Following the split of My Chemical Romance in 2013, Gerard has traded life on the stage for the world of comics and has been channelling his creative energy into some new projects away from music.
Long before his music career, Way worked as a college intern at DC Comics while attending art school in New York and as I caught up with him at Leeds’ annual Thought Bubble festival, he tells me he’s thrilled to be making his return to the comic world, writing DC’s Doom Patrol.
“Doom Patrol has always been my wish list book that I wanted to write,” he says. “It’s always been cooler and weirder than other comics and I like that the characters are all broken people that decide not to be victims, and that it deals with strangeness, outsiders and mental health.”
While the singer is enjoying giving his sole focus to his current project with DC, he has long found solace in art and creativity and famously penned the Eisner award-winning comic series, The Umbrella Academy, while on tour with My Chemical Romance.
Such was the success of the series, it has captured the attention of streaming giants, Netflix, who will be developing the story into a television series, due to premiere next year – a turn of events which came as a huge surprise to Way.
“It’s very unexpected, but really exciting,” he says. “It originally got picked up as film first, but I kind of got run through the wringer on that and lost a lot of time, a lot of energy and it was really stressful.
“But after two meetings with Netflix, they really wanted it and I warmed up to the idea because I could see it was going to be a big deal – or at least they were going to throw a lot of money at it to make it really special.”
And with Way’s involvement with the project, fans can expect the show to stay true to the comic’s dark sense of humour, but he notes the plot and action will be considerably amped up.
“The way it’s been working so far is, if I really hate something, I’ll tell them and we’ll change it, but, at a certain point, I’m just going to trust them because I don’t really watch TV, so I can’t speak from a place of authority.
“They’re changing some of the characters and bringing some in from different stories, so it’s really cool, and I think they’re making something really unique.”
With plenty of creative projects in the works, Way may be busily wrapped up in the colourful world of superheroes, but music isn’t far from his mind and he assures me he hasn’t turned his back on the industry for good.
“I’ve just started to make music again, but the trick right now is figuring out how I can achieve all I need to and make music at the same time,” he laughs. “And I also want to write a book, so I’m trying to weigh it all out, but I don’t want to break myself and reach that point where I’m just exhausted all the time.
“It’s weird, it used to be about ambition and it’s not anymore. It’s not about achieving things, or awards, or accolades – that stuff has stopped interesting me, thankfully, because it’s so healthy to not be interested in that stuff.
“For me, it’s simply because I enjoy making these things so much that I want to do all of them, and I have a great time doing it.”
But despite music being on the horizon again, it doesn’t seem as if Way will be rallying the troops for a My Chemical Romance return any time soon.
“It’s a tricky thing, because you have four guys that really get along and I think we all fully understand each other now and love each other,” he says. “Time has passed, we’ve lived our lives, we’ve got to go on tour again separately and everyone is in a really amazing place with each other.
“We all got together recently and it was wonderful – we didn’t even talk about the band or playing shows again.
“I don’t know if anything will happen in the future, but what I do know is everyone has a really great life right now.
“I think My Chem will always be there for us if we want it, but it adds a layer of stress. When something gets really big like that, it’s hard on you for many reasons, and it’s very stressful, so I wouldn’t want to disrupt anybody’s life right now.”
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