Humberto Ramos: Ready to Run with Runaways
by Vaneta Rogers
Date: 25 August 2008 Time: 01:26 PM ET
Ramos: Ready to Run with Runaways
When Runaways launched in 2003, the team was a group of kids who had supervillain parents, uniting to not only break away from their parents but take them down in the process.This week, when Runaways comes back with a new #1 issue by writer Terry Moore and artist Humberto Ramos, the title will have a new member, bringing with her an outside perspective that is not only different from the other teenaged members, but unique among just about anyone in the 21st Century because she's from the past. Klara Prast, a young girl with superpowers who time-traveled with the Runaways from 1907, lived as an adult and was married to an abusive middle-aged man despite only being 12 years old. "She has a very dark background for a kid her age, and she's having to deal with that," Ramos said. "But now that she's escaped to this time in the future, it's pretty cool to see how she's so overwhelmed by everything, because she's from a different era. She's having to learn to get along with a new bunch of people she doesn't understand. And they have powers that are very strange to her. And there are strange relationships that are normal in the modern age, but to her, it's all very different."
Ramos said what works very well in the story is the way Moore is contrasting Klara with Molly Hayes, the long-time Runaways member who is also 12 years old. While Klara's superpower is being able to interact with plants, Molly is the powerhouse of the team because of her invulnerability and super-strength -- with a pretty strong personality to match. "Klara is like a little adult, but Molly is still a kid," Ramos said. "And Molly's a little bit forceful and spoiled. Klara doesn't always agree with the way Molly acts. So I think it's a great addition, and it's going to be cool to see how she becomes part of the group." The initial story in the Moore/Ramos run will concentrate on the kids' relationships at first, Ramos said, so new readers get an introduction to the characters and long-time readers can get to know the new team make-up. "Most of the story in the beginning happens inside the group. It's about the relationships inside the group," he said. "But Klara's reaction is still one of being completely amazed. She'll be a good character to add a new element to the series." Soon after that, something "incredible" happens that can be traced back to the very first story arcs of Runaways. Ramos said the story also concentrates quite a bit on Chase Stein, whom Moore recently named as a favorite because he's the type of kid who "is going to become Captain America." Ramos said that Chase has become his favorite character too. "I like Chase," Ramos said. "I believe what Terry is saying about him being a kid who could grow up to be Captain America. When I first read Runaways, the first run, Chase seemed to be in the background. Nico was the leader and Chase was kind of behind the corner. But now, he has a story. A different story from the rest of the group in this arc we're doing. And he's developing as a single character. I like that. I like the way he's thinking and evolving as a character." Ramos, a Mexican artist who is taking over the series after his recent run on New X-Men, said he's several issues into penciling because he had a head start during the last story arc by writer Joss Whedon and artist Michael Ryan. Because of the delays experienced by that run, the new creative team is ahead of schedule and hoping to get the book back on track. Moore, who is best known for his work on the long-running self-published series Strangers in Paradise, also relaunched the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane title this month. This week is a big one for the writer, whose first issue of Runaways will hit stores at the same time as the first trade paperback collecting his new self-published title, Echo. "I've known Terry from a long time ago. He's a great guy. But also, he's a great writer," Ramos said. "With Strangers in Paradise, he showed that he can create characters. I like when a comic book writer can do that. I know everybody likes the Bam! Zoom! fighting sequences. It's OK -- I like them too. But when I'm drawing a book, I like when a writer gives me a character to build. And that's how it is with Terry. And that's what I like about working on Runaways. This story we're working at will have the action, but along with that stuff, it is really all about the characters." With what Moore called a "fresh, new take," Ramos said the series will be loyal to the characters established during the initial run by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona, but will have a little different feel to it that he hopes readers will enjoy. "I think Runaways readers are going to really like what we've done in this story. I'm very proud of the art," he said. "I know there are the guys who come on Newsarama who don't like my art so much. I hope the people at Marvel know better because they've been hiring me for years. But I would say to those people that they should at least give this a try. You might like the art; you might not. But give the story a try. Let Terry tell this story. To me, the most important thing about a comic book is the story. So if you don't like my art, it's all right. But read this story. It's worth it."