The Umbrella Academy & Other Comics Written By Celebrities

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The Umbrella Academy & Other Comics Written By Celebrities
The Umbrella Academy & Other Comics Written By Celebrities


As the latest season of The Umbrella Academy dropped on Netflix last month, avid fans would have a good time revisiting the source material. A surreal blend of humor, sci-fi, and family drama, the original Umbrella Academy comics were penned by Gerard Way who is otherwise popularly known as the frontman of My Chemical Romance.

Just like Way, several other actors, comedians, celebrities, and even chefs have gone ventured into the realm of comic-book writing. A more recent example would be that of Riddler: Year One, a prequel to The Batman by actor Paul Dano who played the villainous character in the superhero movie.


The Umbrella Academy – Gerard Way

Even in his music, Gerard Way’s writing evokes a certain rule-breaking pop punk mentality along with gothic undertones. He uses these stylistic elements to create a truly bizarre masterpiece in the pantheon of Dark Horse comics.

Much like the episodes of The Umbrella Academy it spawned, the comic series is darkly funny and thrillingly dramatic. Some might argue that the comics actually amp up the weirdness factor. For instance, some of the storylines include a duel against a robo-zombie version of the Eiffel Tower’s designer, Diego and Vanya form a band with a chimp, Klaus resurrecting an ancient Vietnamese emperor to end the US-Vietnam War, and so on.

Riddler: Year One – Paul Dano

The emotionally complex characters in Paul Dano’s best movies have made the actor an auteur in his own right. One of his latest characters to draw raves was The Riddler. The classic Batman villain from the comics found new life with Dano’s portrayal of a deranged orphan who wages his own personal war against Gotham city.

Riddler: Year One is Dano’s way of exploring the character further but this time in the graphic novel format. Set years before the events of The Batman, the comic offers a deeper insight into the psyche of an antagonist with several unexplored grey areas.

Occult Crimes Taskforce – Rosario Dawson

With roles in Sin City, Men In Black, and The Losers, Rosario Dawson is no stranger to comic book movie adaptations. So, it only makes sense for her to author a comic series of her own.

Occult Crimes Taskforce is a four-part miniseries that focuses on the lives and actions of the titular police force that is tasked with monitoring a neighborhood filled with occultists and magicians. The tonal diversity in the comics made the narrative shift between the genres of a neo-horror and a procedural investigative thriller.

The Strain – Guillermo Del Toro

The vampire genre is dominated by numerous comics, movies, and shows. Still, reputed Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Guillermo Del Toro offers his own gory, post-apocalyptic take on the vampire lore with The Strain series, a trilogy of horror novels that he co-wrote with fellow scribe Chuck Hogan.

Even though The Strain started out as a novel collection, Dark Horse converted it into an action-heavy comic book series. The comics were equally well-received and added more life to the action scenes throughout the blood-riddled storyline.

They Called Us Enemy – George Takei

Georg Takei might be best known for being a cast member on the original Star Trek series but his autobiographical graphic novel They Called Us Enemy is contrastingly set in reality.

The book details his family’s journey as Japanese immigrants in America and the hardships he faced while growing up. As a first-generation Japanese-American, Takei explores his socio-political identity in a racially-divided nation while delving into personal details such as his parents’ tensions and his Star Trek auditions. It is easily a must-read for not only Takei’s die-hard fans but also those who just wish to understand the immigrant experience.

Frenemy Of The State – Rashida Jones

Light-hearted yet fueled by adrenaline, Frenemy of the State is an amusing take on the spy genre with its protagonist hiding her secret of being a secret CIA operative. The story is the brainchild of Rashida Jones who is most famous as Ann Perkins on the sitcom Parks and Rec. 

The actress subverts the global spy archetype with more realistic situational humor and a relatable protagonist. Even though the titular frenemy of the state is highly skilled at what she does, even she can mess up some high-stakes operations. This is what humanizes the character to a positive extent.

Cold Space – Samuel L Jackson

Cold Space is a must-read for the ones who are interested in reading stories about bounty hunters in space. And of course, admirers of Samuel L Jackson’s diverse filmography would also be in for the treat. Not only is Jackson involved in the writing but even the protagonist seems to have been modeled after him.

The spacey abyss of the comic serves as the perfect world for the outlaw protagonist to explore. He finds his way through new moneymaking opportunities and larger conspiracies that can affect the existence of a new planet. All in all, it is a gritty space story with a badass, no-nonsense protagonist inspired by one of the greatest actors of this generation.

Get Jiro! – Anthony Bourdain

The late Anthony Bourdain was well-known in the culinary world thanks to his numerous columns and food-related shows like No Reservations. Unsurprisingly, his comic book debut was also a food-centric story.

Set in a dystopian LA run by master chefs, a bloody culinary war emerges between different gangs of chefs. Caught in the middle is a rebellious sushi chef called Jiro who seeks to impress both factions with his culinary skills and recklessness. Serving as a hyperviolent satire on fine dining of the future, Get Jiro bore testimony to not only Bourdain’s immense knowledge of food but also his characteristic dry humor.

Spider-Man: The Short Halloween – Bill Hader And Seth Meyers

A play on the Batman comic The Long Halloween, this Spider-Man one-shot was penned by Saturday Night Live alumni and comedians Bill Hader and Seth Meyers.

Even though it is regarded as one of the best Spider-Man comic books of the 2000s, it features only brief appearances of the wall-crawler. The story involves Spider-Man passing out one Halloween during which another man dons his suit and takes up his identity. As the comic goes further, the observational comedy makes it an interestingly introspective take on the “with great power, comes great responsibility” formula.

The Black Pearl – Mark Hamill

When Luther Drake accidentally becomes a superhero and takes up the identity of the Black Pearl, he struggles with the pressure and attention from the media. This is what forms the premise of the five-part limited series The Black Pearl, authored by Star Wars and Batman regular Mark Hamill.

Instead of writing another cliched superhero origin story, Hamill intended the comic to be a satire on tabloid media and its ability to sensationalize issues. The mental troubles of the protagonist stem from such yellow journalism which is explored through diverse situations of crisis.

NEXT: 10 Great Actors Whose Talents Were Wasted In Bad Comic Book Movies


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