The Umbrella Academy

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The Umbrella Academy
Promotional artwork
Publication information
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Schedule Monthly, every third Wednesday
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date September 19, 2007[1] – 2013
No. of issues 15 (12 Including 3 short stories)
Main character(s) Sir Reginald Hargreeves
Spaceboy
The Kraken
The Rumor
The Séance
The Boy
The Horror
The White Violin
Creative team
Created by Gerard Way[4]
Written by Gerard Way[2]
Artist(s) Gabriel Bá
James Jean (cover illustrations for series 1 only)[3]
Letterer(s) Jason Hvam (Internet preview only)[2]
Nate Piekos
Colorist(s) Dave Stewart[3]
Collected editions
The Apocalypse Suite ISBN 978-1-59307-978-9 [5]
Dallas ISBN 978-1-59582-345-8 [6]

The Umbrella Academy is a comic book series created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The first six-issue limited series, The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite,[7] was released by Dark Horse Comics, the first issue making its premiere on September 19, 2007.[1] It won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series. A second series, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, followed in 2008. The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion, and a proposed fourth series, are in development.[8] A television adaptation was announced to be in development in July 2015.[9]

Main story[edit]

The Umbrella Academy initially takes place in an alternate history where John F. Kennedy was never assassinated, and is primarily set in 1977 (the year of writer Way's birth), which is treated as the present. The titular team are described as a "dysfunctional family of superheroes" (akin to Marvel Comics Fantastic Four). In the mid-20th century, at the instant of the finishing blow in a cosmic boxing match, 43 superpowered infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy (it is hinted by a character implied to be God that they are collectively a modern-day incarnation of the Messiah). Sir Reginald Hargreeves a.k.a. The Monocle, an extraterrestrial disguised as a famous entrepreneur, adopts the surviving seven children, and prepares them to save the world from an unspecified threat as the Umbrella Academy. In Apocalypse Suite, the team disbanded and failed to stay in contact with each other until they were reunited upon the news of Hargreeves' death, and subsequently reformed the team after one of their own number became a supervillain.

Characters[edit]

The Academy is led by The Monocle (Sir Reginald Hargreeves), an alien disguised as a wealthy entrepreneur and world-renowned scientist. He adopts the members of The Umbrella Academy at birth including Spaceboy (Luther Hargreeves), The Kraken (Diego Hargreeves), The Rumor (Allison Hargreeves), The Séance (Klaus Hargreeves), Number Five (The Boy), The Horror (Ben Hargreeves), and The White Violin (Vanya Hargreeves).

Stories[edit]

Volume 1: Apocalypse Suite[edit]

Volume 2: Dallas[edit]

Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion[edit]

Gerard Way announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con that the third series would be entitled The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion.[10] It is hinted that this could be the return of Dr. Terminal, as referenced by Spaceboy saying "no one could escape from the Hotel" in Apocalypse Suite issue #3. Dark Horse originally announced that Hotel Oblivion would be released sometime during 2010[11] but this did not transpire.

Whatculture.com included Hotel Oblivion in its list of comics to look forward to in 2012, though the comic was not released in that year either. In an interview with Newsarama that same year at New York Comic Con, Way revealed that he was writing issue 1.[12]

In June 2013 Gerard Way composed a tweet[13] about the certainty of The Umbrella Academy's future, stating that it would be a "really long time" before a release of Hotel Oblivion, as he planned to move away from comics "indefinitely" once the Killjoys series is complete in order to focus his attention on his musical career. He stated in the conversation following his tweet that he would return to comics "when it's right". However, in December 2013 Way composed several tweets[8][14][15] saying that he and Gabriel Bá would be working on both Hotel Oblivion and the fourth installment of The Umbrella Academy during 2014. In June 2015 he tweeted that he was still actively writing the new series.[8][16]

Short stories[edit]

A first short preview story of the series was released on November 2, 2006 on the Dark Horse Comics website.[2] The first printed story was “…But the Past Ain’t Through With You.” which appeared in the 2007 Dark Horse Comics Free Comic Book Day issue.[3] Another story, “Safe & Sound”, was published in July 2007 in Dark Horse Presents online on MySpace.[17]

“Mon Dieu!” (Internet Preview)[edit]

An Internet preview was released on November 2, 2006 on the Dark Horse website. The story was colored by Dan Jackson and lettered by Jason Hvam.[2] It is included in the Apocalypse Suite collection. The story is only two pages long and contains two main characters, The Séance, appearing as an adult, and Number Five. A time-travel machine causes the Séance to briefly experience life as a French military commander.

“…But the Past Ain’t Through With You.”[edit]

Cover of the 2007 Dark Horse Comics Free Comic Book Day issue, featuring the first printed story of The Umbrella Academy, “…But the Past Ain’t Through With You.”

The first printed story of the series, the title is a line from the B-side track "Kill All Your Friends" by Way's band, My Chemical Romance ("And you can sleep in a coffin, but the past ain't through with you"). "…But the Past Ain’t Through with You.", appeared in the 2007 Dark Horse Comics Free Comic Book Day issue. The comic book was released on May 5, 2007, Free Comic Book Day. It is included in the Apocalypse Suite collection. The comic book also features the début of Pantheon City written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Clément Sauvé and Zero Killer written by Arvid Nelson and illustrated by Matt Camp.[3]

Plot

The story begins with Spaceboy, The Rumour, and The Séance finding The Rumour’s body in an alley. The killer seems to be the 'Murder Magician' and his Assistant, who has hypnotized everyone at a talk show. The villains are defeated and the secret is uncovered. The Rumour had been sneaking out to meet up with a juggler and lying about going to the library. Her powers created a double that went to the library; this one was taken and slain. It's revealed the Monocle worked with the Magician to kill the copy to teach Rumour 'a lesson'. At the bottom of the final page, it states "... Some of the characters you have enjoyed today may or may not be living and/or dead by the next episode", hinting that The Horror dies soon after.

“Safe & Sound”[edit]

“Safe & Sound” is an eight-page story published in the first issue of the second volume of Dark Horse Presents in July 2007. The second volume of Dark Horse Presents (an anthology comic book, which was the first comic ever published by Dark Horse) appears monthly exclusively online on the social networking website MySpace for free. The title comes from a song Gerard Way worked on with Japanese rock singer Kyosuke Himuro for the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete. The comic book also features stories for the series Sugarshock! written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by Fábio Moon (Gabriel Bá’s twin brother) and Samurai: Heaven and Earth written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Luke Ross.[17]

Plot

The story begins with The Kraken on top of a moving car occupied by criminals. The credits on the page say “Safe & Sound / featuring The Kraken / Formerly of the Umbrella Academy”. The cars occupants, a driver, a man in the passenger seat with a Tommy Gun, a Gypsy fortuneteller in the back seat, and a little girl in the back seat are all aware that The Kraken in on top of the vehicle. After The Kraken stabs the top of the car, the fortuneteller, who is holding a green crystal ball, orders the man in the front to shoot The Kraken, who manages to escape injury. When the girl in the back says that she wants to go home, the fortuneteller tells her she can as soon as her father pays the ransom. The Kraken punches the man with the gun through the window, prompting the fortuneteller to order the driver to slam the brakes. The Kraken and the man with the gun are ejected from the car, the latter going through the windshield. The driver then indiscriminately shoots at the clothing store with the Tommy Gun. The Kraken emerges on top of the car (behind the fortuneteller) and demands the release of the girl. She pulls out another cartomancy card with 'devil'. The driver shoots at The Kraken, who jumps towards him and punches him. The knocked-out man falls to the ground. The fortuneteller, still defiant, tells The Kraken not to produce his blade, or else she will drop the green crystal ball, which she claims holds the life of the girl she is holding hostage. She claims that if it drops the girl will die. The Kraken throws his knife at the fortuneteller’s shoulder and she drops the crystal ball, which shatters on the ground. The fortuneteller is in shock to see that the girl is still alive and is surprised by a punch delivered by The Kraken. The next scene shows the fortuneteller being arrested who is hysterically saying that the girl should have died. Inspector Lupo (a character similar to Commissioner Gordon of Batman) thanks The Kraken for saving the mayor’s daughter. The Kraken reaches into the back seat of the fortuneteller’s car and produces a crystal ball, identical to the one that was destroyed. He hands it in to the Inspector and tells him that it is, “Something important. Take care of it.”

“Anywhere But Here”[edit]

Dark Horse released the eight-page short story on their MySpace, and it is also included in the Dallas collections.

Plot

The story takes place 13 years ago, during the group's teenage years. The Monocle is giving a long and boring speech to Diego and Vanya (The Kraken and The White Violin) who are in a punk rock band called Prime 8's, in which Vanya plays the guitar, Diego plays the bass guitar and an ape called "Body" plays the drums. The Monocle dislikes the band's music and the name of their debut album "I Don't Wanna Kill The President" saying that this gives The Academy bad publicity. He gives Vanya a plane ticket to Paris, where she is supposed to study "real" music (classical), however he is simply trying to separate Vanya from Diego. In his room, Diego convinces Vanya to play one last gig that night at a bar, and then with the money they would earn, they could run away from the Umbrella Academy to tour with the band. They agree to meet at the gig that night. At the bar, people are screaming to hear the Prime 8's, but Diego hasn't shown up yet. The owner of the bar demands to see the band playing at that moment or he'll send another band on, so Body decides to finish the band and say goodbye to Vanya. Vanya, upset at being let down by Diego, is walking down the street and passes by a shop selling TVs. News is shown about a gang arrested by The Umbrella Academy, which they did with the help of Diego. Vanya walks away and gets into a taxi. The driver asks, "Going somewhere important?" Vanya answers, "Yeah, anywhere but here."

Collected editions[edit]

The series has been collected as a trade paperback:

The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite (by Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá, includes all six issues from The Apocalypse Suite, extracts from sketchbooks featuring early versions of characters, the short internet preview ("Mon Dieu!") and the story ("…But the Past Ain’t Through With You.") from Free Comic Book Day 2007, limited edition hardcover, ISBN 1-59582-163-5, softcover, ISBN 1-59307-978-8)

This edition was included on Wizard's "100 Best trade paperbacks and graphic novels published during the Wizard era", ranking it at number 94.[18]

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas trade paperback of Volume 2 of the series (192 pages), was published on September 30, 2009, and includes the story "Anywhere but Here" and nine pages of sketches. (ISBN 159582345X)[6] A hardback limited-edition version with 232 pages was published on October 21, 2009 (ISBN 1595823441).

Influences[edit]

Way has stated that the biggest influence on this piece of work is his favorite writer, Grant Morrison and his work Doom Patrol with DC Comics. He has also stated that Pat McEown of ZombieWorld: Champion of the Worm was a big influence on his work. Way has said that Edvin Biuković is his all-time favorite artist and that "his Grendel Tales are like my bible to draw from".[4]

Adaptations[edit]

Film[edit]

A film version of The Umbrella Academy has been optioned by Universal Studios. Originally, screenwriter Mark Bomback was hired to write the screenplay, however in 2010 it was announced that Rawson Marshall Thurber had replaced him and was reworking the script.[19]

There has been little talk of the film since, and no release date has been set. Recently, in an interview with Newsarama at the 2012 New York Comic Con, Way mentioned that there have been "good talks" and a "really good script", but that it was "kind of up to the universe".[12]

Television[edit]

On July 7, 2015, it was announced that The Umbrella Academy would instead be developed into a television series, rather than the original film, produced by Universal Cable Productions.[9] On July 11, 2017, it was officially announced that Netflix had greenlit a live-action series adaptation of The Umbrella Academy due to premiere in 2018, with Way performing as an executive producer.[20][21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1". Dark Horse Comics. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Gerard Way gives the world a sneak peek at the upcoming Umbrella Academy series! 11/2/06". Dark Horse Comics. 2006-11-02. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Free Comic Book Day 2007". Dark Horse Comics. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Gerard Way Interview: Umbrella Academy 8/14/06". Dark Horse Comics. 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  5. ^ "The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "The Umbrella Academy: Dallas TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (June 25, 2007). "Exclusive Peek: Gerard Way's 'Umbrella Academy'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  8. ^ a b c "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter. 
  9. ^ a b Bill Keveney, USA TODAY (7 July 2015). "Deal puts 'Umbrella Academy' on TV track". USA TODAY. 
  10. ^ [1], Comic Book Resources, July 23, 2009
  11. ^ "Hotel Oblivion Trailer". 
  12. ^ a b "NYCC 2012: MCR's Gerard Way and crew talk Killjoys". Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter. 
  14. ^ "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter. 
  15. ^ "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter. 
  16. ^ "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter. 
  17. ^ a b "Sdcc '07: dark horse presents returns on myspace". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  18. ^ [2] Archived May 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Schaefer, Sandy. "'Dodgeball' Writer Reworking 'Umbrella Academy' Movie". screenrant.com. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "'Umbrella Academy' Series Based on Comic Books Headed to Netflix". Variety. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  21. ^ "Netflix to adapt Gerard Way's 'Umbrella Academy' comic book into live-action series". USA Today. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Short stories[edit]