As we’ve said before, it’s no secret that Gerard Way is a comic book fan. The former vocalist for My Chemical Romance has always been an outspoken fan of comics, monsters, Japanese robots and superheroes. In 2007, his very first, creator-run series premiered, a year before the release of The Black Parade. The series, titled The Umbrella Academy, followed a dysfunctional group of heroes who had grown apart and lost contact over the year, but reunite when their foster father is killed.
The Umbrella Academy gained a reasonable amount of popularity. Volume 2 of the series began in 2008, with a collector’s edition released in 2009. After Volume 2 (titled Dallas) Way took a hiatus from comics, stating that it would be a “really long time” before he would return to The Umbrella Academy.
While it may be the indefinite end for The Umbrella Academy, the aforementioned Killjoys manifested as Way’s newest effort: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.
Fans that followed MCR through the release of videos from the album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys will know that the band took on four new personalities: Party Poison (Way), Jet Star (guitarist Ray Toro), Fun Ghoul (guitarist Frank Iero) and Kobra Kid (bassist Mikey Way). The Killjoys are a group of outlaws living in post-apocalyptic California, presumably in the year 2019, due to the title of the special edition of the album, California 2019. This is likely also a reference to the popular film Blade Runner. The Killjoys fight the Draculoids, who serve Better Living Industries (BL/ind.) in the dystopian Battery City.
Following the events in the music videos for “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” and “Sing,” the comic series follows Girl, a character present in the videos and friend of the Killjoys. Party Poison, Jet Star, Fun Ghoul, and Kobra Kid are all dead in the aftermath of their battles with BL/ind. Girl is the only survivor of the fatal battle, and now lives out in the desert with other Killjoy followers, still fighting the good fight against the Draculoids.
The story, characters, and events will certainly excite MCR fans, who can easily pick out references to the album and make the connections Way intended readers to make. For example, the giant robot Destroya, or the cryptic and familiar radio show being broadcast throughout the wasteland. Artist Becky Cloonan’s work is stunning. The cartoonish yet grim style of art is the perfect fit for this outlandish book.
The collected edition is surely a must-own for MCR fans, Gerard Way, or just comics in general. It collects the entire run of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (issues #1-6) along with Dead Satellites, a short story comic released on Free Comic Book Day. Additionally, it features a short essay by Gerard Way about the conception of the entire Killjoys comic.
Standing alone as a comic, Killjoys is a fantastic post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic. But it takes on a whole new meaning to fans of My Chemical Romance. When the band announced their break-up in March 2013, it was devastating. For millions of die-hard fans like me (who grew up and matured with the band), My Chemical Romance taught us that it was okay to be yourself and really not give a shit about what anyone thought of you. It was okay to like monster movies and comic books and punk rock, even though everyone else thought it was weird. For us, the Killjoys really are dead, gone out in a blaze of glory. They were our friends even though we never knew their true faces, hidden behind the masks of the Killjoys, or the Black Parade, or the smudged makeup of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. This book is not only a fitting goodbye to the characters known as the Killjoys, but to My Chemical Romance themselves. We are just like Girl, stuck out in the desert after the deaths of our heroes, still fightin’ the good fight.
To close, I’d like to quote Doctor Death on his final address to the listeners of Danger Days, “I know you’re gonna miss me, so I’ll leave you with this. You know that big ball of radiation we call the sun? Well it’ll burst you into flames if you stay in one place too long. That is if the static don’t get you first. So remember: even if you’re dusted, you may be gone, but out here in the desert, your shadow lives on without you.”
For more from My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, and the Killjoys, you can purchase a CD here.
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