The White Violin
It's cliche but everyone has been told at some point that "music saves lives" or helps people through hard times. For me that was My Chemical Romance. My mum had died of cancer in November 2006 and around that time The Black Parade was a big deal. February(?) 2007 they were in Australia for the Big Day Out and did a side show in Perth and my younger brother and I went and saw them. Probably the only concert where I remember nothing because there were so many kids there we stayed by the bar. HOWEVER I became a pretty big fan of theirs and got the CD's (I got my high school friend who was living in Canada to help me out with one because I couldn't find it anywhere) and the dvd....and then in September MCR singer Gerard Way brought out his first comic The Umbrella Academy, so obviously I had to get that too. Six issues later and I was completely fascinated by Vanya, the "ordinary" Hargreaves child. She's the black sheep of the family, seems to have no (or few) friends, is ok but nothing special with her violin and basically nobody wants her around. She's prayed upon by an evil troupe wanting to end the world using her and she becomes The White Violin. I could somewhat related to her, only I'm still waiting to find out what my supervillan power is other than an intense resting bitch face that tells people I want to punch them.
I loved this character this much I wanted to do a homage to the character. In 2015 I found a violin on Gumtree for sale for $15. I couldn't pass this up and got a friend to go collect it for me. It then sat collecting dust for a few years while I pretended to find a model who was going to be ok with posing nude. Technically they aren't even nude, paint is a covering of sorts.
Now years ago there was talk of an Umbrella Academy movie which never happened, then suddenly Netflix was making a show. This made me want to get my photo shoot done before the show came out. I'd been sitting on it so long I didn't want people thinking I was only doing it because of the show. I found a model in late 2018 and in December we had a go at it. It didn't go as planned but we were close. I forgot to bring some stuff to try styling the wig, the lighting is far from perfect because the studio lights were awful. The big one gave enough light for the whole area, but I could play around with anything else because the stands wouldn't hold the lights in position so I just felt rushed and limited at the time with what I could do and when I get stressed I internally shut down. I don't talk much about what I'm thinking and just stress out about everything following what I'm doing instead. So the plan is to redo it at a later date where I won't be so rushed and can do it properly. I do have to give big shoutouts though to my model Amanda who was a champ getting completely painted up and unable to shower before leaving because the shower was in the building next door, and to Quinn.tessential Effects for doing the painting. I've shared a couple of shots on instagram last week but now that I've just spent the last 10 hours binge watching the show (I may have been refreshing Netflix all day impatiently waiting) I thought I'd write a blog about it because...I have thoughts.
WARNING: If you don't want spoilers don't read on.
The problem is I don't read much because I have a hard time concentrating. I always have done since I was a kid. My brain will quite literally go off in five different tangents and it can take me an hour to read one page depending on the day, so for most things like Harry Potter I don't know how bad the movies are from the books and I plan on staying ignorant to how much they left out of the movies BUT then there's stuff like this which I've read about 4 times and became a diehard fan of the character that I'm sitting here super shitty at 3:30am because of what they have done.
The short version is The Umbrella Academy is about a whole heap of babies born at the exact same time to women who weren't pregnant earlier that day. Sir Reginald Hargreaves goes about adopting the ones he can find and ends up with seven children. Some babies died, some didn't so god knows how many are still out there in the world. All but one has super powers (all different so one can say "I heard a rumour.." and it will come true, another can talk with the dead, one can suddenly have octopus legs..) and in the comics you see them as 10 yr olds fighting the Eiffel Tower and other cool things.
The tv show itself is fine, it's entertaining and I had alot of laughs and it has an awesome soundtrack but it also went WAY OFF COURSE!!!! I get comics don't have a huge amount of material to work with and they need to embellish to make it movie/tv show length but why do they need to completely change everything about the storyline? They fully merged Apocalypse Suite and Dallas together and gave two villains Hazel and Cha Cha much bigger parts than their comic counterparts. This was a bit of a red flag for me because everyone on instagram was losing their shit over these guys and they really aren't in the comic that much and I wondered if they were going to skip the entire Vanya storyline. Apocalypse Suite is solely about their dad dying, Number 5 suddenly reappearing after being missing for like 17 years, everyone reuniting at the funeral (except Vanya), Number 5 announcing the world will end in a few days and they have to stop it, Vanya being dismissed by her siblings and she's manipulated into joining an evil troupe who do some science to bring out her powers in full force which turns her into The White Violin so she can play the Apocalypse Suite and end the world. The sequel Dallas takes place afterwards where she's in hospital with amnesia after being shot and the main focus is on Number 5 and his time travelling and what happened in his time away which includes how he's meant to assassinate JFK - which is where Hazel and Cha Cha come into it. They're sent to find him and are completely sugar-crazed, 100% psychotic and torture/kill people. Hotel Oblivion is the 3rd part of the tale but I haven't read that yet. I'm waiting for it to be in a compilation format.
While watching the show though with particular scenes that are quite violent in the comics the scenes in the show didn't even make me blink, like nothing happened, that I wondered if this was actually rated PG. It's not, it's an MA15+ but it's definitely been tamed a lot. One particular element of the show I was quite happy with involves Number 6 who dies at a young age in the comics and you don't know a whole lot about him which they elaborated on. You have Number 1 (aka Luther) who has an ape's body and it was great to see they actually showed him without a shirt on, I wondered from promos if he was just going to walk around with his coat on the whole time (All faith in Netflix adaptations was lost after Death Note). Number 5 who is a time traveller was spot on. I thought Aidan Gallagher did an awesome job bringing him to life, as did Robert Sheehan as Klaus (aka Seance), he pretty much steals every single scene he is in but in the comics he looks more like a corpse/vampire he's so pale like I would have expected an albino for this role! Diego wasn't nearly snarky enough, Allison wasn't all that interesting but they made her into an overly-caring sister and that threw me way off because in the comics nobody gives a shit about Vanya, not even her sister. Then there's Vanya. Her storyline was so completely different. It all comes down to a guy. Why do these things need a love interest? Why can't it just be her family sucks and she turned to the bad guys, you know..like Darth Vader. Oh wait..So a guy came along, she misses taking her medication because she slept on his couch and realises she's run out of her prescription which seems to have been suppressing her powers because now she's feeling things, said guy helps her develop her powers but he's a bit of a psycho himself, cut to the end and there's no special musical number, no evil gang out to end the world, and Vanya sure as hell doesn't look like a human violin. WTF?!
So in the end I didn't have to worry about when my photoshoot came out because the show went so far off tangent she looks nothing like this. I have however joked that The White Violin is so much more cosplay friendly now but my entire wardrobe is black and I have a thing about putting things in my eyes. I've never worn contacts, I'm scared of ripping my cornea out. I'm that level of clumsy that it could happen.
Editing: Since these aren't how I want them exactly I did decide to try playing around with editing so I have a better idea when I do it again. For the most part I kept it super basic just trying to keep the white to one shade but this one below ended up more green than the others. I'm trying to keep it somewhat faithful to the comics where I can and use music notes in the photo. I found some stock photos of sheet music and planted that into the backgrounds. I want to have a go at having floating music but that will be a later challenge!
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