For the last five years, Gerard Way has been the frontman of My Chemical Romance, a New Jersey-based rock band that, depending on who you ask, has either blossomed into one of the most talented acts in popular music (highlighted by last year’s stunningly operatic concept album, The Black Parade), or been criminally responsible for the slew of heavily eyeliner’ed emo teens running amok in our nation’s malls. In an attempt to explore both phenomena, EW joined Gerard and Co. on the road in the U.K. last winter, and somewhere between Liverpool and Glasgow, we couldn’t help but notice the tour bus was overflowing with comics, pens, and sketches — evidence of the 30-year-old singer’s past life as a struggling artist and animator.
The School of Visual Arts grad may have chucked it all to start My Chem, but now he’s finally putting that diploma to use: This September, Dark Horse will release The Umbrella Academy, a six-issue series conceived by Way and drawn by Casanova artist Gabriel Bá. It promises to be something of a big deal, both to Gerard’s army of rabid fans and to the struggling comics industry, providing the latter with an influx of new readers and the former with yet another thing to OMG about on MySpace.
But before the madness starts — preorder those copies now, kids! — we grabbed the always-lovely Mr. Way himself on the phone from Europe (where the band is about to join Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution tour) to give us a first look at his first issue, explain the predictably oddball story, and reveal why Hot Topic will most likely not be carrying a line of Way-designed apparel anytime soon.
NEXT PAGES: See three pages from Umbrella Adademy