Ground control to Major Tom, David Bowie’s Space Oddity is being converted into what can only be described as the next obvious choice – a digitized children’s book.
The eerie 1969 classic about a fictional astronaut appearing on Bowie’s album of the same name is one of his best-known songs taking its title from the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The character Major Tom depicted in Space Oddity, Ashes to Ashes, and Hallo Spaceboy found life outside Bowie’s work, featured in Peter Schilling’s Major Tom (Coming Home) and passing reference in Def Leppard’s Rocket, Marilyn Manson’s Apple of Sodom and on The Mars Volta‘s live album Scabdates, appearing on the song Cicatriz: Part III.
According to Canadian illustrator Andrew Kolb, Bowie’s space epic immediately filled his mind’s eye with visuals.
“Every lyric paints such a vivid picture that I figured ‘Oh hey, I guess I’ll make that into a children’s book!’”
Kolb had difficulty making the lyrics function as a visual story, telling Wired Magazine, “In my early drafts it didn’t really work as a picture book, and that was my goal all along.”
Working through the kinks, Kolb produced a digital version – available as a free download on his website. Though it’s been alluded Major Tom has a nasty addiction to heroin (“we know Major Tom’s a junkie”) there is nothing of the sort found in the book’s pages.
“It’s been really cool hearing all these different interpretations of the lyrics, and all I can say is that the approach I took was the one that translated best to an image-based story,” Kolb said.
“Either way, how could you not have fun designing spacesuits and jet packs!”
With enough support, a hard copy version may find its way on the shelves one day.