Fans may be excited to finally get a date for the beginning of Terry Moore's run on Runaways, but it's likely that nobody's more excited than Moore himself.
This weekend at New York Comic Con, Marvel announced that the relaunch of the Runaways series by Moore will be happening in September, complete with a new #1 issue.
Moore and artist Humberto Ramos were announced as the new creative team on Runaways last year at San Diego Comic Con, but Marvel couldn't release their issues until the storyline by writer Joss Whedon wrapped up.
Now that Moore's issues have a firm date and a new #1, Newsarama talked to the creator to get his take on the announcement and to find out more about what's coming for Runaways fans -- and to check back in for a few teases about what's coming up in Echo.
Newsarama: It's been awhile since you were announced in this series, Terry. Are you pretty well into the series?
Terry Moore: I've been working on Runaways since the middle of last year. So I'm very well into it. First off, I had a lot of catching up to do. So, I've done a lot of research, a lot of reading and development, and the scripts have gone through a few rewrites. So a lot of energy and time has been spent on developing the first scripts.
NRAMA: We heard in Wizard World L.A. that the first issue is all penciled, is that right?
TM: Yes, and actually, the second issue is penciled as well.
NRAMA: So you've seen the art. How does it feel to be just the writer and have someone else interpret what you're saying?
TM: On this series, it's fantastic because the location and the scenery and the visuals of Runaways are very lush and thick. It boggles my mind to think about having to draw everything I've written, but Humberto Ramos handles it beautifully. And the energy that comes off the page is just fantastic. When I was reading the original Runaways series, I couldn't picture them looking any different, but once I saw Humberto's art, I fell in love with it all over again. It's a whole fresh, new take on it. It's just wonderful. He's doing a great job. And I think he's doing his best work on this series. He's nailing it. They're cute looking and the visuals are fantastic.
And he can draw anything, whether it's expressions or great backgrounds, so I can write anything I want! It's very liberating.
NRAMA: You mentioned the location. Are they back in L.A. in this story?
TM: I'm very leery of spoilers at this point, but I can tell you that they're back in L.A., and it is post-invasion. And the first thing they have to do when they come back to L.A. is, where do they go? They've used up all the known Pride safehouses, and they realize that they need some basic things like... money, and tissue paper, and food. So they have some basic requirement that need filled. When the superhero grown-ups back in New York sent the kids packing, they didn't exactly give them care kits with toothpaste and soap. [laughs] And the Leap Frog doesn't come with a travel kit, so they have to deal with some realities when they get back.
But the minute they start dealing with those things, something incredible happens. There's no way you could see it coming. And that's our story for the first arc.
NRAMA: This something incredible that happens -- is that in the first issue?
TM: Yeah. It occurs in the first issue, and it's something that was established in the very first story arcs. So it's not like I'm just pulling it out of the blue, but I'm continuing something. In my story arc, they have to deal with the consequences of something that happened in the first story arc.
NRAMA: So this "something incredible" won't just all of the sudden be, like, dinosaurs running around. Oh wait -- there already is a dinosaur in this comic!
TM: Yeah! That's already been done! But yeah -- I'm not just pulling something out of my ear.
NRAMA: So if this deals with something that can be traced back to the first story arcs, would this be a good jumping-on point for someone who has never read Runaways? Can someone read it without knowing what has happened before?
TM: This is a good jumping on point. It starts with a new #1. So this could be the first Runaways book you've ever read. And if you like it, it will be the same characters and everything, so you can go back and enjoy the previous series. Now's a good time to jump in.
And I certainly hope I'm bringing a lot of new readers to the series. I hope I'm bringing all my readers to it.
That would be dozens and dozens of people I'd be bringing on board. [laughs]
NRAMA: Oh, I don't know, Terry. I heard the first two issues of your new self-published title Echo did pretty well.
TM: It did. [laughs] It's doing very well. I'm breathing a sigh of relief because of how successful it's been.
NRAMA: Let's talk about the difference between your self-published comics and Runaways. I know how close you felt to the characters in your long-running self-published title Strangers in Paradise, and we've even talked about how you feel about Julie Martin in Echo. You said that you've done a lot of research for Runaways. Do you feel close to these characters now? Are you able to get that level of intimacy with the characters even though you're not drawing them but only writing?
TM: Yeah, I actually am. As long as I'm just reading and making notes, I don't feel very close. I just feel educated. But once I started writing them, first off, there was this strange moment when I realized, "My God! I am the voice of Nico!" Whatever Nico says, I'm controlling that. So I have to be responsible for Nico, and I have to do the same with each other character. Suddenly, if Molly's going to say another cute thing, I'm the one who has to think of it. [laughs] So there was a scary flash there, a little epiphany, kind of like a deer in the headlights, but then I just brushed it aside and dove into it. I let the movie play in my head, and I just take dictation from the characters. I got into the swing of it fairly quickly, I think. I guess the readers will be the final judge, but I feel very good about it.
NRAMA: Does this story pick up right after the final Joss Whedon issue?
TM: It is after Joss. How far along after Joss, I'm not sure. I'm cautious about saying anything, because Joss has a big finish, and I don't want to give anything away. So all I know is I occur after all that. And I am left with some... things that Joss started. So I can't actually even tell you who all still qualifies as Runaways, because the cast changes.
NRAMA: Yeah, I think we've heard that the cast is changing, and the most recent issue that came out certainly points in a couple directions. So instead of asking about specific characters, since you can't tell us who's in the cast, how about telling us if there are any characters that surprised you once you started writing them and finding their voices?
TM: Yeah. A character like Nico is way down to earth, so there's not going to be a lot of change from month to month. But where I was surprised was with Chase and Xavin. When I first read Runaways, I didn't like Chase, because to me he was just, like, a shallow jock. I just didn't think there was much to him. But now, my attitude has totally changed about him as I started thinking about where that attitude is coming from and why he's doing it. I realized that he's a great soldier of the future in the making. He's sort of like a wolf cub. He has his sharp edges now, but who we're going to end up with by the time he's 30 could be really incredible. So sometimes I almost feel like I'm writing a young Captain America -- the guy who is going to become Captain America. That would be a good story idea, wouldn't it? He would fit, you know?
NRAMA: Yeah! I think they just got a new Captain America. Maybe by the time Chase is 30, they'll need another one.
TM: Yeah, maybe Chase will do that. But the other one that surprised me was Xavin. He was an alien and he's been written a lot like a Vulcan. But I've managed to find something that's funny about him without him trying to be funny. And I had a lot of fun with that so far. I put him in a situation where suddenly he's very funny. He doesn't mean to be, but we're getting a kick out of it. So I was surprised to find that.
NRAMA: In Echo, you've written hints of superheroism-to-come in your main character. Yet diving into the Marvel Universe with this book had to be very different for you. Do you feel good about writing superhero stuff? Or is there anything you can share that you've discovered about writing superheroes?
TM: Oooo. That's an entire panel right there. I think, probably, I really appreciate the opportunity to write superheroes because I think of it as writing a new American mythology. I don't necessarily think of it as, "Hey, we need to make another comic book just to make money this month." I think of it in terms of trying to add to current hero mythology. It's entertainment, and it's escapism and all that, but it still has a chance to lift people up and encourage them and remind them that we can be better depending on the challenges. That's kind of what I think about when I write these stories. You don't think of challenges just so you can beat your characters down; you're trying to show how they can be better and fight back and win. So that aspect of it is very inspiring as a writer. You never lose sight of that when you're writing hero stories. It's like, picture writing Harry Potter -- and you think, OK, I'll make it tough, but I'll show how he can get past all these odds. So that's fun; that's inspiring.
It's different from writing slice-of-life stories, which I've been writing for years, because those have much slower developments. And with superheroes, I have the ability to make things work much quicker, like a sitcom. So I'm still doing things that are familiar for me. I'm not doing things that are unnatural for me, in terms of writing. But it's just a different speed, it's a different lane to drive in, and it's a lot of fun.
NRAMA: Two-part question: As short as you can, describe to someone what Runaways is. And then, what is it that you hope to bring to it?
TM: Runaways is the story of a group of kids who are living today, right now, and how they're dealing with the world we live in, plus the world Marvel has them living in. And they have cut themselves off from adults, yet they do a pretty good job. They're trying to figure it out on their terms.
And I think that Humberto and I, our main goal is to give you a fresh, new look that makes the entire series look very now and very energetic. We're just trying to bring our own sense of energy to it. The stories that have been done so far have been fantastic, but they're over, and this is our opportunity to do something very energetic with the series.
NRAMA: We mentioned your new series, Echo, earlier in the interview. We've just read issue #2. Would you like to take this opportunity to tell readers of the series anything at this point? Is there anything you want to clarify or tell them to watch out for in coming issues?
TM: The only thing I can really say about Echo right now is that issues #2 and #3, and even #4 somewhat, are totally about learning the characters and who they are. And by the time you finish issue #3, you'll have the people you love and people you hate, and you're going to hopefully feel very strongly about them. And I have some curveballs coming at you that you just cannot tell are coming. So I have surprises for you. And I'm very excited for you to experience them.