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Review: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1

TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS: NATIONAL ANTHEM #1

Set in the world sung about in My Chemical Romance’s fourth studio album Danger Days, True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 tells the story of the original Killjoy, Mike Millimeter. He’s been hinted at in concept art since 2008, but finally, writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, artist Leonardo Romero, and colorist Jordie Bellaire tell his epic and tragic narrative. In National Anthem #1, Way and Simon juggle twin narratives with one showing Mike at his peak, rocking a cool car, ray gun, a mask, and a crew of Killjoys and the other one showing his life in a dystopia that has homogenized everything from breakfast cereal to Ramones records. And, of course, Mike rebels against “the Man” even if it means his death.

One of Gerard Way’s most underrated talents is artist curation. For example, take a look at the artist lineup for the sadly dormant Young Animal imprint and see how Nick Derington was born to be a star penciler and nail both the adventure of Batman and the weirdness of the Doom Patrol. His curation skills strike again in National Anthem #1 as Leonardo Romero’s storytelling styles perfectly fits the duel between conformity and non-conformity from crashing on the couch and vegging out to nationalistic television to starting a revolution anew. He uses lots of small panels to show little interactions between characters or memorable moments like Mike thinking back to his abusive childhood. Jordie Bellaire’s color palette adds emotion to this and other scenes with strong color choices like yellow pages for the abuses of the past or a vomit green as Mike grows sick of life as stock shelver with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Ramones.

Gerard Way and Shaun Simon go for a drinking at a fire hydrant style of scripting and plotting that is similar to Way’s work on Umbrella Academy and Doom Patrol although they predominantly focus on Mike Milligram as a character with supporting players acting as window dressing, obstacles, plot points, or getting him to act. Just like the Danger Days album, National Anthem #1 scratches the surface of a futuristic world that is similar to ours with megacorporations and surveillance states, but a bit quirkier. For example, there’s a gang of books on tape addicts in National Anthem #1, and they are one of several gangs that get into one hell of a shootout in the middle of the comic.

This extended setpiece showcases Romero eye for action as he breaks down each gun fight into manageable chunks using smaller panels before going widescreen for a big plot point or a car chase. For the most part, Bellaire uses primary colors for the Killjoys to make sure that readers can see what they’re up to in the middle of the fray. It matches the yellow pops of their ray guns and the red of blood and guts that streak across the panel and even into the gutters as Mike loses control of the situation. There’s a reason why he’s slumped on the couch while the U.S. National Anthem plays on his television, and Romero and Bellaire use visual similarities to transition to this future timeline like a film editor, who wants to make their cuts memorable and appealing and not give the audience a headache.

True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 has futuristic, punk rock worldbuilding with a stellar sense of style. It is also the first chapter of a compelling story arc for Mike Milligram, who goes from revolutionary leader to sad sack cog in a corporate machine. (But there’s yet hope for the masked man with the cool car.) Gerard Way and Shaun Simon’s Burroughs-esque word play, Leonardo Romero’s high energy pencils, and the Jordie Bellaire’s eye popping colors bring it all to life in magical, music video fashion. This one is for the MCRmy, Timothy Leary followers, aging crust punks in cubicle prisons, folks who prefer vinyl to streaming, and anyone who wants to give the middle finger to the current status quo.

Story: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon Art: Leonardo Romero
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Has an Exclusive Variant Comic Bundle on Dark Horse Direct

With it being released this coming Wednesday, Dark Horse Direct has an exclusive variant bundle of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem#1! Forget everything you already knew about The Fabulous Killjoys! Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, along with Illustrator Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Nate Piekos team up to present an all-new modern-day Killjoys series as Way and Simon take it all the way back to the original story that inspired My Chemical Romance’s concept album Danger Days and its dystopian comic book series in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem.

Limited to just 300 total copies, this $49.99 bundle features an exclusive black and white variant cover comic with cover art by Daniel Warren Johnson and also a deluxe limited-edition lithograph colored by Mike Spicer. This lithograph is printed on a high-quality, premier rose-colored paper with hints of white to really make Daniel Warren Johnson’s line art and Mike Spicer’s colors pop off the page!

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Variant Comic Bundle will begin shipping to pre-order customers on October 28th, 2020.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Variant Comic Bundle

Captain America and Black Widow Headline a Free Military Virtual Con

The current situation has impacted events all over and that extends to the military. The USO is going virtual with its Military Virtual Programming Con which takes place on October 6-8. Headling the event is Captain America and Black Widow, aka actors Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.

While that might seem totally on the level, when it comes to Marvel and the military, questions always need to be raised. Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter has been accused of having undue influence over the Office of Veterans Affairs and has used that influence to benefit Marvel.

Other guests for the event include Norman Reedus (Darryl from “The Walking Dead” and star of AMC’s “Ride With Norman Reedus”), Gerard Way (lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance and creator of the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy”) and Jon Bernthal (Marvel’s “The Punisher”) also highlight the event.

Much like you’d find at any other virtual fan convention, the USO’s event features panels that will be broadcast online. Panels include ones from the National Cartoonists Society Panel, MAD Magazine, DC FanDome, and more.

Unlike other events, this is meant for the military. For each Zoom event you’ll need to vouch that you’re a Department of Defense ID holder or dependent of one, but it’s the honor system. You will be asked to provide your installation, service branch and rank for yourself or your family member.

Review: You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1

YOU LOOK LIKE DEATH TALES UMBRELLA ACADEMY #1

Everyone’s favorite member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus Hargreeves aka Seance, finally gets his own solo series in You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1 from writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and the (sadly underrated in the United States) artist I.N.J. Culbard. The book also acts as a bit of a prequel to the main Umbrella Academy series and is set after Klaus is expelled from the Academy for drug use and other shenanigans by his exacting adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. But it’s an entertaining story in its own right full of, well, drug use, vampire chimpanzee crime lords, a dash of humor, and clean, evocative art and colors from Culbard.

With a varied power set and a charismatic personality in both the Umbrella Academy show and comics, Klaus’ escapades are ripe fodder for a solo spinoff. Way, Simon, and Culbard spend the first small bit of the book establishing why Klaus is so out of place at the Umbrella Academy and establishing his frenemy-ish relationship with his siblings Luther, Allison, and Diego as well as his enmity-filled relationship with Sir Reginald through zippy, humorous vignettes. Culbard uses grid-like layouts to show how Klaus is trapped in the orderly world of the Academy before opening up the page when he hits the road to The City and beyond with a dream and a cardigan. (And a suitcase for accuracy purposes.) His color choices also match this mood going from neutral tones to basically candy with the ever-present green whenever Klaus uses his abilities, such as possessing people or communicating with the dead.

Something I love about Umbrella Academy is how much it embraces the strangeness of superpowers and the folks that wield them starting in the first issue of the series when the young Umbrella Academy fights Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel in Paris. Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and I.N.J. Culbard continue that tradition in You Look Like Death #1 while maintaining laser focus on the character of Klaus and what he does to keep busy/have fun/keep the talking to dead people pain away while being away from his siblings. The miniseries has been advertised to take place in Hollywood, but the lion’s share of You Look Like Death #1 takes place in The City.

Way, Simon, and Culbard dig into the generic superhero city, NPCs, and all aspect of the setting as soon as Klaus packs his bags. I will probably never stop laughing at a place where you can obtain drugs at a shop with a neon sign that says “Drugs” and is probably part of larger 7/11-esque franchise owned by the aforementioned chimpanzee vampire drug lord. This playful approach to setting persists even when Klaus hits the West Coast, and he goes from standing out to being just part of the scenery. And speaking of the scenery, I.N.J. Culbard adds all kind of wonderful background dressing when Klaus goes out and about, like interesting back tattoos or darkly humorous posters in adoption centers, that add to the liveliness of the world that he, Gerard Way, and Shaun Simon have crafted. I am definitely down to follow Klaus down some dark alleys and into buildings with fun graffiti patterns and even more fun denizens inside.

You Look Like Death #1 is a direct hit to the pleasure-feeling parts of your brain. I got the same feeling from reading this comic as I did driving into cop cars and hapless civilians in the Grand Theft Auto games sans all the unnecessary carnage. Klaus uses his powers for pure hedonism, angers authority figures, and has a good time, rinse and repeat. There’s also a bit of void-filled darkness because what else would you expect from a co-writer, who sang lead vocals on “Helena”. However, that’s background radiation. For now, You Look Like Death is the feel-good party comic with queer lead of 2020, but drink plenty of water and get ready for that hangover in subsequent issues…

Story: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
 Art: I.N.J. Culbard Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-Order: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Early Review: You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1

YOU LOOK LIKE DEATH TALES UMBRELLA ACADEMY #1

Everyone’s favorite member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus Hargreeves aka Seance, finally gets his own solo series in You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1 from writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and the (sadly underrated in the United States) artist I.N.J. Culbard. The book also acts as a bit of a prequel to the main Umbrella Academy series and is set after Klaus is expelled from the Academy for drug use and other shenanigans by his exacting adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. But it’s an entertaining story in its own right full of, well, drug use, vampire chimpanzee crime lords, a dash of humor, and clean, evocative art and colors from Culbard.

With a varied power set and a charismatic personality in both the Umbrella Academy show and comics, Klaus’ escapades are ripe fodder for a solo spinoff. Way, Simon, and Culbard spend the first small bit of the book establishing why Klaus is so out of place at the Umbrella Academy and establishing his frenemy-ish relationship with his siblings Luther, Allison, and Diego as well as his enmity-filled relationship with Sir Reginald through zippy, humorous vignettes. Culbard uses grid-like layouts to show how Klaus is trapped in the orderly world of the Academy before opening up the page when he hits the road to The City and beyond with a dream and a cardigan. (And a suitcase for accuracy purposes.) His color choices also match this mood going from neutral tones to basically candy with the ever-present green whenever Klaus uses his abilities, such as possessing people or communicating with the dead.

Something I love about Umbrella Academy is how much it embraces the strangeness of superpowers and the folks that wield them starting in the first issue of the series when the young Umbrella Academy fights Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel in Paris. Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and I.N.J. Culbard continue that tradition in You Look Like Death #1 while maintaining laser focus on the character of Klaus and what he does to keep busy/have fun/keep the talking to dead people pain away while being away from his siblings. The miniseries has been advertised to take place in Hollywood, but the lion’s share of You Look Like Death #1 takes place in The City.

Way, Simon, and Culbard dig into the generic superhero city, NPCs, and all aspect of the setting as soon as Klaus packs his bags. I will probably never stop laughing at a place where you can obtain drugs at a shop with a neon sign that says “Drugs” and is probably part of larger 7/11-esque franchise owned by the aforementioned chimpanzee vampire drug lord. This playful approach to setting persists even when Klaus hits the West Coast, and he goes from standing out to being just part of the scenery. And speaking of the scenery, I.N.J. Culbard adds all kind of wonderful background dressing when Klaus goes out and about, like interesting back tattoos or darkly humorous posters in adoption centers, that add to the liveliness of the world that he, Gerard Way, and Shaun Simon have crafted. I am definitely down to follow Klaus down some dark alleys and into buildings with fun graffiti patterns and even more fun denizens inside.

You Look Like Death #1 is a direct hit to the pleasure-feeling parts of your brain. I got the same feeling from reading this comic as I did driving into cop cars and hapless civilians in the Grand Theft Auto games sans all the unnecessary carnage. Klaus uses his powers for pure hedonism, angers authority figures, and has a good time, rinse and repeat. There’s also a bit of void-filled darkness because what else would you expect from a co-writer, who sang lead vocals on “Helena”. However, that’s background radiation. For now, You Look Like Death is the feel-good party comic with queer lead of 2020, but drink plenty of water and get ready for that hangover in subsequent issues…

Story: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
 Art: I.N.J. Culbard Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-Order: comiXology

Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out. With The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem

Forget everything you already knew about The Fabulous Killjoys! Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, along with illustrator Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Nate Piekos team up to present an all-new modern-day Killjoys series as Way and Simon take it all the way back to the original story that inspired My Chemical Romance’s concept album Danger Days and its dystopian comic book series in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem. 

The Fabulous Killjoys, once a group of teenage exterminators determined to save reality, have lost their way—and their memories. After a period of mental confinement, former Killjoys leader Mike Milligram gets de-programmed and hits the road to bring the gang back together for a final showdown against an evil pharmaceutical corporation, their monstrous hitman, and savage gang rivals.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 (of six) goes on sale October 14, 2020. The first issue has a standard cover illustrated by Leonardo Romero and variant covers by Becky Cloonan and Paul Rentler. This over-sized issue sits at 44 story pages for the standard price of $3.99!

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1

Show Your Umbrella Academy Fandom with The Séance Maquette

As a follow up to their popular Spaceboy Maquette, Dark Horse Direct has teamed up once again with Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá to bring: The Séance Maquette!

As if pulled directly from the comic book pages, Séance, aka Klaus or Number 4, is expertly sculpted and painted. Standing at approximately 11” tall, the barefoot hero is ready to channel spirits!

Included with the maquette is an exclusive enamel pin of Séance in his iconic Hawaiian shirt as seen in The Umbrella Academy Volume 2: Dallas! Get your Ouija boards ready to save the world and possessthe next member of The Umbrella Academy!

The Séance Maquette is limited to a run of 300 and will begin to ship early 2021. Fans of The Umbrella Academy can pick this up for $149.99.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys Gets a Hardcover Library Edition

The direct tie-in to the My Chemical Romance album Danger Days is being collected as an over-sized hardcover in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition! Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, illustrated by Becky Cloonan, colored by Dan Jackson, and lettered by Nate PiekosThe True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition will feature an all new cover by Becky Cloonan.

Years ago, the Killjoys fought against the tyrannical megacorporation Better Living Industries, costing them their lives, save for one—the mysterious Girl. Today, the followers of the original Killjoys languish in the Desert while BLI systematically strips citizens of their individuality. As the fight for freedom fades, it’s left to the Girl to take up the mantle and bring down the fearsome BLI!

This new The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition collects the 2014 series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California and the short story “Dead Satellites,”along with an expanded sketchbook section.

This oversized hardcover is a collection of over 200-pages of material and will retail at $39.99. The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California goes on sale September 2, 2020.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California
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