Anthrax Mark 40th Anniversary With ‘Among the Living’ Comic Book

Anthrax will celebrate their 40th anniversary with the April release of a comic book based on 1987’s Among the Living.

Each song became the subject of its own story. Drummer Charlie Benante and guitarist Scott Ian worked on “I Am the Law,” which features the iconic 2000AD future-cop character Judge Dredd. The title, to be published by Z2 Comics, also includes contributions from Rob Zombie, Corey Taylor and others, along with big-name graphic novel artists.

“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 told Rolling Stone. “So, Scott is writing ‘I Am the Law,’ and I did [a] 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.”

Benante said they agreed to Z2’s suggestion to explore Among the Living because Anthrax “wouldn’t be doing this all these years later if it wasn’t for that album. It happens to work well thematically, too. It’s ripe with stories! 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.”

He also thinks the album’s driving concept is still valid now. “The whole idea behind the cover of Among the Living is that there can good or evil hiding anywhere in the world,” Benante said. “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,” Benante added, “and as I said, I believe it is quite possibly the one we owe our career to.”

Ian noted that each of the comic-book writers would be “telling stories about what these songs mean to them — what the songs inspired them to write. 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.”

Among the Living will be available in multiple editions, all of which are available for pre-order now.

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Anthrax Recruit Metal Icons for ‘Among the Living’ Graphic Novel

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.

He said,

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

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