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Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Runaways 1st appearances & Key Comics

No offense to anyone, but I can only take so much Halloween or horror comics and even horror movies. I watched quite a few or as much as I had time for, but back to superheroes! 

I believe this was requested by Max Rebo or it could've been Ace or Speculation Jones, and it concerns Marvel the Runaways. Not the band with Lita Ford and Joan Jett.

No big deal to dig into this comic series a bit further, no?

My first thought was to just say, "Issue #1 is all you need!" Maybe true, but maybe not. As far as most know, the first issue is the only one to be concerned about, but who knows just how popular this Hulu show may or may not take off.

Example: Not too long ago NYX #3 was considered the only X-23 book to be concerned with. Then her 2nd appearance also took off, and largely because it's a much better cover than issue #3.

After uncovering several other keys to be on the look-out for, some of those have popped and some of those are still wildly over-looked concerning X-23 at the moment. So, just like the X-23 and Doctor Doom keys, which had more backstory about the character then I and probably quite a few knew previously, we will dig into the Runaways comics a bit and mainly talk about some 1st appearances, maybe a few origins here and there.

Before we get into it: If you are looking forward to the show and know nothing about this comic series and hate spoilers, turn back now! There will be A LOT OF SPOILERS! Fair warning.

1st appearance of Runaways members
1st appearance of The Pride

Last year in the post that was Key Issue Comic Investments Still Under $100, this comic did make that list since Hulu had recently announced a show in production over there.

Now, it seems that the show has been cast and all the way to the very first trailer being dropped recently. It will be out in November, and I am looking forward to it.

Yes, this comic was selling higher than the $200 range for CGC 9.8s and 9.6s back then, but the chance for higher raw copies was still highly possible. Who knows now.

I went lazy on the key notations then and I am still going lazy on the key notations. I will give a detailed enough explanation and character breakdown of the Runaway members that debut in this issue though. Alright, here we go and the first one up is Alex Wilder who is considered the leader of the team for a while at least.

He does not possess super powers per say unless you consider being a child prodigy in logic and strategy a super power. Hey, there is the term super genius, right?

He is often distant from the rest of the group, and in later comics we discover why. Alex Wilder actually ends up being revealed as a mole for the Pride, and his betrayal does end with his death.

Alex is the son of Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder. Geoffrey is the leader of the Pride, an organized crime ring of super-powered villains in Los Angeles.

The Pride consists of the Mafia controlling Wilders, the Yorkes who can time travel, the telepathic Hayes, and the alien invader Deans from the planet Majesdan, the mad inventors known as the Steins, and the Minoru family magicians. If you ask my man Kevin Erickson, he believes their daughter Nico Minoru has major potential to be a break out character spec wise and in popularity.

With that said, Nico Minoru is a magician and does become the de facto leader during the 2nd series. She is Japanese-American and became a member of the all-female A-Force team in later comics. 

Because she did not receive formal training in magic, the source of her magical power is the Staff of One, an ancient magical weapon that her mother acquired from Nico's grandmother. She cannot repeat the same spell twice with the Staff of One, and the result is either it will not work whatsoever or it will create a random effect. While Alex refused to take on a superhero name, Nico took on the code name Sister Grimm.

Karolina Dean is the daughter of aliens from Majesdanians, the home planet of their species, who are basically able to absorb and project solar energy. She took on the code name Lucy in the Sky when she found out she was an alien and the extraordinary powers that came with it.

Issue #1 does not have her origin, nor does it see her discovering her secret as an alien nor her powers. That comes in another issue pretty close after this issue.

Yes, we shall get to that issue as well, and while I'm not really sure it counts as an origin per say, it does reveal her true alien form and hints she may be an alien. You'll see what I mean, and the reason I don't really consider it as an origin is because it doesn't really confirm that she is an alien nor her species.

Karolina Dean is revealed to be the only gay character in the group, and she had a crush on Nico. Her parents are reknowned actors Frank and Leslie Dean who are members of the evil Pride.

With her alien heritage, she has felt like an outcast and has had to wrestle with this insecurities during the evolution of her character arc. 

Also known as Talkback, Chase Stein is the wildcard of the group but extremely loyal to his friends. He is the oldest of the group and the most reckless.

Chase held X-Ray goggles and Fistagon gauntlets which had flamethrowers built in, but those who wore the Fistagons could mentally mold the flames into any shape he or she desired. He later gave the X-Ray goggles and Fistagon to Alex Wilder, but when Wilder betrayed the group, Nico destroyed the gauntlet.

After the death of Gert, Chase Stein was empathetically linked to Old Lace. His parents are some of the most brilliant inventors in the world and are reknown. It has been seen that even Tony Stark is impressed by their work.

Chase is the opposite of his parents and not a good student. He is more of a jock and a cliche, and it is revealed that his father, Victor, is physically and emotionally abusive towards Chase. He is the reason why the other Pride members decide to have children as he is the first to be born out of the group.

Now we are venturing into my territory of fandom and that's the mutants of Marvel. Molly Hayes and her parents are mutants and both are telepaths. Gene and Alice Hayes are doctors, but the world of the X-Men are not far away from this Runaways world.

During the origin issue of the Pride, which we will get to, we see them having problems with the neighbors and rocks were being thrown at their house because they are mutants. Thus, it is revealed during the series that they have a strong hatred for humans or homo inferior.

Molly was originally the youngest member of the group, and I think she is going to be the coolest one to see. Unlike her parents, Molly does not have telepathic powers. 

Instead, the littlest of the bunch has super-human strength and is later revealed to have the power of invulnerability. She is 11 in the beginning of the series, so she is the baby of the group.

Skeptical of her parents being murderers as she is escorted away by Karolina just before the ritual sacrifice, she is excited in the super-hero prospect though she is seen as unsure why they even ran away to begin with. She takes on the name Princess Powerful. 

Molly Hayes is extremely proud of her mutant heritage and also an X-Men fan, which easily makes her my favorite of the bunch. Her powers manifest later in the comic series and we will get to that issue for sure, and even though it's not a well-known key issue, it is important to the character and in the series.

Gertrude Yorkes or simply known as Gert is the daughter of time-traveling parents, and she gave herself the code name of Arsenic. She is the sarcastic and cynical member of the bunch, in which she is the only member who is not shocked at the fact her parents are evil baddies.

She is the first to have a telepathic bond with Old Lace, and her and Chase do have an intimate relationship. Gert is known to often babysit Molly, but a stronger more brotherly bond was formed between Molly and Chase.

Her and Nico are best of friends out of the bunch. This is the grail of Runaways key comics to have. No doubt, but this isn't the only key issue to consider and snag.

As usual, I will dig and uncover many of the important keys and state exactly why they're important. If these matters of importance aren't noted in the headers to the listings, they will be discussed in the descriptions.

The Runaways' premise? A group of teenagers who find out that their parents are part of a criminal organization called "The Pride." This group also learns that they inherited their parent's powers and ban together to thwart their evil parents. Runways #1 by Marvel Comics has the cover date of July, 2003.

2nd appearance of Runaways members
1st cameo of Old Lace
1st Alex Wilder cover

Alright, once again, I went lazy on the notations. So this is the 2nd appearance of all the members of the Runaways, and that means Alex Wilder, Chase Stein, Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes and Gertrude Yorkes.

Yeah, I know 2nd appearances are sometimes sought-after but this has more goodness to it than that.

So, the Runaways decide to investigate their parents as a team in this issue. Also, another important cast member makes a cameo debut in this issue and it is Old Lace, who was Gert's pet dinosaur. Old Lace will be in the show as the trailer shows.

In this comic, Old Lace shows up on the very last page as shown below. She is, of course, unnamed.

So, issue #1 is an extremely important key for the Runaways sure, but issue #2 is also an important key that should be snagged as well. The team forms in this issue, and it could be argued that this is the 1st appearance of the actual team. It also holds the 2nd appearance of all the members and has a cameo of Old Lace.

Like issue #1, this comic supposedly does not have large sales to North American comic shops. Estimated print run is probably low, and this has been argued that all the cast of the series with the exception of Molly Hayes actually first joined the team in this issue.

Actually, and to get this out of the way beforehand, the entire volume one series most likely had a lower print run or distribution. I already mentioned this in the Total Comic Mayhem G+ community. August, 2003 is the cover for the Runaways #2.

1st full appearance of Old Lace
Origin of Old Lace & Gert
1st appearance of the Abstract
Karolina Dean discovers powers & 1st cover
3rd appearance of Runaways members

Oh, wow, is this just going to be a #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 type of thing, man? That's crazy.

Actually, yeah, it might be and if you actually read the comics or knew the story, these kids...

A. Discover their parents are evil
B. Discover they have some kind of ability or family secret
C. This happens throughout the first couple of issues

So, all these kids stories and backstories don't just happen in one issue. No, it progresses throughout the first couple of issues and each contain an origin or reveal for individual members.

You'll see more of what I'm talking about as we progress. Old Lace makes her first full appearance and her existence is explained by a hologram of Gert's parents.

Old Lace is a genetically engineered dinosaur from the future to obey all of Gert's commands. She is absolutely loyal to Gert and has been known to snap at other team mates in defense of Gert.

Victor Mancha would later accurately describe Old Lace as a Deinonychus and not a Velociraptor.

This issue definitely reveals that the Yorkes are time travelers. It has a first origin of sorts, and that includes Gert and Old Lace. As shown in the panel, it also explains a bit about the Abstract which Alex Wilder becomes routinely obsessed in deciphering in much of the comic series before his betrayal.

The Abstract is an important item as we shall see more of as Alex uncovers more of it during the series. This issue has a lot of key goodness concerning the Runaways, and it also reveals Karolina's super powers and her true alien form.

So revelations for not just one but three characters of the Runaways happen in this very issue of #3 and could be seen as origins of sorts. As mentioned before, lots of goodness in this issue, and September, 2003 is the cover date to Runaways #3.

1st appearance of Staff of One
1st X-Ray goggles & Fistagons
1st Gert and Old Lace cover
Origin of Nico Minoru
4th appearance of Runaways members

So this issue reveals that Chase's parents are mad inventors, and that Chase does not nor resemble his parents in that department. He reveals that he finds their shed, which is like their inventing laboratory, quite boring, and therefore, his parents would most likely hide a bunch of stuff there.

Of course, they go investigating and this is where Chase discovers the X-Ray goggles and the Fistagons that I mentioned in the long-winded description underneath issue #1. 

Not only does this issue see the debut of these two important items or weapons, but it also sees the debut of the Staff of One and reveals that Nico Minoru and the Minoru's are magicians. One source claims this is Nico's first origin issue. I am not sure why but maybe it's because she discovers her family are magicians and that she has a bond with the Staff of One since it is absorbed into her body.

If you want to get into more nit-pickery, this issue also has the first battle between the Runaways and Nico's and Chase's parents since they are discovered snooping around in the Stein's shed.

Molly Hayes does not appear in issue #3 and she only appears in cameo in this issue. Some sources like state that this is the origin of Nico Minoru. 

Not really so sure about that. So important issue as it is the debut of the Staff of One, which is a magical item long associated with the character of Nico Minoru. 

Runaways #4 has the cover date of October, 2003.

 1st Chase Stein cover
Molly revealed as mutant
Reveals Hayes are mutants

The great thing about this series is that things unfold but are paced exceptionally well. The pacing of the story and character development are not rushed and it is not forced within the story.

There are character surprises in each of the early issues as a pretty complicated over-all story is revealed bit by bit. In reading it, I can see why Hulu chose to turn this show into a live-action series.

I am actually convinced it will be a break out show like Stranger Things. So, this issue reveals that the Hayes are mutants and it also reveals that Molly is a mutant as well.

However, this issue does not reveal her mutant ability. As mentioned before, the Hayes are telepathic, but Molly's actual mutant power of super-strength is revealed in the next issue of issue #6.

She ends up knocking Karolina's mom through her bedroom wall in protecting Gert in issue #6 or the next issue. Just another thing to mention since I mentioned it, but issue #6 does reveal that there is an unknown "mole' among the rebelling children.

A note was found by the parents from one of the kids, and I also already spoiled it that it ended up being Alex Wilder who wrote it.

I originally decided in not putting issue #6 in the "featured" section, but I changed my mind. Issue #5 may be a minor key but issue #6 is definitely one to consider. November, 2003.

Molly Hayes super strength revealed
1st Molly Hayes cover
Molly Hayes joins team 
1st as Arsenic and Old Lace
1st as Lucy in the Sky and Talkback
1st as Sister Grimm and Bruiser

Like mentioned before, the Runaways tale is linear concerning this comic series. So the team goes to the Hayes house to rescue Molly Hayes, and her mutant powers emerge.

Molly did not see her parents, nor the other parents, kill the girl. She has no clue why Nico just whacked her mom with the Staff of One, but isn't too happy about it.

When Karolina's mom shows up and begins to hurt Gert in front of Molly, she defends her friend and sends Karolina's mom through her bedroom wall into the pool below. So which is Molly's origin, this issue or issue #5?

Well, we do find out that Molly and her parents are mutants in issue #5 and that she was not suppose to be. Her mom states that she tested negative of the mutant genome.

There's lots to this issue and it is important as the many of the team members take their super-hero code names. In the comic collecting hobby, we are not strangers to the term, "1st appearance as", right?

Well, it's in issue #6 in which the Runaways give each other names. Gert gives her pet dinosaur the name of Old Lace, and she calls herself Arsenic.

Karolina follows the lead and calls herself Lucy in the Sky while Nico settles on Sister Grimm. 

Chase tries to pick the name of Neo but Karolina chastises him into picking something more "original". He settles on Talkback after Gert makes a joke about what his super-hero name should be.

Molly is given the name Bruiser by Chase, but she never really settled on it as she wanted to be called Princess Powerful. This does kinda become a joke in the comic series and the team affectionately does call her Bruiser throughout.

Important Runaways key issue? I'm gonna call it a yes. Like Kevin, I think Nico will be a break out character, but I also think Molly Hayes will be as well.

December, 2003 is the cover date to Runaways #6.

1st appearance of Topher

In the previous issue, we see that the Runaways have retreated to a dilapidated old hotel called the "hostel" in which serves as their team hideout/headquarters. They then present their code names, but Alex is the only one who thinks it's utterly ridiculous.

This issue has Alex decipher a bit of the Abstract, and we first hear of the Gibborim mentioned in this issue. They are an important aspect to the Pride.

Other than that, the character of Topher makes his debut in this issue, but he is only revealed in a cameo on the very last page of this issue. He does show up in about 7 panels but is in a ski mask for six of those panels and unidentifiable.

He meets a few members of the Runaways while trying to rob a convenience store. It's later learned that Topher is actually a vampire.

Not a character that lasts long in the series. He apparently dies in issue #10.

Pretty minor character and most likely a minor key as well. Runaways #7 has the cover date of

1st appearance of Gibborim
Origin of the Pride

Just when you thought issue #1 was still the only key issue in this series to consider getting, this one is an important one for all of you who dismiss the market influence that villains or key issues for villains should be dismissed and only "heroes" should count as good investments. This issue reveals the origin of the Pride.

With the origin of the Pride, comes the Gibborim, as first mentioned in issue #7.So who are the Gibborim?

The Gibborim are the last survivors of a race of giants with six fingers. They apparently ruled Earth before humans came and messed that up and are the benefactors of the Pride.

This comic also tells the origin of each individual family of the Pride and how they came into contact with the Gibborim. Pretty neat, and I'll save the origins so there's actually something I won't spoil for those who want to watch the show but still want to invest in these comics.

This is a cool issue. Shows the backstory of how the Pride first meet and why they come together to do the bidding of the Gibborim. 

I will show the the debut of the Gibborim in this issue. Heck why not!

There we are and I'm sure some of this will play out in the TV show. Well, I hope we see this origin of the Pride in the show, but who knows?

We all know Hollywood toys around with comic material from panel to screen. We shall see, and Runaways #13 has the cover date of May, 2004 

Death of Alex Wilder
Death of the Pride

The big betrayal. Yep, Alex Wilder betrays his friends and ends up getting offed by none other than Nico Minoru.

Actually, all of the Pride end up dying in this issue. This is not the last issue of the volume 1 series.

The next issue of #18 is the last issue and sets up the volume 2 series which was published in 2005. I guess I'll spoil it now, but Geoffrey Wilder does end up coming back in the volume 2 series.

You will find out in the second part to this series on how that happens. It's not as lame as you think and does make sense.

Minor key? Yes, probably and most likely, but this comic issue is near the tail end of the series. I think distribution may have been quite a bit lower.

I am wondering in what season this turning point in the comics will play out. I hope season one doesn't use up the entire first volume in terms of material and then the 2nd season be more based off the volume 2 comic series.

Dunno, but I am excited for this show now. October, 2004 is the cover date for Runaways #17 of the 2003 series.


Okay, when it comes to TV show hype, I'm initially wiping most of it to the side. These comics lay the groundwork for whatever story writers of the show decide to translate from panel to screen.

Comics first, TV hype second. If the Runaways TV show follows these comics, then it should be a break out hit.

A great thing about the Runaways show is that it will definitely appeal to a younger teen audience if it doesn't nab the ole adults. The great thing about the comics is that it appeals to both young teens and adults.

There's a lot more going on in the Runaways series than just the debut of the main characters and the Pride in issue #1. There are key comics within this comic series and mythos, and like mentioned earlier, it would be a bit confusing if one didn't read issues #1-6.

#13 is also important in terms of issues to help readers understand the jist of the mythos; hence, the term "key issues".

For those who don't know the series or have yet to read it, the characters do find out their family secrets and their powers throughout the comic series. It's a great story for all these characters that intertwine and it is very much a coming of age story for many of the Runaway's main cast.

The Runaways series most likely does not have a large print run. Issue #1 from the original 2003 series is quite well-known by now and it has a very modest CGC Census currently for a modern 1st appearance backed by a TV show.

I am predicting that many of these keys will become hot comics or hotter comics to get in the near future and many, besides issue #1, are still widely over-looked by the market at large. In reading these comics, I am now a fan and see great potential for this show.

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