Gerard Way opens up on writing The Umbrella Academy during My Chemical Romance’s early years

"I really missed comics, and I had always loved them"

Gerard Way has opened up on how he developed The Umbrella Academy to keep his love of comic books alive during My Chemical Romance‘s breakthrough years.

The series, which debuted in 2007, tells the story of a dysfunctional family of adopted siblings who have all been blessed with different superpowers.

It was subsequently adapted into a hit Netflix show in 2019, with a second season set to debut this Friday (July 31).

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Appearing on a special Dark Horse All-Stars panel at last weekend’s virtual Comic-Con, Way discussed how he had been writing comics since he was a teenager.

“A lot of people at the time, right before Umbrella came out, knew me as a singer in a band,” he explained.

“But I had this long history with comics, and kind of making my own and getting published at 15 and using my grandmother’s typewriter. But then I went to the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and my major was cartooning. So I had all these comic book classes, and in my senior year I interned at DC – I interned there for like a year.”

Discussing the rise of MCR, he said: “This band that I had started, really started to take off. Then all of us quit our jobs and we get in the van and we just start touring. We don’t really have anywhere to live – we’re just going city to city, sleeping on floors, going show to show to kinda stay alive.

Gerard Way new single
Gerard Way, 2020. CREDIT: Lindsey Ballato/Press

“Then the band gets bigger and more successful, but the whole time I miss this other part of my life that I had to kinda walk away from. I really missed comics, and I had always loved them. One of the things that really inspired me is I was on tour, and DC had just started to re-release Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s Doom Patrol, so I started reading those.

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“I had read some of them when I was a kid working at a comic shop at 15 years old, but this was kind of like a new way to read them; it refreshed my memory, and I got to read the whole thing as they would come out. And I said to myself, ‘I have to do a comic.’”

Way added: “I like to materialise things that I think should exist. I think that’s kinda my method. I did that with the band, I do that with other things. And so, there was nothing like Umbrella Academy, because the mainstream companies were so concerned with continuity and things like that, and I just wanted to throw people right into the story.”

In a five-star review of The Umbrella Academy’s second season, NME wrote: “Bigger, brighter but with more at risk, this second offering is a flawless series that doesn’t put a foot wrong. It’s a triumphant burst of joy that we could all do with some of right now.”

 

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