Ah, the autumn. The wonderful colours, the spectacle of migrating birds, the.... damn it's so dark... and so wet.... and windy... and I'm coughing again... and my nose is running again... and is this a cold... please don't be flu... or octopus flu... or whatever the hell is coming next. Anyway - the autumn... isn't it great? It's out there and I'm in here reading my comics again. This time it's Gerard Way's comic book debut with the remarkable first collection of The Umbrella Academy written when he was still on the road with My Chemical Romance deep in a world Black Parade tour. Well before he rose to fame as part of a successful rock band Gerard began writing and drawing comics. It would be easy to dismiss this book before reading it, thinking that the only reason it succeeded was on the back of MCR's popularity but a lot harder to maintain such an opinion after you finish the first issue. No mean feat considering the first issue is titled The Day the Eiffel Tower Went Berserk, which you might think is some kind of oblique metaphor but no .... the Eiffel Tower does really go berserk, striding about Paris shooting laser beams with only a bunch of weird kids calling themselves the Umbrella Academy the only thing standing in its way. After such an incredible first issue come the remaining 5 issues, mainly featuring the adult incarnation of the Academy after their break-up. It's completely bonkers, full of wit and creativity but still very grounded with strong characters and an off kilter plot. Gabriel Ba's off-centre art brings to mind Hellboy artist Mike Mignola but with a rougher edge that suits the narrative perfectly. The wonderful James Jean covers are all here too. The collection is completed with some pre-launch publicity shorts and some early character and concept art which features Gerard Way's original drawings. He's actually a very good comic book artist in his own right but obviously he wouldn't have been able to find the time to be front man of MCR and do more than script the series.