Renowned comic-book artist Alex Ross, who has worked with Marvel Comics and DC Comics and is known for his “Marvels”, “Kingdom Come”, and “Astro City” illustrations, recently spoke to Previews about his work on the new ANTHRAX album, “Worship Music”.
When asked about his relationship with ANTHRAX and how he communicated with the members of the band while he worked on the cover art for “Worship Music”, Ross — who also did the original artwork for ANTHRAX‘s “We’ve Come For You All” and “Music Of Mass Destruction” LPs — said, “I’ve worked with ANTHRAX for almost ten years now, and it’s been a great relationship, since I’ve become pretty good friends with [drummer] Charlie Benante. He lives in the same general area I do, so we get together annually at least and talk on the phone relatively often.
“Charlie approached me about the new album almost three years ago, when they were first putting it together. The painting was done that long ago, but slightly different than what you see now. The figures swarming around the central image were actually swarming around an old Victrola record player that was playing a record with the ANTHRAX ‘A’ logo on it. It was decided this year, in fact, to alter that to be a large version of that emblem. It does work better that way.”
He added, “My inspiration in the painting came in part from an old MAD comic book cover from the ’50s. Mainly, I was working to bring to life Charlie‘s vision for the cover graphic, and I did a T-shirt image for them earlier this year of them all fighting zombie versions of themselves, which you can see in the CD package.”
In a separate interview, Previews asked ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian if it was Charlie that led the charge on working with Alex regularly for cover concepts, or if Scott and other members of the band get to chat with Ross and hammer out ideas. “[It’s] mostly Charlie,” he said. “But even with Alex, it’s kind of like… he usually has his own ideas, you know, for things. And… well… we really don’t need to tell Alex Ross what to do. I work with Alex Ross because he’s… Alex Ross. So, generally, he’ll have a concept for something, and then he’ll start doing some sketches, and send them our way, and then maybe we’ll give some notes one way or the other. But, you know, you don’t go to Alex Ross to tell him what to do. It’s kind of like, let’s work with Alex Ross because when it comes to art…he’s on the highest level. And we want HIS brain. You know what I mean? We want HIM to come up with something amazing.”
Ian, a longtime comic book fan who collaborated with DC Comics on a two-issue Lobo run, was asked if he ever ever thought about doing an ANTHRAX comic. “Yeah,” he replied. “It gets brought up to us here and there. It’s something that, in my mind, I would think, well, yeah, it would be super-cool. But what that book would be, I have no idea. Someone would have to come to us with an idea that we actually thought was killer, and was able to then run with it, because none of us are certainly in a position at this point to have the time to do it right. I mean I barely have the time to do anything outside of being in ANTHRAX. It’s obviously a full-time thing. It’s something I would love if the version of an ANTHRAX comic would be something closer to Love And Rockets where we’re not superheroes or anything. Someone should just come on tour with us and write about the day-in and day-out minutiae of being on tour. It could be interesting.”