On April 9, 1977, Gerard Way was born, and to celebrate, we've put together a gift for all of you: a collection of photos of the beloved My Chemical Romance frontman through the years.

In addition to fronting one of the most iconic rock bands of recent times, Way is known for his work in the world of comics as an artist, writer, founder of DC Comics' imprint Young Animal and most recently the Netflix adaptation of his Umbrella Academy series.

Way grew up in New Jersey and has credited his maternal grandmother, Elena Lee Rush, with teaching him and his brother, Mikey, to paint, draw and sing from a young age. Way continued with art and music in his early years (he once said he was kicked out of his first band because he couldn't play Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" on guitar), but ultimately went on to study cartooning and illustration at New York's School of Visual Arts where he graduated with his degree in 1999.

It was the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, that led Way to pursue music seriously again. In 2001 Way was working designing action figures for a company called Fun House when he witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center. It led him to write My Chem's very first song and the eventual formation of the band.

"So 9/11 happens, and I pick up the guitar again and I write ‘Skylines And Turnstiles’, and then I called Otter [Matt Pellissier, drummer] and then I called Ray [Toro, guitarist], and we got Mikey [Way, bassist] in - and we just started building this momentum," he said during a panel at Los Angeles Comic Con.

In the years that followed, Way became not only a notable public figure in pop culture, but a positive force in music while rejecting the cliche rockstar mentality and pushing the creativity of the genre in the process.

So today, on the anniversary of his entrance to the mortal realm, take a trip down memory lane with this gallery of Gerard Way Through the Years below.

Gerard Way Through the Years

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