- This article is about the original comic; for the motion picture see The Crow (film).
The Crow is a series of comic books by James O'Barr. O'Barr conceived and created it in order to help him get over the loss of his fiance, killed in a car accident. Caliber Comics published the first four volumes in 1989 and the conclusion to the story was released in 1992 by Tundra Publishing. It was later followed by a Kitchen Sink Press release in a graphic novel format in 1993, containing a previously unpublished material. Currently the rights to the title are held by Pocket Books, which re-released the graphic novel with a new front cover.
The Crow achieved a considerable underground success that eventually led to a film adaptation and three sequels to the film adaptation and various different comics, books and media. A soundtrack to the comic book was released the same year.
The story revolves around a man and a woman who were killed brutally by a gang of thugs. The man named Eric who is resurrected by a crow and given supernatural powers to exact his revenge against those who killed him and his girlfriend.
The Crow has been translated into almost a dozen languages.
The story begins with a man named Mr. Jones, who has just stolen a piece of expensive electrical equipment from a household. Then a tricycle rolls out in front of him, so he looks down and then looks back up to see a ghostly figure. He drops the equipment, and the figure asks him if he has his attention. In a rage, Mr. Jones demands that he pays money for the equipment. to The figure tells him that Shelby the Giant told him he knows who T-Bird is. Mr. Jones gets enraged whilst the figure names 4 names; Tom Tom, Top Dollar, Funboy and Tin Tin. Mr. Jones screams in a rage and stabs the figure. The figure merely pulls out the knife without feeling pain which frightens Mr. Jones. He hands the knife back to Mr. Jones and asks him if he wants to try again. The figure begins to explain how he found out about this. Mr. Jones replies saying that "Shelby wouldn't roll on him", to which the figure pulls out some pliers and tells him that he cut off 3 of Shelby's fingers and made him eat them. So Mr Jones, full of fear, tells the figure everything. The figure grasps Mr. Jones' face and tells him to tell them he's coming.
A sudden change of atmosphere has a young gentleman on a train looking at the beautiful countryside and he spots a beautiful white horse that is running alongside the train. The gentleman smiles and the horse begins to run towards him, but then the man realises there is a barbed wire fence ahead of the horse. The horse runs into it and gets tangled and mutilated by the wire. The man begins to cry, then a crow appears next to him and tells him he shouldn't have looked. A skeletal figure appears and asks him for his ticket.
The figure was having a day dream, and he clutches his head in anger...tears falling from his face.
Book One: Pain
In the dead of night the figure walks in the ghostly moonlight, he is known as The Crow,
In the ghetto lies a house, with a large window inside of the window The Crow is watching out of the window something is plaguing his mind...Screams, sobbing, men's voices so grim and evil...he hears there names T-Bird, Tom Tom, Tin Tin, Funboy and Top Dollar...he hears voices that have been gone for a year.
In the street 3 men meet up, 2 of them selling a weapon to the other whose name is Tin Tin. They give the weapon to Tin Tin, and he kills an elderly woman with it. He then kills the 2 sellers, as the sirens cry in the distant Tin Tin slips into an alleyway unnoticed. But The Crow is waiting there for him...He asks The Crow why he is 'painted up' to which The Crow retorts "a funeral march". This angers Tin Tin and he fires his weapon at The Crow. It skims his head and The Crow shoots Tin Tin in the arm, forcing him to drop his weapon.
He asks Tin Tin if he remembers a night a year ago, with a broken down car, pain, madness and a man and a woman. Tin Tin begins to panic as he remembers; he knows The Crow was a man they killed a year ago, along with a woman. Despite Tin Tin's pleas, The Crow kills him. He then begins to remember certain things from the past.
He returns home and surrounds himself with pictures of a woman, and ties a spent shell in his hair.
The scene changes to a criminal meeting, in which a lot of arguing is going on. Top Dollar asserts his dominance over the rest of the criminals. They spot something moving outside the window. Someone goes to check and The Crow shoots him in the head. He begins slaughtering all of the criminals...he stops when he gets to Top Dollar, he asks him if he remembers him and Top Dollar doesn't answer. He begins bartering his life for drugs and money. After a fit of rage he screams, that he does remember. The Crow shoots him in the face.
After The Crow leaves, he finds a cat named Gabriel. He puts him in a box, takes him to his house, and opens it for someone he is talking to, a woman named Shelly who has died along with The Crow a year ago. He remembers she always wanted a cat...The Crow begins to cry as he remembers how he proposed to Shelly, while they were decorating there house.The Crow remembers his name is Eric.
Eric is daydreaming again, thinking of Shelly but the crow from the previous daydream tells him he doesn't need to be here...he carries on. The crow goads Eric, calling him an idiot, then Shelly is shot in the head by the skeletal figure from the previous dream. Eric wakes up. Eric screams, cries and bangs his head on the wall all he wants is pain, pain and hate, but not fear. Never fear, fear is for the enemy...Fear and Bullets.
Book Two: Fear
Eric is training, 65 pull ups, 65 press ups, 65 sit ups and then some tai chi.
In a house Tom Tom and an assailant are attacking a man, they slit his throat. Then Eric attacks them he cuts off the assailant's head with a katana. He then greets Tom Tom, his face a picture of madness. He kills the lights, Tom Tom starts firing his gun blind. Then Eric cuts his legs off. Before he dies Eric asks him where Shelly's engagement ring is he tells him that it was taken to Gideon's Pawn Shop, he also tells Eric that he remembers him he is confused because he knows Eric was murdered, he then dies of blood loss.
Eric leaves he arrives at Gideon's Pawn Shop, breaks down the door. Gideon tries to shoot Eric so Eric takes his gun and stabs him in the hand. He gives Eric the box where all of T-Bird's pawned stuff is, Eric is disgusted at the contents of the box. He finds Shelly's ring, Gideon tries to kill Eric again but this time Eric kills him. He then steals some assault rifles and shotguns, and then creates a bomb. The police arrive. Officer Albrecht points his gun at Eric. Eric tells him that guns and knives don't harm him. He sticks his head at the barrel of the gun and asks him to fire Albrecht doesn't. Eric tells him about Gideon and that he has activated a bomb that is going to explode in 2 minutes. He asks him to send his regards to Captain Hook. Eric leaves, Albrecht vomits at the sight of Gideon's body. He runs out calls Captain Hook. The shop explodes and he conveys Eric's message to which Captain Hook pulls out Eric's case file and discards it in the trash container.
At Eric's home, Gabriel finds a Christmas bauble and Eric remembers when him and Shelly were decorating the tree. He tells her they have a new house for Christmas, which makes Shelly happy, then Shelly tells him that they are going to drink some wine, watch a movie and then hear Shelly's version of The Cat in The Hat.
Eric begins to cry, but he is smiling as well. He pledges his love to Shelly and dismisses Gabriel telling him that he makes him smile too much.
As Eric approaches a street corner where Funboy lives he spots a little girl who's mother is having sex with Funboy, she calls him 'Mr Clown'. Her name is Sherri, Sherri tells Eric that she think god is punishing her and she's in hell, Eric tells her that she isn't in hell, but you can see it from here. Eric calls her 'Princess'. Eric tells here about Shelly and how she has gone to heaven. He then gives Sherri Shelly's engagement ring on a necklace. He then promises Sherri that they will meet again and he tells her he will sent her mother down.
He goes up the stairs and sees Funboy having sex with Sherri's mother. He then tells her to go downstairs. he tells her how important being a mother is. The Crow (bird) tells Eric there is a gun under his pillow, he then begins talking to Funboy, he finds out he is a morphine junkie. Funboy remembers Eric. He steals Funboy's morphine and tells him to meet him at The Gin Mill.
Eric goes home and is remembering a strong sexual encounter with Shelly. But The Crow keeps teasing him and goading him.
Book Three: Irony
Eric prays at a church, grabs his guns and sets out for The Gin Mill, he doses up on Morphine and opens the door. A huge gun fight occurs but Eric doesn't kill Funboy. Funboy sees Eric bleed. Funboy tells him that he's done worse and he enjoyed raping Shelly. Eric asks him to go find T-Bird and in return he promises a quick and painless death, but not for T-Bird.
Eric gets home and curses god calling him a bastard. He remembers Shelly and there love, the pain becomes too much for him to bear, so Eric picks up a straight razor and starts to self harm. He paints a picture of The Cat in The Hat on the wall with his own blood.
Book Four: Despair
Eric is remembering the past...
He and Shelly are at a field after having a picnic. They leave but the car breaks down Eric can't fix it because he doesn't have the right parts. The gang drive past and then stop they get out and ask Eric if he wants help, Eric says no. Then he tells them he doesn't want any trouble...T-Bird thinks he's begging, He asks Shelly to turn on the car lights. T-Bird tells the guys to go 'help' Shelly, Eric begins to shout at them then he attacks Tin Tin then T-Bird shoots Eric in the head which splits his face and ruptures his left iris. But he survives. Then T-Bird executes him but The Crow keeps him alive and tells him not too look, Eric has no choice he is paralyzed, he sees Shelly being raped, tortured and beaten to death. Eric wakes up in the hospital, the doctors think he's braindead but he begins to talk. Then he is rushed to intensive care's surgery ward, the fix him up but his heart stops. He is resurrected a year later.
Eric begins to prepare...he tapes up is cuts, and tells Gabriel he has to go, he writes a letter to Captain Hook telling him that Gabriel needs looking after, it seems Gabriel is a girl and is expecting kittens and she will need a flea collar. He also writes a letter to Albrecht asking him to take care of Sherri. He loads his guns puts on a leather jacket and burns down his and Shelly's house.
Book Five: Death
He visits Sherri like he promised and apologizes for how hard her life will be...
Eric kills some of T-Birds gangsters...
Funboy is telling T-Bird about Eric but T-Bird won't listen...Funboy goes to the kitchen for a fix and Eric meets him there and tells him its time to die...Funboy confesses to Eric that he is a monster and he hopes to go to hell...Eric promises him a quick and painless death so he tells him to do all of his morphine. Funboy dies and in his own blood Eric writes on the wall 'I KNOW WHY JESUS WEPT MOTHERFUCKERS'.
T-Bird finds it and orders everyone to fight, Eric kills most of them. Shelby drives T-Bird away but Eric jumps on the car and kills Shelby, he orders T-Bird to get out of the car so he can see him kill all of his men. He then allows himself to be shot by all of T-Bird's men.
Eric survives and disappears into the shadows and kills all of T-Bird's men...T-Bird flees but he crashes the car, Eric walks up to him and kills him with a hammer.
Eric walks over to Shelly's grave at the graveyard, he sits down and The Crow leaves him allowing him to pass on now, he remembers when him and Shelly would say they would be together forever...
Eric tells her that forever is now.
James O'Barr began writing and illustrating The Crow to help himself get rid of some bad feelings after his fiancée was struck and killed by a drunk driver. It took him about 10 years to finish. He showed it to an upcoming comic book publisher who liked it so much he decided to publish it.
More tragedy came in 1994 when Brandon Lee was killed accidental filming the movie adaptation due to a dummy bullet being lodged in the barrel of the prop gun, so when it was fired it penetrated his stomach and hit his spine.
O'Barr dedicated future releases of The Crow in Brandon Lee's Memory.
The Crow: Author's Edition
O'Barr stated in a 2004 interview that The Crow: Author's Edition would contain at least "60 pages of new material that no one has ever seen. Half of that are pages that had to be removed for space reasons". O'Barr describes the additions as including "more romance flashback scenes between Eric and Shelly", as well as sequences which will make the work "more visually interesting". On January 16, 2010, it was announced on James O'Barr's official website that the Author's Edition of The Crow is indeed going to be released and that James O'Barr was currently working on it.
On April 7, 2011, it was announced on James O'Barr's official website that The Crow: Special Edition would be released on July 28, 2011.
The book contains extended, deleted pages, a new introduction by O'Barr and pages O'Barr wanted in the original but wasn't able to do due to artistic limitation. For example, after Eric kills Gideon and Albrecht walks in they have a heart to heart conversation about Albrecht leaving his wife. A whole new segment named Sparklehorse was added, it continues the story of the white horse Eric sees earlier on in the story. It appears to him on a rampage after he kills T-Bird, it is suffering so Eric euthanises it. The horse represents Eric's guilt for not being able to help Shelly.
The edition is dedicated to Brandon Lee.
Original Comic Characters
- Officer Albrecht
- Captain Hook
- The Crow
- Fat Eddie
- Mad Jack
- Sandy Skin
- Mr Biz
- Shelby the Giant
- Skull Cowboy
- Tin Tin
- Tom Tom
- Two Tone
- Ugly Patrick
- unnamed boy with down-syndrom
- unnamed Neighbour woman
The film was very well received and did very well at the box office grossing $144,000,000 worldwide.
On Rotten Tomatoes The Crow holds an 83% rating based on 40 reviews giving it a fresh rating.
On IMDB it is rated at 7.5/10 or 4 stars
The Crow is mentioned in Empire's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time; it ranked at number 468.
On December 14, 2008, Stephen Norrington announced in Variety that he planned to write and direct a "reinvention" of The Crow. Norrington distinguished between the original and his remake: "Whereas Proyas' original was gloriously gothic and stylized, the new movie will be realistic, hard-edged and mysterious, almost documentary-style."
Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media is currently negotiating with Edward R. Pressman for both the film's rights and financing.
Norrington later stepped out of the project and, on April 7, 2011, it was announced that 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had been chosen to direct the film, which has since been regarded as a reboot. Relativity Media's Tooley will serve as executive producer, while Jose Ibanez, Jon Katz and Jesus de la Vega will serve as co-producers. Bradley Cooper was in talks to play the lead.
It was reported on April 20, 2011 that the film is reportedly undergoing some legal battles. In late June 2011, Relativity Media announced their plans to continue in mid-lawsuit and had tapped Alex Tse, who co-wrote the Watchmen film.
In mid-August 2011, it was announced that Cooper has dropped out due to scheduling difficulties and Mark Wahlberg, who was originally in talks for the lead in 2010, is up for the part, with also rumors of Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling possibly taking the role.
It was confirmed in January 2012 that F. Javier Gutierrez has signed on to direct the remake, with Edward R. Pressman and Jeff Most on producing duties. With Luke Evans in the title role.
According to Edward R.Pressman, the remake is a 'reinvention' of James O'Barr's Graphic Novel for the 21st Century. "The original 1994 Crow film holds a special place in my heart. The current film is a 'reinvention' of James O'Barr's graphic novel for the 21st Century. We're thrilled to have teamed with director Javier Gutierrez and screenwriter Jesse Wigutow on this story, which remains true to the core of Eric Draven's plight for revenge," he said. "Giving too much away wouldn't be any fun. 'Disorder, chaos, anarchy -- now that's fun!'