I have had a very emotional day today. With DC announcing the return of its Young Animal imprint, spearheaded again by Gerard Way, I have been feeling all kinds of things.
It’s no secret around the office here that I am the biggest Gerard Way fan. The running joke is that when I get emo and lay on the floor, blasting Black Parade, which I have on vinyl, for the record. (Pun not intended, but definitely hilarious.) I have been a fan of his music, of his comics, and of the work that he has put in with DC and the Young Animal imprint.
Seeing Gerard’s return to the imprint is phenomenal. It was an imprint that didn’t get as much mainstream love and attention as I feel it deserved, although there is no denying the hardcore, dedicated fan base that exists just outside of the mainstream.
As a fan of Gerard Way’s work, and if you’ve ever seen the Killjoys television show, or The Umbrella Academy, you’ll recognize that many of his stories involve family, and found family is his go-to trope. In a good way.
Which brings me to my biggest point of this awesome relaunch.
One of the other titles in the relaunch is called Collapser, and it is being written by Mikey Way. If you don’t know, Mikey is Gerard’s brother. I am so touched by the fact that this imprint is becoming a family affair. I really am. It’s reflective of the tropes used in Gerard’s work and it really enhances the stories to know that while yes, these tropes exist, it is reinforced that it’s important to Gerard beyond the scope of his storytelling. (You could also argue that a lot of his lyrics, especially in Black Parade reflect this as well, but that’s a whole other piece.) Bringing Mikey on to write a story, whether it was specifically at Gerard’s behest, or if there was the long process of pitching and hiring and acquisitions, reminds us of what is valuable and that the tropes in these stories aren’t just tropes.
I also want to take a moment to point out that Collapser is a story about a character dealing with mental illness, specifically anxiety, who gets to save the galaxy. Normally, I would be hesitant to even suggest praising this as DC doesn’t have the best track record, currently, with addressing mental health issues in their comics But again, as it is a story being co-written by Mikey Way, I have less fear of it being poorly handled because, if I recall correctly, both of the Way brothers have their own issues with mental health, including anxiety and depression.
The family affair that Young Animal is becoming is a solid example of why connections matter, and why family can be so damn important.