karolina dean

Women in Fiction: Karolina Dean

I never did anything disobedient or different or what I wanted. But now that I know I’m, like, a total freak, maybe I’m free to be who I really am. And to be honest about who I want to be with.

When I first started blogging, “Women in Fiction” was one of my favorites posts to write, but over the years I just stopped and I’d like to bring it back. It’s essentially what it sounds like: me gushing over fictional female characters, some who have made an impact in my life.

To start this back up I’m writing about Karolina Dean from Marvel’s Runaways. I will be referencing her from the comics as well as the show, so there will be spoilers. If you’ve read some of my posts you’ll know how much I love Karolina, whether it be in a review for The First Three Comic Volumes or My Favorite LGBTQIA+ Characters.

Perfect Church Girl

In the show, Karolina is introduced as a girl who follows the rules of her church, the Church of Gibborim, always staying positive despite fellow classmates bullying her.

In the comics, Karolina’s parents are renowned actors.

karolina dean

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It’s not until Karolina discovers her parents are part of an organization who murders teenagers in exchange for wealth and power posing as a charity organization, and that she’s not fully human, that she starts to leave the church behind and figure out what she really believes in, and who she is. And who she’s into.

A Glowing Rainbow Alien

Despite the reveal being different in the show and comic, Karolina is still an alien (well, in the show part alien, comic, full) with a light generation power, shooting rainbow light from her hands as well as flying and shield generation, all which was hidden by wearing a bracelet her entire life.



At first, Karolina feels like the freak of the group, always wanting to hide her alien side, but over time her friends, and herself, allow her to see how awesome she and her powers are by saving the people she loves.

She’s Also Gay

Although I like Karolina’s struggle with her sexuality in the show better, both show her slow progression as she develops feelings for fellow Runaway, Nico. I’m super glad the show decided to have Nico reciprocate those feelings and the two became the main couple over the last few seasons, even having literal dream weddings about one another.

karolina and nico

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It took some time for Nico to reciprocate her feelings in the comic, but Karolina still dates women and is a prominent LGBTQ+ superhero in Marvel.

I do wish her show adaptation was recognized more. With more people wanting to see LGBTQ+ superheroes in movies, it’s easy to overlook what’s on the small screen and the huge leaps her character (and Nico) have taken.

karolina and nico


In the show, Nico murdered Karolina’s dad (well, they thought she did) and they were still able to talk and move past it. Runaways is already one of the most diverse comics/shows out there and to see Karolina and Nico with so much screen time and for the most part, a healthy relationship, is a great representation.

“She’s beautiful and she glows. Great.”

What came out of this post? Well for starters, my obvious crush on the character, but I wanted to highlight someone who I don’t believe gets enough attention, not just for her sexuality but showing you can create your own life and not have to go down a certain path whether it be created by your parents or religious beliefs.


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It should come at no surprise that Karolina is not only one of my favorite superheroes, but one of my favorite characters ever. She shows what it’s like to learn how to embrace who you really are and to stand up for what you believe in.


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