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Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Defenders #143 (May 1985)
Created by Peter B. Gillis (writer)
Don Perlin (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Gilpetperdon
Team affiliations Elders of the Universe

The Runner (Gilpetperdon) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is one of the Elders of the Universe.

Publication history

The Runner first appeared in Defenders #143 (May 1985), and he was created by Peter B. Gillis and Don Perlin.

Fictional character biography

The Runner is a traveler and explorer who has lived for billions of years. He seeks complete freedom and to see all there is to see. As such, he has spent his long life traveling across and experiencing the universe. He is regarded as one of the more pacifistic Elders. He once encountered Moondragon when she first left Titan, years ago.

The Runner was one of the eleven Elders who conspired against Galactus and battled the Silver Surfer in an attempt to gain power in a new, re-created universe. He battled Galactus and the Silver Surfer, and was converted to energy for consumption by Galactus. However, along with the other four Elders that had been consumed by Galactus, the Runner caused Galactus "cosmic indigestion" from within until they were forced out of him by Master Order and Lord Chaos. The Runner was one of the four Elders who aided the Silver Surfer and Nova in helping Galactus to defeat the In-Betweener. Once that was done the five Elders used the five Infinity Gems they had retained to instantaneously travel very far away from Galactus and his vengeance. Afterwards, the Runner kept the Space Gem, one of the Infinity Gems.

Later, the Runner visited Earth as part of a galaxy-wide project to find the fastest being in the galaxy. Over a long-running story arc in that series the Eternal Makkari sought a means to achieve a speed to surpass the Runner. Eventually, the Runner sponsored a race between Earth-dwelling possessors of superhuman speed, including Makkari, Quicksilver, Whizzer, Speed Demon, Captain Marvel, Super-Sabre, and Black Racer. Ultimately, the Runner declared the extra-dimensional "Buried Alien" the winner, and took him to a "galactic marathon." (The issue ended by paying homage to the DC Universe's most famous Flash, Barry Allen, who started the race later than all the other speedsters, but still won against all the other contestants with ease).

Later, the Runner battled Thanos, who sought to collect all of the Infinity Gems. Through the Infinity Gems, Thanos bypassed the Elder's immunity to aging. Thanos changed the Runner to an old man and then reverted him to infancy and took the Space Gem from him. Thanos used the infant Runner as a pawn in his conflict with the Collector; Thanos gave the Runner to the Collector in exchange for the Reality Gem. When Thanos left, he restored the Runner back to adulthood; the Collector and the Runner then fought each other.

Sometime later, the Runner, as one of the seven fastest runners in the Milky Way Galaxy, took part in the Galactic Marathon. He came in second after Makkari (who had used a super-speed technique that left him stuck permanently in super-speed so he could only communicate with other super-fast beings such as the Runner himself). However, the judges discovered that one of the racers had cheated so they nullified the results and decided to stage a new race. The Runner was sure that he would be able to beat Makkari in the new race but his hopes were frustrated when Makkari decided that he didn't have to race anymore to prove himself.

After the Multiverse was restored following the "Secret Wars" storyline, Runner took part in a Contest of Champions between the other Elders of the Universe in order to determine who would keep the Power Primordial that is now abundant throughout the universe. He was eliminated from the contest when his unknown champions lost.

Powers and abilities

The Runner possesses the Power Primordial, which consists of cosmic energies left over from the Big Bang that still remain in the universe. The Runner possesses a cosmic-enhanced life force which grants him a variety of superhuman traits, including augmentation of his physical attributes and senses, a virtually immortal body, immunity to aging and disease, and imperviousness to conventional injury through regeneration. Also, the Runner can utilize his cosmic life force for a variety of effects, including the projection of powerful energy blasts from his head, and the transformation and rearrangement of matter on a planetary scale. The Runner's body has developed to survive unaided in space with no need for food, air or water. He is virtually indestructible and his durability rivals that of the Silver Surfer. He has the ability to stimulate the pleasure centers of beings around him, allowing him to influence the emotions of others and causing them to "feel good" in his presence even if he has wronged or betrayed them; this attribute may not be under his conscious control.

He appears virtually immortal and immune to aging, disease, poison, and conventional injury. Due to the Grandmaster's machinations against Death, he is unable to die.

The Runner's primary ability is his speed. He can literally "run" several times faster-than-light speed under his own power by using only his legs.

While he possessed the Space Gem, the Runner would arrive at his destination before he even knew he was going there. The Space Gem tapped into his subconscious destination and desires. While in possession of the Space Gem, the Runner's speed increased exponentially. His movement evolved into an actual form of teleportation of sorts. The Runner was unaware that he was teleporting rather than just moving extremely fast. The gem allowed him to destroy objects by simply passing through them at high velocities.