Marvel’s Runaways Is The Most Delightfully Offbeat Show On Hulu Since Misfits

Whether you are a fan of the Runaways comics or not, you’ll be hooked on Hulu’s latest original venture by the end of the first episode. We meet this group of five young, soon-to-be heroes at high school, but the series couldn’t feel less like your typical teen drama. Over the course of its first four episodes, Josh Schwartz (The O.C.) and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl) build a sophisticated world that impressively manages to make a dozen individual storylines feel like one.

The first episode can be hard to follow without any knowledge of source material, but within the confusion and slow pace there’s a certain satisfaction. It’s okay to not know what’s happening or who’s who. The irresistible personalities, friend-group drama and refined performances from the young cast are enough to lure you right into the second episode (the first three arrive on Hulu Nov. 21).

We are first introduced to Alex Wilder and his parents, for no reason other than Alex is the one who brings the childhood friends back together: Gert Yorkes, (her younger adopted sister Molly Hernandez), Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean and Chase Stein. We quickly learn these kids aren't the whole story. The antagonists are their parents.

Things get interesting with the introduction of the villainous group called ‘Pride.’ At first, Alex’s parents appear to be at the helm -- Geoffrey and Catherine Wilder host the Pride meetings in a secret chamber in their house. There, they are joined by the Yorkes, the Deans, the Steins, and the Minorus. If you are a fan of the comics, you’ll notice there is a couple missing from that list -- The Hayes. That is one of the series’ many intriguing mysteries that I will not get into because spoilers.

READ MORE: Marvel’s Runaways Premieres At NYCC, And The Fans Love It

There are teen cliches in The Runaways, but they serve as a source of larger ironic plot device. For example, Karolina (stereotyped as a goody-two-shoes religious girl) is almost sexually assaulted by three popular boys at school. Chase, the jock, saves her and ends up quitting the team when the coach fails to penalize his classmates. All the other characters seem to inhabit a stereotype as well -- the nerd, the goth, the social justice warrior. But, so far, the story arcs seem to defy the stereotypes themselves.

The Runaways doesn’t rely on powers and showy effects -- it relies on overall story development -- which is probably the only way the writers could successfully present viewers with so many main characters so early on. It’s clear they took the complex stories right from the comics and simplified them for an audience unfamiliar with the source material by working backward. Within each of the first four episodes, we get one more puzzle piece that leads us into a deeper and more impactful mystery. Mind you, these kids haven’t used or have just discovered their powers by the end of the fourth episode, and we only see the dinosaur in action once, all signs the first season (just 10 episodes long) is going to finish strong.

Score: 9


Meet The Comic Book Writer Behind #VisibleWomen

#VisibleWomen. You saw it all over Twitter yesterday, filling your feed with gorgeous art from women and non-binary creators in comics. But who is behind the hashtag? That would be Kelly Sue DeConnick, known for her work on Captain Marvel,  and much more. She has been running #VisibleWomen multiple times a year since March 2016. DeConnick started the hashtag as a way to connect artists to employers.

“The first time I did it, it was on a Sunday and it was a spur of the moment thing. I had been asked a few times by folks in the industry if I could recommend some women artists because they didn’t know very many or how to find them,” DeConnick told Player.One. “I both appreciated the asking and also was like, “You guys there are so many. Are you even looking at all?’ So I wanted to boost the visibility of women artists in our industry.”

The name of the hashtag is a play on Invisible Woman, the first Marvel superhero who was a woman. Sue Storm (previously known as Invisible Girl) first appeared in The Fantastic Four #1 in 1961.

“Her power was invisibility, which is kind of hysterical,”  DeConnick said, pointing out the irony. “The idea [for the hashtag] was like, ‘Oh this is Visible Women.’”

Though she conceived the name, DeConnick emphasized right off the bat #VisbileWomen is not a lone effort. She gives a special shoutout to her team, especially Turner Lobey, who compiled all the information from incoming tweets into a spreadsheet. She also stresses she’s not the first to do this and points to Mari Naomi, who has maintained two databases for queer cartoonists and cartoonists of color for quite some time.

“I’m not the first person who has tried to put together databases for marginalized creators or signal boost. Naomi has maintained those two lists for quite some time. In this moment of spotlight for #VisibleWomen, if we could share some of that, that would be cool,” she said.

This year got the biggest response because Twitter Moments helped boost the hashtag’s exposure. It was also the first time submissions were open to colorists, letterers, inkers and writers as well as artists. While the visibility is great, DeConnick is most pleased when her efforts result in women getting hired.

“It doesn’t really mean that much to me as an exercise, but if it leads to folks getting hired I think that's tremendous,” she said. “Women are discouraged from advocating for themselves, often don’t know how to do it, or are very uncomfortable doing it and are sometimes punished for doing it. A man puts himself forward for a job and that’s great and he’s ambitious. A woman does and she’s kind of uppity.”

After her team compiles the data into a spreadsheet, she offers the document to any hiring professional who wants it. Yesterday, there were more requests than ever before, eight (as of Monday at 8 p.m. EDT), which will be sent out on Wednesday.

“There aren’t that many publishers in comics,” said DeConnick, stressing eight is no small number. “That’s eight hiring professionals. We’ve hired from the list ourselves.”

DeConnick believes we are facing age old problems that aren’t unique to the comics industry. However, the quick turnaround of an issue out every 30 days is one factor that makes it even harder for women to break into the industry.

“There’s not a lot of time to take chances, so people hire the same people they've always hired. It’s difficult to develop new talent and when they are developing new talent, I think you’re hiring this white guy and he recommends this white guy he went to school with and the guy does great work. Great. Fantastic, and this guy vouches for him. It happens,” she said. “I mean there is certainly sexism and racism and all kinds of other ugly isms that are both overt and culturally ingrained that play into it, but I think there are very few really mustache twirling, ‘Let’s keep the girls out.’ I think it’s more just habit and who people know.”

She also believes there are also some ideas about what men think women’s art looks like, a stereotype that affects employment.

“Our art isn’t any more characterized by any one thing than anybody else's is and if you look at the breadths of styles in the Visible Women spreadsheet you will see women who do horror and women who do delightful, light romantic manga and everything in between,” she said. “Just like anything else, our culture has preconceived notions about what women can be and women can do and it’s  just very limiting.”

For more on the #VisibleWomen campaign, check out DeConnick’s website and follow her on Twitter. Also, be sure to support Cartoonists of Color and Queer Cartoonists run by Mari Naomi.

The Story Of Jessica Jones And Her Only Pair Of Jeans

Google Jessica Jones or watch the show on Netflix. She only wears one pair of jeans. This fact did not get past a fan at Book Con in New York, who decided to confront Krysten Ritter about her character’s fashion no-no.

“She actually has a few pairs,” Ritter responded while cracking up,  “One is a little tighter than the other.”

However, Ritter didn’t stop there. She’s got a really good reason for why Jessica only rocks one pair of bootcut, light-blue wash jeans.

“She doesn’t give a shit. She doesn’t give a shit about her jeans,” Ritter exclaimed, passionately, before giving a very detailed explanation of the thought process behind JJs fashion choices and personal style.

“Here’s the thing with Jessica, in building her look it was very important to me her body was hidden, that she wasn’t wearing something that would attract any kind of attention from a man or a woman,” she said.

These jeans are filthy. Netflix

These jeans are filthy. Netflix

The goal was for no girl to come up and say, “I love your dress” and no dude to come up and say, “Hey hot body.”

“She disappears,” Ritter said. “She wants to be hidden, and so that’s what the jacket is … it’s too big for me. The pants do nothing. The boots are flat and practical. The t-shirts do nothing for me. I’m in boxy clothes. I can sit on the floor indian style and I’m usually filthy.”

While Jessica’s effortless, wake up and go, morning breath style attracted the likes of Luke Cage, her outfit is the last thing on her mind.

Jessica’s dirty jeans didn’t bother Luke Cage. Netflix

Jessica’s dirty jeans didn’t bother Luke Cage. Netflix

“I didn’t ever want her to change her clothes, just like real life your jeans live on the ground you put them back on. Also she has a self inflicted uniform because that takes out 15 minutes of her day thinking about what she’s going to wear,” she said.

Ritter added that Jessica’s look was very important to her and she was 100 percent involved, even with hair and makeup.  “That’s half of feeling the character. Hair, makeup wardrobe…I have a vision how how the character should look and feel,” she told the fans at Book Con.


Let’s hope Jessica tossed this pair of bloody jeans in the garbage. Netflix

Let’s hope Jessica tossed this pair of bloody jeans in the garbage. Netflix

The downside, though, is that Jessica’s style is similar to how Ritter dresses in real life … minus the knitted sweaters.

“When I was coming here, I literally took of my leather jacket. I was like, ‘I can’t.’”

Considering Ritter’s statements, the chances of  seeing JJ in the blue and white comic book costume Trish Walker tried to get her to wear during Season 1 are very low.  In the scene, Trish says, “You can’t keep saving people dressed as a giant hoagie.”

Well, actually yes, that’s exactly what she’s going to do.


“Tell me you’re kidding,” Jessica Jones says when Trish suggests a costume and a new name. “Jewel is a stripper name, a really slutty one.”

“Tell me you’re kidding,” Jessica Jones says when Trish suggests a costume and a new name. “Jewel is a stripper name, a really slutty one.”

“Tell me you’re kidding,” Jessica Jones says when Trish suggests a costume and a new name. “Jewel is a stripper name, a really slutty one.”


A 70-Foot VR Dome Stole The Show At Panorama NYC — Here’s The Guys Who Built It

Hundreds of sweaty concertgoers are waiting patiently in the baking sun. But they’re not seeking respite from the 95-degree heat in one of Panorama’s many cooling tents. They’re not posting up to see Arcade Fire or Kendrick Lamar or LCD Soundsystem on the main stage, either. They’re interested in a different kind of hype, one that spread like wildfire on Randall’s Island this weekend. They’re here to see “The Dome.”

The Dome (officially The 360 Virtual Reality Theater) was a VR art installation built for Panorama. It wasn’t just the structure itself (which, believe it or not, was set up in just a day) that attracted music lovers. Three-dimensional caves, whirling light rings, and rumbling acoustics captivated the hundreds of sweaty bodies lying side-by-side on the floor of the 70-foot structure.

BoBo Do and Nicholas Rubin worked closely together at their Brooklyn-based projection design studio, Dirt Empire, on The Dome. They’re no strangers to big projects; they once mapped the interior of the UN for Beyonce, but this was a unique opportunity.

“It’s not normal square content. You don’t have people locked down sitting looking at one thing. It’s not just their eyes traveling. In a dome, you’re whole body has to move to get everything. You can make mountains feel like big mountains, you can make giants and canyons feel vast but you have to know where to situate them within the sweep of the hemisphere for the illusion not to break down,” Rubin told Player.One.

Outside of museums and planetariums, very few have had a chance to experience such an immersive art. This type of three-dimensional storytelling is still a relatively new idea, even for the three studios that produced it. The dome, situated in a huge exhibit dubbed ‘The Lab’ (curated by and presented by The Verge) was a case study to bring technology-driven art into the festival world. It proved successful, but it was a particularly challenging project for everyone involved.

Dirt Empire visually produced the content alongside Elliot Blanchard of Invisible Light Network, an integrated creative studio specializing in interactive motion design.

“How do you structure motion in a dome environment as opposed to on a flat screen?” said Blanchard. “There are certain things you do to tell a story; you have cuts, change camera angles. Here it’s a totally different environment. If you move things too much, people will get sick.”

Testing out their content was a challenge of its own. Without having the physical structure to preview their work, Do, Blanchard and Rubin found a way to build The Dome in VR. Just a week before the festival, a test dome was set up in Greenpoint.

“We had Vive headsets to watch the film while we worked on it. We needed something that was in scale so we could see what people field of view was,” Blanchard said.

While the visual images may be most memorable, the experience would have been incomplete without the help of Antfood, the audio studio that produced The Dome’s original score. Creative Director Wilson Brown worked closely with Blanchard, Do, and Rubin to make their story feel like a fluid composition. Brown and his team used a technique called third order ambisonics, an elaborate mixing process that gave the dome a fully immersive experience.

“It allows us to mix in a hypothetical sphere. We had this 3-dimensional spatial sound that was mixed and would bounce swirl or twist around the dome,” Brown said.

The film was broken up into multiple sequences. Generally speaking, Invisible Light Network is responsible for the first half, and Dirt Empire the second. It was Antfood’s contribution that really tied everything together. Brown said one of his favorite parts is the light rings bridging into the leviathan scene.

“Musically and sound design-wise there are two things that are successful. One, the light rings are so simple and captivating. We had just a simple little swell every time the light passes by you, you get a ‘Vmm’ that shakes the floor that everyone was lying on. Then, it opens up into this world where there’s a big giant monster standing above you. There are these big sound design footsteps, but it has a nice chord progression that pulls you along musically,” Brown said.

Do describes the overall concept as “different scales of the universe,” drawing inspiration from Eames’ Power of Ten from the 1970s, where they zoom from the molecular level to the cosmic level.

“It was supposed to be a journey through various octaves of reality, ones that people can’t necessarily see — like vibratory realms, geologic realms, and human realms,” Rubin added. “We have some Buddhist undertones in the content. It’s fairly apparent if you watch. There’s some Buddha faces and a sky burial ground in one scene.”

Blanchard’s interpretation is a more emotional experience. He views the progression as a journey of becoming.

“We move from a very safe environment to a cave, which is also sort of a womb-like underground environment with the birds echoing and then you’re kind of shot out of it into this world that’s challenging,” Blanchard said “Then by the time you get to the cities, you’re kind of alone and there are arrows raining down on you. It’s a very threatening. That’s our section on the challenge of life.”

That’s when the dancers come in, which Blanchard describes as the first feeling of community.

“They are these mysterious figures but they’re friendly and coming toward you. The leviathan is the idea of you meeting the other, but you’re prepared for it. The rest of the film is about you working on yourself in an abstract space.”

Throughout the 12-minute show, festivalgoers cheered and clapped with excitement. Some even came back a second time.

“For us doing stuff mainly for animation, we never have an audience. People may like our video on YouTube or write a comment; this is cool because you can sit with the audience and hear their reactions,” Blanchard said.

With the many hours spent creating the dome experience, Blanchard, Rubin and Do want to figure out a way for people to watch after the festival. There’s talk of licensing the content out for other domes, pitching the dome to a new festival or even making the experience available for VR headsets like Google Cardboard. Sweaty concertgoers not included.

Originally published on Player.One.