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Comic Book / The Crow

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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
  • The Crow: Memento Mori (2018), IDW Publishing
  • The Crow: Hark the Herald (2019), IDW Publishing (One-shot)
  • The Crow: Lethe (2020), IDW Publishing

Tropes specific to the original comic:

  • 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 whether 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 wonderfully done. The comparison would 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:
    Eric: I am pilot error. I am fetal distress. I am the random chromosome. I am complete and total madness. I am fear.
  • Badass Long Coat: Eric dons one in the first chapters and covers.
  • Bathtub Scene
    Shelly: "Surprise".
  • 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.)
    • In the last issue of the comic, Eric leaves a note on Gabriel leaving him (or, actually, her) to Captain Hook. Having scratched the first officer who picked her up, Gabriel takes a shine to Hook immediately; contentedly purring away in Hook's arms while he mutters about how he hates cats.
  • Chastity Couple: Averted, Eric and Shelly's relationship is shown in a very adult way, albeit idealized (the author doesn't gloss in details).
  • Defiant to the End: T-Bird doesn't beg for mercy when Eric finally has him dead to rights.
    T-Bird: Pussy. You ain't shit!
  • Dragon Their Feet: Top Dollar is actually killed relatively early on, it's 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.
  • 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 doesn't know why he does these horrible things. He doesn't even particularly enjoy it. It just happens.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: A scene which was never adapted into the film: This trope invoked because of shock, blood loss, and death when Eric removes one of his first targets at the shins. Quite possibly the most unpleasant scene of the lot.
  • 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. The 2011 Updated Re Release confirms that it's now the case.
  • 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.
  • Monster Clown: Eric is a non-villainous example. His makeup is based on a mask of Pierrot, a Sad Clown character from the Commedia dell'Arte, that he owned before his murder.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted ... poor Eric. It takes two headshots 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 is her walking in 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.

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Tropes specific to the other comics

     The Crow: City Of Angels 
  • Animesque: The art style during the mid nineties.

     The Crow: Dead Time 
  • Reincarnation: The biker gang that Joshua's after are reincarnations of the Confederate soldiers who killed his family 100 years ago.

     The Crow: Flesh and Blood 
  • Body Horror: Iris's body rots due the fact she was pregnant and thus, can't keep up with regeneration.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The bad guys in this one are a group of farmers connected to an anti-government militia. Iris runs foul of them when she catches them poisoning coyotes, and after a confrontation with them, they blow up her workplace and kill her and her unborn child.

     The Crow: Wild Justice 
  • All Just a Dream: Possibly at the end where the detective sees Darryl returning as a second Crow.
  • Recycled Script: Michael Korby is murdered along with his wife Jan while their car is being hijacked, haven't we heard this already?

     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

     The Crow: Skinning the Wolves 
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The commandant plays chess with prisoners, killing them if he loses. Of course, he also cheats a little, playing a phonograph record and commenting that if the game is still going by the time it stops, then that means they concede. And the one time he was beaten, by the protagonist, he didn't keep his word.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The Crow advises the freed prisoners not to go to the nearby town because (as per real-life) they knew and did nothing, adding that he'll be paying them a visit.
  • Eye Scream: The Crow gouges out at Least One Nazi's eyes. The Crow himself also had his eyes gouged out.
  • In the Back: The commandant shoots a fleeing man he forced to play chess in the back as he runs.
  • More Dakka: The Crow starts out killing guards one by one with knives, but evolves to this.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: The guards have several which the Crow quickly kills. They're the only targets of his wrath he shows some regret for, feeling that they were mistreated and molded into angry killers.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: One of the soldiers, guarding the motor pool, expresses unhappiness at the thought of living under a Nazi Flag forever, and also feels that his mother would be ashamed of him if she was still alive. This doesn't save him from the Crow's rampage.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The commandant forces intellectual prisoners to play chess with him before having them killed (with one coming back as The Crow).
  • Sore Loser: When the man who is currently The Crow beat the commandant at chess, he used his wife and daughter as hostages while demanding a rematch and when he wins that one to, kills his wife, saying he was only playing for his own life. When The Crow deliberately loses the third match he has him and his daughter shot anyway Later, he shows annoyance and frustration when asked if he's ever been beaten by his latest victim.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The bad guys in this setting.

    The Crow: Curare 
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The art style is... frankly adorable, in contrast 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Skewed Priorities: Officers Davis and Ptanski gave the killer a drunk driving test the night he killed Carrie, not realizing he had her stashed nearby. After her body turned up they chose not to say anything out of fear of being disciplined for this, even though they hadn't been on the lookout for a killer/child abductor at the time, and leaving him free let him abduct and kill more girls. Joe is furious about this when he confronts a guilt-ridden Ptanski on his death bed, although Carrie feels that they just made a mistake and deserve forgiveness.
  • Writer on Board: The plot of Curare was influenced by the unsolved murder of a little girl in O'Barr's hometown of Detroit.