Monthly Archives: September 2013

A matter of comic genius [Gerard Way, Grant Morrison]

Two incredible creative forces will come together for the Graphic festival.

Grant Morrison

One is a New Jersey native whose band, My Chemical Romance, has packed stadiums for more than a decade. The other is a veteran comic-book writer from Glasgow, who has spent seven years giving voice to Batman. But Gerard Way and Grant Morrison have discovered they have a lot more in common than the surface suggests.

The pair will come together to present a show about comics, art, music and life for visual festival Graphic. An Australian premiere, the show is one of the drawcards of the four-day event, which also features Seth Green’s animated cult hit Robot Chicken Live and Pulitzer Prize-winning comic artist Art Spiegelman.

”It’s really exciting, because I rarely get to travel for anything other than music, so be able to go and not have heaps of bags of gear, and I get to sit and talk with my hero,” Way says.

A long-time fan of Morrison’s groundbreaking work – from the surreal insanity of The Invisibles to his legendary stint on Batman – the singer soon found it was a mutual appreciation society.

The man considered a god in the comic world was similarly blown away by My Chemical Romance’s 2006 video for Welcome to the Black Parade, in particular its over-the-top spectacle and Way’s ambitious juxtaposing of the lost misfits with the soldier returning from war.

”I did an interview for Spin magazine and they were asking about my influences, so I talked about comics,” Way says.

Gerard Way”I talked about Grant’s work a great deal and he caught wind of that and reached out, as he was a fan of what I was doing. So, we had lunch – and I was obviously pretty nervous – but we’ve gotten really close. We also hit it off because we have a lot of things in common. We both do things very differently and we both do what we want to do.”

The 36-year-old has been passionate about comics from an early age, studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and interned at DC’s famed graphic-novel house Vertigo.

”I spent one year at the visual arts school, where you do everything, then the next three years was studying everything from drawing to writing to colouring and inking – every aspect of a comic.”

But, playing music to be able to afford to work on his visual art, Way stumbled on to a 12-year career that would see his band sell nearly 4.5 million records, with four studio albums released, before their end in March this year.

”[The music] was purer than the comics I was working on; it wasn’t over-thought at all. It was just something that I did. But then, because I was so honest with the music, it took off. And I didn’t see that happening, because I wasn’t sitting there going, ‘I want to be this huge rock star.’ It was very, ‘I play music because I have to and I draw comics because I want to’.

”And the things I was trying to do, weren’t the things that took off.”

That was, until 2008 and the release of his acclaimed comic-book series The Umbrella Academy, which earned him and Brazilian illustrator Gabriel Ba an Eisner Award – the United States comic world’s equivalent to a Grammy.

He is now working on a six-part series, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, currently four issues in. Band fans will recognise the name, with the final My Chemical Romance record Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys sharing the title and the Bladerunner-esque, post-apocalyptic setting of the album’s videos for Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) and Sing – on which Morrison worked, too.

But it was when good friend Shaun Simon revealed the comic on which he was working was remarkably similar to the one kicking around in Way’s mind that Fabulous Killjoys, the comic, found the momentum it needed – and a wonderful illustrator in Becky Cloonan to bring it to visual life.

”Shaun Simon had this comic he was working on about reality and it was called The Killjoys. I was working on a comic at the time and I didn’t have a title for it, but when he told me about his, ‘The True Lives of the Fabulous’ popped into my head,” he says.

”A week later I called him and was like, ‘Hey, I think we’re both kind of working on the same thing’,” he says. ”So we started working on this together.”

The series continues with a young girl rescued from the all-powerful, decidedly evil corporation Better Living Industries by anti-establishment freedom fighters the Fabulous Killjoys.

In a creative business such as the comic world, where male superheroes and stories dominate, it’s refreshing to celebrate strong, interesting female roles – something close to Way’s heart, as father to a young daughter, Bandit.

”A lot of it has to do with the kids I’d see in the audience [at My Chemical Romance shows]. A lot of them were these young women, very strong personalities, very independent and very creative, but also like they were trying to find their place in the world,” he says.

”That had a pretty big impact on me.”

Graphic

When: October 4-7; Gerard Way and Grant Morrison are in conversation on Saturday, October 5, at 9pm.

Where: Sydney Opera House

Tickets: From $39 ($39-$59), sydneyoperahouse.com.

Show Former My Chemical Romance frontman and graphic novel writer Gerard Way joins iconic comic-book creator Grant Morrison to share stories of life, loves, inspirations and creative processes.

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The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys: CHAPTER 4 >>> RUN!

killjoys_04cov

There’s sense of Déjà vu that occurs toward the end of the chapter that sends shivers down your spine. As the radio plays and the night moves along, you suddenly hear a familiar voice, one much unexpected. Perhaps, over time, you may have forgotten it or perhaps the bombastic voice of anarchy and youthful rebellion had been forever ingrained in your head. Either way, this is the moment you know that Killjoys is more than just a flash-in-the-pan series, but a decade spanning project of love.
 
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys>>> Chapter 4: Run! certainly lives up to its title. With the BL/Ind breathing down everyone’s necks, all the key players make a mad dash towards their own hopes, dreams, nightmares and fears. With Red and Blue trying to escape Battery City, The Girl trying to escape her past and Krause trying to escape his employers, things certainly escalate quickly for our motley crew of freedom fighters. What follows is a heart-wrenching, nail biting and shocking issue that is without a doubt the highlight of this already excellent series.
 
It’s not every day that I am compelled to re-read an issue the second I finish it, I tend to let it digest first. However as of this review, I have re-read this issue four times now and each time I find myself lost in wonder and cringing with unease. As we head towards the dénouement, Way & Simon has made sure all that hard work and fan favouritism has paid off. This chapter is the reason I told you to bone up on your Danger Days! and those of you who did will have undoubtedly received the same goose bumps I have. This is a shining example of how to plot a series.
 
Cloonan & Jackson’s homage to the 80’s punk films of yesteryear continue to be the cherry on top of a very decadent sundae. Just check out that splash page featuring Red & Blue, it’s a marvel to behold. It seems that Cloonan has found a perfect match with Jackson and his vibrant colour scheme. Their loose and cartoony style really helps to juxtapose the darker elements of the issue, and man, does it get dark.
 
With the finish line in sight, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys>>> Chapter 4: Run! is revving it’s engine and firing on all cylinders. I’m not too keen on perfect scores, but I was hard pressed to find a reason against awarding one. Killjoys, you are perfect, now make some noise!
 
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys>>> Chapter 4: Run!
Script / Gerard Way & Shaun Simon
Art / Becky Cloonan
Colours / Dan Jackson
Letters / Nate Peikos
Cover(s) / Becky Cloonan & Gabriel Ba
Publisher / Mike Richardson for Dark Horse Comics

Click at pictures!
Via

Frank Iero performs new songs live

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Frank Iero, former guitarist of My Chemical Romance and current vocalist in Death Spells and a yet-unnamed solo venture, made a personal appearance at the opening of A&M Music Center in Lyndhurst, New Jersey today, where he performed a solo acoustic set.

Videos from the opening show Iero playing “joyriding.,” which he recently revealed on SoundCloud, leading to a sing-along from the intimate crowd, “Stage Four Fear Of Success,” which he also played at his live appearance on the Going Off Track podcast and another new song for which a title hasn’t been posted yet.

Check out the performances below.

“Stage Four Fear Of Success”

 

New Song (no title available on YouTube)

 

“joyriding.”

 

Many thanks to the YouTube users who uploaded these.

Iero ended his day with the following tweets about the in-store performance and meet-and-greet:

 

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