Gerard Way’s ‘Killjoys’ a rambunctious thrill ride with a message
When I first heard My Chemical Romance‘s debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love I heard stories of star crossed lovers, fighting to survive, running from a punk rock, horror collage of pain, anguish, tragedy, and vampires. I could close my eyes and see the moving pictures as they burned and embedded their imagery onto my heart and soul forever. Leaving an impact on my style, my life, my thoughts, and my own art.
As My Chemical Romance continued to tour, shoot videos, and record albums, it was easy to see that this was a band that would forever be changing not only musically, but stylistically as well. Unafraid to trudge forward in a constant evolution of themselves as musicians. It was as though they had a scattered, schizophrenic of a mad scientist behind their look and productions. As varied as each chapter of their journey was, there remained a strong constant. That Gerard Way was far beyond a simplistic lyricist, he was a storyteller. Within the shuffle of each different theme he sang about, there was always a core message within that was about facing reality, no matter how scary or daunting it may appear, to be brave, to heroically fight the good fight, even if it meant certain doom. That was what I had needed at the beginning of my post-high-school life, and it was also an affirming reminder to continue on every time I wanted to give up.
As I read the first issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys I saw that same message coming through the pages of the comic book, the message of never giving up. Killjoys takes place in a dystopian future that feels like a welcomed collision of the world of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, smashing into David Bowie’s Diamond Dog album—you’re damn right there’s going to be sparks, darling! The story line picks up several years after the death of the original killjoys, with the girl that they died saving fending for herself. The story is fast paced, and has multiple layers. From the poignant view point of its main character, to the self obsessed and crazy vigilantes, as well as the underlying political and world views, the Killjoys comic book appears to be a rambunctious thrill ride with a message. The timing of it coincides perfectly with the recent news of how the NSA has access to every text we’ve ever sent, each email, any phone call we’ve made, all out there for them to view, just simply aftermath ashes of the previous passing of the Patriotic Act several years ago. Big brother is alive and well, not to mention the obvious corporate corruption that has and seemingly always will exist. Thus, making the fictional world of the killjoys seemingly all too real and familiar. With multiple aspects that perfectly add additional elements to the characters, the theme, and the underlying tone.
Splashed across the pages, the artwork of Becky Cloonan creates multiple dimensions that allow the reader to not just glance at a comic as they turn pages, but to feel completely immersed within it. Her artistry for Killjoys is a brilliant compromise of their colorful, futuristic world, while also feeling like a familiar canvas of early 90’s titles such as Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. She is not only an extremely talented artist, but what makes her incredibly unique in my eyes is her ability to be so incredibly diverse in her projects. Her previous work in Wolves was definitely moving, but resided in a realm that was fittingly dreary, dark, and several touches more true to life. Where her artwork in Killjoys is visually stunning, with futuristic colors popping off the pages in a world that is seemingly nearly anime, with an almost throwback vintage touch.
“This morning, before the mask hides your eyes and last nights blood dries, before the bodies at the roadside rise, send your thoughts to the sky in hopes that their memories weren’t taken along with their lives.”
Another line of poetic salvation from within Killjoys which could have just as easily have been song lyrics from an MCR song. Gerard and co-writer Shaun Simon seemingly have the innate ability to seamlessly interject Gerard’s lyrical magic within elements of the comic, without distracting but rather uplifting the characters and their world to another level entirely. The timing of this comic book series couldn’t be more perfect. It has a message that is fitting for both the younger generation coming into this new post 9/11 world of fear and corruption, as they wonder how they carve their own niche and hopefully find a way to salvage the mess they’ve been left. It also relays a reminder to never give up, for those of us on the outskirts of society, the outcasts and renegades from the previous generation who could easily become apathetic, become part of the system, finding a comfort in the old adage that ignorance is bliss. But we won’t. Because Killjoys never die!
“Dreams. Visions. Suicide Missions. Anniversaries are lies if we forget why the confetti flies.”