An Exclusive Conversation With Gerard Way & Friends, Part One
An interview with Gerard Way and Killjoys collaborators Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan about life, the future and the past.
As issue two of The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys is released, we thought it was time to catch up with author and My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, as well as writer Shaun Simon and artist Becky Cloonan. This is part of a series of articles published to celebrate the ongoing Killjoys series, with the main interview in this month's issue of Rock Sound, and the second part of this feature landing online on July 31.
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Where does this release fit into the My Chemical Romance timeline?
Gerard: “The end of My Chem was the end. This was always intended to come out, maybe not the way it was originally written, but that’s just the case with everything. This is exactly what it was supposed to be. Anything in there that is relevant to the birth or ending of anything is not intentional. It’s the beginning of an awesome comic book career for Shaun, for Becky it’ll be a continuation of an awesome career. For me, it’s gonna be me stepping away from comics. So it’s beginnings and endings in a lot of ways.”
A lot of the story concerns teenage rebellion – Gerard and Shaun, as parents, are you prepared for your children to rebel no matter how good you are as fathers?
Gerard: “For fatherhood, there is nothing that can prepare you for it. Something that was very interesting during the record and even the life cycle of the band, was noticing the slight rebellion from the audience. A lot of these fans had grown up with us, so I watched them rebel against the world at large, and even against us in some way, and that was the point. None of that ever bothered me, because it made sense for them to rebel against us. Let's say your enemy is boredom, corporate rock and people who don’t want to challenge things – you run the risk of becoming the enemy that you’ve taught everyone else to fight against. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit of that at times, but I think that is healthy and normal and you shouldn’t read into that in a negative way. I think it’s a fact of life that you become the very thing [you’re fighting], no matter what. Money and fame and all the things that make you what you are, and even if you try your hardest to hate that, you’re still going to possess some of those abilities and you are going to become a little less relatable. I felt a lot of teenage rebellion post and during ‘The Black Parade’.”
And you put a lot of that in the comic...
Shaun: “I think so. I’m worried about my kid growing up and not knowing what rock ‘n’ roll is. I’m in New Jersey and there is no rock [radio] station in New York anymore. Everything nowadays is so disposable, and it’s like listening to the same beat over and over again. I think a lot of that goes into this book. Teenage rebellion is a lot about diversity and another way of thinking, even what’s going on today in society. That’s what scares me.”
Becky, what was it like when you saw how extensively the spider had been used?
Becky: “Mind-blowing. Being involved from such an early point, from seeing the videos get made and hearing the album, it’s definitely made the comic as it is now. It’s perfected my art. I have so much more to draw on now; the videos have influenced the comic, or lyrics have made it in to the final incarnation of the comic. There are so many fans who make their own Killjoys costumes, and I think ‘That’s a cool mask, I’ll take that idea.’ There are so many people collaborating in a weird way.”
Shaun, what were you doing between being in a band and now?
Shaun: “I settled down, got married, had kids and became a barber. I’d always wanted to break into comics, though.”
Gerard: “One of the things he was doing was discovering comics – and I love the fact he discovered them late in life. There’s strength to that. He was only reading the good shit in a really dedicated way. I remember going over to his house after he had got married and his shelf was lined with the best books. He was passionate about it, his views were abstract and I felt like I really wanted to be a part of this next wave that he was a part of. Becky was the same type of artist. She’s in the small, awesome category where she is in a class of herself.”
For the second part of this conversation come back to the Rock Sound website next Wednesday, July 31. To read more about The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys head to darkhorse.com.