Marvel is bringing “Runaways” to the big screen

It’s time to get excited about a whole other kind of Runaways: Marvel has tapped Nick and Nora’s Peter Sollett to direct the Brian K. Vaughan big screen adaption of the Runaways comic book!

They’re calling it "The Breakfast Club with superheroes," which isn’t a bad description because I can already hear OMD‘s "If You Leave" playing when lesbian/alien Karolina Dean walks away from her crush on Nico to return to Majesdane with Xavin.

But I’m getting ahead of myself (as usual).

Runaways is the story of a group of misfit teens from Los Angeles who discover that their parents are supervillains, so they run away together. And by "misfit teens" I mean that one is an alien, one is a Hulk-like mutant, one is a witch from a magical family, one has access to mad science gadgets thanks to mad scientist parents, one has a telepathic link with her dinosaur(!), and one is a super-spy super-genius. So, you know, kind of already better than The Breakfast Club.

Karolina Dean is the sole lesbian (and alien) in the group. She’s got a mad crush on the group’s de facto leader, Nico, but when she finally acts on her feelings and tries to initiate a kiss, Nico just flat out rejects her. Soon after, Xavin shows up and tells Karolina that they are engaged due to a marriage arranged by their parents to stop the wars between their alien races. Xavin has the ability to shape-shift so he transforms into a woman to be with Karolina.

On the surface, Runaways is good angsty superhero stuff, but underneath, there’s a subtle and authentic layer of storytelling about sexuality and gender and race, with a real queer sensibility. Karolina and Xavin’s relationship is heart-wrenching and life-affirming and occasionally really, really sexy.

Will any of that come across in the movie? It’s always a toss-up with superhero films. Marvel and DC have churned out 30 — 30! — hero flicks in the last six years, and while some of them (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 1 and 2) have been stellar, plenty of them (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) have been epic disasters. And I almost can’t even talk about the movies with female heroes. (I’m looking at you, Elektra and Catwoman.)

On the plus side, Vaughn wrote the original series (with pinch-hitting from Joss Whedon at times), and he was amazing with Karolina Dean. And Sollett is widely lauded for his ability to bring the subtlety.

I just hope Karolina doesn’t get shuffled to the side for the CGI dinosaur. (Even though I really want to see the dinosaur.)

What do you think about Runaways coming to the big screen?