I spoke with Gabriel Bá about his return to drawing Umbrella Academy and what we can expect from the latest arc Hotel Oblivion. In the series we follow a group of unlikely superheroes with bizarre powers to mach their volatile personalities.
Tito W. James: It’s been a long time since the last Umbrella Academy Volume. How does it feel to return to the series.
Gabriel Bá: It’s great! Umbrella Academy is very different from everything else that I work on. It’s very unique, energetic, and chaotic. It makes explore things in my artwork that I don’t normally do in other projects. And I love the characters so it’s really nice to be back.
TWJ: The characters really are the core of Umbrella Academy. They are all well designed with distinct personalities. What do you think it is about these character that have endeared themselves to people?
GB: I think it’s because the characters have flaws. People relate to that because everyone has flaws. No is perfect; and that’s different especially in the superhero genre. Everyone is fucked up, so that’s what I think people like about Umbrella Academy.
TWJ: The team itself seams to cause more problems than they solve. But readers still get the fun of the action, adventure, and mayhem!
GB: I don’t know, I think they do plenty of “heroic” stuff. But I think the most important part of the story is how the characters relate to each other and deal with their problems. And I think readers can relate to that even though they are not superheroes.
TWJ: Why should fans be excited for Hotel Oblivion?
GB: We are expanding the story a lot and bringing new characters. We are also diving deeper into our core cast with their relationships and their past failures. With the first two volumes we introduced the characters and their struggles but now we’re going deeper into it.
TWJ: I love the new addition of a Japanese superhero who obtains his powers from a vending machine. We’re also introduced to other heroes from Japan. Is there a possibility of side-characters spinning off into their own series like with Hellboy or the Black Hammer Universe?
GB: There’s always possibilities to have spin-offs. But it takes time and people to do it so right now we’re focusing on the main story. But hey, we have many ideas spinning around. So if they can’t fit into the main story they might work as a spin-off.
TWJ: What is a core rule for Umbrella Academy’s world?
GB: There’s no rules! That’s the core rule.
I’d like to thank Gabriel Bá for taking the time for this interview. The first issue of Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is on store shelves now.