Retro Review: The Crow

Hi, Greg Turner of Back to the Past, Pop Culture TV, here for a video RETRO REVIEW! That’s right, this week I’ve pulled out the first appearance of The Crow, which is found in the comic book, Caliber Presents number 1, dated January 1989. Caliber Press was a local Detroit comic book company started by Gary Reed. It began in 1989 and ceased business in 2000.

But back to subject of this retro review. The Crow was the creation of writer/artist James O’Barr and the prelude to the initial Crow story is found here in Caliber Presents # 1. It’s a moody and violent story looking at pain, revenge, love, death and retribution!

The initial story begins with a junkie stealing a video recorder and making his getaway, only to be met by a strange, make-up wearing, leather trench coated, figure. He drops the recorder in surprise, breaking it in the process. He demands the man to pay him a hundred bucks and when he doesn’t, he stabs him!

But the man simply pulls out the knife, licks the blood off it, and offers it back to the thief, asking him if he’s like to try again! This man is the Crow, but he’s never referred to as such during this 8 page story. The Crow explains how he has tortured a man called Shelby, who gave up, the thief, after losing a couple of fingers. Under the same threat, of losing either his fingers or toes, the thief gives up the other gang members and the Crow leaves him alive, since he was not involved in the killings, and tells him to alert the others that he’s coming after them.

That’s all we get from the prelude story. The story continues in the four issue Crow comic book that followed the very next month. The main story revolves around an unfortunate young man, named Eric. He and his fiancée, Shelly, are assaulted by gang members after their car breaks down. Eric is shot in the head and can only watch, as Shelly is savagely beaten and raped. They are then left dead, on the side of the road.

He is resurrected by a crow and seeks vengeance on the murderers, stalking and killing them. When not on the hunt, Eric stays in the house he shared with Shelly, spending most of his time there lost in memories of her.

The crow acts as a guide, giving him information that helps him in his quest, but also chastising him for dwelling on Shelly’s death, seeing his pining as useless self-indulgence that distracts him from his purpose.

In 1994 a movie starring Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, Ernie Hudson and Rochelle Davis was released, based on the comic. Unfortunately, Lee died during the filming if this movie and never got to bask in the movie’s success. Both the comic and the movie are well worth your time and money to pick up. This is Greg Turner … be seeing you!

About Greg Turner

Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.

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