It's no small feat winning over the collective comics crowd, but if there's one team up to the challenge, it's "Umbrella Academy" writer (and My Chemical Romance frontman) Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba.
With the critical and commercial success of "The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite" under its belt, the Eisner-winning collaborators continue with "The Umbrella Academy: Dallas," which hits stores this week through Dark Horse Comics. Bearing fan expectations in mind, the duo spoke confidently of their vision for the future of "The Umbrella Academy" -- both in terms of the comic series as well as the fast-tracked "Umbrella Academy" feature film.
"We really truly hadn’t anticipated ['Apocalypse Suite'] to be so well-received and get so much attention," said Way, "So that obviously kind of raised the stakes, [and] not in a negative way. If anything, it’s forced us to go even further to not pay attention to what people think about it or what they’re going to think about it."
His collaborator Ba agreed, and thinks fans have been quick to realize that the platinum-selling artist is one of their own (which shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Way attended art school and interned at DC Comics before starting MCR). "I think that we have overcome the initial point of 'Gerard is a musician writing a comic' and all the attention that got us, both good and bad, and now we just have to focus on doing the best we can on the following series," said Ba.
"Dallas" opens to a familiar sight. "Are we really fighting another monument?!" shouts a ten-year-old Kraken as he and his super-powered siblings engage a giant, fire-breathing Lincoln Monument. Once again Ba's economic line balances form with function, adding stylish gravitas to Way's quirky, cinematic dialogue. It's like a Wes Anderson movie penned by a feverish Grant Morrison.
"Every single issue is taking some kind of very big risk, and that’s been amazing," said Way.
But "Dallas" isn't the only project expanding the "UA" mythos. With the "Umbrella Academy" movie green-lit for production through Universal, Way's been busy navigating Hollywood for the right talent to ensure a faithful-yet-fresh film.
"They want me really involved, which is flattering," said Way. "So I’m going to be as involved as I can, while at the same time relinquishing control of the stuff. I’d like to be available to them but at the end of the day I’m not going to tell them how to do their job."
As involved as Way is though, there is one thing he won't be doing and that's penning the script, especially with writers like Diablo Cody ("Juno") popping up as potential candidates.
"I’m definitely going to turn it over to a screenwriter. I even got Final Draft so I can figure out what they do," said Way, "The craft of actually writing the screenplay as far as the pacing, that’s something that’s alien to me."
Way says he wants an entertaining script with action, but most importantly it needs to feel like, "a quirky art-house film."
Busy at the drawing board, Ba hasn't involved himself with the movie just yet, but has high hopes for a future "Umbrella" onscreen adaptation as well as for comics themselves. "I’d like [the film] to be a great experience for the public who doesn’t even know it was a comic book," Ba exclaimed. "And I’d love to get everyone who sees the movie into the stores to buy comics."
What do you think so far, "Umbrella" fans? Looking forward to seeing what comes next? Talk to us in the comments.