If you have the new "Attitude Issue" of Revolver — which features both Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson across its collectible covers — then you've seen the stunning biro and watercolor artwork by Jeremy Hush on the last page of the magazine. According to the artist, the original, commissioned piece was inspired by the James O'Barr comic The Crow and the movie's "epic soundtrack," which turned 25 on March 29th, 2019.
The heralded artist is known throughout the heavy-music community for his striking, delicate and intricately detailed illustrations and paintings for bands including Skeletonwitch, Black Tusk and Kylesa.
His Crow-inspired piece is available for pre-order in Revolver's shop as a gorgeous, collectible 18" x 24" silkscreen, printed by Burlesque of North America. This four-color screen print on Cougar White 100 pound, acid-free archival paper is limited to 250, with each one embossed, hand-numbered and signed by the artist.
Below, Hush discusses what The Crow means to him, his favorite song off the soundtrack, and if a film remake would be a good idea. Plus, he shares behind-the-scenes, work-in-progress photos from the creation of his awe-inspiring artwork.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER THE JAMES O'BARR CROW COMIC?
JEREMY HUSH I think The Crow comic was an iconic image from the start. I was in my later days of high school and I can remember seeing Crow James O'Barr posters in the local comic shop. The main character Eric [Draven] was such a dramatic figure. Dark and shadowy was such a contrast to the bright colors of the superhero world. Superheroes never really did much for me. I preferred comics more in the horror genre and Conan and Dark Horse Presents which featured more adventure and sci-fi. Alien and Predator were my regulars. No color needed — just stark, black and white. I've long lost any comics I had from back then, but I've had the collected graphic novel for years!
WHY DO YOU LIKE THE STORY OF THE CROW SO MUCH?
It's a story of vengeance from beyond the grave! The gritty storytelling and filthy alleyways are so grim. And it's so image-based. The covers need no dialogue to tell their story. Eric's character is tortured, but bloodthirsty — almost a vampire with guns, knives and an evil smile. James did a great job capturing that smile. Like the poster, Eric's character has a piercing, almost accusing stare. Just draws you in.
AS YOU MENTIONED, THE POPULAR NINETIES SUPERHERO COMICS USED A LOT OF BRIGHT COLORS. BUT THE CROW — LIKE YOUR ARTWORK — HAD A MINIMAL COLOR PALETTE. DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH "REFINED" COLOR OPTIONS OR IS IT CHALLENGING?
Oh, yeah! The less color the better. Black-and-white illustrations rely on light and dark to create the illusion of form. It's a difficult process to pull off. With color, you can bring a figure forward or push them back. Too much dependence on colors can lead to less detail and I love to see lots of detail work. In my own work I prefer muted colors. Something about bright colors make me think of things being shiny and new. I like my work to look aged and broken-in, left out in the rain.
CAN YOU DISCUSS THE BALANCE OF CREATING ARTWORK THAT IS INSPIRED BY SOMEONE ELSE'S ART, BUT ALSO STANDS COMPLETELY ON ITS OWN AS YOUR PIECE? CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT ELEMENTS YOU WANTED TO INCLUDE IN THE ARTWORK AND HOW?
The Crow comic has such iconic imagery. I didn't want to just redraw one of James' covers. His work is his own. To match it would feel like cheating. I wanted to reference the general ideas of the story in my own way. So I went with the crow as my main subject. It's the crow that ties Eric's spirit to the earthly world. The skull is waking from death in a sea of blood. The thorny roots of his vengeance are spreading out from the blood entangling everything in the design. The environment is all broken glass, syringes, scurrying roaches and bullet casings — all surrounding the tiny diamond ring in the center. All under the scrutinous eye of the crow.
SWITCHING TO THE MOVIE — WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE VILLAIN AND WHY?
Top Dollar. Played by Michael Wincott — whose voice alone — makes him the best villain ever! He plays this character so calm and thoughtful through every scene no matter the insanity going on. But then he shows his anger and it's such a violent, commanding change of tone.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG OFF THE SOUNDTRACK?
That was such a memorable soundtrack. The music was so integrated with the movie. Nine Inch Nails' cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" played over Eric running across rooftops in the pouring rain ... By far my favorite scene! The whole soundtrack had a dark, goth quality that was a little too metal, and metal that was a little too gothy. Good and moody.
DO YOU THINK THE '94 CROW MOVIE STANDS THE TEST OF TIME, OR IS IT BEST LEFT IN ITS TIME CAPSULE? SHOULD IT EVER GET A REMAKE?
I've re-watched it recently and I still really enjoy it. The action and the mood of the movie still move me. The makeup is a little on the Hot Topic side, but that's not the movies fault — more of an appropriation by Hot Topic. [Laughs] Brandon Lee was such a talent. His action scenes were electrifying! Totally worth watching today. There is a sea of bad movies that could be remade. I would hate to see this one get ruined. I can't even imagine what intolerable pop bands would be on the soundtrack. A remake? It's a terrible thought.