Diverse conspiracy theories have been linking great events of human history to alien interventions: for several reasons, spatial beings have been helping our techno development since the beginning of ages, being sometimes confused with gods and mystical creatures. Mike Allred decided to go beyond usual conspiracy theories with the following purpose: and if our well-known rock'n'roll had a touch (or some chords) from outer space?
The result is Red Rocket 7, graphic novel published in 1997, a hybrid kind of epic sci-fi with a declared love for the history of rock. Allred is a writer and a drawer; besides, he's a The Gear member and shows up his knowledge about instruments, records, places and mythic characters of musical world for more than two hundred pages that composes the edition.
The protagonist of the plot is a spatial fugitive whose characteristics remind us about Ziggy Stardust, Superman and Forrest Gump: with a bodyguard robot, he literally collides with our humble blue planet, getting a serious injury at the process. In order to assure the alien survivor, the robot uses ctrl c + ctrl v and creates six clones from Red's original DNA with the same physical semblance -- red hair, numbers tattooed on their forehead, but with different talents: one had math abilities beyond expectations; another had considerable strength and skillfulness, and the luck number Seven won the gift of musical and artistic expression.
Then, even without flying or curve iron bars, Seven could change our planet by living with those who would define rock'n'roll: he thought dance steps to Elvis Presley, he got a ride with Little Richard, he helped Beatles and Stones since the first tours until fame, and he obviously gave some advices for a David Bowie who was starting his career, inspiring a wardrobe changing and anthems like "Life on Mars?" and "Space Oddity". More recent artists like The Dandy Warhols, had also crossed the way of the alien rockstar.
Around guitar riffs and lysergic journeys, Red and their clones have to deal with the persecution by executioners from an enemy planet, fans' siege, deaths and the drama of being "strange on a strange land", as they don't even have a father figure (the original Red Rocket got exiled on an unknown dimension).
As telling more details would damage the reading, it's enough to say that Allred -- famous at the comics market for surreal Madman - magisterially sewed the history and he behind-the-scenes of a fiery musical style, showing his abilities as narrator and artist. His backgrounds and dynamic figures have retro and pop art references, with varied sceneries, going from the spatial confines to bucolic musical instruments' store in USA little towns. In few pages, we have rockets, lasers, amplifiers and caves from 1950s until our days.
More than a paste-up among different genres (comics and music) or a simple homage to rock, Red Rocket 7 approaches philosophic concepts as death and resurrection through the characters' beliefs and his original planet. Around bizarre situations, he examines our human condition, full of contradictions and prejudices, but that also can produce artists and ways of expression that can take us to a new evolutive path. It's art that goes beyond the entertainment boundaries and provokes our brains: it seems to be Mike Allred's target, a guy who also expanded the concept of his graphic novel to a movie, Astroesque, and to The Gears' musicality too.
Mike Allred's official website.
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