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SYFY WIRE david bowie

Trip out with David Bowie in first surreal look at graphic novel about the life of Ziggy Stardust

By Josh Weiss
Bowie graphic novel cover

It's time to freak out in a moonage daydream, because SYFY WIRE has an exclusive first look at Insight Comics' graphic novel about the life and career of musician David BowieStardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams, which goes on sale everywhere Tuesday, Jan. 7.

One of the greatest musical talents of the 20th Century, Bowie — who sadly passed away in 2016 — was famous for adopting the alien alter ego known as "Ziggy Stardust." The singer would eventually play an extra-terrestrial in 1976's The Man Who Fell to Earth.

"[The graphic novel required] massive amounts of reading and re-reading books and magazines I’d collected most of my life, plus lots of on-camera interviews, documentaries, news reports, and concert footage. It was a thrill to find so many rocks have been turned over online, revealing lost treasures," Mike Allred, who shares writing credit with Steve Horton, tells SYFY WIRE. "Finding lost performances while doing research was a treat. Finding photos I’d never seen before. But his story has largely been available to me in real time since I was a kid. I’ve always jumped at any book, magazine, or film if it featured Bowie.

"[We used] about a dozen books, plus interviews, YouTube videos, magazine articles and so on," Horton adds. "The goal was not to rely too heavily on a few sources or viewpoints, but to draw upon everything for the most accurate portrayal we could create ... Before starting research, there was tons I didn't know. For example, much of the Ziggy Stardust album was written before Hunky Dory was even completed!"

Below, you can feast your eyes on three exclusive (not to mention eye-popping) interior pages illustrated by Laura Allred. They'll have you asking: "Is there life on Mars?" One of them is inspired by the classic Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

"That’s the magic of Bowie’s music. It inspires intense visual imagery. And unique to the individual," continues Allred. "More times than not, Steve and I found the music inspired completely different visions. There was one passage in particular that meant a lot to Steve, but I simply couldn’t grasp what he was seeing since my interpretation was so hard-wired ... [The comic] fills in the spaces, often clarifying, and solidifying events. It captures a sense of each era that you might experience in a solid film biography, but without the distraction of an actor’s impersonation.

"Bowie's stage presence was extremely visual throughout his many tours, and since we couldn't print lyrics, we chose to represent many of his songs with that same visual flair. I think Mike definitely succeeded!" Horton tells SYFY WIRE. "This book wouldn't be what it is without Mike, that's for sure. His interpretation of the script is genius and quite possibly the best work of his career. Also, Laura's colors are the best I've ever seen of her's. A match made in heaven!"

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

Bowie graphic novel cover

"The deal was competitive, but they also have a reputation for making super classy high-end productions, and their enthusiasm for what we wanted to do was infectious. It’s one of the best collaborative experiences I’ve ever had with a publisher!" says Allred, explaining why the creative team decided to go with Insight Comics as the graphic novel's publisher.

"Editor Mark Irwin is a huge classic rock fan and an Allred fan from way way back, and his enthusiasm was infectious. I like a lot of other books that Insight publishes, so it was only natural," concludes Horton.

You can pre-order a copy of the graphic novel right here. The 160-page comic contains a foreword by beloved fantasy and sci-fi writer, Neil Gaiman.

Insight Comics is a comic book offshot of Insight Editions.