The Crow by James O’Barr

Eric has returned from the dead, driven only by hate and the need to wreak revenge on those who killed him and raped and then killed his beloved Shelly.   (summary from Goodreads)

I received The Crow as a Christmas gift in 1994 after falling in love with the movie earlier that year. This is only the second time that I have read it and it has stood the test of time for it remains my favorite graphic novel.

The Crow is a powerful story of love, loss, and revenge. It is dark, very dark, and almost painful to read at times because of the raw emotions that proliferate the pages.

One of the most powerful sections of this book is the introduction by John Bergin and it describes how O’Barr funneled his rage and pain at losing someone dear into the pages of this book. Here is my favorite part of the introduction and sets the tone of the story.

One day you are going to lose everything you have. Nothing will prepare you for that day. Not faith…not religion…nothing. When someone you love dies, you will know emptiness… You will know what it is to be completely and utterly alone. You will never forget and never forgive. The lonely do not usually speak as completely and intimately as James O’Barr does here in this book- so, if anything, at least take this lesson from The Crow: think about what you have to lose.

I have a very deep, emotional connection to this book.  Not long after reading it my father was killed in a car crash.  One day he was there and the next he was gone.  Nothing can prepare you for that kind of pain.  One day you are making plans and then, in the blink of an eye, that person is gone and all that is left is a void that nothing can fill.  There is pain, rage, sadness, but worst of all is the terrible feeling of loneliness.  I struggled for months after my father’s death but this book helped me put the pieces of my life back together.  It gave me an outlet for all my rage and pain.

Looking back, this was one of the first graphic novels I ever read and it set the stage for my love of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, whose wild black hair, pale skin, and brooding demeanor reminded be so much of Eric Draven.

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