The anthology tells a track-by-track storyline inspired by the album featuring guest contributions from an “all-star cast” of heavy metal colleagues and fans, including Brian Posehn, Corey Taylor, Rob Zombie, and more. The members of Anthrax themselves also helped create content for the graphic novel, with drummer Charlie Benante illustrating a Judge Dredd cover for “I Am the Law”, the Anthrax song about the comic book hero.
“Doing a comic book has always been a huge goal for me,” commented 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.”
It will be narrated by longtime Anthrax mascot “The Not Man”, who’s been redesigned by The Walking Dead illustrator Greg Nicotero. Other notable comic authors/illustrators that worked on the project include Grant Morrison, Brian Azzarello, Eric Powell, J.G. Jones, and more — apparently hand-picked by Anthrax for the project.
“Comics are one of the two things (the other thing being Horror) that I’ve been into longer than music,” guitarist Scott Ian said. “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.”
In addition to Benante’s cover, Ian wrote a story for that chapter of the anthology, fulfilling a longtime dream of turning “I Am the Law” into an actual comic — complete with an officially licensed appearance from Judge Dredd himself.
“I pitched a Judge Dredd story for ‘I Am The Law’ that I’d been thinking about for a while,” Ian said. “It was an idea I actually talked to Grant [Morrison] 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 anthology is available for pre-order in a variety of formats and deluxe editions via Z2’s website. Sample the covers, including Benante’s Judge Dredd design (third from the right), and watch a trailer for the graphic novel below.