Created by: James O’barr
Eric Draven a.k.a The Crow was created by James O’Barr back in 1989 and first appeared in Caliber Comics Presents and later went on the be published by Image Comics. The Crow is a story of love and revenge and is quite a dark read. When we examine the origin of The Crow we’ll be looking at his original origin that first appeared in the pages of O’Barr’s original Crow series for Caliber Comics.
The original series was black and white, that and O’Barr’s art style really worked well together to depict the dark and violent world The Crow inhabited. In the initial 8 pages where we are introduced to The Crow we don’t see his full origin, but it is hinted at that the character has suffered a great loss and is punishing the ones that wronged him. So how did Eric become this avenging vigilante righting wrongs, let’s take a look.
Eric and his girlfriend Sherry were out for a nice day at the beach when their car broke down. The couple were then set upon by a bunch of rough characters that definitely meant them harm and were quite menacing. The gang attack Eric and while he is trying to protect Shelly he is shot in the back of the head. It’s a grazing blow and he survives, staggering towards shelly. But he doesn’t get far and one of the gang members shoots him again at close range, paralyzing him. Eric falls to the ground paralyzed and unable to do anything but watch as they brutally rape and kill Shelly. As he watches all this happening tears running down his face a crow lands next to him and tells him he doesn’t have to look, that he shouldn’t look. Now Eric is found and brought to the hospital but dies uttering, “The Crow…The Crow said not to look.” But that’s not where Eric’s story ends.
Now this crow that has tried to warn Eric is not an ordinary bird. In some mythologies and folklore Crows will appear to people who have been wronged and by violence and are not taken to the hereafter, but resurrect them allowing them to take their vengeance on those who wronged them. The soul of the Crow enters the victim who has been wronged bringing them back from the dead and imbuing them with power and then acts as a guide for the avenging vigilante.
So what powers and abilities do those who have been resurrected and have been brought back have while on their mission. And I’m just going to start calling the character who has been resurrected, The Crow, and the actual bird…well, winged crow. The Crow, being dead is basically invulnerable to any injuries and can instantly recover and regenerate from injuries. Being dead also does not need to eat, drink or sleep. He also has superhuman strength and reflexes that allow him to make short work of his enemies. The Crow can also see the memories of others when he touches an object that the person owned and can also project those images into another’s mind. For example, Eric makes one of the gang members relive hours of Shelly’s rape and murder. The Crow has one vulnerability, that was first developed in the movie adaptation and later was added to comics. The actual Crow gives the character his strength but if the actual crow was injured or killed the character would lose their strength and power. The Crow’s powers change a bit through the series and movies with the character being able to see through the eyes of the actual crow and even turn into a crow and fly.
The Crow, like I mentioned, started out being published by Caliber Comics for it’s initial four part series and then it’s picked up by London Night Studios who printed another Crow series until it was picked up by Image Comics who printed a 10 issue mini series where the story of The Crow from the original comic’s is mingled with elements of the movie. One aspect of the character that stayed the same throughout the comics and movies is the look and appearance of the character. The Crow is very pale and has distinctively painted face that he painted to look like the Greek comedy masks that were in his girlfriend’s Shelly’s house.
As I mentioned this is a pretty dark character with a very dark origin, but that is due to the fact that the writer, O’Barr, created the character and story as a way to work through the death of his real-life fiancee who was killed by a drunk driver in 1978. He wrote The Crow to deal with the tragedy but it sat on a shelf for 7 years until until he found a published by Caliber Press. The comic was a huge success and spawned several feature films.
The first title, The Cow, starred Brandon Lee, son of famed martial artist Bruce Lee. Unfortunately tragedy struck the film when a prop was improperly loaded with a defective shell. When the gun was fired at Lee, a projectile from the modified blank struck Lee in the stomach and he died from the wound. The film had to cut scenes, use double and find creative ways in which to finish the film and in the end it grossed 94 million worldwide.
I wasn’t very familiar with this character so this was a really fun show to record. I really enjoyed O’Barr’s art and thought that it really fit the mood of the book. The fact that it was B&W also really help set the tone for the book. I even re-watched the movie and I think it holds up pretty well and knowing that the story was born of such tragedy really gave the book more depth and I really felt for the character. If you’ve only watched the movie, I really recommend reading the comics. Amazon has a great edition titled, The Crow: Special Edition that has all of Barr’s work in it and some art and pages never seen.