By Alex McLernon
My Chemical Romance (MCR) are an American pop/punk band that first hit the rock scene in 2001 and have become progressively more popular due to their combination of screeching guitar symphonies and wry observational lyrics. Made up of Gerard Way on lead vocals, Mikey Way on bass guitar, Frank Iero on rhythm guitar and Ray Toro as lead guitarist and backing vocals, it’s common knowledge that Gerard Way formed the band roughly a week after the September eleven attacks in New York after witnessing the planes crash into the Twin Towers.
Although the quartet have said they didn’t want to be a mainstream band, when their third studio album The Black Parade hit the charts in 2006 they gained their first number one in the UK with Welcome To The Black Parade. Since then they have been a topic of controversy within the tabloids and the mainstream media for supposedly encouraging self-harm and suicide relating to their standing in the emo genre, but the band has refused to accept the statements published about them as they believe they promote the opposite of the nihilistic attitudes they’ve been labeled with and that violence isn’t the answer. The members of the band, specifically Way have vocalized their message in that, what they want to promote through MCR and their music is to “save lives”.
Grant Morrison, a Scottish comic-book writer known for his success with Doom Patrol, Batman, Superman and many more, was one of Gerard’s biggest influences and he has developed a tremendous friendship with Morrison, who gave him the advice to be ‘fearless’ with his work.
Way’s comics, like his music also have the theme of saving lives with a bigger global message and his written work is easily linked in with the music of MCR. Way has described the relation between his band and his comics as two very different things but there is also some overlap, as being in a band, Way brings a piece of music to his band mates and they interpret it in their own way and when you are on the same page and share the same vision then the result can be the creation of something brilliant. This is similar to writing comics as it is essential to have a great team working on the same wave length to bring a great series together.
Way wrote The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite for Dark Horse Comics in 2007 and although he had originally provided the artwork himself it would be Gabriel Bá that recreated his vision for the final version.
Bá was born and raised in Brazil and is known as a comic book artist for his work on The Umbrella Academy as well as Casanova for Marvel, written by Matt Fraction. He also has a twin brother; Fábio Moon who is also a comic book artist.
The Academy includes:
00.01 Spaceboy also known as Luther Hargreeves, he is the leader of the group and has enhanced resilience and physical strength.
00.02 The Kraken also known as Diego Hargreeves, referred to as the rebellious member of the group. He has the ability to hold his breath for considerably long periods of time and has also indicated a strong fondness for knife-throwing.
00.03 The Rumor also known as Allison Hargreeves, described as being egotistic, she has the power to immediately adapt reality through lies.
00.04 Séance also known as Klaus Hargreeves, he possesses the power to levitate, telekinesis, and to contact the dead. Although his abilities only function when he has no shoes on.
00.05 The Boy, he disappeared when he was ten years old and re-enters the Academy twenty years later into the future in his child form. It appears that he is able to time-travel under his own control.
00.06 The Horror also known as Ben Hargreeves, is a departed member of the academy who possesses monsters under his skin. Although he has been dead from before the start of the series, he is still acknowledged with a statue located at the front of the Academy.
00.07 The White Violin also known as Vanya Hargreeves, the most divert member of the group originally showcasing no specific abilities, other than an appreciation for music. Her powers were suppressed but she has the ability to release a disastrous wave of force through playing her violin which can be incredibly strong and capable of slicing a person’s throat or annihilate an entire building with just one note.
The second series of the comic was released in 2008 under the title of: The Umbrella Academy: Dallas and opens with the group in despair following the near apocalypse which was formed by one of their own and the unfortunate death of their cherished mentor. So it’s perfect timing for another unimaginable event to take place and get the superheroes back in action.
Way announced at Comic Con 2009 that he was in works to create a new comic-book series called “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” but in the meantime MCR released their latest album in 2010 titled “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” showing again that there is an obvious link between Way’s comics and his band. He has also encouraged fans of MCR to read the comics as a way of showing them where his imagination first got kick started.