On the Run: Joss Whedon Takes Over "Runaways"

Mon, September 11th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

"Runaways" #22
Recently, fans of Marvel Comics' series "Runaways" got some sad news; series creators Brian K Vaughan and Adrian Alphona announced they would be leaving the series with Issue #24, which hits stores this coming January. But hey there True Believers! Dry those eyes! The adventures of the "Runaways" won't be coming to an end. Marvel plans to continue the book and has lined up a new creative team, whose run will begin in April. Joining new artist Michael Ryan will be a writer who is well known for chronicling the adventures of super powered teenagers. CBR News spoke to new "Runaways" writer Joss Whedon about the book.

When he learned of Brian K Vaughan's impending departure, Whedon jumped at the chance to write "Runaways." "I heard BKV was leaving and started rubbing my hands together like Mr. Burns," Whedon told CBR News.

One of the reasons Whedon is so excited to work on "Runaways" is the book's great cast of characters. "They're very fresh, they're very real, their predicament is the stuff of fantasy and of everyday reality," Whedon explained. "And Molly is adorable."

Getting the chance to play with such great characters doesn't come without a price. Whedon is aware that in taking over for Brian K. Vaughan he has some very big shoes to fill. He had a message for any fans that might be skeptical or unsure about his run. "Three little words, true believers: I'm completely terrified," Whedon said.

Readers don't need to be terrified over the transition between the two writers. Vaughan's final "Runaways" story will have a definite ending. Also, Vaughan and Whedon have been talking about the characters and their plans for them. "There will be no cliff-hanging, but Brian and I have talked much about where the kids are emotionally and how many more are gonna be dead and stuff," Whedon stated. "As much as possible, I want this to read like Brian's book, since it is. I won't accomplish that completely, but he's heard (and helped develop) the whole arc and seems to approve. Screaming, 'You've destroyed my children!!' is a sign of approval, right?"

Whedon's storyline picks up shortly after the events of Vaughan's final issue. "I'm not sure how much time has passed - I'm deliberately vague on the subject," Whedon said. "Not much, though. Enough for them to get across the country and execute the plan they've made, which we open with. They're being proactive; they've got a plan. It's a bad plan."

He couldn't reveal the specifics of the Runaways' plan and Whedon could only talk cryptically about the obstacles, adversaries, and guest stars that the kids will encounter as they act on their machinations. "We will see some familiar (to us, not to the Runners) faces, which is always fun, but the main thrust of the book is for them to experience a very different world, maybe open their eyes a bit about their own situation," Whedon explained. "As for obstacles, well, they've always got each other."

Whedon feels the "Runaways" role in the Marvel Universe is to be the voice of youth and many of the themes and issues he plans on exploring in his run have to do with the complexities and dangers of growing up. "You know the saying: 'Never trust any one whose book is over 29 years old,'" he said. "It's about the bleak, inspiring urgency of being an adolescent. It's classic in that sense, yet modern in the sense of keeping the kids balanced between light and dark, and mistrustful of/separate from everyone else. 'Question authority' is still the most important lesson we can teach, and these guys learned it the hard way. I think the Runaways would really like their story to be a hero's journey - but it's really not up to them. Not yet."

 
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