped its pilot episode back in March, stars Rhenzy Feliz as Alex Wilder and Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez, with James Marsters and Ever Carradine as Victor and Janet Stein, Annie Wersching and Kip Pardue as Leslie and Frank Dean, Kevin Weisman and Brigid Brannagh as Dale and Stacey Yorkes, and Brittany Ishibashi and James Yaegashi as Tina and Robert Minoru.
The Runaways comic will launch this September.