While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th birthday to a halt in concert halls, record label Deutsche Grammophon and Z2 Comics have teamed up to produce a graphic novel about the composer’s life, accompanied by a new compilation album of the composer’s works. The graphic novel will be released in November, ahead of Beethoven’s birthday in December.

BeethovenDavid Mack’s cover art for the new graphic novel. Image supplied

Z2 comics has a track record of music-themed graphic novels, including Murder Ballads – featuring an accompanying soundtrack by Dan Auerbach and Robert Finley – an autobiographical graphic novel by DJ Paul Oakenfold, and a fantasy graphic novel featuring the Japanese heavy metal band Babymetal.

“Beethoven wrote some of the most universally recognisable pieces of music in the history of the planet,” said Publisher Josh Frankel. “It is of course, incredibly exciting to publish the work of some of today’s well-known artists, but to have this chance to tell comic book stories from and inspired by the life of one of the most legendary artists of all time is humbling. We have done our very best to honour this by putting together what we believe will be an essential read for music lovers of all ages.”

Frankel has revealed Brandon Montclare (whose credits include Rocket Girl, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur) will be on the project, with a cast of artists to be announced soon. The book features a new painted cover by David Mack.

The new graphic novel is one of several projects with which DG is celebrating Beethoven’s birthday, including the New Complete Edition of Beethoven, the label’s Vice President Marketing Kleopatra Sofroniou said. “We are delighted to be encouraging the dialogue between the visual arts and classical music and hope that this exciting new project will open doors for comic book fans to discover the magic of Beethoven’s music.”

DG and Z2 aren’t the only ones thinking outside the box when it comes to celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with a portrait of the composer appearing in a sunflower field in Germany. Bavarian farmers Corinne and Uli Ernst from Utting am Ammersee have made headlines around the world with their giant labyrinth in the shape of the composer’s face.