Watch a 16 year old Gerard Way defend comic books from the horrors of censorship – Far Out Magazine

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Frontman and creative mastermind of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way commands a degree of respect that not many of his generation can claim to do. A real artist in the sense that he is not just a musician but a creator of celebrated comic books too, the man’s art is brimming with colourful individuality and a clearly defined outlook on the world, and these factors have compounded each other to make him so successful. 
From the emo anthem ‘I’m Not Okay’ to his hit graphic novel series The Umbrella Academy, Way has made it clear over the years that substance is key to success, which has made his name a guarantee of quality for every project he’s committed himself to. 
To be one of the leading lights of the third wave of emo and his generation’s answer to the eminent fantasy author Neil Gaiman is a remarkable feat. Authenticity has fuelled this success, with this point something many creatives often lack in the contemporary era. He’s invariably trodden his own path and worn his heart on his sleeve, with this form of unrelenting honesty something everyone could do with noting on occasion. Society likes to submerge itself in an ocean of glibness, and for years, Gerard Way has been the lifeboat for his fans. 
In 2021, the MCR man sat down with one of the stars of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, Aidan Gallagher, and discussed his writing process for My Chemical Romance’s masterpiece, 2006’s The Black Parade. Here, he conveyed the openness that characterises his craft. “You know what was cool?” he said. “I felt perfectly comfortable in My Chemical Romance just winging it; I felt very comfortable around the guys. There was almost this understanding that we had that, ​’None of us really know what we’re doing right now, so don’t judge each other.’”
He added: “So it was very cool, because we’d all set up and write songs, and we’d start playing, and then I would just kind of garble my way through whatever I started to hear in my head – literally trying things, just experimenting. They really gave me the space to do that, so I never felt embarrassed saying a weird word or missing my mark, you know?”
In fact, this type of honesty is something that Gerard Way has always espoused. In 1994, when he was just 16 years old, he appeared on a national American talk show, The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, to debate censorship in comic books. Here, he demonstrated his dedication to art and that, above all else, he’s a lifelong defender of righteous causes.
In 1994, the teenage Way had written the graphic novel On Raven’s Wings for the horror publisher Boneyard Press, which gained notoriety earlier that year for publishing an unauthorised comic about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. In the clip, the future emo hero addressed the censors in the panel who were debating the founder of Boneyard, Hart D. Chief, over the company’s dark content.
“Hi, I have a statement,” Ways starts. “I’m 16, and I write for Boneyard Comics. Basically… Grace Anne, why don’t you go after the media? Why don’t you go after the other things? Why just comics? Comics aren’t just for adults. Comics are for everybody.”
Although Gerard Way’s statement is brief, it set a precedent for all to come over the rest of his career. His words were underpinned by the inclusive sentiment he would make famous with My Chemical Romance and spread further afield with The Umbrella Academy. There’s no surprise he became such an icon.
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