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‘Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams’ (review)

Written by Michael Allred & Steve Horton
Art by Michael Allred & Laura Allred
Published by Insight Editions


There have been comic books about rock stars before. Some of them have actually been pretty cool even if they weren’t biographical (Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation and the KISS comics). Some have been biographical and been downright amazing (The Fifth Beatle comes to mind).

If there was any musician that needed his own graphic novel, it would be David Bowie. Luckily, he has top notch talent on his biographical graphic novel and it is an absolutely amazing and absorbing experience.

This graphic novel is unlike any others that have come before it.

I will say that this is a hard book to review as it has a lot of historical facts thrown at the reader one after the other. It felt like the creators were trying to fit in as much as they possibly could into this story.

And I was fine with that.

The book starts off in the 1960s. A young man named Davy Jones wants to become a musician. The problem is, there already is a music named Davy Jones. So what does this guy do? He decides to give himself a new name: David Bowie.

So Bowie starts off on his career with this in 1963. What is interesting about this part is that he isn’t a success right away. The book really does show those hard moments of perseverance. It wasn’t until 1969 that his first single broke into the U.K. Charts with “Space Oddity.” From there, Bowie started getting more and more attention.

But it wasn’t until 1972 where Bowie started to really make his mark.

Bowie and Mick Ronson were there at the beginning of glam rock. We get to see the rise of the subculture of glam rock and Bowie’s contributions to it. The book also focuses a lot on his Ziggy Stardust persona and his various relationships.

Overall, the book is beautiful. It really shows a lot of interactions between Bowie and many famous musicians that you would never expect. People like Elton John and Freddie Mercury and even Elvis show up in the book. It is a lot of fun.

The book does have two minor problems in it, at least for me.

One is that it feels a bit short. It is so noticeable that maybe another book should be produced by the creative team to cover the second half of Bowie’s career. (And no, the ”epilogue” we get doesn’t do it for me in that regard)

The second thing, is that the book doesn’t really have a discernible ending or any real drama that leads up to an ending. Even an obscure biography has that!

Still, the passion and research shows in every panel. Allred has done his best work here and it is a beautiful book to look at. The likenesses for every character is perfect. This is a great book for any Bowie fan or for anyone who was always curious about his life. There are certainly a lot of things I never knew about and it is an impressive book overall.



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