While many of the metal bands of the ’80s were writing songs about Satan and warfare, Anthrax were always content to pen tracks about horror stories and comic books. Now, the patron saints of thrash-metal comic books nerds are releasing their own graphic novel based on their 1987 album Among The Living — and they’ve got one hell of a writer and artist line-up behind it.
The Among The Living graphic novel will be released through Z2 Comics (who also published the Dio graphic novel), and isan anthology narrated by the band’s mascot The Not Man, newly designed by monster make-up legend and The Walking Dead mastermind Greg Nicotero. Among those working on the project will be comics legends Grant Morrison and Eric Powell, not to mention entries written by rock and metal royalty like Rob Zombie, Corey Taylor, and Gerard and Mikey Way.
“Doing a comic book has always been a huge goal for me” says Anthrax’s Charlie Benante. “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. 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 80’s, 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!”
“Comics are one of the two things (the other thing being Horror) that I’ve been into longer than music” said the band’s Scott Ian. 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 – ‘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!”
Not only that, but the comic will see Anthrax officially working with Judge Dredd, the futuristic anti-hero who’s the basis of the band’s classic track “I Am The Law.”
“I pitched a Judge Dredd story for ‘I Am The Law’ that I’d been thinking about for a while,” says Ian. “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.”
The many editions of this graphic novel — including one that comes with a Madballs-style toy — can be pre-ordered through Z2 Comics’ website.