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‘Runaways’ Artist Adrian Alphona Returns to Comics with ‘Uncanny X-Force’ [Exclusive]

Artist Adrian Alphona took the superhero scene by storm when he and writer Brian K. Vaughan created Runaways in 2003. Four 24 issues, Alphona’s singularly youthful, highly expressive style endeared readers new and old to the brand new group of super-powered kids, giving Marvel a legitimate modern perennial with Runaways. And then… Alphona was gone. The artist popped up rarely in the comic book biz, drawing a cover here, a one-off single issue of something there, but it seemed that fans hoping for a new Alphona run of anything were out of luck.

That changes in May when Marvel releases Uncanny X-Force #5, beginning the first multi-issue comic book serial Adrian Alphona has drawn since leaving Runaways in 2007. The pairing of Alphona with Uncanny X-Force writer Sam Humphries is very fitting, as Humphries has always been something of a Runaways evangelist, praising the book from the rooftops of LA and loaning out copies to everyone who crossed his path over the years (including myself). Certainly, Humphries’ new Uncanny X-Force run recalls some that angst-and-action magic from Runaways.

Alphona’s hard at work on his first Uncanny X-Force issue, but we were able to take a look at some of his character studies and talk to Humphries about the new story.

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ComicsAlliance: Sam, I know that you’re a big Runaways fan from back in the day, and now Adrian Alphona is drawing your big book for Marvel NOW. How’s it feel?

Sam Humphries: Runaways by Vaughan and Alphona is one of my favorite Marvel runs of the past 10+ years. I nicked a couple elements from it for Uncanny X-Force — the marginal, outsider status of the team, the Los Angeles location, and I almost grabbed a character (who may show up down the line. Now we get Adrian, and I couldn’t be more psyched. [Current Uncanny X-Force artist] Ron Garney is the co-father of mutant ninja noir and is difficult to follow, but Adrian is a great addition to our twisted little family.

CA: What is it you love so much about his work?

SH: Adrian’s got great emotional range for his characters, and that’s great for a book like Uncanny X-Force where there’s a tendency for characters to be spiky and snarky. But Adrian’s also got a fantastical side (if you’ve seen his gorgeous sketchbooks, you know). So I’m excited to flex that side of his artistic ability as well.

CA: What kind of story have you crafted to fit this auspicious occasion?

SH: Adrian’s got a chunk of pages in issues #3 and #4, showing Psylocke on a crucial psychic mission, and his depiction of the mental plane is going to be killer. In issues #5 and #6, Adrian’s going to take you on a wild ride into the future as we fill in just what the hell Bishop has been up to in the 68th century, what led him back to the present, and the reasons behind his brutal changes. It’s the saga of cowboy Bishop, and it’s going to change the way people have thought about him for the past five years. Adrian has got an ability to be versatile without sacrificing beauty, and we’re gonna push that to the limit by giving him a ton of weird, alluring, mutant ninja noir stuff to draw.

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Adrian Alphona will draw select pages of Uncanny X-Force #3 and #4. His first full issue, #5, goes on sale in May in finer comics shops and digitally from ComiXology.

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