I was about to write that I never read comic books growing up. But that’s not true, I did read Archie comics. The point is that I hadn’t been a comic book reader (Archie) for a long, long time. Not since I was in grade school. But last year I read World Of Wakanda. Because of Roxane Gay. And this year I’ll be reading another comic. Because of Rainbow Rowell.
If you’ve been a regular visitor of this site over the last few years, you know how much I love Rainbow Rowell, the author of Eleanor & Park, one of my favourite YA books of all time. It was announced last week that Rainbow will be reviving Marvel’s Runaways. I’d never heard of Runaways before this but it’s a teen comic series from the early 2000s. The comics will also be adapted into a live action series for Hulu. Fan reaction to the news was overwhelmingly positive – specifically because of Rainbow’s proven love and respect for comic books and her track record of writing interesting, complicated young characters.
So, after several decades of not reading comic books, two writers, who happen to be women, Roxane and Rainbow, are bringing me round to comic books.
Rainbow was in New York last Friday at at BookCon and talked to Emma Straub for Vox about “bringing back Marvel’s Runaways and writing fat representation in YA”. In Rainbow’s mind, when culture isn’t inclusive, the result is a lie. And so the people who actively choose to tell stories that aren’t representative, that aren’t reflective of the world, they’re deliberately lying.
“I think when you do not write the truth of the world, you are choosing not to do that. And then you’re kind of choosing to tell a big lie that makes everyone feel bad about themselves. So I do think as YA writers, now you’re lying to teens and children. You’re making the choice as to how you want to portray the world to your readers, and how accepted you want your readers to feel in the world.
I did not come into this life to lie about what the world looks like and what’s possible. Certainly, you know fat people who fall in love. Right? You know me. We all do! We all know fat people who have full lives and have children and husbands and wives and jobs. It should not be that revolutionary for there to be a book about a fat girl who falls in love.”
It’s a great interview about how she shows her work by creating the work, creating the opportunity for herself at Marvel, her relationship to comic books and her experience with fan fiction, and also the upsides and downsides of the internet. Click here to read the article and to get to know Rainbow, if you haven’t already fallen in love with her.
Yours in gossip,