Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams by Michael Allred, Steve Horton and Laura Allred. Insight Comics, $39.99.
David Bowie’s life was a colorful one, and what better way to celebrate that with a graphic novel? Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams is a beautiful biography of the musician and father that David Bowie was. Starting with his meager beginnings as a mime, and following his career till its 1973 climax at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, this graphic novel follows every twist and turn in a beautifully artistic manner.
The novel stays true to his pop art Andy Warhol-esque aesthetic while capturing his many different costumes and alter-egos with precision and skill. If you’re not too familiar with Bowie’s career, this is a good book to help you learn. If you have been a lifelong fan, this book will delight you and give you many hours of enjoyment. The prologue illustrates his later years in a way that maintained his integrity and creates a tribute worthy of such an icon. It also hints at the possibility of more graphic novels going deeper into other characters in the future. — Chandlor Henderson
Bitter Root, Vol. One: Family Business ($16. 99) and Bitter Root, Vol. Two: Rage & Redemption ($19.99) by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene. Image Comics.
Portland-based writer David F. Walker, along with Chuck Brown and artist Sanford Greene, are creating a series of graphic novels playing on the fight between good and evil. The story follows the monster-hunting Sangerye family, who have been given supernatural powers as a result of state-sponsored violence against their communities, such as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The fight of good and evil is one that is all too real to the community Walker, Brown and Greene are trying to reach, the people of the African diaspora, who are under the constant threat of racism and police brutality. Bitter Root starts in the Harlem Renaissance with a common nightmare of many Black and brown people: a police officer discharging his firearm at them while they are unarmed. They survive the attack due to their powers, but from there the story builds. As they continue to fight the evil of racism, other challenges arise.
In Vol. Two, the fight against evil is amplified by monsters from a different realm, leading the family to fight much more powerful foes. As cousin Berge puts it, “Your voice hints of an insalubrious disposition. I admire your optimism.” — Chandlor Henderson