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Apr 1, 2011

My Chemical Romance frontman talks comics

My Chemical Romance leader Gerard Way is not your average rocker. Sure, the fuchsia-haired frontman has just one-upped the group’s theatrical 2006 breakthrough, “The Black Parade,” with an even more outrageous set, the genre-jumping “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” which he’s complemented with a post-apocalyptic video serial, a mythical band from this futuristic scenario (The Mad Gear and Missile Kid) and a graphic novel he’s currently scripting. But Way is also the Eisner Award-winning author of “The Umbrella Academy,” a comic concerning a ragtag group of superheroes that’s already been optioned in Hollywood.

Have you noticed the eerie resemblance the Minion character in the movie “Megamind” has to your Academy’s Space Boy? I was with a really old friend of mine from art school when that commercial first came on TV, and he was like, “Whoa! That looks just like Space Boy!” It’s kind of a combination of some of my other characters — I have a fish named Carmichael who lives in a bowl, but wears a suit and speaks through a speaker on his chest. So now I’m like, “Ah, I don’t care.”

How did you meet — and then hire for your videos — “Doom Patrol” creator Grant Morrison? Well, I got lucky. I was asked in an interview about some of my influences, and I rattled off all of his books that had inspired me. And from there, he heard about it, and he was also a fan of “The Black Parade,” so then me and him and his wife just became really close friends. They were constantly looking out for me on the “Black Parade” tour, because I had a lot of ups and downs. And they were with me every step of the way when I was making “Danger Days,” so I said, “Hey, would you be in this? Would you be the bad guy?” And he said, “Absolutely!”

What did you learn from Morrison? He and I had very similar effects on people with our different art forms — we’re a very polarizing band, and people either love us or they hate us. But he knew how to deal with that, and he had the courage to keep going despite all that polarization. So after “Black Parade,” he was afraid we were going to backtrack and try to make “the punk record” or whatever, and he was right — it’s what we started to do. But he said, “You think you’ve made ‘Sgt. Pepper’s,’ but you’ve only made ‘Revolver’ — you haven’t gone that far yet, so you need to make the next one crazier.” I was scared of that, but he was totally right.

credit: Tom Lanham, the examiner

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