In 2021, Anthrax will celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band. Commemorating this milestone is an all-new graphic novel based in their landmark 1987 record, Among the Living. The collaborative project, being released through Z2 Comics, unites an all-star lineup of writers and artists and even features an on-the-page appearance by the iconic Judge Dredd, the comic character whom Anthrax wrote about on “I Am the Law.”
The Among the Living graphic novel stars Anthrax mascot “Not Man” as you’ve never seen him before, completely redesigned by Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead). Aside from touting other notable names from the world of comics is an enticing list of rock and metal collaborators — Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour), Rob Zombie, Joe Trohman (Fall Out Boy) as well as Gerard and Mikey Way (My Chemical Romance).
On top of all this, guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Charlie Benante worked together (alongside comic publisher 2000 AD) on an original story inspired by “I Am the Law.” Benante even drew an original cover to coincide with the tale.
For Ian, the materialization of this new comic is a decades-long dream come true. He’s been sitting on a Judge Dredd storyline for a while now and, 33 years after releasing the song “I Am the Law,” there is finally an opportunity for the band to tie their music together with the anti-hero fixture.
Comics are one of the two things (the other thing being Horror) that I’ve been into longer than music.
I started reading comics when I started reading. My earliest childhood memories are of the Hulk, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor and the X-Men fighting to save the Earth. My world was shaped by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko et al. The worlds they created opened my mind to the endless possibilities of my own imagination and set me on a path towards everything that came after.
Comics were/are my constant. Music joined the party and became my constant as well. I started a band. I wrote lyrics about comics and horror and they connected with people all over the world. And now for the 40th (40!!!) anniversary of Anthrax I get to cross the streams and merge my constants with a graphic novel (comic) celebrating the album that made such a mark on the planet it has allowed us to be a band as long as we want to be a band – Among the Living.
Getting to be a part of this process – choosing writers and artists to express what these songs mean to them has been incredible. I made a wish list of writers/artists/musicians that I would love to be a part of this not really thinking we’d get them.
I was aiming high, the list had Grant Morrison’s name at the top – and Grant said yes. Brian Azzarello said yes. Eric Powell, J.G. Jones, Greg Nicotero, Corey Taylor, Rob Zombie, Brian Posehn, Rick Remender, Joe Trohman, Gerard & Mikey Way – they all said yes. Holy crap! All these artists that I’ve been a fan of for decades felt the same way about comics and music as I did. I couldn’t have been happier with how things were going and I haven’t even gotten to the best part (for me) yet.
I pitched a Judge Dredd story for I Am The Law that I’d been thinking about for a while. It was an idea I actually talked to Grant about one night after an Anthrax show in Glasgow over a few drinks. This idea has stayed with me, I’d never written it down, it was one of those ideas that would smack me in the face every few months demanding to be recognized. I just didn’t have an outlet for it.
And then I did have an outlet with this project but, we didn’t have the rights to use Dredd in our book. You have to ask right? So we sent my idea to the kind folks at Rebellion and they green-lit my story. And there my friends is the moment where everything came full circle for me as a life-long comic nerd and the as the guy in Anthrax. Thank you Among the Living for making it all happen.
“Doing a comic book has always been a huge goal for me,” added Benante, who continued, “I’ve tried for years, but something always comes up and sidetracks me. I was ecstatic when Josh Bernstein brought the idea to us to do a graphic novel based on our album Among the Living. I felt that it was the perfect time and opportunity to fulfill that dream.”
The drummer went on, “I am a lifelong artist and have been drawing during the pandemic more than ever, so I had the idea to bring my own artwork to this project. As a fan of the Judge Dredd series since the ’80s, it was an honor to create cover art based off of Dredd and Judge Death. The amount of talent that is going into this project is astounding, I scratch my head just thinking about it!”
Among the Living Graphic Novel Artwork
Among the Living will be available in a variety of formats: deluxe and super deluxe editions which include a special vinyl picture disc, an exclusive ‘MadBalls’ toy, art print and a gold record plaque. To get your copy, visit the Z2 Comics webshop. Watch a trailer for the graphic novel below.
Among the Living Graphic Novel Trailer
20 Must-Have Rock + Metal Band Comics, Graphic Novels + Coffee Table Books
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