Man alive, I waited ever so impatiently to be able to post this, and now it can be done!
As readers of this blog, or anyone who knows me really, are likely aware, I am a big David Bowie fan. I also enjoy comics. When I discovered that several of my coworkers had themed sketchbooks in which they coaxed various artists into all drawing the same character--Nova or Lockjaw or Yoda or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, say--I knew what had to happen. And at MoCCA this past summer, happen it did. And so...
SEAN T. COLLINS'S DAVID BOWIE SKETCHBOOK
Jeffrey Brown: Jeff grabbed the sketchbook from me during an afterparty and furiously produced this elfin rendition. Bowie as homunculus.
Charles Burns: Even though I've interviewed him before, I was still enormously starstruck by watching Burns draw live and in person, not least because of how much I love the Bowie imagery in Black Hole. Burns didn't use photo ref, but I'm not sure if that's because he didn't want to or just because he didn't realize I had it. I don't care either way.
Brian Chippendale: The only color image, and the only one to riff on early-90s bearded Bowie. "Bow down to Bowie" indeed--he looks like a real rock and roll animal here.
Becky Cloonan: Becky was extremely gung-ho about drawing David, perhaps more than any other artist. Given her Pirates of Coney Island and East Coast Rising gigs, she naturally went for the late-glam pirate look. "As a general rule...Bowie does it better!" Truer words, my friends.
John Cuneo: Cuneo is primarily an illustrator, and he's a big honking deal in that world. MoCCA was his first comic con and this was his first sketch request, and he was really amused/bemused by the specificity. After some self-effacement, he tore the goddamn roof off the book, even matching the photoref he more or less randomly chose with the era (Diamond Dogs--note the tail) with no help. People who've looked at the sketchbook say "this is my favorite" a lot.
Robert Goodin: Goodin's table was set up next to ours at MoCCA, and I grabbed him last minute. He's the only guy to go for the "Space Oddity"-era perm.
Paul Hornschemeier: A definite Young Americans lounge-lizard vibe to this one.
Michael Kupperman: This was the most painstakingly drawn sketch in the book, at least of the ones I watched happen. I handed Kupperman the book open to Gary Panter's sketch so as to be impressive, but he took this as a request to sketch on the same page, which he did. He handed the finished product back saying "This is NOT worthy of being on the same page as Panter's," which I think is selling himself short, but I was bummed out for making him feel that way nonetheless.
Vasilis Lolos: Vasilis, like Paul Pope and Charles Burns, eschewed photo ref. You could tell that this Bowie had been in his head for a while.
Anders Nilsen: From my standpoint on the other side of the table, watching Anders draw this upside-down, I couldn't figure out what was going on in this sketch until he turned the book back around and gave it to me. This sketch seems to get to people.
Bryan Lee O'Malley: Bryan knew exactly which era he wanted to tackle--the Thin White Duke. This tends to be a lot of people's favorite sketch, and Bryan took a picture of it himself before he gave the book back, so I guess he dug it too.
Gary Panter: Panter was the first artist I approached to do a Bowie sketch, thinking (correctly) that a) this would be awesome in and of itself and b) having Gary Panter in your sketchbook will go a long way toward convincing other artists to go along with this cockamamie idea. He was game but concerned that he wouldn't remember what Bowie looked like--then blam, out came my book of photoref (BowieStyle), and off he went.
Paul Pope: Unlike virtually everyone else who was nice enough to draw for me, Paul a) dove right for the virgin first page of the book (and his idea coincidentally made a great kick-off image) and b) didn't need photo reference at all. Note the mistaken label of "SPX" in the dateline--he caught this right away but didn't want to screw up the sketch by scribbling it out.
Zak Sally: When I pitched him on the Bowie idea, Sally immediately brought up the recent incident where an audience member lobbed a lollipop at David's eye during a show, and lo behold that's what he drew. Note the microphone cord.
Frank Santoro: I was really excited to get a Santoro sketch because his comic with Ben Jones, Cold Heat, captures the Ziggy-era Bowie mystique and appeal as well as anything I've read, even though it isn't about Bowie.
Adrian Tomine: I find Tomine's work very sexy so I suppose I expected something glammer, but his Bowie (which I believe was the tiniest rendition) has a nervous, almost fragile air. And the surprisingly popular pirate look makes another appearance.
Then there were the ones that got away: Alison Bechdel (I missed her signing by literally 30 seconds), Bill Sienkiewicz (a no-show), Nick Bertozzi (he promised to do it at a future time when he could take it slow), and Hope Larson (she felt like she couldn't do David justice). We'll see what the future brings.
Here's the link to the whole shebang as a Flickr set. Hopefully I'll have more to add after SPX next month. And oh how I wish I'd made it to the superhero-artist bonanzas that were San Diego or Chicago this year. Again, look to the future!
UPDATE: See more of my Bowie sketchbook here!