Imagine this: every year your parents drag you to some boring charity event, where you’re forced to spend time with their friends’ kids while the adults do whatever adults do. Until one year, when you and the other kids find out that your parents aren’t meeting to discuss charity, but that your parents are actually supervillain mob bosses seeking world domination. This is the conflict facing the group of characters known as The Runaways, who do just that and decide to take on their parents with their own recently discovered powers.
It was announced today that Hulu and Marvel would be teaming up to create a pilot (and additional scripts) based off of the hit Marvel comic book series, The Runaways, and it’s definitely something you should be very excited about if you’re a fan of superheroes, coming-of-age stories, and tales of epic parent-child conflict.
The Runaways was originally created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona in 2003. For the less comic book savvy, Brian K. Vaughan is one of the most highly respected comic book writers of this generation and his series’ Y: The Last Man and Saga are considered by many to be modern classics of the comic book medium. Through his work in comic books, he has received 11 Eisner Awards (the comic book equivalent of an Oscar) and was recently inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame. Outside of comics, Vaughan wrote and produced for the TV series Lost, and was the showrunner for the television adaptation Stephen King’s Under the Dome.
Speaking of showrunners, it was also announced that the showrunners for The Runaways would be Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, the team behind the hit TV series’ The O.C. and Gossip Girl. Now, if you’re having a hard time connecting Gossip Girl and superheroes in your head, you should also know that Josh Schwartz was co-creator of the fan-favorite action-comedy series Chuck on NBC.
So, besides the creative team involved, what else do you have to look forward to in The Runaways? Well, over the course of its existence, the comic book series has dealt with a variety of different themes and plotlines including aliens, time travel, conspiracies, and much more. The Runaways have also fallen into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. during their comic series, so there stands to be some possibility of a crossover with ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I came across a number of people online who were less than thrilled that series was being created for Hulu whose use of commercials, even with a paid subscription, is off-putting to many streamers. However, despite this, Hulu has recently shown deft prowess with its original series such as The Path and 11.22.63 (my favorite TV show of the last year), which is very encouraging to the probable quality of The Runaways, streaming issues aside.
Marvel also continues to show that they are not solely reliant on adaptations of comic book characters that were created 50 or more years ago. After the success of Jessica Jones (whose main character first appeared in 2001) on Netflix and the green-lighting of The Runaways (first published in 2003), Marvel is clearly not beholden to name recognition.
On a more artistic level, an adaptation of The Runaways comes at a very appropriate time. The original comic book was practically an exercise in breaking the traditional clichés of the superhero genre with its main characters lacking costumes, catchphrases, and barely, if ever, hiding their identities. These aspects make the comic book an attractive target for adaptation as the current most common theme of superhero films and television is questioning “What it is a superhero?” More and more the true conflicts for superheroes are less about fighting the bad guy and more about fighting internal moral debates, which is very akin to The Runaways. Particularly in the early run of the comic book series, when the main characters are facing off against their own parents.
For all these reasons and more I am extremely excited to see what Hulu and Marvel will make of The Runaways, and here’s hoping that the pilot is good enough to warrant a full season.
Oh yeah, one last thing?
One of the main characters has a pet dinosaur.