Grateful Dead Origins

Grateful Dead Origins is a graphic novel about the rock band the Grateful Dead. A work of non-fiction, it tells the story of the early days of the band and how it emerged as part of the San Francisco music scene amid the counterculture of the 1960s. The book was written by Chris Miskiewicz and drawn by Noah Van Sciver.[1][2][3][4] It was edited by David Lemieux, colored by Aladdin Collar, and designed by Tyler Boss.

Grateful Dead Origins
A comics-style drawing of the Grateful Dead performing onstage
AuthorChris Miskiewicz
IllustratorNoah Van Sciver
CountryUnited States
PublisherZ2 Comics
Publication date
July 2020

Grateful Dead Origins was published by Z2 Comics in July 2020. A deluxe edition of the book was published in January 2021.[5][6][7]

Deluxe editionEdit

The deluxe edition of Grateful Dead Origins is larger in size than the regular edition and has a hard cover. It includes an LP record of the Grateful Dead performing at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on August 21, 1968. The deluxe version is a limited edition of 6,800 copies.[7][8]

The track listing of the vinyl record is:

Side 1:
  1. "Dark Star" (Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bob Weir, Robert Hunter) – 14:33
  2. "St. Stephen" (Garcia, Lesh, Hunter) – 4:45
Side 2:
  1. "The Eleven" (Lesh, Hunter) – 11:07
  2. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" (Reverend Gary Davis) – 8:09

Critical receptionEdit

In AIPT, Christopher Franey wrote, "Noah Van Sciver has a style that is caricatured but not way off base. His layouts are great, as they flow nicely and have an interesting vibe to them – they move along in a structure, but when the musical scenes happen, the panels get bigger and livelier. I really appreciate Aladdin Collar working on the colors as it helps to evoke that free spirit, counter-culture feel that these guys embodied.... Chris Miskiewicz does a great job telling a story that makes us feel like we are there.... This is a great graphic novel musical mash-up that does more than any Wikipedia page can do."[9]

In The Comics Journal, Tegan O'Neil wrote, "Coming to the book from the perspective of someone with, if we're being blunt, pretty much zero desire to ever again have to think about the Grateful Dead, it was a very pleasantly readable narrative.... [Noah Van Sciver's] pen is extraordinarily expressive.... Written by Chris Miskiewicz, the book flows pretty well considering how choppy these kind of biopic projects can read in comics form.... The book will find a happy home on many fans' shelves.... It doesn't work completely as a comic book because it's not supposed to be encountered in a vacuum apart from the music."[10]


  1. ^ Blistein, Jon (April 18, 2019). "Grateful Dead's Early Days Chronicled in New Graphic Novel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Scott (April 18, 2019). "Grateful Dead Announces Grateful Dead Origins Graphic Novel Including Previously Unreleased Music". JamBase. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "New Grateful Dead Origins Graphic Novel to Come with Unreleased Early Music". Relix. April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Martoccio, Angie (July 10, 2020). "Grateful Dead Dose 'Playboy After Dark' Crowd in Graphic Novel, Share Unreleased Version of 'St. Stephen'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  5. ^ McMillan, Graeme (April 7, 2020). "Grateful Dead Origins Graphic Novel Debuts New Art". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Sokol, Tony (April 6, 2020). "Grateful Dead Origins Graphic Novel Previews Cover Art". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Grateful Dead Origins (Deluxe Edition)". Z2 Comics. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Ferguson, James (April 7, 2020). "Z2 Comics Reveals Grateful Dead Origins LP Cover Art". Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  9. ^ Franey, Christopher (July 31, 2020). "'Grateful Dead: Origins' Review". AIPT. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  10. ^ O'Neil, Tegan (August 4, 2020). "Grateful Dead: Origins". The Comics Journal. Retrieved August 23, 2020.