The Crow by James O\'Barr
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 24 August 2016

The Crow

Author: James O'Barr
Artist: James O'Barr

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

James O'Barr delivers a dark, introspective comic which delves deeply into his own pain with conflicts between justice, vengeance and forgiveness. In The Crow, Eric Draven, an undead warrior embodies O'Barr's own inner turmoil brought on by the death of his wife. 

When he and his wife are murdered in cold blood by a gang of thugs, Eric remains in a limbo-like state on Earth, accompanied by a crow, seeking vengeance before his final rest. The dialogue is minimal and sparse at times however the true brilliance of The Crow as a comic is not just in this poetic narrative but also in the dynamic nature of the artwork. Moving from an almost beautiful photo realism through to a rough and frenzied sketch, O'Barr brings the emotive atmosphere of each scene to life. 

This somewhat, non-linear, unplanned approach gives The Crow a real uniqueness and rhythm, even the type setting changes to suit the mood of each scene. Flash backs are presented like distant memories, fragmented and unconstrained, while present occurrences are more rigid and gridded. Then there is the violence... brutal and messy. 

Sad, emotive, violent, ugly, precious and ultimately redeeming, O'Barr's gothic-punk comic, now available in one complete special edition is a dark tale which blends old mythology, dark themes and the superhero genre to express the writer's own personal struggle.