Monday, February 13, 2012
WEEK 6 : THE CROW
If I were to single out any book responsible for getting me involved and interested again in creating comics, James O'Barrs The Crow sits at the top of the heap. If all you're familiar with is the watered down Hollywood version, blessed by the performance of Brandon Lee, then I highly recommend it. A quick bit of history...The Crow was first published in "81" lost in the flood of books being produced during the glutton of black and white independent comics. It wasn't until "92" that Tundra collected the completed version in 3 volumes. This is not a kid friendly comic.
The story was written by O'Barr after the tragic death of his fiance, killed in a car crash by a drunk driver, and fueled reportedly by a story he had read in the news of a couple killed over $20.00. I had read that O'Barr had hoped that writing the story would be cathartic in helping him cope with the grief...but only made him angrier and more resentful. And if this is true, that anger bleeds from the pages. Gone is all the Hollywood subplots of the buddy cop, the child skateboarder and the Devils Night evil landlord. It's a plain tragic story of a young couple just beginning to start their life together and end being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The character of Erik Draven brought back from the dead by the crow to avenge their death and set things right. It is heart wrenching at times, violent, angry..and beautiful. The artwork is rough at the beginning, as James finds his legs in telling his story, but the prose grabs you..shakes you. Many stories have been told of other characters brought back by the black bird. A native american brought back years later to avenge the slaughter of himself and his family at the hands of confederates. A murdered mother avenging the death of her unborn child.... But it's O'barrs story that taught me the importance of emotional content, how important it is to pour yourself into every piece...every bit of art that you do. So this week our challenge will be to create our own versions.