Storybook Research – Umbrella Academy

Umbrella Academy is a series of comics written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. Bá uses a limited palette of white, greys, black and shades of red and pink for the covers of each volume. This works excellently for the dark subject matter of the series. The seven children the series focuses on have endured horrible things throughout their life, mainly due to horrific experimentation on them by their guardian causing them to have superhuman abilities. The beautifully intricate style of illustration that is used for the covers is enticing. It certainly grabbed my attention and I was intrigued to explore the lives of the characters on the cover.

umbrella-academy

My favourite cover by far is the one of issue 4 with the character nicknamed ‘The White Violin’ on the front. This character goes through a metamorphosis to become the deadly, elegant killer she is. There is something vaguely embryonic about the blood vessels surrounding her feet which is perfect for the issue that shows her emergence as White Violin after the horrific experimentation she endured.

I find the gramophone hanging over her head a particularly nice touch. Vanya (White Violin before her change) has had an authoritative presence hanging over her and influencing her live ever since she was born and both of those abused her, experimented on her and lead her to become the psychotic killer, White Violin. They also say that if you play orchestral music to a baby in the womb, it can influence their personality and increase intelligence and added to embryonic aesthetic of it, is a wonderfully subtle way of showing how Vanya’s life has been influenced since birth.

This cover also has an elegance to it which goes hand in hand with violin music. The delicacy of the shading and colouring of each element of it is carefully considered to entice the reader and foreshadow the content within whilst still keeping to the atmosphere that violin music creates.

The strong elements of foreshadowing used in these cover could be something interesting to explore when designing the cover of my story book. With one of the main themes of my book being metamorphosis, I could express that in a very subtle way without giving away too much which could work really well.

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