The Crow by James O’Barr
Adult ∴ Graphic Novel ∴ Horror ∴ Fantasy ∴ TW: rape, gore
Published October 10th 2017 by Gallery 13 (first published 1989)
Hardcover ∴ 272 pages
When James O’Barr poured the pain and anguish of a personal tragedy into the drawings that comprise The Crow, his intensely cathartic story of Eric—who returns from the dead to avenge his and his fiancée’s murder at the hands of a street gang—resonated with readers around the world. The illustrated tale that became the “thrilling” (Los Angeles Daily News) and “spectacular” (Chicago Tribune) silver screen triumph was then presented in 2011 as an acclaimed expanded edition, reflecting the vision of the author’s original intention, complete at last with thirty pages of additional artwork, an introduction by James O’Barr, and lost sequences restored using the artist’s original technique.
Now this special hardcover release of the 2011 edition continues the legacy of The Crow as the powerful journey of an avenging angel and a celebration of true love…as fierce, intelligent, and unforgettable as when it was first conceived.
Since watching the 1994 film adaptation nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been in love with Eric Draven and his vengeance quest. The Crow has been my favorite graphic novel, since pretty much ever. It’s so dark and gritty, but also heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time. James O’Barr has such a unique art style compared to other comics at the time. It switches from hard, heavy lines in the present time, to light beautiful sketches when remembering the past.
This graphic novel really makes me feel throughout the whole book. There isn’t a second where I’m not either angry, or sad, or swooning over O’Barr’s art (and poetic writing style, for that matter). I feel so much for Shelly and Eric that it hurts. I root for Eric the whole time, and sometimes, even feel for the bad guys.
I will say, this may not be for everyone. There are things, darker things, in this gn that aren’t in the movie. There are drugs and violence, obviously, but there’s a lot of self harm, and more-than-just-references to rape. So, I’ve warned you. I will harbor no fault.
I will recommend this to anyone who’ll listen. I believe it’s a deeply important moment in standalone comic history. Go read it. Also, I desperately miss Brandon Lee. Just sayin’.
(Maybe I’ll find a book I don’t love dearly one day. One day…)