After bringing streaming audiences shows like DareDevil, Jessica Jones, and Punisher, Netflix is dipping their toes in the superhero genre once again with their new series,The Umbrella Academy. You’re probably familiar with the popular Marvel comic book franchise Netflix tapped with their previous superhero fare, but if you’re not an avid reader of comics, you might be wondering what comic The Umbrella Academy is based on.
According to the streamer, The Umbrella Academy is based on the Eisner award-winning comics and graphic novels created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. The Umbrella Academy comics were first published by Dark Horse Comics in 2007, and went on to become a limited series featuring three full volumes — Apocalypse Suite, Dallas, and Hotel Oblivion — and four additional short stories — Mon Dieu, But the Past Ain’t Through With You, Safe & Sound, and Anywhere But Here. Way and Bá are now bringing their comic book vision to Netflix, and are serving as co-executive producers of The Umbrella Academy alongside showrunner Steve Blackman.
The Umbrella Academy tells the story of six siblings — Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castañeda), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Vanya (Ellen Page) and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) — who were all born on the same day to different mothers around the world, under very weird and mysterious circumstances. As babies, they were adopted by billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), who raised them in preparation to save the world. Each of the siblings has their own special super power, and when their father dies, they find themselves coming together to solve his murder and stop the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.
In an interview with The New York Times, Way talked about his inspiration for The Umbrella Academy and how he wanted to create something new and fresh for the horror comic book genre. “My initial inspiration was a few different things, I had been such a fan of the Marvel Silver Age, and I grew up reading Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” said Way. “Marvel characters had a lot of issues and problems, but I wanted to give them deeper, more complex problems. I was also reading Hellboy by Mike Mignola, and to me that was a postmodern horror comic. There was nothing like that for superheroes. I usually try to make things that I wish existed that I would want to listen to or read.”
Whether you’ve read Way’s comics or not, there’s a chance you are familiar with his music. He was lead vocalist for the popular rock band My Chemical Romance, and then went on to pursue a solo music career. But when talking to Vulture, he said that his focus has shifted from music to writing. “Comics really ended up being a big part of my life,” Way told the outlet. “I just wanted a break from music, in some ways. After the solo tour went really well, I was like, Well, what do I do now? I felt like being a writer for a couple of years and working on that craft, ’cause it’s super challenging.”
From its trailer, The Umbrella Academy looks like a modern superhero story that’s dark, exciting and intriguing. Hopefully, with Way and Bá working so closely on the project, the series will live upto it’s award-winning comic book vision.
The Umbrella Academy is currently streaming on Netflix.