Netflix Umbrella Academy: Is this the show to finally do justice to graphic novel adaptations after many false dawns?
With graphic novels rapidly being adapted for live adaptions, we could see a trend where even more obscure comics may finally be brought to life?
With more readers who grew up in the golden age of comics demanding live adaptations for their favorite heroes, it must come as no surprise that 'Umbrella Academy' would be high on the list of graphic novels that will hit the big screens this year. It has to its credit the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series.
Straight from the mind of Gerard Way, who’s better known as the front runner of the famous Goth-punk band “My Chemical Romance”, the story follows a family of seven super-powered children, born of supposedly “virgin” births, who are lovingly (albeit judgingly) taken under the wing of Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a seemingly eccentric billionaire-industrialist. The viewer is then taken through the harrowing adventures of Hargreeves “children”, as they seek to investigate their father’s demise.
The Academy is led by The Monocle (Sir Reginald Hargreeves), an alien disguised as a wealthy entrepreneur and world-renowned scientist. The children or the members of the Umbrella Academy include Spaceboy (Luther Hargreeves), The Kraken (Diego Hargreeves), The Rumor (Allison Hargreeves), The Séance (Klaus Hargreeves), Number Five (The Boy), The Horror (Ben Hargreeves), and The White Violin (Vanya Hargreeves). While during childhood the children banded together but with time they broke up, and nine years later, the estranged members are reunited by the death of the only parent they've ever known, and the rise of a new and terrible threat.
But just how well can such a flamboyant Goth-comic be adapted to screen? It remains to be seen
We’ve seen a lot of hits and misses in the past years, with honorable mentions like 'The Green Lantern', and 'Marvel’s Inhumans', which tanked to such an extent that even the actors condemned the poor plot lines, and especially the horribly obvious CGI effects. In the race to make the next award-winning comic to movie adaptation, a lot of production houses either invest too much into the effects, or way too little, and striking the right balance with a knowledgeable, die-hard fan base seems almost impossible in today’s world. You cannot and should not disappoint your fans, because they are the ones who'll make or break any adaptation.
Take Todd Macfarlane's "Spawn", which was one of the highest selling comics of its time. When making the movie adaptation, the production house stuck to old CGI methods and completely ruined the film, which obviously tanked in the box-office and so, hardly anyone has heard of "Spawn" again. But with DC and Marvel dishing out many spin-offs like 'Krypton' and 'Marvel's Runaways', there has been an increase in the number of series which showcase sidekicks/less well-known characters. The future of movie adaptations looks bright, and this could play very well into bringing more obscure comics like 'Cerebus' into the limelight.
Maladjusted superheroes? You've never seen them like this before. https://t.co/Cho5uBw9rH— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) December 10, 2018
But having Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions produce the series, we should be in for an awesome ride! With hits like 'Hellboy' and 'Happy!' under their respective belts, we can be assured that 'Umbrella Academy' will not fail to entertain, and their past productions have proved their worth to viewers. Let's also not forget the all-star cast that comes along with such a flick, which includes the likes of Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Tom Hopper, and Kate Walsh, just to name a few.
With the release of the first teaser trailer, we get a small glimpse of the characters and their powers, and the much awaited “Pogo”, Sir Reginald Hargreeves’ genetically modified simian assistant. Pogo, along with the children, gives us a pretty good idea on just how good the visual effects will be in the series. And even though fans don’t really mind minor character changes (a male antagonist, Cha-Cha, will be played by Mary J. Blige on the show), having an entire storyboard changed to the whim of the director will always tick fans off.
What are you lookin' at? pic.twitter.com/R6crVOaqNv— Umbrella Academy (@UmbrellaAcad) January 2, 2019
Luckily, from the trailer and synopsis, the adaption seems canonical, and there’s been really positive chatter concerning the much-awaited series. Airing on February 15, 2019, fans just hope that the creator of this series would be able to contribute more to this series' path and make sure that it stays true to the novel.