GRAPHIC NOVELS

Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

Insight. Jan. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9781683834489. $39.99. Rated: Teen+. biog
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Allred (Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive) and Horton (Satellite Falling) track rock-and-roll icon David Bowie’s rise to superstardom in the early 1970s in this energetic and gorgeously illustrated graphic biography. After an opening that skims Bowie’s early career in the 1960s, the narrative quickly moves to Bowie’s decision to reinvent himself as the androgynous extraterrestrial Ziggy Stardust, and to rename his band the Spiders from Mars, in November 1971. The success of the ensuing album, combined with Bowie’s charisma, fashion sense, and talent for creating stunning imagery, leads to near-hysterical devotion among fans and a massive world tour that lasts until Bowie abruptly decides to retire the Ziggy persona in 1973.
VERDICT Allred’s pop art–style illustration, heavily influenced by 1960s and 1970s fashion, pop culture, and psychedelia, is perfectly suited to the era, and his adoration for his subject shines through carefully captured period details and likenesses and lovingly re-created famous photographs and album covers. Most impressive, Allred employs superimposed imagery and surrealistic flourishes to capture the raw energy of live musical performances in scenes depicting Bowie and the band in concert.

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