A Brief History of The Runaways

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The Runaways comic started in 2003 under Marvel’s Tsunami imprint, a subdivision dedicated to young adult readers and manga fans. Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona created the characters and the series.

Who Are The Runaways?

Although the roster has changed slightly through the years the casting has revealed that the show will most likely follow Brian K. Vaughn’s first volume of the comic. The gist of which with a minor spoiler is that a group of kids find out that their parents are supervillains and then decide to rebel against them and “runaway.”

Some potential spoilers for the show follow this. End warning.

I’ll start with the characters, the Runaways themselves. They are the children of a supervillain group based in California called The Pride. After secretly witnessing their parents do something quite villainous they run and along the way discover that they have abilities:

Alex Wilder:

He has no powers other than his intellect like his parents, who are both Kingpin-like in their roles within the Pride.

Chase Stein:

He is a typical jock character who is seemingly dumber than the rest of the group although his parents are both evil scientists. He early in the comics gets gauntlets that let him shoot and manipulate fire and x-ray glasses.

Gertrude Yorkes:

He parents are time travelers. Early on it is revealed that they went to the future and made her a dinosaur that responds to her telepathically, giving her the ultimate guard dog in a vat-born deinonychus. Chase and Gertrude become interested in each other at one point as well.

Karolina Dean:

She is the only one with a happy home life before finding out about The Pride. Her parents are from another planet and have passed on their powers to her. Sunlight allows her energy projection and flight.

This ability stays in check with the use of an emergency contact bracelet she thought she had to wear due to a penicillin allergy. She comes out as gay in the 2nd volume and also is revealed to have a pre-arranged marriage with a Skrull prince. It turns out her race and the Skrulls are at war, and their union will stop it. She is against the idea until the Skrull, Xavin, takes a female form.

Nico Minoru:

Her parents are both dark wizards. Early in the series Nico manages to steal a staff from her mother and learns to use it throughout the series until much later on where her great-grandmother torture/trains her to use it to become extremely powerful. We learn in the comics that even Dormammu trembles at the sight of the Staff of One. She is only able to produce it from her body when she is bleeding. She and Alex have a flirtation going on that starts and stops throughout the first volume.

Molly Hayes:

She is the youngest of the Runaways at 11 and the rest of the team who are mostly 15, except for Chase who is 16, try their best to protect her and help with the truth that her parents are evil. They both have telekinesis. It’s revealed early on that in a surprise to everyone, including her parents that she is a mutant with the ability of super strength and seemingly invulnerable skin. She does get exhausted after using her powers, however.

Bonus Runaways

  1. Cloak and Dagger are called in by a local cop on the take from The Pride. Since their past is so similar, the police feel they will be able to stop The Runaways. I don’t see Cloak and Dagger appearing in the show although it would be cool to see them in action.
  2. Other members of the Runaways from later in the series such as Jubilee and Pixie.
  3. Captain America shows up to clean up the mess at the end of the first volume. It would be cool to see him appear but doubt it will happen.
  4. The crew takes in another runaway with evil parents only to discover he is a vampire. He kisses Nico angering Alex, but once he reveals his true self, he dies after trying to suck on Karolina’s sun-infused blood.

The Story of The Runaways

The Pride, six couples, were brought together by the Gibborim, three giant monsters, who ruled the world when it was “pure.” They wish to return it to the original state of perfection, so they create The Pride to destroy the world.

The catch is only 6 of the 12 will be allowed to help rule it with the Gibborim. The members of The Pride figure if they each have one child they can then gift that child with the position of ruling the world after the destruction of it. The children were supposed to find out about this when they turn 18. But during one of their yearly meetings, where they sacrifice a child to appease the Gibborim, their child spy on them and see the sacrifice take place, leading them to run away.

The parents, realizing that their children are gone (and have taken some mighty weapons with them), try to hunt them down with the help of a mole within the group itself.

The team hides out in an underground hotel while Alex deciphers The Pride’s entire history using a stolen book. They eventually figure out that one of the last meetings between the Gibborim and The Pride is about to take place where they give the soul of the murdered girl to the Gibborim and destroy the world.

Unfortunately, Alex has been loyal to his parents this entire time and has been leading the Runaways into a situation he knows they can’t win. He plans to rule the world with his parents as well as Nico and hers. She says no and punches him out which leads to the final fight. When they team up and take out the parents, the Gibborim are displeased, and they destroy the temple. The Runaways – minus Alex – are the only ones to escape and run into Captain America who is there to clean up the mess.

Publication History

The series has gone through numerous volumes the first lasting 18 issues from April 2003 to August 2004. The second part lasted from February 2005 to June 2008 with writer Brian K. Vaughan leaving in 2007 and Joss Whedon writing the final arc and finishing the second volume. The third volume stated in August 2008 and ended in November 2009. This volume started with writer Terry Moore and artist Humberto Ramos until issue 11 when Kathryn Immonen and Sarah Pichelli took over.

The Runaways made various appearances in other comics, including Avengers A.I. and Daken: Dark Wolverine. In 2015 there was a 4 issue Battleworld: Runaways miniseries that took place during Marvel’s ‘Secret Wars’ event. The current ongoing Runaways started in September of 2017 and is written by Rainbow Rowell and drawn by Kris Anka.

The Runaways Journey to Hulu

As for a television iteration of the show, talks, and attempts to bring The Runaways to the TV date back to 2005. There were several attempts made through the years to bring the show to television or theaters, but none have born any fruit until now.

The television show released on Hulu on 11.21.2017 is under lead writers  Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, both of whom worked together on Gossip Girl. Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel Television, has confirmed that the show does take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The Runaways is on Tuesdays on Hulu. The first three episodes are available now. Be sure to check back here for individual episode reviews and recaps.

About the author

Jonathan has been an avid reader, video gamer, board gamer, and film fan since he was very young. Some recent favorites include Persona 5, Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, 878 Vikings published by Academy Games and A Dark Song by Liam Gavin.

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