Lindsey Steffes writes for Bleeding Cool
To read Part One, click here.
To read Part Two, click here.
"The Sound of the Atom Splitting," hosted by the entertaining British musician, Akira the Don, happened to be the highlight of MorrisonCon. This panel, which focused on the ways that comics and music inform each other, featuredGerard Way, Jimmy Urine, Grant Morrison, Darick Robertson, and J.H. Williams III.
The panel kicked off with the debate, "Which came first, music or comics?" and the consensus seemed to be comics. Most of the panel joked about being lonely or sickly boys drawn to comics at an early age. Although comics came first, each of the creators talked about their passion for music and how it influences their lives and their creative works.
As a psychedelics, punk, and pop fan, Grant Morrison talked about the ways that the music infiltrated his writing. "The music is in it all the time," Morrison says, emphasizing how rhythm plays into comics, each word, panel, and page a beat in the overall sound and feeling. Often writers get wrapped up in a song, which drives their entire work. BothGerard Wayand Grant Morrison found themselves listening to Smashing Pumpkin's "Tarantula" on repeat as inspiration for writing.
Although separate spheres, writing, art and music intersect in the world of comics, a fusion that produces works with cadence. While working on Happy! with Morrison, Robertson says, "It's more like we're trying to work a song out."
After touring with band, My Chemical Romance, and writing The Umbrella Academy simultaneously, Gerard Way realized that "not only did [the music and the comic] relate, but it was pretty much the same vibe." Way went on to explain how the band members were all a part of The Umbrella Academy cast, and that he was "writing about touring everyday."
Although that seems like the ultimate marriage of music and comics, the panel continued the discussion by making future predictions. What if you were able to hear the ink? What if there was something more involved than a soundtrack- an interactive comic that you could read, hear, and feel all at once? The ideas went much further than the realms of motion comics.
Who knows what's in store. It will be fascinating to see how technology affects comics, music, and methods of interpretation in the future.
MorrisonCon: 5 Minutes with Gerard Way
"I'm never doing time travel again," Gerard Way says, after I ask about the time-jumping madness in The Umbrella Academy: Dallas. If you've never read the series, pick it up ASAP.
Gerard Way and artist, Gabriel Bà, triumph with Dallas, volume two of the six-part limited series. Umbrella Academy follows an adopted family of superheroes with extraordinary powers. If you're into time travel, the Kennedy assassination, sugar-obsessed serial killers, or Bob Dylan playing a cowboy God, then Dallas is the book for you. Although Way is new on the scene, he's been doing comics his entire life. With the success of Umbrella Academy, Way's come full circle, becoming a celebrated writer in comics and collaborating with his life-long idol, Grant Morrison.
How did he do it? That's what I wanted to know, and that's exactly what I asked him when I sat down with him at the meet and greet. The answer is self-actualization. If you've ever read Morrison's Supergods, you'll know that self-actualization, or becoming the person you want to be, creating a fiction and living it, is the way that Morrison made it big in comics. Way followed this pattern of success, saying, "I just went for it," and advises any aspiring writer to do the same.
As a Creative Writing graduate with no prospects, I confessed my insecurities to Way, and he sympathized with me. "It's sucks. I've been there," Way says. "Before, I was nothing… You just have to go for it." As an Umbrella Academy super-fan, who's been idolizing Gerard Way for years now, that meant a lot to me, and that's why MorrisonCon was such an incredible and transformative experience.
I was able to sit down with my hero and talk comics on a very human level.
Here's to coming full circle someday.