The Umbrella Academy brings ‘Dallas’ to L.A.

Nov. 24, 2008 | 2:55 p.m.

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It’s an exciting time here at Hero Complex as we approach our five-month anniversary. We’re getting a lot of new contributors. One of them is Nathan Olivarez-Giles, who has this dispatch…

It’s time to put your monocle on: “The Umbrella Academy” is in Los Angeles in a big way.

Dark Horse Comics is celebrating the quirky and compelling “Academy” here to mark the release of “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas,” the second installment of the critically acclaimed series.

The first issue of the “Dallas” book hits stores Wednesday (Nov. 26), and at 8 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 28), Gerard Way, author of “Academy” and lead singer of My Chemical Romance, will be signing autographs at Southern California’s famous comics landmark Golden Apple (7018 Melrose Ave).

Meanwhile, Secret Headquarters (3817 W. Sunset Blvd.), the great comics store and gallery in Silver Lake, is displaying Way’s concept sketches for the first “Umbrella” series, “Apocalypse Suite,” as well as the original art by Way’s Brazilian-born collaborator, Gabriel Bá.

That exhibit will run through Dec. 11. To celebrate, Way and Dark Horse hosted a party on Friday at the gallery. Way said he adores the place and his band has a history with it; he and his band mates often founds themselves roaming its aisles while working on their third studio album back in 2006.

“When we were working on ‘The Black Parade,’ we lived up the hill on Micheltorena, and we’d come down here all the time,” Way said of Secret Headquarters. “If I owned a comic book shop, I’d want it to be just like this.”

Black_parade_cover_2It was at Secret Headquarters that Way bought his first piece of original art by illustrator James Jean, who did the grim, marching-band cover for “Parade” and then helped Way in his “other” genre by handling the cover art for “Apocalypse Suite.”

Since “Apocalypse Suite” arrived in stores a little over a year ago, Way and Bá picked up an Eisner Award for best limited series and the comic was optioned by Universal for a film expected in theaters in 2010 or 2011.

Way said Universal is currently getting a screenplay together.

“Universal is really great. They’re keeping me really involved creatively, and they’re really taking my input into consideration,” he said. “It’s good because I have the time right now, and we’re just starting to get into writing some more music again.”

Way said Bá will be working on a new series to be released by Vertigo Comics after “Dallas” wraps up.

Umbrella_flyer_2 “Gabriel is working on some great stuff. He’s really a great artist, and I feel pretty lucky to have him working with me on ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ ” Way said. “He really cares about the characters and the story and he’ll be on the book the whole way through.”

After Ba’s stint on the Vertigo series, the two will regroup for the third leg of “Academy,” which would reach readers next year — but Way wouldn’t divulge any details.

“Dallas,” in the meantime, takes Way’s surreal team of family-feuding superheroes on an adventure in America at the time of the Kennedy assassination.

“The plan is to do about seven or eight parts for ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ ” the 31-year-old musician and writer said. “That’s about seven or eight years of the comic, so by then I think I’ll be done with it, and we’ll have told all the stories we want to with the characters. I didn’t create the comic to advance one main plot. I created it to play in a sandbox.”

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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