Friday, February 5, 2010

The Umbrella Academy

I just started reading The Umbrella Academy comics and this is a drawing I did in tribute to the book. The character featured here, the White Violin, is actually one of the less fleshed out and, so far, less featured members of the group, but the brilliance of her design is so iconic that it's hard to not want to draw her. I'm sure even if many of you haven't read the books you've seen her image looking at you from a comic store shelf and found it hard not to think "What is that?" Her design makes the comic look like something that has already long been established, even when it was brand new, so I give many kudos to the artist and writer for that.

One thing that struck me about the book is how close it is to Hellboy in...well, in many ways. Many of the art techniques are similar to Magnolia and Guy Davis, so much so that I had check that Davis wasn't the artist. And the pulp, off-the-wall content of the book is the same as well. Machines that have elaborate and decorative parts that serve no purpose other than to look cool, monkeys running around, strange occurrences that are never really explained...I really can't do enough to explain just how similar the two universes and their sensibilities are. I'm kinda surprised that I haven't read anything comparing the two before, and somewhat shocked that Mignola and Hellboy weren't listed in the lengthy preface or afterword that discussed the book's influences. You don't get a comic THAT close in tone and art to another comic and say you're not influenced by it.

That having been said, there are a lot of really cool ideas that make the book it's own thing, such as the televator (a teleporter that can transport you only to other elevators) and the fact that one of the characters, The Seance, can't use his powers when he's wearing shoes (for no logical reason I can find.) What's more is that they don't hit you over the head with these things, as it took me a while to realize exactly what the televator did, and took me until the end of the first trade paperback to even realize what some of the main characters powers were.

Update: Randall has just let me know that this has been featured on Comics Alliance. Thanks Randall!


besucher said...

Very cool.

Anonymous said...

Now that, my friend, is a stunning image.