The Crow comic books include:
- The Crow (1989) by James O'Barr, Kitchen Sink Press, graphic novel edition by Tundra Press
- The Crow: City of Angels (1996), Kitchen Sink Press, three-part adaptation of the film
- The Crow: Dead Time (1996), Kitchen Sink Press (current single-volume release by IDW Publishing)
- The Crow: Flesh and Blood (1996), Kitchen Sink Press (current single-volume release by IDW Publishing)
- The Crow: Wild Justice (1996), Kitchen Sink Press (current single-volume release by IDW Publishing)
- The Crow: Waking Nightmares (1997)
- The Crow: A Cycle of Shattered Lives (1998) (an anthology including shorts based on the previous KSP comics)
- The Crow (1999), Todd McFarlane (a 10-part "reboot" featuring the original character)
- The Crow: Death and Rebirth (2012), IDW Publishing
- The Crow: Skinning The Wolves (2013), IDW Publishing
- The Crow: Curare (2013), IDW Publishing
- The Crow: Pestilence (2014), IDW Publishing
Tropes specific to the original comic:
- Afterlife Express: Eric is shown in one, sadly, that's where he sees the stallion dying.
- Arc Words: "Don't look!"
- Art Shift: The art changes constantly in style, partially due to the length of time it took to make the original book(eight years from concept to finish), partially due to O'Barr's emotional state.
- Ate His Gun: Eric finds his end this way, it's not known wether he'll go to hell or reunite with Shelly in paradise, but apparently, he redeemed himself, so it is possible.
- Author Avatar: O'barr confirmed that Eric is his alter-ego. It's an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, and it's wonderfuly done. The comparison'd be even more obvious if you dyed Eric blond and give him glasses. Which, ironically becomes Hilarious in Hindsight due the fact that the 2012 reboot looks even more like O'barr!.
- Ax-Crazy: For justified reasons, Eric is barely in touch with this reality and often pauses to recount some memory that suddenly resurfaces or to quote lyrics or verse at his victims before brutalizing them. "What the hell you talkin' 'bout, man!" is a frequent reaction.
- Badass Boast:
- Badass Long Coat: Eric dons one in the first chapters and covers.
- Bathtub Scene
- Shelly: "Surprise".
- Came Back Strong: In the 2011 edition, confirms what in the original comic was ambiguous.
- Cats Are Mean: Sort of. After returning from the dead, Eric finds that he has a magical power over stray cats, who eerily follow him everywhere. (The cats don't actually do anything bloody or cruel, however, as Eric does.) Subverted with Gabriel in both the comic and the movie, who has white fur and is named after a Biblical angel. In the comic, Gabriel was the pet of an old woman who was murdered by Tin Tin purely For the Evulz; in the movie, he belongs to Eric and Shelly and stays in their (condemned) apartment after they're murdered. (In the movie, Gabriel does become angry and bites Skank, but that was only because the thug grabbed him.)
- Celebrity Resemblance: Eric was modeled after Peter Murphy. Fitting, as both are considered Goth icons.
- Chastity Couple: Averted, Eric and Shelly relationship is shown in a very adult way, albeit idealized (the author doesn't gloss in details) it's shown both of them naked after making love.
- Chiaroscuro: When Eric kills Top Dollar, the last pages of the act are drawn this way.
- Covered in Scars: Eric's body.
- Darker and Edgier: In-story example. Eric, in life, was a cheerful and happy-go-lucky mechanic. Now? Not so much.
- Defiant to the End: T-Bird doesnt beg for mercy when Eric finally has him dead to rights.T-Bird: Pussy. You aint shit!
- Dragon Their Feet: Top Dollar is actually killed relatively early on, its his lieutenant T-Bird that ends up being the last gangster Eric confronts.
- The Everyman: Eric is a mechanic, nothing out of ordinary, Shelly was a normal girl.
- Fingore: Eric cut off Shelby The Giant's fingers while interrogating him on the whereabouts of the gang members that killed him and Shelly.
- For the Evulz: The only reason the gang members do what they do.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: The crow hits Eric with this repeatedly when he's lost in his grief, seeing it as useless self-pity.
- Gray Rain of Depression: Oh yeah.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Shelly is blonde, sweet, innocent and angelic. Being Eric in love, and being a vehicle to O'barr grief, it's a case in which we sympathize rather than thinking of Shelly as a Mary Sue
- Heartbroken Badass: Considering Eric's tendency to cry about his lost love, and the fact that he had a promising, albeit average future with the woman he loved, he has lot of reasons to be sad.
- Heroic Build: Eric is the epitome of physical perfection.
- Humans Are Bastards: One of the more unnerving aspects of the comic are the fact that the antagonists don't rape, murder and steal for some specific goal; they mostly do it because they can, or because they feel like it. Funboy even says that he doesnt know why he does these horrible things, he doesnt even particularly enjoy it, it just happens.
- The Lost Lenore: Shelly just may be the most iconic example of this trope in comic book history.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The "crow bringing a soul back from the land of the dead to put the wrong things right" mythology. It is never explicitly stated in the comic book what is going on. A possible interpretation of events is that Eric was actually revived on the operating table and has been subsisting for a year, and is now insane and maybe insensitive to physical pain, as a result of his brain injuries, grief and anger.
- Meaningful Name:
- Officer Albrecht and Captain Hook, both named after members of Joy Division / New Order. Eric's last name (gleaned from a file folder with Hook's thumb obscuring the middle) begins with "c" and ends with "s"; it very well may be "Curtis".
- In the foreword to the Special Edition O'Barr says that he named Eric after the Phantom of the Opera because the character, like himself at that point in his life, was a grief-stricken obsessive monstrosity barely functioning beneath a mask. Shelly was after Mary Shelley, the author of 'Frankenstein', a story in which a creator loses control of his monstrous creation.
- Meaningful Chapter Name: Chapters of the comic are song titles or verses from iconic bands such as Joy Division and The Cure, among others. And Nine Inch Nails covered Joy Division's "Dead Souls" for the film version.
- Mr. Fanservice: Like you would not believe. He spends half his time shirtless and the other half in skin-tight clothes, he's got scars and troubled pasts galore, and there's even a twenty-page pin-up section.
- Never Heard That One Before: The police captain has the last name "Hook" - which, yes, makes his name "Captain Hook". It's implied that Hook found this funny earlier in his career, but over time became absolutely disgusted with people constantly bringing it up.
- No Shirt, Long Jacket: Eric, constantly.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Eric in one of the illustrations, which is pretty unique, considering his hair is longer and it's not his usual hair.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted ... poor Eric. It takes two to actually kill him.
- Psychopomp: There are two in the comic, first we have The Skull Cowboy. He's a total enigma, but for what we can guess, he tries his best, in his own twisted way to teach Eric to go on with his life. He succeeds in the end. On the other hand we have the mysterious woman who appears in several chapters wearing a wedding or funeral veil, watching over Eric, and in the end kissing him when he accepts it's time to leave. The last page it's her walking on the desert.
- Suicide Is Painless: Funboy accepts his unavoidable death, agrees to act as Eric's messenger boy to the rest of the thugs and talks things over fairly civilly with Eric rather than futilely trying to resist. Eric rewards him by allowing Funboy to kill himself by a massive drug overdose, sparing him the savage vengeance he inflicts on the other gang members.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Yeah!, 6 feet 5 inches to be precise!
- Training Montage
- Unflinching Walk: Eric, from his old house as it burns to the ground. With a cat on his shoulder.
- Wild Hair: Eric hair is ALWAYS a mess. It should be noted however, that in 2011 his mullet actually became a full fledged mane.
- Youthful Freckles: Shelly has them.
Tropes specific to the other comics
The Crow: City Of Angels
- Animesque: Sadly, was victim of this stylistic choice in the mid nineties.
The Crow: Dead Time
The Crow: Flesh and Blood
The Crow: Wild Justice
The Crow: A Cycle of Shattered Lives
The Crow: 1999
- The Remake: part remake of Alex Proyas's movie, and part remake of the original comic.
The Crow: Death And Rebirth (also known as The Crow 2012)
- Celebrity Resemblance: James looks an awful lot like James O'Barr.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Oh yes, they are.
- Megane: James Osterberg.
- Peek-a-Bangs: James in the covers.
- Recycled Script: Moreso than the usual, this story is basically a remake of the original, except Eric is a foreign in Japan and Shelly is a Japanese girl.
- You Don't Look Like You: James in the covers has long uncombed, blond hair and it's more muscular, and has blue eyes. James in the inside is skinny with shoulder lenght white hair, and white eyes.
The Crow: Skinning the Wolves
The Crow: Curare
- Art Style Disonnance: The art style is... frankly adorable, contrasts with the HORRIFIC story.
- Creepy Child: Carrie, the ghost of a raped and murdered little girl. Actually, to have suffered such a violent assault and death, she's pretty chipper for a ghost, but when Joe finds her murderer, she quite calmly requests that Joe decapitate the man. And give her the head.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Averted with Joe, since his killing Carrie's murderer allows him to put the "one case that he couldn't solve" to bed.
- Continuity Nod: Carrie ends up telling him that now that this is over, he should call his wife.
- Expy: Joe is basically Andy Sipowicz in the Crow universe.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Joe and Carrie, respectively.
- Karmic Death: Harold, a serial rapist and murderer of little girls, takes trophies from his victims after killing them(usually their shoes or panties). When Joe kills him, Carrie's ghost demands a trophy of her own: his head.
- Looks Like Cesare: Carrie in Curare is pale and has very small(relative to her size) black streaks similar to Eric's on her face.
- Nice Shoes: HORRIBLY TREATED WITH.
- Pædo Hunt: Part of the plot of the comic.
- Peaceful in Death: Sadly, one of Joe comrades doesn't, Curare calls him on his jerk behavior and scolds him that he should treated him with more respect, he made a mistake and felt guilt about it.
- Perky Goth: Curare is adorable.
- Rape as Drama: Carrie was viciously raped(causing such trauma that the coroner says her internal organs ruptured and he can't even be sure if she was also sodomized) before being strangled to death.
- That Man Is Dead: Literally with Curare, whose true name is Carrie.
- Wretched Hive: Detroit, where the story takes place.
- Writer on Board: The plot of Curare was influenced by the unsolved murder of a little girl in O'Barr's hometown of Detroit.
The Crow: Pestilence