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1994: When a surprise movie hit unleashed a new gothic vision

Despite its macabre comic book origins and Brandon Lee’s tragic on-set death, The Crow became a surprise movie hit, and an enduring cult classic

When comic book creator James O’Barr licensed The Crow to a movie studio for $1,500, he never expected it to get made, let alone become an enduring gothic touchstone.

Written gradually over nine years, starting in 1980, the original comic book story follows a young man named Eric Draven who returns from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiancée, Shelley Webster, at the hands of a gang. The black-and-white panels drip with anguish, as Eric, face painted in a sinister scowl, stalks the rainy streets of a retro-noir city.


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