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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Graphic: A Comic About David Bowie’s Cocaine Years

This fictionalized mini-comic depicts David Bowie's legendary era of cocaine and paranoia in the '70s. Enjoy!

23 Substance

The mid-seventies were a particularly colorful time for rocker David Bowie. He had moved on from his legendary Ziggy Stardust persona, delved into American soul music and developed a highly publicized (and self-described) cocaine habit that has become the stuff of rock legends. “The Side Effects of Cocaine“, a mini-comic written by Sean T. Collins and illustrated by Isaac Moylan, is a highly fictionalized picture of what this coke-addled period of Bowie’s career may have been like.

The comic occurs in the time following Bowie’s recording of his Station to Station album, of which he has said: “I know it was recorded in LA because I read it was.” Subsisting off a diet of “red peppers, milk and cocaine,” he had developed acute paranoia and a fascination with fascism and the occult. Peter Bebergal offers a window into Bowie’s world at the time in his book, Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Rollwhile describing rock critic Cameron Crowe’s visit to the musician’s Hollywood home in 1975: ”he found a coked-out Bowie lighting black candles to protect himself from unseen supernatural forces outside his window.”