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Jun 10, 2013

ARTICLE: Rock Star Gerard Way - A Real 'Killjoy'

Fans of the band My Chemical Romance are constantly surprised that Gerard Way, best known for belting out moody punk numbers under an emo haircut as the band’s lead singer, is actually an accomplished comic book artist.

They shouldn’t be -- not only was the writer and the creator of the Eisner-award-winning series “The Umbrella Academy,” but he’s been doing comics since he first got published at 15. The 36-year-old went on to major in cartoon illustration at the School of Visual Arts and even interned at DC Comics for a bit. Until, that is, his side project with the band took off.

“People were just surprised by it,” Way says. “They say: ‘You used to do this stuff?’ Yeah, I have a diploma.”

Now that the band split this past spring, Way is back to focusing on writing with the release of his new title, “The True Loves of the Fabulous Killjoys.” The first issue, published by Dark Horse, comes out Wednesday.

The book is in some ways a follow-up to the band’s 2010 album “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.” The band made a few videos exploring the world of the comic book, but the story predates the album even.

“It started as a comic, pretty different [than it is now] but shared the same sentiments and themes,” he says. “Those crept into the album, and visually took it over.”

The story, as Way describes it, is about a two warring factions, two differing points of view; in the middle of all that is a girl who’s been told her whole life that she’s very important, so much so that a suicide squad goes in to rescue her, dying in the process.
Eight years have passed since that escape and now she’s still
trying to figure herself out.

“The reason she’s confused is everyone else seems to have this purpose for her that she necessarily didn’t want to be a part of or understand at all,” he says. “What happens when everybody has groomed or made you into this thing and you just don’t want to do it?”

He worked with artist Becky Cloonan, who he praised for sticking with the book for the five years it’s been in development.
“The thing I’m most blown away with by her is she’s able to put in so much enthusiasm and dedication,” he says, adding that he thought this was the best work of her career.

Way says the art direction pulls on a composite of things he’s mentally collected since he was 5 years old: interpretations of Logan’s Run, exploitation films, ‘80s punk (coining the phrase “punksplotation” for its use of similar aesthetics).

“It has this almost Rocky Horror-ness to it, if it were hyper violent,” he says.


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