If there were a rock biography fit for the comic pages, it would be David Bowie. Mike Allred chooses his most visual and iconic era, Ziggy Stardust, to fill out the pages of the rise from London folkie to glam superstar. * BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams* is partially a biography, but mostly a loving tribute to Bowie’s sheer charisma as an artist.
The book isn’t an exhaustive moment by moment account of Bowie’s life, and the narrative is dense enough that most of it is presented almost in montage. The story is framed by the infamous onstage announcement that the Ziggy Stardust was no more.
There’s a cavalcade of celebrity cameos detailing both Bowie’s contemporaries, influences, and the future artists he inspires. You see a lot of the usual suspects here, Elton John, Queen, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, and Mott the Hoople. I was surprised to see that Christopher Lee made an appearance; I had never known that he had wanted to make a record with Bowie.
Though chronicling all of the people Bowie influenced would be exhaustive and drag down the narrative, I wish that Morrissey wouldn’t have been the choice for his influence over Post-Punk. I know it lines up that he was in the audience at the time, but Moz just sadly brings his awful racist rants to mind, not his artistic achievements.
Allred’s art is terrific here, along with vivid and amazing colors from his wife, Laura Allred. There are gorgeous splashes of Bowie’s most iconic moments, along with meticulous details to capture the moments in between shows. Though I think that my favorite comes at the end, where Bowie says goodbye to Ziggy in a dream sequence.
While I enjoyed this book, there are quite a few places where were only hinted at the future. There’s plenty of hints that Tony Defries isn’t on the level, but we never see the conclusion to that story. We also only get brief hints at Bowie mixing Raw Power and producing Transformer, excluding altogether chilly reception the former got from the Stooges.
Hopefully, we can see those loose threads picked up in another volume that tracks Bowie’s post-Ziggy period through Berlin. The extended epilogue covers the period that runs out Bowie’s glam era of Pin-Ups and Diamond Dogs.
Even without the rest of the story, this is a glorious tribute to Bowie’s power as an artist. Allred lovingly shows off how the visuals of Bowie influenced his work in comics and designing characters. There’s an introduction by Neil Gaiman where he talks about Bowie’s influence over his work as well. Arriving just in time for Bowie’s birthday, it was a great way to spend some time in his world.
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