Friday, January 7, 2011

Vandal Muse: the Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way, and Ideas

This from the new Rolling Stone, on Gerard Way of the band My Chemical Romance:

"Practically from birth, Way was almost frighteningly overflowing with ideas -- for songs, for movies, for comic books, for costumes -- as if some vandal muse has permanently kicked the cap off his hydrant." -- Brian Hiatt

As if some vandal muse had permanently kicked the cap off his hydrant. Isn't that the greatest phrase? Jim read it out to me while he was reading the article. You picture the ideas gushing out in a wild stream, too many to be marshaled in any effective direction, with such force as to bowl down bystanders and large dogs. Is it like that for you?

For me, it is and it isn't. I have lots of ideas. Lots. But maybe mine lack the violence of a hydrant geyser. They're more like a flock of sheep with no dog. They get lost in the wilderness, to perish of thirst and be devoured by sharp-toothed nasties, leaving only the occasional tuft of wool clinging to a branch. Okay, no, there is a dog. Me. I am the sheepdog, but I am this terrible kind of sheepdog that guards one sheep while the others all wander off a cliff. It has to be that way. You have to choose an idea and give it all your attention, but I mourn for all those lost ideas, you know, and the languishing ones. And I wonder how many of them I will be able to bring to fruition in my lifetime, may it pleasepleaseplease be a veryvery long lifetime.

Gerard Way is doing pretty well by his ideas, it seems. Have you seen his graphic novel Umbrella Academy? It's very cool and is being developed as a movie. No casting as of yet.



I was hooked by the opening lines. Here's the prologue. If you can't read the type, the plain transcript follows:






It was the same year as "Tusslin' Tom" Gurney knocked out the space squid from Rigel X-9 ... 
It happened at 9:38 pm ... 
It came from an atomic flying elbow.



And in that moment ...
... without warning ...
... and in an occurrence of complete coincidence ...
... forty-three extraordinary children were born ...
... to mostly single women who had shown no signs of pregnancy, in seemingly random locations around the world.

The children were either abandoned or put up for adoption.

Enter Sir Reginald Hargreeves, aka The Monocle. 
World-renowned scientist and wealthy entrepreneur.
Inventor of the Televator, the Levitator, the Mobile Umbrella Communicator, and Clever Crisp Cereal.
Olympic Gold Medalist and recipient of the Nobel Prize for his work on the cerebral advancement of the chimpanzee.
Space alien.



For reasons unknown, Sir Reginald set out with his bodyguard  Abhijat aboard his private vessel, The Minerva ... rumored to be powered by the remains of King Amen-Kharej IV.

Using methods undisclosed, he sought to track down and adopt as many of the children as he could.

He only found seven of them ...

Wiping their identities and concealing the children from the world, Sir Reginal held a press conference in Stockholm in which journalist Cosimo De'Lostrono from Milan asked, "Why have you adopted these seven children?"

To which Hargreaves replied,

"To save the world, of course."

To which the world asked,

"From what?"

They received no answer. 
For it was the last time Sir Reginald and the children were seen. Until that day.
Until ...

Ha ha ha. You have to find out now, don't you? Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Interior art by Gabriel Ba, covers by James Jean. There are two graphic novels out; these are from the first, Apocalypse Suite. The second, Dallas, we haven't read yet, but Jim thinks it might find its way home with him from the comic book store today. 







More on getting and having, and nurturing ideas at Not For Robots, a series of writing essays I posted a few years back, while I should have been writing Silksinger.  

[Ridiculous cute: Jim is trying to get a dropped pick out of his guitar, flipping it upside down over and over, and Clementine, chuckling, picked up her little blue ukulele and started doing the same thing. Little mimic :-)]

8 comments:

Connie Onnie said...

I have never been a big My Chemical Romance fan but my friend did make me watch the music video for I Don't Love You which I loved and which made the song grown on me.
The comic book is craking me up it is sounds just like a story any of my guy friends would have made up.

persnickety_jen said...

So many friends have tried steering me towards this series and I've resisted every time. But I have to admit that these opening pages totally pique my interest...

Cyndi said...

LOVE the line about the vandal muse. Heaven. I am the same as you, Laini. So many ideas but the attention to each project leaves the other ideas in the shadows for a very long time. They still whimper once in a while and I try to stroke them enough so they do not give up on me.

Evie said...

I'm almost afraid to admit I've never read a comic book or graphic novel in my life. I think I'll read yours first and then try these.

My ideas are all lemmings. Poor dears. I must save them!

Heidi said...

Anything new coming to Not For Robots? Your essays there are so inspirational...

The easiest way to get a pick out of the guitar is with a very little hand that can fit down the side of the strings. I know you've got a little hand available!

Carrie said...

I love the vandal muse! Wish I had a librarian muse to organise my ideas and file them away so they won't get lost. UMBRELLA ACADEMY looks very cool. Thanks for the recommendation!

tone almhjell said...

Oh, I LOVE this graphic novel! One day, when all my bank accounts are full and flabby, I will buy it. I love superhero comic books. I really do. All that cheese, and sentiment, and spandex, too. But I love it even more when the superhero idea is developed into something more refined, something more like fancy wine rather than coca cola. That is just the best!

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

I think I'm definitely an inept sheepdog.....hopefully I don't smother the one I save before it can reach its potential.....I feel like some of the others may not have found the cliffs yet, but I worry that they will before I can get to them. Sometimes I run around crazy trying to save them, but then the One starts to wander....

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