Michael Allred’s Bowie is Music to My Eyes!
Having read Michael Allred’s Red Rocket 7, about an extraterrestrial rock God come to save the earth, I already had the notion that Michael Allred was destined to be David Bowie’s visual biographer. It was just a matter of time when he would fulfill it. That when was revealed recently in the amazing graphic novel Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams
Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams
Written by Steve Horton and Michael Allred
Art by Michael Allred
Embellishes Laura Allred
Published by Insight Comics
In the summer of 2019, Mike Allred announced his plans for a David Bowie biographical graphic novel. I was automatically on board with hit with the news. Red Rocket 7 read so much like an adaptation of David Bowie’s sci-fi classic movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth. Allred’s rock opera, also spans the entire history of rock and roll. While you can see the Madman Creator’s love for music throughout; the scenes where Rocket meets David Bowie are where you feel the most connected. For Mike Allred is clearly a fan of Bowie!
Back to last summer. I follow Michael Allred and his equally talented wife, Laura, on social media. One day I was scrolling down my feed when I was struck by this beautiful black and white sketch of the Starman himself in the style of Allred. I knew that this scene didn’t appear in Red Rocket 7. Where did it come from? Imagine my surprise as the image was the first preview for the new Bowie biography! My wishes had been granted!
Over the course of about 6 months, a new sketch would pop up on my social media feed pretty regularly, showing the progression of this project. This began a lengthy countdown to last week when the book finally debuted in stores. And I was first in line for a copy!
Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams focuses on the early years of Bowie’s career. From having to change his name in order not to be confused with a member of the Monkees all the way through the creation of Bowie’s personas of Ziggy Stardust and later Aladdin Sane, this is a whirlwind history of the early days of glam rock.
Helping Michael Allred with research and co-scripting duties is Steve Horton (Amala’s Blade). Horton does a great job introducing the reader to the entire lineup of the pioneers of glam. But it’s Allred’s talented hand that brings heavenly icons such as the late Bowie as well as Marc Nolan, Mick Ronson and Freddie Mercury back to life. With such a large cast of characters, especially in those large group scenes, a ‘Who’s Who’ in the appendices would have been appreciated.
This book is very much an Allred project. One of Michael Allred’s favorite motifs is the use of the third eye. In much of Allred’s work, the third eye is used as a New Age portal between other worlds or dimensions of consciousness. In this book, the third eye is the Stargate between David Bowie the man and his creative process which evolves into Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Another example that makes this book a very Allred project is the presence of Laura Allred. Laura has been Michael’s longtime colorist and sometimes inker. Her amazing palette makes Bowie’s world so colorful and at times ethereal.
This graphic novel was a visual delight. So many images of the Starman looked so real. This might be graphic novel blasphemy but I would kill for Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams to be made into an animated movie. Not that the artwork of the Allreds was lacking a fluidity of motion. It’s just that the biggest missing piece to this rock and roll tapestry was the music. Couldn’t a Kindle version of this book be released with a soundtrack?
Minus the tunes, Bowie was still a complete sensory adventure into the creative process. Be sure not to overlook the loquacious tribute from Neil Gaiman at the beginning. To gloss over the sketchbook and Michael’s afterword would be an equal disservice to the reader.
An intergalactic playlist for the soul. It’s only January! But 2020 is going to have a difficult time coming up with something to beat this book for graphic novel of the year.
Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams debuted on January 8th, 2019! If you can’t find this in the graphic novel section of your local bookstore, check the music books section. That’s where I found my copy!
The Brilliance of Bowie!