Tuesday, April 21, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Comics That Shaped Me (Part 9)

THE CROW (1989)

I've put 1989 as the date here, but chronologically I didn't discover The Crow until 1993. I missed all of the Caliber Comics versions, and the Tundra reprints, and like most readers I first read The Crow with the Kitchen Sink Press graphic novel that came out in '93. I remember I was at my local comic shop (Abstract Sprocket) and the awesome manager was great at recommending things to me that he thought I may like - Sin City was one, and The Crow as definitely the next (and not the last).

I don't know what it was about it. Maybe it was a combination of the story behind it, James O'Barr - the writer and artist was inspired by the grief and anger he felt after the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a drunk-driver. The sheer anger and emotion that was poured into every page of the comic is seriously hard-hitting and moving.

Combine that with the extremely goth artwork, with black and white art throughout. It was a similar style to the comics I was producing, and had that angry drive behind it that reminded me of my own angsty annoyance at the world.

It was inspiring, moving and quite a revelation in its simplicity. It was an indie comic that suddenly became huge. There was talk of a movie coming soon, too. Heck, if a cool goth indie comic can get turned into a movie, maybe I could do the same?

I read The Crow in one emotional sitting, and read it multiple times afterwards. So taken by it, we bought the limited edition of the graphic novel - a hardcover in a slipcase, signed by J. O'Barr, complete with a CD by John Bergin (O'Barr's collaborator) and his band Trust Obey. Fear and Bullets is a seriously doom-laden stream of extremely dark goth - mostly shouting in-character as Eric Draven (The Crow) over heavy drum-machines and guitars. Nothing like walking in to work with it on your headphones, shouting along "I am fear, I am complete and total madness, You're all going to die!"

You get some funny looks...

And then came the movie. The horrible accident on set that took the amazing lead actor, Brandon Lee, shrouded an already emotional story with another layer of sadness. Brandon Lee was brilliant in his other movies (I loved Showdown in Little Tokyo) and was absolutely perfect as Eric Draven. A brilliant and faithful adaptation of the graphic novel. It's one of those movies we watch every year, usually on Devil's Night.

If you haven't already read The Crow, do hunt it down. May inspire you to put ink on paper to vent your frustrations.

No comments: