NYCC2018 Panel Recap of 'Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion'

The Umbrella Academy is expected to make some major announcements during its NYCC2018 panel, and fans are here for it. The My Chemical Romance frontman has people packing in to 1A10 for a 1:45 start and didn’t waste time as he is already sitting at the desk.

It is very low-key room right now, no music playing (which seems like an obvious missed opportunity) but folks are filing in.

Gerard Way is now signing autographs for a long line of fans – that apparently just realized he was there the whole time.

Panelist moderator is Dustin Nelson and he took the quick time to introduce Way… to loud applause … and Gabriel Ba.

On sale now – after 10 years is Hotel Oblivion No. 1.

Q: Whats up in life?

GW: The book. The show. I mean, so much. I run Young Animal for DC. I write so many comics now that I only get to make music on Friday. I have quite a few demos put together.

GB: My life revolves around Umbrella Academy. Everything else I put aside to do this. I am older, and slower, and I want to do it the best way I can, so I have done nothing but Umbrella Academy.

Q: What was it like coming back to UA?

GW: Story was conceived a long time, was thinking about it during Dallas. A lot of life things have happened… married, father… so that stuff, which was amazing. Then the band was dissolving. During the touring of Danger Days I found it very hard to write. I was depressed and found it hard to write. I didn’t make any comics for a long time. Then it just never felt like the right time. I did a solo tour and that was really fun, but then it was like… now what do I do. So I got back into comics.

First I did Young Animal and Doom Patrol but Hotel Oblivion was always there. I wanted to do this right and tell the tale of the murder magician and get to the guys that were in the background but all have stories that are bursting out of my head. Of course we will get with the kids but there are other things to tell.

Doing UA is easier for me than Doom Patrol because we created it and I think the Hotel Oblvion that you are getting now is the best you could have gotten because if we did it earlier, it wouldn’t have been the same.

Q: What is the basis of Hotel Oblivion?

GW: I Don’t know the specific amount of time that has lapsed since Dallas, and everyone has moved on to other things.

Space Boy was hiding out. Now he has a lead that helps him look for answers and purpose and it leads him to Japan.

No. 5 is a hired gun now.

Rumor is hanging out with him now, but kind of directionless.

There are some characters that have fallen into old habits since Dallas.

Kraken has just been doing his thing, being a vigilante.

Q: How much has changed for the crew?

GB: Well, there are different but they have to remain the same characters. When you are working with Superheros so they have costume… if you get the costume right, you get the character, no matter how you do anything else. But things like Space Boy has to look a certain way, but fat Space Boy was fun too. He looked awesome in his fatness. I love being able to play with characters. Things happen to them that affect them and I like that. The story is crazy and it pushes my limits. It is visually stunning.

Q: Netflix series…. All of this came together interestingly…

GW: Once it started and got greenlit then it all went fast. But the story of UA going from winning the Eisner, we got optioned by Universal right away. There was a lot of meetings and I gave a lot of myself. It is so different than the book. The Netflix show is so different than the book. I cant micromanage that. In some ways I need to check out. So, during a lot of that time, I was working on a film and not working on a film that then never happened. And so in the two years that it took the show to come around, I just checked out even further and just worked on the book. My goal for the show is that they do the best they can, and do their thing, and the show is different because they need to for the screen. They have been faithful to the source material and they kept a lot of the weird ideas, and he embraces them.

Q: You’ve seen set design, costume design, how has it been seeing it come to life?

GB: It is pretty amazing. It is a differnet expereicne. People involved in the set design are great. They know what they are doing with the detail and everything they put into are things that I could never do. They paid attention to so many details to my art and that meant so much to me. The material, the textures, everything. The scale is surreal. It is mindblowing to think that our comic is moving so many people around.

GW: Chris does the costumes and I thought we would do like Watchman…. Take the comic and there you go. And we didn’t. Chris wanted to channel 1973 Berlin. So that is the look. You don’t know what year it is. Everyone is in the dark, Berlin look. The character that translated the best was Space Boy…. Sure he wears clothes in the show but not the comic, but he is still really big and really sad. You see him and you think, whoa, what is the deal with this guy. All the cosutmes have been great and they are channeling the right stuff, but it is way different than the book.

Q: How has the cast been?

GB: They are great. I don’t know how they do that stuff, but I want to hug who cast them. We couldn’t have asked for a better cast.

GW: I was talking to Emmie last night, she was joking around that they are like a family now. Hanging out… having dinner, and doing all of this stuff.

Q: Going back to the book, do you feel a new arc coming out helps or hurt your timing?

GW: I think the most important thing is that we missed Umbrella so much. So much came up in our life but we fought hard to make the time and do it. We are still a little ahead of the show. The good news is that we can stay ahead of the show. We can provide the map to follow and give more seasons and more direction to where it can go.

We want to take a few months off between comic series and then go right back into it so that we stay a bit ahead of the show. Steve wants to know what we are doing next, he is respectful of what we are doing, so it works really well.

Q: How far ahead are you mapped?

GW: Yeah! I have mapped out a big document, there is supposed to be eight graphic novels, total. Had there not been a nine-year gap, I think we would be on six right now. That is why our goal is not to have any big gaps. We know the story, where it goes. We have a whole arc that was supposed to come out and now we have to alter it because it sort of looks like what actually happened in America. I don’t want a commentary on our world, I want UA.

It is a comic that makes political statements without being a political comic, a lot like My Chemical Romance. We wrote and talked about real issues and things but we never were a political or statement band but we did things that others weren’t in that regard.

Q: Transdimensoinal situation looks like there is something developing here?

GW: What we don’t learn too much of is how it was built or found, but you learn that it is this pocket dimension built to house criminals. Now there is a specific way that it was built and developed and the genius that no one can escape from it and it cant sustain damanage. It plays with dimensions and the journey that Space Boy and Kraken are on and their quest against Doctor Zoo in Japan. So there is less time travel in Hotel Oblivion… they are dealing with it in the show. Dallas was the hardest thing I ever had to write. It was the seat of my pants. I was writing as he was drawing them… it was really stressful. The time travel that I kept painting myself into a corner every issue and then had to fight out.

The first one was special to me. Dallas was too, but this feels more like the first one.

Q: Are there any teases for who we will meet in the hotle?

GB: Hundreds of new villians. They are all there. I don’t know how Gerard comes up with all of these character. He has books and books of images, backgrounds, what they are up to. There are a lot of gangs. He told me hold to think of them in the UA world. Most supervillains are either genius or power. You can build more and better characters when you understand there isn’t a gimmick.

Q: Where have you pulled inspiration from?

GW: Weirdest… thing… is…

GB: Everything in UA is a mix of Hello Kitty and the movie Delicatessen. Some things are very cute, but… not really cute. Or creepy, but still kinda cute. But everyting it kind of weird.

GW: A lot comes from real life. That is weird. The way I created the white violin was at the sidewalk café here in NYC, and they had a white violin and so I thought that would be a cool superhero. That is some real life. Some people I toured with or was in bands with or that stuff. You meet a lot of weird people on the road.

Q: What is one thing you are most excited for fans to see?

GW: There is one change they made, with one of the characters, that you didn’t expect that you might be really shocked. It comes out of left field. It is really cool. It was inspiring to us and inspired the comic. But it is within the core group of character. The way they approached it was stunning.

Q: Looks like we are getting a mashup of both books in season 1?

GB: Yeah, there were some things from Dallas that they pushed for this season. It is not a real mash, but there were some things that they advanced a little.

Q: What are excited to see on screen from Hotel Oblivion?

GW: Really, I think the hotel itself is most exciting to me. I think that set visit is going to be amazing. I want to go deep, I want them to explore the lives of those people.

Q: Where are you at right now?

GW: I am deep into the writing of Hotel Oblivion and almost done, then he has to draw it. Then I am going right into the next one. Like, right into it.

GB: I am not close to done. Don’t ask me that.

Q: So, UA is in our world but sort of its own world. We see Tokyo, Paris, where are some other locations to explore?

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GW: I want to explore Scandanavia, Norway, Russia, some other places like that. London would be exciting. London is like a great city because it looks al ittle like here, but it isn’t.

I want to go to the jungles. I want to go to Canada.