Grateful Dead and Z2 Comics reveal cover art by Noah Van Sciver for deluxe edition vinyl LP
With the recent success partnerships with Yungblud, Poppy and Skillet, Z2 Comics has solidified their place as the premier creator music-affiliated graphic novels. In 2019, the publisher entered into their largest partnership to date chronicling the history the iconic Grateful Dead. Grateful Dead Origins takes an in depth and personal look at the formation one the most important American rock bands all time, exploring the early days Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Pigpen, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. The story the band’s transformation from a bar band performing as the Warlocks to becoming the creators their own sound and forefathers for the jam band culture is depicted in the original story written by Chris Miskiewicz and illustrated by Noah Van Sciver.
Grateful Dead Origins will be available in a strictly limited collectors deluxe edition to be released on June 12th, with a standard edition coming the following week on June 16th. The standard stcover edition that will feature an exclusive download rare selections from the early years the band. The limited run collector’s deluxe edition will come in a hardcover, oversized, individually-numbered cfee table edition featuring exclusive prints and autographed by the comic creators, along with an exclusive vinyl LP an unreleased recording from an August 1968 performance at the Fillmore West in San Francisco.
This previously unreleased show includes the first known West Coast live rendition “St. Stephen,” and the first known performance its “William Tell Bridge,” which would join “St. Stephen” to “The Eleven.” The show was recorded to eight track analog tape, and was mastered by Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, CO.
“We can’t wait for everyone to see and hear the amazing Origins package and we hope it will provide some comfort to music and graphic novel fans alike during these challenging times,” says Z2 publisher Josh Frankel. “Our plan was always to time the release to the week Record Store Day, giving comic shops and booksellers the ultimate music book for their customers. We will still do that, it will just happen in June now. I assure you, as this project has come together, it has turned into something even more special than we could have ever expected and we know comics readers, music archivists, and Dead Heads everywhere will agree that it was worth the wait.”
“We’ve seen so many photos and videos the Grateful Dead in the 1980s and beyond, and even quite a bit from the 1970s. The 1960s, though, largely remain a visual mystery in terms the band, especially the earliest days, 1965 and 1966, but also through to 1969,” shares Grateful Dead audiovisual archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux. “Grateful Dead Origins brings the band’s beginnings to life, artistically, verbally, and musically. We’ve all seen some photos the band onstage in those early days, and heard plenty music from 1966 through 1969, but everything else, how they became the Grateful Dead, has been obscured from the history books only through lack documentation. While Origins isn’t a discovery primary archival documents from this era, it visually, creatively, and tastefully fills in the gaps that the historical record’s archive might have missed. We’re thrilled to have worked with such a talented team to write and illustrate this early part the Dead’s story.”
“Jerry Garcia was an avid comic book enthusiast so it is incredibly fitting to have the Grateful Dead’s origin story told in graphic novel form,” states Mark Pinkus, President Rhino Entertainment. “Z2’s passion for the band’s music and mythology make them the perfect partner to bring the story to life. It has been inspiring to watch the novel’s artwork evolve over the last year and I’m excited that Dead Heads now get to have a preview. Just wait until you see the finished product!”
1. Dark Star
2. St. Stephen