Steve Horton and I both started out as comic journalists for the Comic Buyers Guide. Despite our mutual employment as freelancers at the same company at the same time, our paths never crossed. We must have missed each other at the company Christmas party. We also share a love of David Bowie music. Steven was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to let our readers know all about his latest project BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams.
First Comics News: I didn’t realize you were a fellow CBG alumnus, how did you get the CBG gig?
Steve Horton: Way back in the summer of 2001, just before 9/11, I applied to and landed an internship at Comics Buyer’s Guide, Scrye and Toy Shop magazines, all at the Krause Publications building in Iola, Wisconsin. I spent all summer there and freelanced for CBG for many years afterward.
1st: You also worked for SyFy Wire, how did this come about?
Steve: Editor Jordan Zakarin often posts open calls for pitches on Twitter, and that led to me writing several articles for him at SyFy, mostly about DC Vertigo. Fun gig that paid well.
1st: How did you transition from comic journalist to comic writer?
Steve: It’s less of a transition and more of a back and forth. I do some of each depending on my work situation. Right now I’m writing informational articles for Marvel.com alongside my comics work.
1st: When did you first discover David Bowie?
Steve: I’ve been a Bowie fan for over 20 years, but I only seriously got into his music in the last several years, beginning with the Hunky Dory era, which remains my favorite album.
1st: What did his music mean to you?
Steve: His music has crossed so many genres and always sounds amazing, and the lyrics, though often cryptic, are profound. Bowie’s work has always just sounded good to my ear. It’s therapeutic.
1st: What makes Bowie a good subject for a bio-comic?
Steve: The larger-than-life visual aspect of Bowie and the Spiders’ costumes and stages made them a natural for the graphic novel treatment. Plus, by bringing many of his songs to life visually, we can make it even more psychedelic and surreal.
1st: How much research did you do for this project?
Steve: Tons. Both Michael and I read every reference book we could get our hands on. Hundreds of hours of chronological research went into the script and art. Despite the numerous fantasy sequences, the story is very factual.
1st: What did you discover that surprised you about Bowie?
Steve: He never stopped writing, and nobody really knew the real him. He was an enigma to everyone.
1st: How much time passed between the time you started your research and when the comic was picked up for publication?
Steve: Oh gosh. The project was conceived in January 2017, and we OK’ed the offer from Insight in September of that year. From conception to publication itself would be almost three years exactly.
1st: Why did you decide to end the story in 1974?
Steve: It’s a natural stopping point, as Bowie’s career and music post Ziggy was very different. Plus, then we could integrate his Farewell Speech at the Odeon as a framing sequence.
1st: How did you get together with Michael Allred?
Steve: The original artist on BOWIE left the project very early on, and my pal Phil Hester suggested Michael. Him being an even bigger Bowie fan than myself was quite enthusiastic!
1st: Were you aware he had previously tried to produce an authorized David Bowie comic?
Steve: I’m not sure if that came up in conversation or not. I have a Swiss Cheese brain.
1st: What made Insight Comics the right publisher for your project?
Steve: Our editor, Mark Irwin, is a big fan of Michael’s and of classic rock in general. Insight was very enthusiastic about bringing us on board. Plus, the production values on their hardcovers are top notch!
1st: There are a lot of celebrity cameos. How did you decide who to include and who to leave out?
Steve: Whatever the script called for, Michael depicted beautifully. Bowie crossed paths with many legends in rock & roll over the years, so it made sense to bring them in as cameos where we could.
1st: There were some cameos for time reference that didn’t interact with any of the people in the story. What do you feel they added to the narrative?
Steve: These cameos, like Monty Python and Frank-n-Furter, sort of grounded the story into a specific time period. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Michael Allred’s Monty Python?
1st: You focus a lot on his relationship with Angie. Was this the most important relationship in his life?
Steve: Only Bowie could have answered that question. Angie certainly supported him very early on and contributed to his clothing and look.
1st: Are you planning on a second volume continuing the story after BOWIE is released?
Steve: I for one would very much like to do another! All I can say is “We’ll see!”