Marvel’s Runaways: Old Lace the Dinosaur's Backstory & Comic History

Marvel's Runaways introduces the dinosaur known as Old Lace, so we break down the creature's origin and history within the comics.

Marvel's Runaways introduced the dinosaur known as Old Lace, so we break down the creature's origin and history within the comics. The latest Marvel TV offering has debuted its first three episodes - this time on the streaming platform, Hulu, with which Marvel hadn't previously partnered - with the rest expected to arrive over the coming weeks. While the first handful of episodes of Runaways introduce viewers to the young heroes and their villainous parents, one mysterious element of the series is the unexplained dinosaur living in the basement of the Yorkes' family home.

After a brief appearance in which the dinosaur terrorizes Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) during the Runaways series premiere, she isn't seen much until the very end of episode 3, titled 'Destiny'. In this episode, Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer) and Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) attempt to investigate Gert's parents' basement by using Chase's father's X-Ray Specs to uncover what the Pride may be planning. Instead, they accidentally let the dinosaur loose, having a brief interaction with it, before she runs off.

Related: Marvel’s Runaways: Character & Powers Guide

Of course, fans of the original Marvel Comics series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona know the dinosaur to be Old Lace, but for those who haven't read the comics, the inclusion of a dinosaur may seem out of place - even for a Marvel show about teens with superpowers working to defeat their evil parents. So, for those who don't know much about Old Lace - or those who need a refresher - we break down the comic book origin of Gert Yorkes' dinosaur and how she ties into Runaways.

Comic Book Origin & History

In the comics, Gert Yorkes' pet dinosaur Old Lace is from the future, the 87th Century to be exact. She's retrieved by Gert's parents, Dale and Stacey Yorkes (played on the Hulu series by Kevin Weisman and Brigid Brannagh, respectively) using their time machine, the 4-D Time Portico - which itself originates in the 87th Century. The Yorkes' commissioned Old Lace's designer to include certain characteristics, like a tele-empathic bond with Gert as well as the inability to hurt anyone in the Yorkes family.

Gert's parents originally intended for her to receive Old Lace on her 18th birthday, or if her parents died, but Gert stumbled upon the dinosaur earlier than that. Due to the tele-empathic link between Gert and Old Lace, they feel each other's emotions and physical pain, meaning Gert suffers if Old Lace is injured. Though Old Lace was thought to be a Velociraptor, she's actually a Deinonychus, which is a very close relative of the Velociraptor. The dinosaur's name - along with the codename of Arsenic adopted by Gert in the comics - is a reference to the 1944 Frank Capra movie Arsenic and Old Lace.

Related: Who Are Marvel's Runaways

Though Old Lace was commissioned to protect and have a bond with Gert, that tele-empathic link transfers to Chase Stein at a certain point in the comics. He uses the that bond in a much more violent manner, ordering Old Lace to kill an enemy. However, the dinosaur is known to exhibit free will, going against the orders of Gert and Chase on occasion.

How Runaways' Old Lace Differs From the Comics

The two biggest difference between Old Lace in the Runaways comics and the Hulu television series are the dinosaur's origin and appearance. While it seems the live-action creature is still modeled after a Deinonychus (rather than any other kind of dinosaur), she has a much more realistic appearance. As such, Old Lace's scales are a darker brownish-green and she doesn't have a bright blue stripe down her back - though she does have the nosering the dinosaur sports in the comics. Plus, Runaways brings Old Lace to life using a great deal of practical effects rather than using exclusively CGI. Of course, Old Lace also hasn't yet been given that name by Gert in the TV series, but that's likely because the dinosaur has only just been introduced within the first three episodes of Runaways.

As for the dinosaur's origin, Runaways' Old Lace doesn't come from the future, but she is created as a "prehistoric guard dog," as Dale Yorkes describes the creature in episode 3, in order to protect Gert. In the Marvel/Hulu series, Dale and Stacey Yorkes are bioengineers who study a number of animals - as evidenced by their basement laboratory in the first batch of episodes, and the arguments between Molly and Gert about whose turn it is to feed the animals. Instead of having Old Lace commissioned by a futuristic designer, the dinosaur of Hulu's Runaways was created by Gert's parents themselves.

Related: Marvel’s Runaways: The Pride Explained

Aside from those two differences, though, Old Lace seems to be staying pretty true to the comics in that she has a tele-empathic link with Gert. Chase and Gert discover this bond when they accidentally release Old Lace from the room in which the Yorkes were keeping her in their basement. Just as the dinosaur is about to attack Gert and Chase, she's stopped by Gert's panicked babbling in which she says (to herself) calm down and that she's in control. While it may be an exercise to reign in her own anxiety and panic, it has an obvious effect on Old Lace, proving Gert has control over the dinosaur. We'll no doubt see more of that bond, and how Gert uses it to control Old Lace, throughout the rest of Runaways season 1.

Runaways Marvel Comics Team

As for whether the bond between Old Lace and Gert will ever be transferred to Chase Stein throughout the course of Marvel and Hulu's Runaways, that remains to be seen. Obviously, it would prove to be a major change for the show, just as it was for the comic book series, and with Runaways only in season 1, that's something that likely won't occur in the series' freshman outing. Still, the show does set up certain aspects of that transfer within the first three episodes of Runaways, insofar as there is a deepening relationship between Gert and Chase like the one they have in the comics.

With that said, Hulu's Runaways TV series has already made changes to Vaughan and Alphona's comic book source material and it's likely the show will continue to diverge from the story fans already know in order to keep the adaptation fresh. How much exactly Hulu and Marvel's series will differ, and how that will affect Gert's relationship with Old Lace, remains to be seen. But so far, the show has done an excellent job in adapting the creature and introducing the concept of a pet dinosaur with a surprising amount of realism, likely getting fans excited to see what the rest of Runaways season 1 has in store for Gert and Old Lace.

Next: Jeph Loeb Explains Why Marvel Wanted Runaways on Hulu

The first three episodes of Runaways are now available on Hulu, with new episodes debuting Tuesdays.

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