Gerard Way’s Essential Shelf, Part 1

July 18, 2008 | 5:56 p.m.

Gerard Way of My Chemical RomanceWe’re starting a new feature here at the Hero Complex called The Essential Shelf in which we invite some esteemed talents to tell us about their favorite graphic novels. Our first guest is Gerard Way, the lead singer of the rock band My Chemical Romance and the writer of “The Umbrella Academy,” the wonderfully surreal Dark Horse series that (we hear) may be coming to a theater near you in the next few years.

Here’s No.’s 8, 9 and 10 on the list of 10 that he e-mailed me, the rest will be posted here over the next few days.

“Hellboy: Seed of Destruction,” by Mike Mignola
This book was an inspiration in the format I chose to do ‘The Umbrella Academy’ in, as well as the publisher, Dark Horse. This comic is extremely pure, it is the opposite of pretentious, and an exercise in storytelling. Combining elements of old-school E.C. Comics horror, adventure, and the occasional history or mythology lesson, it also frees itself from the confines of continuity typically found in mainstream comics. It has a continuity but does not remain chained to it, hopping around the many years an[d] aspects of the main character’s life, telling the stories Mike Mignola wants to tell.

“Akira, Vol. 1,” by Katsuhiro Otomo
I do enjoy manga but would not consider myself a “super-fan,” only really connecting with certain works such as Lone Wolf and Cub, or Tekkon Kinkreet, the more breakthrough works, and Akira, to me, is the daddy of them all. This book collects the serialized comic originally found in ‘Young Magazine’ in Japan, which must have been very exciting coming out weekly and serialized, and also must have taken a lot of time, as the series is massive. It takes place in a futuristic version of Tokyo, which has rebuilt after another seemingly atomic explosion, and deals with a corrupt government, psychic children, and motorcycle gangs. Some of the best characters I have ever encountered in a comic.

“Wanted,” by Mark Millar

I love this book. It came out of nowhere for me, and literally forced me to read it in one sitting. It has a way of tapping into that nihilism of “Fight Club” without being redundant and is a great example of a great modern comic with original ideas. The concept is another brilliant one that makes you jealous you didn’t come up with it first, but in reading it you realize that Mark Millar is the only person that could have written it. I haven’t seen the film but I imagine, if they at least kept the narration intact, that it is probably an excellent translation, as the main character’s inner monologue is what really keeps you hooked, especially from the opening line.

– Geoff Boucher


3 Responses to Gerard Way’s Essential Shelf, Part 1

  1. blackheartxoxo says:

    i love gerard way i think he is awsome and not only for the music he does with mcr but the comics he has created he did an amazing job on them and i when i recived each one i had to read it there and then the art work was amazing and the story was too i nearly cryed on part 6 of the umbrella academy im not gonna say why coz i dont wanna ruin it for anyone who hasnt read them yet but to anyone that has u will know what i mean :D…..i think the whole concept behind the comic is amazing and undescriable i really hope it comes out as a film that would be so awsome and people in the uk were i live can finnaly see what an amazing job gerard way has done
    love olivia
    MCR forever xoxo xx

  2. S. says:

    Hellboy: Seed of Destruction…..good choice Gerard! I must've read that about 20 times!
    You can see how Mignola's work influences Way in TUA, the sorta dark and quirky style. And the fact that Mignola practically invented the mini-series format.

  3. McrXninjaXyo says:


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