The My Chemical Romance frontman and author of the Umbrella Academy comic series EXPLAINS rock stardom and teen geekery.

As told to Tim Leong; Photography by Lauren Dukoff 1 NEVER LET THEM KNOW IT’S YOUR FIRST TIME. Even if it’s literally your first time performing, you never tell your audience. It’s the same with the comic. I’ve been writing comics since I was about 14 years old, but you still don’t want to appear to be a novice. If you believe it, then everybody else will.

2 EVERYTHING WILL LOOK BETTER IN YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY. That’s adapted from my literary hero Grant Morrison. I was a little nervous about doing the comic, and that’s one of the things Grant told me. If it’s a huge success or a huge failure, it’s so crazy that it’s still going to look good later on.

3 AIM FOR THE SUN. Creatively, you have to try and destroy whatever you’re creating. That goes for making albums, the comic, anything. If something sounds ridiculous, then it’s probably a good idea.

4 COMMUNICATION IS NOT THE SAME AS SELLING OUT. Selling out is going against your beliefs to make something successful. Communication is the difference between a good artist and a bad artist. It’s like not understanding a piece of art: It’s not because you don’t get it; it’s because there’s nothing to get.

5 IF YOU HAVE LESS THAN THREE FRIENDS IN HIGH SCHOOL, YOU’RE IN GOOD SHAPE. You never want to lose being an outsider. It keeps you honest. I was at an event recently and somebody actually thought I was a waiter. It was awesome.