The Crow

Lately, there has been a lot of chatter about the planned remake of The Crow. The most recent news is that filming is scheduled to begin in January 2017. This is the closest this movie has been to actually happening after close to a decade in development purgatory. I have been following rumours and starts and stops of this project for years. The list of actors attached is long and includes: Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, and most recently Jack Huston in 2015. This project has started and died so many times I even lost track of it. The most recent cause for the project to be derailed was Relativity Media’s financial troubles. When that happened, I assumed we would not hear anything about the Crow for several more years. It was a pleasant surprise for this Crow fan to hear that Jason Momoa was cast and it may actually go into production.

From what I have seen, the majority of people like the casting decision but struggle whether or not a remake should be made. I fully understand the idea that Brandon Lee as Eric Draven is his legacy. He was the perfect actor for the original adaption. People seem to feel that a remake will tarnish Brandon Lee’s legacy. I think if they try and recreate that movie it is a terrible idea; however, if they instead chose to adapt the original/comic story, then I am all for it. The first movie is based on O’Barr’s comic story but it is far from a straight adaptation. The comic is grittier and more basic than the Brandon Lee movie. The film added elements to the story that are not from the comic – some of the campier parts and the whole supernatural showdown at the end of the film being two examples.

The original film was perfect for the time it was made but the original story is amazing in its own right. For those of you that are not familiar with the Crow, it is a story of loss and pain. James O’Barr wrote the story after the loss of his fiancee to a drunk driver. It was a part of his grieving process so as you can imagine it is very personal and important to him. If you have not read the story, please go out and do so. Even if you are dead set against a new film and you have not read the story, please go out and do so.

Since this is a site for speculation and investing, I will attempt to provide some actual comic info. Let me start by saying I own quite a few copies of Crow keys. I have been buying them for years as the movie is one of my favorites of all time which lead to me discovering how great the source material is. Movie or no movie, my love of these books will not change. I am going to provide estimated print runs for some of the books, but keep in mind these are truly estimates as there was not a definitive source for these independent titles at the time.

If you are not aware, the Crow’s 1st appearance is an eight page intro in Caliber Presents #1 (1989, 10,000 copies). This is the book I feel is potentially undervalued as The Crow #1 goes for about 50% more in most grades.

Caliber Presents #1

51192_20060713195808_largeThe Crow #1 (10,000 copies) is the 1st self-titled book and features an iconic black cover making it very tough to find in high grade. There are 2nd and 3rd prints for this issue which can be identified by the indica printed at the lower right of the inside front cover. I have not been able to locate any real print run data on the later printings; however, the 3rd print of issue #1 is rumored to be as low as 1,000 copies. 51196_20060713202549_largeIssue #2 has 3 printings also with the 1st print estimated at 7,000 copies.
51198_20060713204439_largeIssue #3 has 2 printings with the 1st printing estimated at only 5,000. 101160_20080625145008_largeFinally, issue #4 only had one printing with an estimated run of 12,000. From my experience, issue #4 seems to be tougher to track down than the print run indicates. This is likely due to there not being later 2nd or 3rd printings of this issue.

Now here is where it gets interesting: the story was never printed in full until it was sold to Tundra and the story was reprinted in 3 books in more of a prestige style. Issue #5 was never released as a stand alone but a preview was printed in Caliber Presents #15.

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The final book to be hunting down is Deadworld #10, which has 2 cover variants, both with an ad for The Crow on the back cover.

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For those of you that like to track down previews and ads and go very obscure (talking to you Topher), there is mention of a promotional pack with the first trade ad for the Crow in Caliber Rounds #1. I was not aware of this item until a few months ago when a copy appeared on ebay (for transparency, I now own that copy). A second copy has recently been listed with a crazy asking price. I have no idea how many were originally printed; however, in my years of collecting Crow comics, I have never heard of this item or seen it before and I doubt many shop owners held on to these as they were basically a newsletter for a start up publisher. As a bit of obscure trivia that I learned from this preview, it appears that Caliber Presents was originally going to be titled High Caliber.

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One bonus book just because of the cover is the Image Comics 1999 Crow series issue 1 Cover B Mcfarlane variant. Honestly I have no idea nor have find if it was a ratio variant or just a 1:1 but it does seem less common than cover A.

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I have no idea if a new movie is going to affect the value of these books; however, I do know that there are not a lot of these books out in the wild. Many are in collections and have been for decades as the original film made life-long hardcore fans. I feel these books are, at worst, solid long term investments that are still affordable, relative to many Silver and Bronze keys that are now out of the reach of many collectors. If nothing else, find a copy of the trade, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and enjoy a great original story.

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15 comments

  • Skot Whitman

    Very good, except you’ve left off the Tundra printing of the Crow which is vital if fans want to read or collect the whole original Eric Dravin story.

    Caliber never printed the final instalment, which would have been issue #5. I think it had something to do with the movie being made. Yes the movie was shooting and may have been released before the final part of the comic story was finished. The conclusion in Issue #5 would first see the light of day in Tundra’s Crow #3. 1 and 2 from Tundra reprint the first 4 issues from Caliber Press.

    On of the reason Brandon Lee’s performance was so important was not for his acting or that it was his final film. He was the star and fought to keep the movie (at least during filming) close to the comics. Which as we see from the final product wasn’t as close as fans would have liked.

  • Avatar

    Cinema blend just reported an hour ago that the project is already in trouble again with a whole new set of rights issues. 🙁

    http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1587050/jason-momoas-the-crow-reboot-is-in-serious-trouble-yet-again

  • Ben Steiniger

    Awesome Z. I need to read this.

  • Avatar

    Nice breakdown. The Crow has always been at the top of my indie list. It’s a great comic. Barr is a unique dude, and the movie still holds up. I doubt the movie will impact the comics at all, but they are all great reads.

  • misfit138

    I was lucky to come across the Deadworlds a couple of years ago and had Barr’s auto on the cover. I just got him to sign the back page ad at Megacon Orlando in May. That ad is BEAUTIFUL!!! Signed in gold marker it looks amazing.

  • misfit138

    Yeah, I have the books flipped around in their mylars and couldn’t care less about the front covers, well maybe a little about the Zombie King one. I hope they leave the original movie alone and launch a whole new arc that has a short origin and get past it in 10 minutes. Thanks for the article Jon!!! Surprisingly I don’t grade many Crow books at CGC. I grade the Caliber presents #1 more than all of the others.

  • Avatar

    Yeah the Tundra set of 3 Prestige Format books are really nice and reprint the original Crow 1 to 4 set from Caliber.

    High end 2nd print issues basically and that includes the whole 5 part story that was not published in the Caliber mini series.

    These are great to have as a cheaper option than the original Crow issues from Caliber.

    And having that Caliber Prsents #15 is a nice add-on to the Tundra set since that issue contains the preview of the story in Crow #3 from Tundra

    There is also a really early Crow Apperance in A Caliber Christmas #1

    Cheers!

  • Keith S.

    Nice job Z. I never see any of the original Crow or caliber books in the wild, but I always look.

  • Topher

    This is exactly the kind of stuff I love reading. Very informative!

  • Avatar

    Good read and another book to pick up ,with crow related stories is death rattle #3 by kitchen sink its has a lost crow story . Also gideons pawn ,in the caliber presents #5 .

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