‘Runaways’ Writer, Rainbow Rowell, Kept it 100 at New York Comic Con 2017

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Rainbow Rowell is one of the realest authors I’ve ever had the pleasure to interact with. She’s still in her infantile stage of celebrity and literary fame, which adds to her greatness for multiple reasons. Rainbow can be as candid and down to Earth as she’s feelin’ but she can also as honest and vulnerable and as her mold depicts. She refuses to adhere to societal norms and Stans for unconventional characters in her stories. These are just a few of the reason’s I’m hyped that she is the new author of the revived Runaways comic.

Rainbow doesn’t like things and has severe social anxiety. She admitted all of these things very nonchalantly during our conversation with her during Comic Con. This is what I mean about her realness. Of course… context. She doesn’t blindly follow behind the sheep and likes things just because it’s the thing to do. She doesn’t like it when people record her interviews and panels because her high anxiety would cause her to bomb her next appearance.

Rainbow busted her ass to bring The Runaways back from the Marvel graveyard. It took her three years, but she made it happen because she genuinely felt that there were more stories about our favorite group of super-powered teen heroes to be told. Rainbow gave away a few gems during her time with us. She got into the process of selecting the new cover art and deciding how to age the characters, while paying homage to original Runaways cover at the same damn time.

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She considers this a “getting the band back together” story. The members now have a choice to be apart of the team, as opposed to their first time around. For those fans who aren’t familiar with going to cop a comic book on the Wednesday it drops, she has a Paperback version of The Runaways coming out in February.

Rainbow Rowell low key blew up in 2013 after her books, Fangirl and Eleanor and Park became hits and Eleanor and Park received acclaim along the lines of Amazon’s Teen Book of the Year and Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Book of the Year. The journalist turned author felt pretty underwhelmed at the end of Harry Potter and dug deep into fan fiction afterward. She really appreciated the ability to have a community of people who write and share fanfic, something she didn’t have growing up. This led to her Fangirl novel.

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After doing research and spending time creating all of the magic, and mythology of the Simon and Baz parts of Fangirl, she decided to write a fantasy. I think part of that decision was to spite her sister, who “doesn’t read fantasy” and subsequently skipped the Simon and Baz parts of Fangirl. Finding this out got quite the response from the audience. She got into said book, Carry On, and recognized that they could’ve marketed it as a fantasy and promoted the fact that you didn’t have to read Fangirl to enjoy it… but they didn’t, because they believed in it. She got into the process of going through different versions of her cover art. She gave us a look at three different covers. It was very cool listening to her go through this process until she got to the current cover.

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During the Q&A I really appreciated Rowell giving me, 1 of (maybe) 3 black people in attendance, the opportunity to ask the final question of the panel/conversation.

Me: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
RR: Flying.

Then she had an epiphany… She realized she’d want a power like Mantis from Guardians of The Galaxy 2. To wield the power of extreme empathy and understanding emotions. She literally (in her mind) took flying off the table, thought about a power she would use in her life and realized that was a more appropriate answer. This is what I mean by her being the realest.

Before wrapping up, she gave us an exclusive sneak peek at the characters from the graphic novel she has coming out soon. It’s called Pumpkinheads and features a blonde looking boy and young black girl who does everything but fit the model mold. Just another case of Rainbow Rowell creating characters that look and feel like so many people in this world who yearn for characters to relate to.

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Eleanor and Park, Carry On and Runaways are all on sale now if you want to dig into Rowell’s work. You can catch my reviews of her Runaways comics here.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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