I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
– David Bowie
David Bowie‘s work – and indeed, Bowie himself – has often inspired comic creators across the globe, be it as they listened to his music as they worked or in their work itself. With his death at 69 after a long battle with cancer, just after his new album Blackstar was released, many comic artists have quickly published their own tributes to the innovative rock star, who counted British comics The Beano and VIZ among his Top 100 favourite reads (and, as comics writer Peter Hogan reminds me, quoted from the X-Men way back in 1971).
— Sarah McIntyre (@jabberworks) January 11, 2016
— The Beano Comic (@BeanoComic) January 11, 2016
This sad occasion isn’t of course the first time Bowie has appeared or inspired comics or art work. In 2011, the Comics Alliance website highlighted the work of Andrew Kolb for example, who created his own telling the story of David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity” in the style of an illustrated children’s book. The tale of doomed Major Tom plays out in Kolb’s bright and retro animation style and you can download the whole book as a PDF at Kolb’s website.
The Side Effects of Cocaine by Sean T. Collins and Isaac Moylan charts some of Bowie’s darker aspects with a slice-of-life comic (more information on that work here), while Stormfront Comics documented his life in Fame: David Bowie in 2014, a comic written by Mike Lynch, drawn by George Amaru that’s available via Comixology. Four covers in the series were by Graham Hill.
But for me, one of the best collections of comic tributes I’ve come across come in “The Thin White Sketchbook” – drawings collected by Sean T. Collins of Bowie that include the work of Kate Beaton, Seth, Bill Plympton, Roger Langridge (below) and many others, which you can view online here on Flickr.
Rest In Peace, Mr Bowie. You will be much missed.
More Bowie Tributes
• In 2012, Lizz Lunney put together a Bowie zine to celebrate her love for the musician. It sold out of the 300 Limited Edition copies printed and so she decided to upload the PDF, free to any other Bowie fans who might enjoy it
• Artist John Riordan is giving a talk to the Blake Society tomorrow (Tuesday 12th January at Waterstones Piccadilly, 7.30). Admission is free – you’re supposed to email piccadilly@waterstones to put your name on the door. He’ll be showing off some of his work, including sketches of Bowie, William Blake and his Taxi Driver cartoons
• In 2013 designer Mark Blamire asked 100 designers to express their love for the artist David Bowie using just the five letters from his surname and in the typeface of their choice. They all came back with something unique and lovingly crafted and each submission was created out of admiration for him and his work
• Cartoonist, writer and comedian Kev F Sutherland has been a Bowie fan since 1973, when he bought Life On Mars. “Not being as tech-savvy as he always was, I only have three albums on my phone,” he says. “One is the Best Of Bowie. And the Scottish Falsetto Socks would be nowhere without him, from their mashup of ‘Laughing Gnome’/’Ashes To Ashes’ to the version of ‘Starman’ that closed our Socks In Space show, Bowie wrote some of our best stuff. Loving the alien.” Check out ‘Socks in Space Oddity’ here
• There’s a selction of Bowie images, including some featured or mentioned here, over on the Forbidden Planet International blog here