The Crow: Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee as The Crow in 1993.

Brandon had just celebrated his 28th birthday when he first performed his iconic role in The Crow. Two months later a tragedy occurred when he was fatally shot by accident on set during production, which is so sad it's beyond words. The film would be released in theatres a little over a year later in 1994. I completely adore Brandon Lee, especially in this movie. He was an extremely handsome and attractive man and a very talented action movie actor who most definitely belonged on the big screen. One can only wonder about the remarkable films that would have followed.... not to mention The Crow sequel! 

In addition to seeing the movie when it originally screened in theatres I bought one of the very first VHS home movie editions. Just like a favourite record, this movie became one of the soundtracks of my early 20's and I watched it numerous times. The gothic style of this picture was captivating and I gravitated to The Crow to find out who the mysterious, gloomy guy in the trench coat and face paint was. Who was this long haired guy who wore black tape around his midsection and forearms? How strange he seemed, and yet familiar.

In his role as the Crow, Brandon instantly became one of my secret gay crushes. The Crow arrived in theatres at just the right time in my life during a period when I was a frightened ball of confusion trying to sort out who I was. The movie helped to take my mind off of the internal struggle that I was going through while coming to terms with being gay. Suddenly the Crow was there for me to adore and dream about... the heartbroken lonely hero who didn't belong on heaven or earth but instead was stuck somewhere in between. This was not unlike how I felt, being gay in a rather hostile heterosexual world where I didn't seem to belong. When the Crow sought revenge against those who diminished him and triumphantly found it, he somehow found redemption for me too... even if it was only make believe. Brandon Lee as the Crow put me in a trance. I just adored him and have never stopped.

Having appeared in five other action movies prior to the Crow, there's no doubt that Brandon was on his way to becoming a major actor for action and adventure films, just like his iconic father Bruce Lee. And like his father, Brandon was also extremely athletic and a skilled martial artist. The 20th anniversary of Brandon Lee's awesome film, The Crow, took place in 2014. In order to mark the occasion here is my tribute to Brandon, his movie, and the romantic yet menacing character originally created by artist James O'Barr that has awed generations of fans......

Here's Brandon Lee showing off his mighty abs.
This is my favourite photo of him as the Crow. Wish I had a giant poster of this picture! 

I have a giant wall poster of this picture! It's about six feet wide. Awesomeness! Unfortunately at the moment it's rolled up as I'd like to get a custom frame made for it. I put tape on the back of the poster once to hang it up and it was nasty to remove without ripping the paper. So getting a frame for this huge awesome poster is on my "to do" list.

I really wish this picture wasn't over exposed with the white "hot spot". This would have been an awesome picture of Brandon Lee as the Crow. (Can't have too many of those!)

I really like some of the expressions, like this one, that that Brandon Lee brought to the character.
I found this picture in 2016 on Pinterest and had to add it here. It's one that I had never seen before online (must have missed it) and am quite happy to have found it. He's just sitting there, but it's stunning how cool he looks... even when he's doing nothing! Brandon Lee was perfectly cast for this role. He truly embodies the Crow.
I found this awesome gif flick on Pinterest.


Martial artist Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, in a scene from The Crow that defines "hottie"!
Some guys are just born with it!
Movies and TV Series

Here is my VHS and DVD collection of The Crow. Above left is the VHS copy of the original Brandon Lee movie "The Crow" (1994) which has additional interview footage with Brandon Lee talking about the Crow. Next to this is the TV series pilot "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven" (1998) with Mark Dacascos as the Crow, which is more or less a remake of the 1994 movie. Last is "The Crow: Salvation" (2000) with Eric Mabius as the Crow. This was the third Crow movie. Below on the left is the DVD of the second movie "The Crow: City of Angles" (1996) with Vincent Perez as the Crow. Next is "The Best of The Crow" which has five episodes of the TV series. Last is the complete 22 episode TV series "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven" which for some odd reason features Brandon Lee on the cover instead of Mark if Crow fans wouldn't be able to tell the difference!

The above DVD set has all four Crow movies and is the deal of the century. I bought it in Feb 2014 at HMV for only $10. It includes the original Brandon Lee film "The Crow" (1994), and all of the film sequels that have ever been made: "The Crow: City of Angels" (1996), "The Crow: Salvation" (2000), and "The Crow: Wicked Prayer" (2005). However, this set doesn't include the Brandon Lee interview that was included on the VHS release of the first film, or any other extras.
Mark Dacascos as the Crow from the TV series.
He's the one on the right... not the actual crow.
That part was played by a bird, and sometimes a puppet.
Of all the actors to play the Crow, Brandon Lee was by far the best, and certainly set the bar for how the character should be portrayed in live action. Of all the other actors who have come after Brandon Lee, I think Mark Dacascos is the most notable. He did an awesome job as the Crow for the TV series, which unfortunately only lasted one season (22 episodes). Production wise the TV series was very well done and the dark style that you would expect was all there, but for some episodes the writing and storyline were a little off. I liked how they worked the relationship between the Crow and his cop friend, Daryl Albrecht, but when the series started messing with how a Crow is created and added a female Crow to the series (so that there were two Crows), well, that sort of took some of the thunder away from the show for me. Still, I really enjoyed the series and wish there were more of it to watch.
Vincent Perez did an excellent job in the 2nd film and I wish that they had stuck with him for all the other movies.
New Crow Movie
A new Crow film was supposedly set to start production in the Spring of 2015 but this unfortunately never took place. Luke Evans was originally cast in the role of the Crow, but at present he's stepped down from doing the movie. He would most definitely make an awesome Crow as he has the right kind of face for the role. As of Jan 2016 it's still unclear if or when this movie will be ever made.
My own gothic hero Griffon Shadow
Since I first saw The Crow movie in my 20's when the film was first released I had wanted the Crow to be a gay character, but being a main stream hero he is of course heterosexual. As there weren't any iconic gay characters for me to identify with at the time (and there still aren't!) I created my own gothic character inspired by the Crow. That's what art is for after all, at least one function of it, to inspire more art!

In the 1990s I created my own "Goth dude" type of superhero, shown above. This is Griffon Shadow, a Guardian of the Underworld, who seeks to avenge his boyfriend (whom I've conveniently named Mikey) and free him from Hades. I've posted a mini comic and other info about the character on my Pythor Comics site here:

In addition, I also made a puppet of Griffon Shadow which you can read more about at my Artelle Puppets website here:

Okay, back to more Brandon Lee stuff....
Brandon Lee's filmography:
Kung Fu: The Movie, 1986
Legacy of Rage, 1986

Laser Mission, 1989

Showdown in Little Tokyo, 1991

Rapid Fire, 1992

Here is a YouTube link that I found showing Brandon Lee's interview on the Tonight Show while promoting rapid Fire. The same video also shows clips about this "rising star" from Entertainment Tonight and other news media just a year or two prior to beginning work on The Crow film:

The Crow, 1993 (released in 1994)

Rest in peace Mr. Lee
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Text and original photos of collectables © Mike Artelle, Dec, 2013
Griffon Shadow © Mike Artelle, 1994, 2006, 2015
Many of the movie images were found at
Other images were found everywhere online, or on Pinterest, or at the links provided.