Anthrax are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a special graphic novel inspired by their 1987 album, Among the Living. The collection boasts contributions from an all-star group of writers and artists from the worlds of music and comics, and it’s set to arrive April 2021 via Z2 Comics.
The Among the Living anthology will feature original stories from an array of different writers, including Corey Taylor, Grant Morrison, Brian Posehn, Gerard and Mikey Way, Rob Zombie, Brian Azzarello, Jimmy Palmiotti, Rick Remender, and Joseph Trohman (more will be announced at a later date). To tie the tales together, Anthrax’s long-time mascot, “The Not Man,” will serve as the anthology’s narrator, and will appear newly designed by artist Greg Nicotero.
“The different writers will be telling stories about what these songs mean to them — what the songs inspired them to write,” Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian tells Rolling Stone. “It wasn’t hard to figure out that this is what the book would be when you have the talent we have involved. They don’t need any direction from us, nor do I want to give any. I want to see where they take it.”
Illustrating the graphic novel will be Roland Boschi, Maan House, Dave Johnson, Scott Koblish, Darrick Robertson, and Erik Rodriguez. JG Jones, Eric Powell, and Anthrax’s own Charlie Benante have all designed covers as well.
Benante and Ian are also collaborating on an original story for the collection inspired by “I Am the Law,” which will feature the classic comic book antihero Judge Dredd, in partnership with 2000 AD.
“The one thing that always was in my mind is that I don’t want to just put our name on it, I want to contribute,” Benante says of the project. “So Scott is writing ‘I Am the Law,’ and I did the cover based on that story, which I was so happy to do. It really pushed me, because now I have to keep up with these other artists in this book, which was an exciting challenge.”
While the Among the Living anthology is meant to mark Anthrax’s 40th anniversary as a band, Ian says centering the celebration specifically around that 1987 album was an obvious choice: “We wouldn’t be doing this all these years later if it wasn’t for that album,” he says. “It happens to work well thematically too. It’s ripe with stories!”
Benante adds: “This record has truly stood the test of time, and that’s why we’re doing our first comic book based on this record. The imagery of the songs really lends to the visual storytelling of comics. I remember back in the day, I didn’t know Scott was thinking lyrically about a Stephen King story and he didn’t know I was thinking about a cover design reminiscent of another Stephen King story. The whole idea behind the cover of Among the Living is that there can good or evil hiding anywhere in the world. It could be hidden in a crowd, where just like on the record cover, it is just staring back at you. That concept rings true to this day, in a time where we’re still dealing with monsters. I’m hoping that this country we live in has effectively killed that monster, but it looks like its seeds have been sown elsewhere. Back to the album: It’s one of the records that I look back on and have great memories of it, and as I said, I believe it is quite possibly the one we owe our career to.”
Among the Living will be released in multiple formats, including a deluxe and super deluxe edition, which will come with a special picture disc vinyl, MadBalls toy, art prints, and a gold record plaque. All versions are available to preorder via Z2’s website.