Gerard Way: “My life in comics”

The solo artist, My Chemical Romance frontman and writer of The Umbrella Academy, the comic on which the new Netflix hit is based, shares his memories of the comics that made him a fanboy

The first superhero I ever loved was…

“Probably Wolverine. If you give Wolverine to a teenage boy or a pre-teen, then that really is the coolest thing in the world. He plays by his own rules, he’s full of angst, he not only has this cool healing factor but he also has claws, and they kinda hurt him and make him bleed when he uses them, and he has a bad attitude… He’s the perfect teenage comic book hero!”


The first time I ever met Stan Lee was…

“Really early on in the band days, second album era. I went up to him in baggage claim at the airport and he signed my sketchbook. As soon as he saw my sketchbook, he was like, ‘I can’t get you a job kid…’ and because my tour manager was stood next to me, he was like, ‘No, he’s good, he’s in a rock band. He’s not looking to get into comics!’ And I laughed along, but really I was totally looking to get into comics!”

The first comic book that ever made me cry was…

“You know, I think it might have been The Crow. It’s so f***ing emotional.”

The first comic book shop that felt like home was…


“There was a shop in New Jersey called Metropolis that sadly isn’t there now. That place and those people completely shaped who I was to become. I didn’t have any friends when I was a freshman. I literally didn’t have any friends at all other than a few friends I saw after school. At high school there was no-one. And so I used to spend all of my time at Metropolis. I met my best friend there. I met Dana Greene who inked my first comic there. That shop gave me so much. And it wasn’t just comics; I had a friend who would make me mixtapes that introduced me to the most amazing music. It was my education, really.”

My favourite place to buy comics in 2019 is…

“I love a place called Secret Headquarters in Silverlake in LA. I discovered it when we were making ‘The Black Parade’ and we were staying at The Paramour hotel.”

The person I’ve met in comics that left me starstruck was…

“It’s [Glaswegian writer] Grant Morrison. I’d said how much his stuff had inspired me in an article about MCR in Spin magazine. Turns out Grant was a big fan of ‘The Black Parade’ and would listen to it when he was writing Batman.”

“I was so nervous about meeting him. I was in Scotland playing at The Barrowlands with MCR and I’d got up super early to meet him and his wife that afternoon. Suddenly my tour manager says, ‘He’s outside,’ and there he was in a purple suit, with an overcoat, looking like a supervillain, wearing sunglasses, in front of a sportscar that his Barbarella-esque wife Kristen is driving. We’ve been super close ever since. He’s kind of my mentor.”