Today Marvel officially announced a live action version of The Runaways! Marvel Studios will be making the popular 2003 comics series into a TV show on Hulu. This is exciting news for two reasons. First, the comic series was utterly fantastic (more on that in a minute). Second, seeing The Runaways as a live adventure is a story years in the making. There were first rumors that Marvel was producing a feature film about the Runaways not long after the first Iron Man movie. Then it was perpetually placed on hold as they focused on various Avengers first.
If you’ve never read The Runaways before, let me explain why this series is so loved and unique even among readers who are not fans of the superhero genre. My wife, who usually only reads non-superhero comics, loves The Runaways and the copies we own are hers. There are three big factors that made the comics great and will translate into excellent TV, if done right. The comics had an original premise, great characters, and a well executed plot full of surprises (but don’t worry I won’t spoil them).
The Runaways was a hit when it first came out because it had an original premise, which is a rare thing to find in superhero comics these days. It takes place in the Marvel Universe, but it’s not the usual “person gets powers and decides to fight crime” sort of story. Instead, it’s about six teenagers, some of whom don’t even like each other, who accidentally find out that their parents are a group of super villains. It’s a classic teens vs parents struggle but within a superhero universe. As the kids each discover their different abilities, they don’t follow the typical route of wanting to become superheroes or fight crime. Instead, they want to stop their parents and be left alone.
While an original premise can grab readers for the first issue, it’s the great characters that gave The Runaways such a devoted fanbase. Credit has to be given to Brian K Vaughan for writing every character in the book to perfection. The best comparison on television that I can think of is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show had teenage characters that felt real, but balanced that element with plenty of entertainment. The Runaways has that same feeling of real teenagers but with a little bit of wit that keeps the book fun without losing its naturalism. The beauty of it is that the natural feel of its characters makes The Runaways appealing both to guys and girls. It’s got a perfect balance of action, fun, character developments, and varied relationships (and yes, even a bit of romance), giving readers of every age and gender something to look forward to. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the comic had great appeal both ways and the show has that same potential.
The Runaways’ unique premise draws you in, the fantastic characters make you fall in love with it, and the well executed plot is what brings it all together. This comic is packed with surprises, and I’m not talking about a bunch of cheap twists. These are the best kind of surprises, the ones you don’t see coming but make perfect sense as soon as they happens.
While a lot of comic series don’t take long to falter in quality, The Runaways ran for 45 issues of pure gold in quality before it started to drop off. The Runaways is the perfect source material to make yet another fan favorite critical hit like Marvel’s other shows on Netflix. I’m excited to run away with these characters on Hulu and you should be too!