A film adaptation of My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way’s comic book, The Umbrella Academy, has been in the works for a few years now – and as far as stories about the difficulties of being a super-powered family go, this is definitely one of the weirder ones.
Universal is the company behind the Umbrella Academy adaptation, which joins R.I.P.D. as one of two Dark Horse comic flicks being actively developed by the studio. Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard, Unstoppable) wrote the previous draft of the screenplay for the project.
Way’s Umbrella Academy comic revolves around seven children with “unusual” super-powers, who are adopted by mysterious millionaire Reginald Hargreeves (a.k.a. “The Monocle”) and form the titular organization. Some ten years after fighting battles against bizarre enemies (like a mobile Eiffel Tower piloted by a deadly zombie-robot), the dysfunctional group of heroes go their separate ways. When Hargreeves dies and one of their own goes evil, though, the Umbrella Academy must set aside their differences and reunite to save the planet once again.
The bizarre Umbrella Academy siblings include: “Spaceboy,” whose head is transplanted onto the body of an alien gorilla with super strength; “The Rumor,” a woman who can alter reality by lying; and “Séance,” who can talk to the dead and possesses telekinetic abilities – so long as he does not wear shoes, that is.
Umbrella Academy was reportedly inspired by the collective works of Grant Morrison and the Doom Patrol comic series, but on the surface it sounds more similar to fellow Dark Horse stalwart Hellboy than anything else. Way snagged an Eisner award for the first six issues of his graphic novel series, but it’s difficult to say whether or not the twisted mix of supernatural horror, sci-fi, and classic comic book superhero tropes will work as well in film form – or perhaps be a bit too kooky for most moviegoers’ tastes. All the same, it’s a wise move on Universal’s part to recruit a screenwriter versed in the art of quirky comedy to handle the task of adapting Way’s graphic novel.
Dark Horse comic books are arguably known for having more semi-cult appeal, which explains why they often make for more off-beat movies (see: The Mask, Barb Wire, etc.) – and why Frank Miller titles like 300 or Sin City were produced by the company. As demonstrated by those comics’ respective movie adaptations, though, there’s also definitely a crowd who’ll be interested in checking out The Umbrella Academy when it hits theaters – that is, if the public doesn’t view it as a weirder version of X-Men.