By Kiel Phegley
Back from space and already neck deep in new troubles, the teen heroes known as the Runaways started their latest Marvel series by squatting in a Malibu mansion, looking for paying jobs and of course, blowing things up in battles with renegade aliens from Majesdane. But while those hectic trials earn accolades thanks to the writing of Terry Moore, an equally important part of the series' success remains the pencils of artist Humberto Ramos, a veteran of the teen hero genre.
"I love drawing teenagers, and this is to me right now, the ultimate teen book in the biz," says Ramos. "Something I love about the Runaways is the fact that the kids are not running [around] in spandex every issue. I love going 'shopping for references' on the web. I can tell you the brands each kid wears, but I should ask for sponsorship first, don't you think?"
We asked Ramos how he makes each character pop in their own unique way month in, month out.
The Runaways' resident rogue alien met trouble in the early issues of the new volume as survivors from her home planet of Majesdane have come hunting her to punish Karolina for her father's planet-obliterating betrayal. For Ramos, rendering the unique look of the Majesdanes came to a matter of personal style.
"I just want them to look as I drew them," he explained. "I've been reading the other RUNAWAYS artists and I know my style breaks with theirs, I just want to see the book and be happy about it."
The witch-crafty goth girl who serves as Runaways team leader has received a sassy makeover under Ramos' pen, and according to the artist, style and substance go hand in hand in giving the character the proper leadership attitude:
Nico sketches by
"I love that character, I find her strong and 'sexy' even if my detractors hate me because I want to draw her like the beautiful girl she is. Being 'goth' doesn't mean ugly, does it?"
Crafting a big blond hunk of California surfer in search of a new job proved an easy task for Ramos. And while Chase's dream gig of playing helper monkey to a radio shock jock with mysterious powers may be plagued from the get go, the end result will most likely find the character punching his way out, and that's fine by Ramos.
"I want him to be the muscle in the team," explains the artist. "I just want the look to be a bit hyper and cooler, that's all."
Molly Hayes and Klara Prast
Molly sketches by
Though one's a 21st century girl and the other just landed in the modern day by way of 1907, the Runaways youngest members each take a page from the Hannah Montana style book by sporting the latest in tweener fashion. And as their friendship grows, the artist will keep an eye on updating their wardrobes as well.
"I am a regular on Yahoo! Shopping now," notes Ramos. "And at this point it's hard to say who is my favorite character, but I can tell you Molly is one of my favorites."
This shape-shifting Skrull has already made great use of his page time by serving as the team's de facto "make an excuse" adult, but aside from also appearing as film director Kevin Smith in issue #1, Xavin will have a few more surprises in store as long as Ramos remains at the drawing board.
"She/He will be changing as the story asks for [it], so if you want to see her in the female form you'll get her, and if you want to see him in a Skrull or boy shape, you will get him too."
While he walked into the last RUNAWAYS series in a full selection of hipster hip hop gear, Ramos laughed at the implication that Victor will ever look like the potential threat he may turn out to be as the cyborg son of Ultron.
"Editorial told me he is such a geek," crows
the draftsman. "Maybe I have to call them again."
Everybody's favorite punk rock pet, the nose-ring sporting dinosaur Old Lace, provided a bit of visual continuity for the team, although Ramos learns with each page what new things he can do with Chase's reptilian sidekick.
"I'm getting to know Lace the same time I know the kids," he says. "I believe I will know them better as the story evolves, so stick with us and check it out!"
Your next chance to check out Ramos and writer Terry Moore's work will be in RUNAWAYS #3 on October 22, but in the mean time, you can catch up with the Runaways on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!