Gerard Way: Why Making Comics Is Harder Yet More Rewarding Than Making Music

Vox‘s Alex Abad-Santos recently interviewed former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way on his history of working in the comic book industry and on his current role as the creative lead for DC’s Young Animal titles.

The Young Animal line consists of four individual comic series: Doom PatrolShade The Changing Girl, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye and Mother Panic. The following are excerpts taken from the intriguing question and answer session:

Alex Abad-Santos

Young Animal — what’s been the biggest challenge for you from concept to getting it up and running?

Gerard Way

Comics are really fucking hard. To put it in perspective: When I get to make music, that’s like a vacation compared to comics. Maybe that’s the nature of who I am. Music seems to come pretty naturally. I make myself nuts, and I push myself super hard, and I went crazy a couple times making albums, but it’s not even close to how hard comics are.

It’s interesting to see the layer of glamour peeled back away from the comic industry and to see just how much work is involved and just how difficult that work is in itself. Way then goes on to get more specific:

Alex Abad-Santos

What is it specifically? Art? Writing for the art?

Gerard Way

It’s a grind, man. You have to get yourself in the right headspace, then you have to keep it, and there’s times that you’re sitting there and you’re like, “I don’t know what fucking happens.” You have to just figure it out. You’re also on a crazy schedule. He’s [artist Nick Derington] drawing his ass off [on Doom Patrol], so I’ve got to make sure he has pages when he’s done so we stay on time. It’s just chaos. It’s fucking chaos.

Luckily the toils of the trade don’t get carried out without a light at the end of the tunnel. Way then proceeds to talk about the rewarding nature of completing your own book:

Alex Abad-Santos

Here’s an easier question: What’s been the biggest reward for you in creating the Young Animal line?

Gerard Way

It is just so rewarding to make a comic. I cannot think of anything that’s even close to that. To put it in perspective, in my band I was never even nominated for a Grammy. I was nominated as an art director. But not as a musician. When I was nominated for an Eisner [the Oscars of comic books], that was the biggest fucking deal in the world to me.

Way wraps up the interview with some advice for young creators starting out their journey into the world of comics:

Alex Abad-Santos

What do you want Young Animal to be known for?

Gerard Way

The best thing I can hope for is that it impacts young creators to make their own stuff, and realize that they don’t have to do super commercial stuff.

 

Food for thought, right? What are your thoughts about DC’s Young Animal line of comics? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

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Ross Collie

Ross is 18 years old from Dublin, Ireland. Ross grew up surrounded by his father's Batman collection and fell in love with the DC characters he was exposed to in the various Batman and Justice League animated shows throughout the years. Now in his early adulthood, Ross has a passion for writing various types of literature, for comic book reading and for collecting Batman merchandise.