The Umbrella Academy

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The Umbrella Academy
Promotional artwork
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
ScheduleMonthly, every third Wednesday
FormatLimited series
Genre
Publication dateSeptember 19, 2007[1] – 2013
October 3, 2018 – present
No. of issues22 (18 plus 4 short stories)
Main character(s)Sir Reginald Hargreeves
Number one
Number two
Number three
Number four
Number five
Number six
Number seven
Creative team
Created byGerard Way[4]
Written byGerard 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 (cover illustrations for series 1 & 2 only)[3]
Nick Filardi (current)[3]
Collected editions
The Apocalypse SuiteISBN 978-1-59307-978-9 [5]
DallasISBN 978-1-59582-345-8 [6]

The Umbrella Academy is an American 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 between September 14, 2007 and February 20, 2008.[1] It won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series. A second series, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, followed in 2008. The first issue of a third series, The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion, was released on October 3, 2018. A proposed fourth series is in development.[8] On February 15, 2019 a television adaptation premiered on Netflix.[9] In June 2019, Dark Horse Comics announced that they had partnered with Studio71, creator of The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls and Joking Hazard, to make a card game based on The Umbrella Academy, that will launch on Kickstarter in early 2020.

Main story[edit]

The titular team of The Umbrella Academy is described as a "dysfunctional family of superheroes". In the mid-20th century, at the instant of the finishing blow in a cosmic wrestling 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 disbands and falls out of contact until they meet on the news of Hargreeves' death, and subsequently reunite when one of their own number becomes 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 purchases 7 of the 43 babies born that day who become the members of The Umbrella Academy, including Spaceboy (Luther Hargreeves), The Kraken (Diego Hargreeves), The Rumor (Allison Hargreeves), The Séance (Klaus Hargreeves), The Boy (Number Five), The Horror (Ben Hargreeves), and The White Violin (Vanya Hargreeves).

Main series[edit]

Volume 1: Apocalypse Suite[edit]

The Umbrella Academy is a team of superpowered children who fight evil for much of their childhoods under the tutelage of their guardian and mentor, Dr. Reginald Hargreeves. But the team breaks up, and nine years later, the estranged members are reunited by the death of the only paternal figure they've ever known, and the rise of a new and terrible threat.

Volume 2: Dallas[edit]

The Umbrella Academy is faced with a number of catastrophic events and the death of a close ally. When a new threat emerges concerning a cabal of assassins, it is up to the Academy to combat the threat, but each member is distracted with their own problems.

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]

On July 21, 2017, Dark Horse announced that Hotel Oblivion would be released in 2018. Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá would be returning.[17] The first issue of Hotel Oblivion was released on October 3, 2018, and the 6th was released on March 28th 2019. The final issue (Number 7) was released on June 12, 2019.

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.[18]

“Mon Dieu!”[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]

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.[18]

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 fortune teller in the back seat, and a little girl in the back seat are all aware that The Kraken is on top of the vehicle. After The Kraken stabs the top of the car, the fortune teller, 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 fortune teller 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 fortune teller 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 fortune teller) 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 fortune teller’s shoulder and she drops the crystal ball, which shatters on the ground. The fortune teller is shocked to see that the girl is still alive and is surprised by a punch delivered by The Kraken. The next scene shows the fortune teller 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 fortune teller’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's “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 and the MySpace Dark Horse Presents Volume 2 in 2009, collecting the online stories from MySpace Dark Horse Presents #7-12.

The story takes place thirteen years ago, during the group's teenage years. The Monocle is giving a long and boring speech to Diego (The Kraken) and Vanya (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 quit 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. The 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 Umbrella Academy is collected in trade paperbacks and limited edition hardcovers. The hardcover editions have larger pages and a few more extra features.

# Title Release Date Material collected Extras ISBN
1 The Umbrella Academy:
The Apocalypse Suite
June 18, 2008 (TPB)
November 19, 2008 (HC)
  • The Apocalypse Suite #1–6
  • “Mon Dieu!”
  • “…But the Past Ain’t Through with You”
  • Sketchbook

ʟɪᴍɪᴛᴇᴅ ᴇᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ ʜᴀʀᴅᴄᴏᴠᴇʀ:

  • Expanded sketchbook
  • Signed tip in sheet
9781593079789 (TPB)
9781595821638 (HC)
2 The Umbrella Academy:
Dallas
September 30, 2009 (TPB)
September 30, 2009 (HC)
  • Dallas #1–6
  • “Anywhere But Here”
  • Sketchbook

ʟɪᴍɪᴛᴇᴅ ᴇᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ ʜᴀʀᴅᴄᴏᴠᴇʀ:

  • Expanded sketchbook
9781595823458 (TPB)
9781595823441 (HC)

Influences[edit]

Way has stated that the biggest influence on this piece of work is his favorite writer, Grant Morrison and his work on 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]

Television adaptation[edit]

A film version of The Umbrella Academy was optioned by Universal Studios, but never produced. 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, which premiered on February 15th, 2019, with Steve Blackman serving as showrunner, and Way as an executive producer.[19][20] It is currently moving into its second season.

References[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 e "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. August 14, 2006. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
  5. ^ "The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  6. ^ "The Umbrella Academy: Dallas TPB". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  7. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (June 25, 2007). "Exclusive Peek: Gerard Way's 'Umbrella Academy'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "goth claudia on Twitter". Twitter.
  9. ^ a b Bill Keveney (July 7, 2015). "Deal puts 'Umbrella Academy' on TV track". USA TODAY.
  10. ^ [1], Comic Book Resources, July 23, 2009
  11. ^ "Hotel Oblivion Trailer".
  12. ^ "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. ^ https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/07/21/umbrella-academy-hotel-oblivion-2018/
  18. ^ a b "Sdcc '07: dark horse presents returns on myspace". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  19. ^ "'Umbrella Academy' Series Based on Comic Books Headed to Netflix". Variety. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Netflix to adapt Gerard Way's 'Umbrella Academy' comic book into live-action series". USA Today. Retrieved 12 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Short stories[edit]