Friday, July 11, 2008

The Umbrella Academy

There's a lesson here for me, I think:

When The Umbrella Academy was first announced, I made a point of ignoring it. It was written by a rock star after all. A rock star from a band about which I knew nothing. If this were a movie, you'd call it stunt casting. But all of that changed after I visited Dark Horse Comics with my family and managing editor Davey Estrada gave me a bag of books to take home. Once I unpacked the bag, I found a copy of The Umbrella Academy waiting for me. I figured I'd give it a read before putting it on the shelf and forgetting it forever.

Well, I was blown away. It's inventive, anarchic, angry and funny--a few of the things that comics can do well if they're done right. My friend Phil and I used to talk about how we wanted to do comics that were big and dumb, but that had a core of truth or meaning in them that would give the whole enterprise a depth it wouldn't have otherwise. The Umbrella Academy is that kind of comic. While, ostensibly, it appears to be about a family of superheroes (one of whom has a transplanted gorilla body!), it's really about family dynamics and how children pursue the love of a parent even after that parent is dead. In its way, it's actually quite touching.

Another big turn-on for me is the art of Gabriel Ba, who I know as the artist of the equally anarchic Cassanova (The Umbrella Academy actually reminds me of Cassanova in a lot of very favorable ways). His art is stylized and expressive and fluid. Throw my buddy, Dave Stewart's, colors on top of all of that and you have a near-perfect comic.

I'll tell you honestly, I despair that I could ever write a comic as good as this one. If you're even casually interested in adventure comics, The Umbrella Academy is one to read.

Oh, and the lesson I learned? Stop being a judgmental ass and give things a try.

1 comment:

SoDo said...

i was in the same camp on this one, and although i like his music (begrudgingly, it is a long story but I grew to love it), but i had a mild case of hateritis and jealousy that this guy had it all music and comics... but he couldn't possibly be good at both. surprise, he is.