One completely random day at 9:38, forty three children were born at seemingly random locations around the world, all born unto women who had shown no signs of pregnancy before. Dr. Reginald Hargreeves, a.k.a. The Monocle, tried to adopt as many of them as he possibly could, tracking them down at various orphanages by using undisclosed methods. He managed to collect seven of them, and then proceeded to wipe their identities and conceal them from the world. He eventually raised the children into a superhero group that became known worldwide as "The Umbrella Academy". When the press asked him why he adopted these children, he simply replied "To save the world, of course". But he never specified what exactly they would be saving the world from. He would look after the kids as a father figure, raising them and helping them discover their powers, managing the team from battle to battle. He is also not a human but an alien, but this information is seemingly unknown to the general public. By the time the first issue kicks off he has died from a heart attack, which is what brings the team together after years of living their own lives.
Dr. Reginald Hargreeves had a genius level intellect. He was a successful inventor, which can be evidenced by the fact that he invented the televator (seems to be an elevator that teleports the people inside it to a specified location), the levitator (a belt that allows a small people such as the chimpanzee Pogo or a ten year old kid to fly, the Umbrella Academy team use this often when they are shown as kids, controlled seemingly by thought), the mobile umbrella communicator(referenced but not shown) and the clever crisp cereal (self-explanatory). He was also a great scientist who won a Nobel Prize for his work in the cerebral advancement of the chimpanzee (this explains why Pogo is so intelligent and why there are chimpanzees working alongside people). He is also a successful entrepreneur and because of that he is extremely wealthy, living in a lavish mansion and possessing expensive machinery. He was also an Olympic level athlete, at least in his younger days, and won a gold medal in seemingly fencing. Although it is never stated what exactly he won a golden medal in, he is shown fencing at an archaeological site on the same panel his gold medal is referenced.
Dr. Reginald Hargreeves was a cold and calculating man who never showed any love for the kids he had adopted. He showed great care over the children, but the kind of care a scientist puts into his greatest experiment, not the kind that father shows. The most loving thing he had ever really done for them was let them have ice cream, one scoop each, when they would stop a disaster or another supervillain. The lack of affection had clearly affected the seven kids as they constantly quarrel and bicker among themselves, the topic often being their adoptive father. He was a scientist that sometimes disregarded laws of humanity, proceeding to dissect and experiment on the seven kids while they slept for further research. He never married, instead opting to create a robotic wife who has a plastic anatomy model for a body, prosthetic limbs and a robotic head.