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Old 09-08-2006, 01:48 PM   #1
MattBrady
 
BRIAN K. VAUGHAN TALKS RUNAWAYS EXIT

Earlier this week, writer Brian K. Vaughan surprised fans of his critical hit/cult-favorite Marvel ongoing series Runaways by announcing his and original artist Adrian Alphona’s exit with the upcoming issue #24 of the current [volume/season 2) of the series.

Despite existing in the Marvel Universe and not being creator-owned, Runaways is perhaps one of the mostly closely creator-associated Marvel series in some time, which made it equally surprising when Vaughan announced the series would continue without him and Alphona after their exit.

The identity of the new creative team will have to wait for another time, but we caught up with Vaughan for a few expanded thoughts on the history of the series, and turning over guardianship of his kids to others…

[warning: spoilers about the events of issue #18 are discussed openly below]…

Newsarama: So Brian, just to kill any rumors that may be springing up - you and Adrian [Alphona] are leaving of your own free will here? This isn't something like a prelude to you going exclusive with DC, and having to drop your Marvel work, or something like that?

Brian K. Vaughan: No, this has nothing to do with anything but Runaways, and doing what's best for that series, which has always been and will probably always be my favorite child. I am busy with sellout screenplay and television stuff, but lest anyone think I'm a casualty of Old Man's Millar's crazy Hollywood conspiracy theories, I still spend 75% of my life working on comics, and I hope it will always be that way. I just don't have time to play MarioKart anymore.

NRAMA: Why now? Were you and Adrian planning all along that when you got to “x” in the larger storyline, you were going to leave?

BKV: Unlike Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina, which both have planned endings, I always knew I wanted Runaways to go on forever, long after I left the book. That said, I used to think I would be the writer for hundreds and hundreds of more issues. But then I plotted out the two stories after Gert's death, and I realized they were going to be the culmination of many things that Adrian and I have been working towards since our very first Issue #1. I felt like the whole Runaways creative team has really reached our zenith over these last few storylines, so I started thinking about the possibility of bowing out while we were still at the top of our game.

We could stick around until after we started to run out of gas, but I'm certain that would kill the book. Right now, the Runaways are in a great position after winning some awards, spinning off a very cool upcoming new book, getting added exposure from Zeb's excellent crossover with the Young Avengers... and I realized that handing the book over to an all-new creative team at the height of our popularity might be the series' best chance at making a real bid for immortality as a truly permanent part of the mighty Marvel Universe.

NRAMA: Over the last few years, Runaways has certainly had its share of ups and downs. Honestly now – during the first series run, when you saw the numbers starting to fall off…did you ever, in your wildest dreams think you’d be here? A second series, awards, acclaim, etc, etc…? Was your faith in the characters, this book, and the fans that strong?

BKV: Absolutely not. C.B. Cebulski and I used to joke how funny it would be if Runaways ended up like a modern-day X-Men, a formerly canceled book that eventually evolved into this beloved franchise. I never actually believed it was even a remote possibility, but we just might be on the path to making that a reality someday.

NRAMA: In your view, what “hooked” between the readers and the characters?

BKV: It's entirely thanks to Adrian Alphona, who is one of the great living comic-book artists. I really think he's like a modern-day Jack Kirby. He may draw nothing like The King, but Adrian has the exact same boundless imagination and enthusiasm for breaking all the rules of what a contemporary comic book is supposed to look and feel like. Watching our characters grow up as Adrian has grown up as an artist has been electrifying. Each of the Runaways just looks so unique and so fully formed that even people who've never read comics before fall in love with our kids the second they see one page. That's all because of Adrian.

He and I have already talked just a bit about co-creating something completely new together down the line, but in the meantime, I'm sure smart editors will be fighting over him.

NRAMA: There’ve been so, so many other tries at new superhero teams, characters, etc, and, with only a few exceptions, Runaways is the only one at Marvel (not related to an existing franchise) to have any sticking power in what…20 years or so?

BKV: Thanks. I don't know. I'm no Stan Lee, but I definitely know how to steal from him. Stan was the one who realized that great comics have nothing to do with powers, costumes, or continuity, and everything to do with using these heroes as timeless metaphors for something meaningful about our real lives. I just tried to imagine what kind of subversive teen book Stan would write if he were creating the Marvel Universe today, and while I know he probably would have come up with something better, a book about kids who find out that their parents are the most evil people on the planet is certainly something that I think a lot of us can identify with.

NRAMA: On that note, in creating the characters and team, were you looking to make anything “classic Marvel,” that is, with elements that are present in the best known and successful Marvel titles? After all, you’ve got heroes with feet of clay, aliens, orphans, death of girlfriend, etc… Did any of that run through your head as you were putting together your initial ingredient list, or is that kind of stuff clearer in hindsight?

BKV: Nah, while the high concept is classic Marvel, the execution is more inspired by my friends, family, personal experiences, and imagination than it is by other comics I loved as a kid.

NRAMA: In a similar vein, what hooked with Marvel and the book? Obviously, they were going out on a limb for the characters, and, frankly, you, as a creator.

BKV: Actually, getting the book approved both times around was disgustingly easy. I just pitched them the idea, and everyone at Marvel was immediately enthusiastic. I think mainstream comics are more consistently excellent now than they've probably ever been, but five years ago, as I was pitching stuff like Y and Runaways and The Hood, the major comics companies were probably a little more... adventuresome in seeking out new voices and truly new ideas than today's conservative marketplace allows them to be. That said, guys like Joe Quesada have been consistently vocal advocates since day one. If Runaways is successful, it's because of how hard Joe, Bill Jemas, Dan Buckley, C.B. Cebulski, MacKenzie Cadenhead, Nick Lowe, and many more people at Marvel over the years, have fought and continue to fight for our book.

NRAMA: Did the pressure increase for you, more so than normal, at the beginning of the new series?

BKV: Not really. I have no idea why people like anything, so I always just try to write stuff I want to read.

NRAMA: As you moved the kids through their stories, what was the hardest story for you to write?

BKV: I wish I had a good answer for this, but having had actual jobs before, I can say with confidence that writing comic books is never anything resembling "hard."

NRAMA: So then how about the easiest?

BKV: Issue #18, both of them. I always hate when authors say that stories "write themselves," but those two really did.

NRAMA: Obviously, the most-talked about development recently was the death of Gert…it’s probably not going out on a limb to say that the fans didn’t want you to kill her, and probably some part of you didn’t want to kill her either, but at the same time, for the story to move forward…she had to die. How do you disassociate yourself from a character you created enough to kill her, you cold, heartless bastard?

BKV: "Kill your darlings" is a cliché for a reason. Gert has always been my favorite character, and I couldn't imagine the team without her. And that's when I knew she had to die.

NRAMA: After all you’ve gone through with the series, did the death of Gert affect readers in any ways that you weren’t expecting?

BKV: No, it was all expected, especially after the amount of really passionate hate mail I got when I revealed the team's mole to be Alex, who so many African-American readers felt was one of the few three-dimensional young heroes in comics they could identify with. But just as I wouldn't be doing my job if they didn't feel hurt and betrayed by that character's traitorous turn, I wouldn't be doing my job if the readers who loved having a refreshingly realistic female character didn't feel angry and hopelessly depressed by Gert's death.

In their own way, each of the Runaways is some kind of unique minority, especially in the world of comics, so I hope readers are unreasonably attached to all of them.

NRAMA: Do you have a “set point” (for lack of a better term) that you’re building to with the kids/book by the time you reach #24? What outstanding issues are there in your mind that need to be resolved?

BKV: I hate spoilers, so I'll just say that dealing with a friend's death is not something you resolve in 22 pages.

NRAMA: So tease out the end of your run a little – where are things headed?

BKV: The current arc is called "Dead Means Dead." Our final arc is "Live Fast." Draw your own conclusions, kids!

NRAMA: Conversely – are there any threads you’re purposely leaving for your successor to pick up on? Anything that he/she requested you not wrap up, tightly?

BKV: My successor has carte blanche to use or ignore anything Adrian and I have done over the last 42 issues. I trust her or him completely.

I know people are saying that Runaways needs a "superstar" writer to stay alive, but I certainly wasn't a superstar when I started writing the book, nor am I really one now. I'll let the talkbackers decide the worthiness of our successors when they're announced early next week, but we just wanted to find daring young creators who were fans of our book, and yet not afraid to take the series in a wholly unexpected new direction.

NRAMA: Advice for the schleb who has to fill your shoes?

BKV: I always appreciated how gracious my arch-nemesis Millar was when he passed the Swamp Thing torch to me a million years ago. He simply encouraged me to make the book my own. And yeah, while my brief run on Swampy may have been disastrous by most standards, I wrote a lot of stories that I remain very proud of, and learned everything about writing I've used since. So that's the same advice I gave the new writer.

Oh, and try not to kill Molly.

NRAMA: Is #24 it for you? Are you closing the Runaways door with that issue, and not looking back?

BKV: Never say never, but after people read Issue #25, they won't even want me back. No hyperbole there, true believers.

NRAMA: Can you just turn the switch off, given that you created them?

BKV: No, whichever of my switches those kids flipped - which sounds vaguely dirty - it will always stay on, even when I'm just another fanboy buying their book on Wednesday.

NRAMA: Bring it on home, brother – summarize your time on Runaways…what did it mean to you, personally and professionally?

BKV: Working with Adrian, Craig Yeung, Christina Strain, Randy Gentile, and Jo Chen, along with the many other creators who helped us over the years, was probably the best experience of my life, lame as that sounds. We were just a ragtag band of misfit underdogs, and maybe we didn't save the world, but we did put out a pretty goddamn good comic that mattered to some people.

I love all my readers equally, but I love Runaways readers a little more equally. They are the definition of hardcore, and it's depressing to think that they won't be there to dissect every panel of my work like it's the Zapruder film, as they did with every single issue of Runaways. I hope they'll follow me to new projects like next week's Pride of Baghdad and the other strange creator-owned books I'm starting to dream up, but I recognize that I'll lose a lot of those readers during my transition away from "mainstream" comics, and that's okay. We'll always have the Hostel.

Even as I type this, I recognize that this is probably a huge mistake that I'll come to regret, but I always said that I wanted these characters to grow up strong enough to one day be able to run away from their creative "parents," and survive in the big bad Marvel Universe on their own. I just never thought it would happen so fast.

Thankfully, along the way, the Runaways have taught this aging bald nerd that writers and artists also need to run away from the places where they feel safest and most comfortable, and maybe see what adventures the world has in store for them.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
RogueSmurf6
 
The line I found very exciting was this one:

"spinning off a very cool upcoming new book"

Go Loners/Excelsior!

Oh also, awesome work on Runaways. I for one will keep reading, it hasn't been about the writer and artist for me. It's just a good book.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:51 PM   #3
Ace
 
I am now one of those jerks who just read a part of an interview and then replied before reading the rest,

BUT I am excited that we have apparent Loners/Excelsior confirmation.

That is GREAT GREAT GREAT news. Balances this a little bit. But just a bit. Ok, onto read the rest.

EDIT: Ok read it. It got a little emotional towards the end there too. Well, I'll be following BKV onto some projects(and catching up on the second half of Y: the Last Man when I can actually afford the trades), but not others. Same with any other creator i really enjoy. I'd much rather see big 2 mainstream in canon superhero stuff from him, but you can't help but respect his decision to do more of his own stuff. I think we lose out as Marvel fans for never getting to see him do a 50 issue Spider-Man run or another 50 issues or Runaways, but comics as a medium is probably better off for having him do his own thing.

It's bittersweet though.

Bring on the next guy then.

Last edited by Ace : 09-08-2006 at 04:04 PM.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:52 PM   #4
TroyCarter
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
Thankfully, along the way, the Runaways have taught this aging bald nerd that writers and artists also need to run away from the places where they feel safest and most comfortable, and maybe see what adventures the world has in store for them.

BKV always knows just how to say it, doesn't he? I've got more respect for this guy than anyone working in The Biz today.

Keep running...
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:54 PM   #5
NormanB258
 
Sad to see you move on BKV, but looking forward to seeing what you cook up next.

Oh, and I'm into Runaways for the duration!
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:56 PM   #6
adamcasey
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroyCarter
Keep running...



Tramps like us, baby we were born to runnnnn....
 
Old 09-08-2006, 03:58 PM   #7
Groovie Mann
 
i am very pessimistic about the next creative team. runaways is one of the few marvel books i buy so i might be dropping it with BKV and alphona leaving.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:01 PM   #8
Mark Cardwell
 
Is #25 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch? Just wondering.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:01 PM   #9
dantebk
 
I'm trying to be the grown-up, mature, sensible fan here but I can't seem to get there.

I don't want BKV and Alphona to leave. I love the book the way it is and want it to continue. I can't think of another creative team that will make me stick around. No one, not even Grant Morrison or Alan Moore or Mark Millar or anyone else you could name that normally would be an instant pull, could do the job BKV and Alphona did. They're moving on and I probably will too.

Sorry.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:05 PM   #10
CMFD_GLC
 
Makes me want to cry...

I can honestly say this has been one of the most solid reads ever. I don't remember ONE bad issue! This is the book that also turned alot of my non reader friends and brothers onto comics. While I'd do anything for BKV and Alphona to stay on the book, if anybody is gonna take it over I PRAY its Dan Slott.

Thanks for everything BKV and Alphona, You guys created something that was perfection and nobody can ever take that away from you guys!
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:19 PM   #11
Ironhorse
 
It's a damm shame, but only hope the next team will be good. Peace.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:20 PM   #12
Ye Olde Iowa
 
It is really a shame that the BKV and Alphona are leaving their book, but I can't imagine that it won't end up in capable hands. Plus, the characters are so well created and established that they will lend themselves well to another creative team. I mean, look how well they come across in CW:YA&RA, as well as the X-Men/Runaways FCBD issue. It's too bad that Miyazawa is heading out of American comics and into work in Japan, because I would love to see him team with a solid writer as the next creative team (plus it will make the Molly sketch Miyazawa did for me at Wizard World Chicago all the more special).

In the end though, looking back on both volumes thus far, its safe to say that BKV and Alphona did an amazing job in creating one of the best books on the market today (even if we did have to lose both Alex and Gert in the process).
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:27 PM   #13
Eiriken
 
I'm not sure if I like the fact that BKV is leaving Runaways, but then again, Zeb is doing a good job with the Runaways/YA thing, so there should be other writers out there who can do the job just as good as BKV

I'm hoping for a Molly solo, but the Excelisor/Loners thing may be interesting enough

And yeah, for the next one who's taking over Runaways: Do Not Kill Molly!
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:28 PM   #14
metr0man
 
I found it interesting that BKV said something like "I can't imagine the team without Gert. That's when I knew she had to die."

Then immediately afterwards he started to worry about running out of gas and reaching their zenith.

One wonders if he didn't push on with that, would he still be on the book?

BKV is a great writer and I'll give anything he's on a chance.

But this overall highlights one of the things I don't like about comics nowadays, the days of legendary runs and truly great stories over the long-term being told are over. This Runaways series lasted, what, 24 issues? to be fair there were like 15 or 18 or something in the first volume, so it's somewhat healthy run. But not nearly healthy enough.

In today's comics, a 24 issue run could literally be only 4 or 5 stories (with the usual over-arcing plots).

It just burns me up inside. It's like if LOST or Battlestar Galactica was only 5 or 10 episodes, or George Martin or JK Rowling's books were only a couple of chapters. Its why really good TV Shows on DVD have supplanted comics as my #1 form of entertainment.

Last edited by metr0man : 09-08-2006 at 04:32 PM.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:37 PM   #15
Kolimar
 
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
Even as I type this, I recognize that this is probably a huge mistake that I'll come to regret, but I always said that I wanted these characters to grow up strong enough to one day be able to run away from their creative "parents," and survive in the big bad Marvel Universe on their own. I just never thought it would happen so fast.

Thankfully, along the way, the Runaways have taught this aging bald nerd that writers and artists also need to run away from the places where they feel safest and most comfortable, and maybe see what adventures the world has in store for them.

Sniff... We'll miss ya, Brian. Best of luck.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:38 PM   #16
christosgage
 
As a fan, I'm really bummed to see one of my favorite writers leave one of my favorite books.

But on the other hand, I admire BKV for what appears to be an intention to create some off-the-beaten-path comics. He's right about the marketplace being increasingly conservative (in terms of being able to support new/non-traditional material). I think it's great that, having built up a "name" for himself, he is using his influence and established fan base to put some of that kind of material out there. I know he doesn't look at it like that, he's just making comics he'll enjoy making, but I still think it's good for the industry and I say bravo.

Not that I'd shed a tear if he did an about face and came back, mind you...
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:45 PM   #17
NovemberRose
 
Actually BKV wrote the X-Men/Runaways crossover but don't count it, cos it was free

Runaways will always be a top 3 comic for me (along with Y ) and BKV is most definitely the greatest creator in this little runner's mind anyway. I look forward to the new creative team even though it is quite sad to say goodbye.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 04:46 PM   #18
Kolimar
 
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
I am busy with sellout screenplay and television stuff, but lest anyone think I'm a casualty of Old Man's Millar's crazy Hollywood conspiracy theories, I still spend 75% of my life working on comics, and I hope it will always be that way. I just don't have time to play MarioKart anymore.

Comic book creators and their work in other fields. What do you think?
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:04 PM   #19
comicfanuk
 
"spinning off a very cool upcoming new book", anyone heard anything about this?
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:31 PM   #20
Grimm22
 
"the amount of really passionate hate mail I got when I revealed the team's mole to be Alex, who so many African-American readers felt was one of the few three-dimensional young heroes in comics they could identify with"

So its not ok to kill black characters anymore because it might be "racist"?!?!
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:31 PM   #21
cabbitabe
 
BKV will be missed...but characters endure creative changes... if characters are made to be "alive" on the page...then passing the reins to capable hands will keep Runaways as vibrant and awesome as ever.

With that...I'm still hoping it's Dan Slott or Sean McKeever. :P

BKV...thank you for hooking this comic reader on something new and enduring (I hope).
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:39 PM   #22
gwangung
 
Quote:
BKV: Thanks. I don't know. I'm no Stan Lee, but I definitely know how to steal from him. Stan was the one who realized that great comics have nothing to do with powers, costumes, or continuity, and everything to do with using these heroes as timeless metaphors for something meaningful about our real lives. I just tried to imagine what kind of subversive teen book Stan would write if he were creating the Marvel Universe today, and while I know he probably would have come up with something better, a book about kids who find out that their parents are the most evil people on the planet is certainly something that I think a lot of us can identify with.

Quote:
Thankfully, along the way, the Runaways have taught this aging bald nerd that writers and artists also need to run away from the places where they feel safest and most comfortable, and maybe see what adventures the world has in store for them.


Fans ought to read these quotes over, ten times, the next time they want to whine, "This isn't Ray Palmer. I have no interest." "This is a third rate character, I have no interest" "I have no interest to see these kinds of stories for this character, no matter how written."
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:45 PM   #23
Ye Olde Iowa
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimm22
"the amount of really passionate hate mail I got when I revealed the team's mole to be Alex, who so many African-American readers felt was one of the few three-dimensional young heroes in comics they could identify with"

So its not ok to kill black characters anymore because it might be "racist"?!?!

BKV didn't say anything about being accused of being racist. What is meant by this quote is that there a few young heroes with established personalities and good characterization that young African-Americans can relate to, and BKV killed one of them off. The readers were justifiably angry that he would kill off a character they related to. Nothing was said or implied about racism.

Next time, please reread things in context before making a knee-jerk reaction.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:47 PM   #24
Filter03
 
I can't lay out enough praise for what BKV and Alphona have created. It's been one of my favorite comics since I first grabbed the little digest trade for a few bucks.

THis book never ceased to suprise me with its twists and turns. It did things I'd never thought I'd see in a modern main stream comic ie making Darkhawk cool again.

I'll be getting Pride of Baghdad as soon as i scramble up some cash, and I'm still a huge fanboy for Ex Machina.

Here's my vote for an Old Lace one shot. Who wouldn't want to see a velociraptor tearing it up through the marvel universe.
 
Old 09-08-2006, 05:50 PM   #25
skinnyboy23
 
I'm quite literally holding back tears. My first letter was published in Runaways Vol. 2 #13 saying I would be with this book forever and I will be.

Also, maybe the new creative team will be made of completely unknowns.

That'd be kind of cool.

Last edited by skinnyboy23 : 09-08-2006 at 05:52 PM.
 
 
   

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