Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams
A graphic novel biography of how David Bowie created his alter ego, “Ziggy Stardust.”
Authors: Michael Allred, Steve Horton, Laura Allred, with a foreword by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Biography / Graphic Novel
Reader Appeal: Mature teens and adults; Fans of David Bowie
I can still remember the first time I saw an image of Ziggy Stardust. I was a preteen, just discovering the power of music. Blondie, Queen, and Pink Floyd blasted out from my tiny radio. The sounds seemed edgy, maybe a little dangerous, but not weird, and not out of this world.
Then one day when I was hanging out with a friend, her older brother started playing the Ziggy Stardust concert video. It hit me like a bolt of lightning; I was transfixed.
Music for Bowie was so much more than just music. It was theater. And space travel. And costume changes. And magic, And it all played out with sound and lyrics as a guide. I realized then that music could move a person emotionally and spiritually, and I wanted to hear it all!
Fast-forward a few decades, and I find myself holding BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams in my hands. This graphic novel brought back all those awestruck preteen memories. Reading Michael Allred and Steve Horton's illustrated biography, I felt like I was there, in the studio, walking on the streets of London and New York right next to David Bowie. Laura Allred's intense visuals made me feel like I was really seeing, for the first time, how Bowie became Ziggy. Every page was a trip down glam-rock lane, with appearances by Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter, Elton John, and The Who. Alice Cooper was there as well, and a scene with Monty Python that had me quoting movie lines annoyingly to my family.
By the time I heard of Ziggy Stardust, he was "dead," as David Bowie had moved on to other things. Still cool but not as magical. With this gem of a book in my hands I can revisit that halcyon time when Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly, and the spiders from Mars.
Parents and mature teens with a nostalgia for glam-rock days will enjoy this fine, creative treatment of Bowie's creation. Don't expect a sanitized version though. As always, Bowie is a bit controversial and untamed, so enjoy the book -- and then take time to talk about it with your kids.
Let's Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this book:
• Why do you think David Bowie felt it was necessary to create "Ziggy Stardust"? Explain your thinking.
• What's your impression of Bowie and "Stardust" after reading this story? Tell me about that.
• If you could sit down for an hour with "Ziggy," what questions would you ask? And what would you like to say to him? Why?
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