Anthrax's 1987 album 'Among the Living' is a touchstone for metal fans, and now 34 years later (and 40 years since the band's formation) it is being celebrated in a comic book anthology narrated by - who else? - their mascot, the Not Man.
The latest in Z2 Comics' growing line of music-based graphic novels, the OGN Anthrax: Among the Living pairs the band's core members - Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Joe Belladonna, and Frank Bello - with a host of writers and artists to tell new stories capturing the aura of the classic album.
And who better to write the Not Man's narration of Anthrax: Among the Living than Ian and Benante's fellow New Yorker, comics writer Jimmy Palmiotti?
"My connection to them is deeper than most might think and probably more than I know because we are the same age and ran around the same circles," Palmiotti tells Newarama. "Sadly, I don't know the guys personally, I just know them through the music and what I have read about them over the years. Listening to all kinds of music is a love of mine and metal is a big part of that…and you cannot get more metal than Anthrax!"
Palmiotti's Not Man pages frame the characer as a Crypt-keeper-style host for Anthrax: Beyond the Living, opening the book and also segueing between some of the stories. To draw such an integral part of the book, Palmiotti turned to comic artist/metal musician Nelson De Castro - who like Palmiotti and Anthrax, hails from Queens.
"Nelson is a heavy metal monster in every way – not only an amazing comic book illustrator but he has a metal album on the way titled Megadroid!" Palmiotti explains.
"The guy is a beast that has a life-size Pumpkinhead statue in his living room and a wall of guitars for God's sake! I knew instantly he was the only one that could do it justice. Everything about the set-up is insanely New York and again, with a guy drawing it that lives it, well, the passion is there on every page."
Speaking of Passion, Anthrax's mascot the Not Man is undergoing what Palmiotti calls a "nuclear makeover" for the Among the Living OGN, as redesigned by The Walking Dead's Greg Nicotero.
Palmiotti, de Castro, and Nicotero are joined by an all-star line-up of writers and artists for Anthrax: Among the Living, with Anthrax's own Scott Ian and Frank Bello both writing stories. Here's the list of contributors:
- 'Among the Living' by writer Brian Posehn with artists Scott Koblish and Alladin Collar
- 'Caught in a Mosh' by writers Gerard and Mikey Way with artists Darick Robertson, Phillip Sevy, and Alladin Collar
- 'I Am the Law' (featuring Judge Dredd) by writer Scott Ian with artists Chris Weston and Alladin Collar
- 'Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)' by writers Rick Remender and Joe Trohman with artists Roland Boschi and Dan Brown
- 'A Skeleton in the Closet' by writer Corey Taylor with artist Maan House
- 'Indians' by writer Grant Morrison with artists Freddie Williams II and Andrew Dalhouse
- 'One World' by writer Frank Bello with artists Andy Belanger and Tatto Caballero
- 'A.D.I./Horror of it All' by writer Brian Azzarello with artist Dave Johnson
- 'Imitation of Life' by writer Rob Zombie with artists Erik Rodriguez and Steve Chanks
"I am having a blast working on this and the setup that dictates the chapters of the book is a totally cool throwback that fans and new fans alike will love and give each chapter's talent room to rise to the occasion," Palmiotti says. "It's a total gift getting to be a part of Anthrax's history in my own little way and just wait till everyone sees this book. The art alone is worth triple the price."
Anthrax: Among the Living goes on sale July 6.
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