Tag Archives: James O’Barr

The Crow – A Haunting Dark Beauty

As you all know, I like to discuss what influences me as a writer.  I’ve talked about favourite novel HERE, but I have another book to discuss. This one is a graphic novel and features yet another dark troubled boy.

Eric Draven.

Before I continue, I must add the graphic novel only tells us his first name. It was the iconic film version of the novel, which I mentioned in my post here,  that gave us, the surname of Draven. Whether James O’Barr had a say in this, I do not know.

One day you are going to lose everything you have. Nothing will prepare you for that day.

So begins the introduction by John Bergin for The Crow, the haunting graphic novel by James O’Barr

It is a dark but powerful story about love, loss and revenge.

Eric and Shelly are madly in love, and plan to marry, but when their car breaks down, they are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with devastating tragic consequences. Eric is shot dead, and Shelly is brutally raped, beaten and killed.

Eric is brought back from the dead to avenge his and Shelly’s death. James O’Barr’s drawings are a masterpiece. He shows us Eric’s pain, how his memories haunt him, and his deadly violent revenge against every single one of the thugs that are to blame for his sorrow. Eric is indiscriminate, nobody is spared, but you feel for him, and his agony at being unable to save the woman he loved and still loves so much.

In the end, in spite of the darkness and the tragic story, The Crow is a story about love, and how its power can transcend even death itself.

As John Bergin writes in the introduction to the novel:

James wrote a love letter called The Crow, the most beautiful love letter I have ever read.

I agree. It is a beautiful if tragic, love letter.

Another reason I adore the novel, is due to its strong rock influences.  O’Barr was deeply influenced by rock music when creating it. Specifically the music of Joy Division and The Cure, but rock musicians also played a part in the shaping of Eric’s looks. James saw Bauhaus perform, when he was stationed in Berlin, in 1981. I imagine he must have been struck by Peter Murphy’s features since Eric does bear a passing resemblance to him. However,  Eric’s movements are based on Iggy Pop. I find that rather fitting, as Peter Murphy himself, was influenced by Iggy as well.

Do you as a reader, or a writer, have a favourite novel that’s affected you deeply? If not, a film? or music?