Earlier this month, Marvel Studios, basking in Iron Man's smashing success, announced its production schedule for the next few years: nothing in 2009, Iron Man 2 and Thor in 2010, Captain America and The Avengers in 2011. A couple of weeks later we got a scoop that two more Spider-Man sequels might be in the works, to be shot simultaneously. Now, Marvel has tweaked its earlier announcement with a rarity: the possibility that a comic written this century might get lavish big-screen treatment. Runaways, written by Lost writer and co-producer Brian K. Vaughan, is now in development with Vaughan himself writing the screenplay (another rarity). There's no director, cast or release date just yet.

The comic, which is available in a series of volumes like this one, follows six kids who discover that their parents are actually a cabal of super-villains. They run away and vow to fight, discovering their own inherited powers in the meantime. It's a killer concept, and the teen-oriented material could have very broad appeal. What's interesting, too, is that Joss Whedon recently took over the series from Vaughan; might he get involved in the movie sooner or later? I suppose it might depend on how his new show fares.