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The Crow

Movie Maniacs
by yo go re

Leaves are changing colors, there's a nip in the air and a whole slew of psychos, killers and undead freaks are headed your way.

The Crow People used to think that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes... only sometimes the crow brings that soul back to set the wrong things right.

The Crow, when it came out in 1994, was a groundbreaking film. Part of the spate of non-superhero comicbook movies that came out at the time, including The Mask and Tank Girl, James O'Barr's urban gothic revenge fantasy spoke to an entire generation of Trent Reznor fans. A supremely well-handled adaptation of the comic storyline, The Crow was intended to be Brandon Lee's first starring role and, due to his untimely death, was also one of the first films to extensively use digital effects to tell its story.

See? Iconic. Five years after the film's release, Todd McFarlane gave fans an Eric Draven figure in the second series of Movie Maniacs. Sculpted with McToys' usual high level of reality and detail, the figure is posed just like the film's most iconic image: Eric, walking through the rain with his arms spread slightly and his head bowed, gazing out at the viewer through his stringy bangs.

Every tear and rip in Lee's costume has been duplicated here, from the eletrical tape on his hands to his laceless boots. The uncredited design team used various tones of black to keep the figure from looking flat: matte for cloth, gloss for leather, and even a few strands of twine tied around his wounds. His skin stands out brightly through the tears in the fabric, and the black lines on his white face are perfect.

Brandon Lee Chris Dahlberg, one of the much-praised Four Horsemen, is the man who sculpted Eric's face. You can really tell that this is Brandon Lee beneath all the hair and white facepaint. If anyone wondered why McFarlane doesn't credit his sculptors on the packaging like so many other companies do, the Horsemen are an example of why: it seems that any time a sculptor (or group of sculptors) gets any fame for their work, they jump ship for another company. Are they looking for better treatment? More recognition? With no credits, Todd has a better chance of keeping them down on the farm.

Eric Draven came with a few really nice accessories. The Crow. And the Guitar No Crow would be complete without his totem animal, so McToys gave us an impressive rendition of the black-beaked scavenger. With a 4" wingspan and pegs to plug it into Eric's shoulder, the crow looks mighty impressive. Draven also included the guitar he liberated from the pawn shop. 3 3/4" long, this instrument looks perfect slung over Eric's back.

At 7 1/4" tall, the Crow moves at the neck, shoulders, hips, wrists and ankles. His pose makes him fairly unbalanced, so he was also the first McToy to come with one of the now-ubiquitous stands. The stand is 2 1/2" in diameter, and has a 1/8" wide peg that fits into most of McFarlane's figures. Bags of these stands are constantly available through the McToys Collector's Club, and they can be used for all sorts of various companies' figures.

fishtank The Crow figure proved so popular that McToys took advantage of their license to release several versions of this figure: a few years after the regular carded edition reached shelves, we got a 12" figure and a fishtank version. The fishtank Crow had all the same accessories as his previous incarnation, as well as a thin plastic background that simulated the large window that was seen in the movie and a few plastic pieces of "glass" on the floor. It's a great presentation overall, well worth the purchase.

Since I had two Crows, I decided to customize one. A common complaint at the time of the figure's release was that he didn't include the trenchcoat he wore in the film. When Movie Maniacs 3 came out, with a coat-wearing Snake Plissken among its ranks, a lot of folks tried (unsuccessfully) to boil and shape the coat to fit the Crow. The trick to giving Eric a new set of outerwear isn't to change the coat to fit the figure, but to change the figure to fit the coat.

Pop the left arm out of its socket, cut off the "bare" part of the shoulder and glue that newly flattened surface to the figure's shoulder. The coat will hide the ugly joint and although the bird's perch is covered, you can make a pair of holes in the sleeve to support it.

Would this movie have been so big if not for Lee's death? Would he have become the big star everyone predicted? Do you buy that stuff about a curse? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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