A few months ago, in issue 182 (available in print and digital from our store), we did a feature on comics featuring thoughts and advice from everyone from Warren Ellis to Mark Hoppus. One guy who we wanted in that feature was James O’Barr, creator of The Crow, but at the time he was super busy. He’s just got back to us with his thoughts, so we figured we’d share them. O’Barr’s current series is The Crow: Curare, issue #2 of which comes out this Thursday from IDW Publishing.
When did you decide you wanted to work in the field of comics?
I never got into the business of comics through a childhood desire or anything like that, The Crow for me was a cathartic release that saved my life. I grew up across numerous foster care homes and, most of the time, was left to fend for myself. When you’re living in a house with little money, no electricity and only a smattering of parental attention, playing with a toy was a far-flung luxury I never really had. I wasn’t a very social child, and instead learned how to keep myself occupied without calling attention to myself. I would usually carry around crayons so I could draw whatever I wanted, whenever I felt like it. Drawing became a lifelong escape and remains a heartfelt passion to this day.
After the accident, [Note: O'Barr's fiancee was killed by a drunk driver in 1978] my life had been forever altered in a single moment. I didn’t find the justice I wanted in real life, so I didn’t want to feel anything anymore, my perfect world had been completely shattered. At the time I didn’t understand that I was experiencing some kind of survivor’s guilt. Nothing made sense. To deal with things, I felt that I needed to purge, to get all of my negative feelings out, all these forceful emotions that had swamped me for so many years. In doing so, The Crow came about. It wasn’t predestined, or neatly designed to be a comic book that was sold in stores. It just became a way of dealing with the hand I’d been dealt, so I could handle what was haunting me.
Check it out… »