The Crow: James O'Barr's Original Art

The Original Crow
Before Brandon Lee became the Crow on film the character existed only in the comic books and illustrations created by James O'Barr, an exceptionally talented artist. Here is an example of his art to show how the character was originally depicted.... 

I was quite surprised when I first saw O'Barr's version of the character. I think it's awesome, though there's definitely some degree of glam rock influence going on here. Quite frankly, I was taken back by the blatant homoerotic aspect to the character which is emphasized to some degree by the poses that O'Barr chooses for many of his Crow illustrations. The fact that the character is shirtless ninety-nine percent of the time, and just happens to have a perfectly fit body, also makes this incarnation of the Crow quite gay friendly in my view. Not to mention how extremely handsome O'Barr has made the Crow's face, with a smooth, almost boyish jaw line. I'm certainly not complaining as a gay Crow suits me just fine! It's just that I find this quite odd as the character in the movie doesn't seem the least bit gay. In fact the whole reason Eric Draven becomes the Crow is to avenge the death of his girlfriend, so clearly the character isn't gay.

Many sources have stated that the Crow character and the story developed from O'Barr's own personal loss when his fiancée was killed by a drunk driver, which is so tragic it's beyond words. This indicates quite clearly that the artist isn't gay either otherwise the Crow wouldn't even exist. Various online sites claim that the poses and the oversized eyes with eye shadow, which O'Barr has given his Crow illustrations, are meant to emphasize the romantic element of the story as well as the character's loneliness and anguish... and they certainly do accomplish that. But what's the deal with the unzipped pants in the above image? Is O'Barr targeting female and gay male readers for his comics? Would a heterosexual guy who is a Crow fan admire this Image? I wouldn't know as I'm gay, and I do think this picture is awesome! If I owned a large print of this image I would totally hang it in my house in a predominant location where it could be rightfully worshiped on a daily basis! Yet, oddly enough I don't actually own any of the original Crow comics which is something that I've been meaning to change for many years. Just haven't gotten around to it yet... shame on me!

[Update! Aug 2017: I have since purchased a copy of the The Crow: Special Edition, released in 2011. No longer must I live in shame!]

Here's more of James O'Barr's awesome artwork....

This image was found on the official James O'Barr website: What an awesome work of art!!!

James O'Barr's Crow is totally ripped!!!

Meeting James O'Barr at Comic Con
In May 2016 James O'Barr visited Ottawa for the first time to participate in the three day Ottawa Comic Con event. This allowed me the most amazing opportunity to meet Mr. O'Barr, which I did on Saturday May 14, the second day of Comic Con. He was such a kind person and very relaxed. I didn't get any impression of an "I'm a famous person" ego that you might expect from a celebrity. Just a very down to earth guy. He had some original artwork available for sale as well as some prints, and after some debate I chose to buy an amazingly awesome original piece of art featuring the Crow.

The artwork is shown below with my Crow collection. The piece was drawn with black marker and coloured with shades of aqua and violet to create an amazing lighting effect and shadowing. In fact the way Mr. O'Barr coloured the image with the marker is such an amazing effect that it looks like pastel or a painting. It's truly a stunning work of art and I'm still in a bit of disbelief that I actually own it! Very awesome to have met Mr. O'Barr!!! Hope he comes back to Ottawa again soon!

Update: James O'Barr returned to Ottawa Comiccon again in May 2018. He signed my copy of The Crow special edition graphic novel, and a Funko ReAction figure of Brandon Lee as the Crow. I also bought two poster/prints that he signed for me. While he was signing all of these things I told him that I loved his art and that he was an amazing artist, to which he replied "Oh, I'm just learning". I was very surprized to hear that! He's such a down to earth person. Then he kindly let me have a picture taken with him, shown below. Very awesome to have met him twice! Hope to meet him again someday!

With James O'Barr at Ottawa Comiccon, May 2018.

Here is a very cool YouTube video showing James O'Barr drawing The Crow at NYCC in 2014:

More awesome artwork by James O'Barr

This is an example of O'Barr's artwork that is not based on the Crow.
I love this image!!! It's sooooo awesome and cool!
This art is from a limited edition poster called Death of Myth.

And now back to The Crow...

This link will take you back to the Home Page of this blog:

This link will take you to the next page of this blog "The Crow: Dolls and Collectables":

Text © Mike Artelle, Dec, 2013, 2016
Images found everywhere online or on Pinterest or at the links provided. 

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