Updated: Jun 20, 2021
When Astro contacted me to see if I wanted to do a mediabook cover for The Crow I naturally jumped at the opportunity but shortly after the pressure of knowing I was going to be illustrating an image for one of the most beloved cult titles in the horror genre sank in. After doing multiple sketches and taking numerous photo references I finally came up with a design that I loved. However It was only then that I got confirmation that it was in fact The Crow: Salvation. The third in The Crow franchise. I won't lie. That was disappointing. I was working at a video shop at the time of Salvation's release and based on the cover alone I decided I wasn't going to watch it. Now, 21 years after its release and Salvation is still pecking at my heels.
Watching Salvation in 2020 (at the time I made the cover) I imagine is a very different experience from watching it in 2000. For one, the excessive, early millennium rock/metal soundtrack (featuring Rob Zombie, Kid Rock, Static X) instills a feeling of nostalgia and dates the film more positively than I anticipated.
Another factor Was the cast. As well as starring a pre Spider-man Kirsten Dunst playing a prototype Mary Jane Watson It also included Eric Mabius as the titular hero and you'll be forgiven for not remembering who that is. In the 2000s There was a serious attempt at setting Mabius as a cult icon. In the same year that Kirsten Dunst was being saved by Toby Maguire, Mabius was holding his own against zombie dogs and lickers in Paul W.S Anderson's Resident Evil. By the end of the first film rather than being set up as Milla Jovovich's love interest he was set up as the ultimate rival and much loved icon, The Nemesis. Eric Mabius has played as two of the greatest characters in horror pop culture yet today he is more known for his Mills and Boon style 'business man fetish' persona. I'm sure Eric has no issues with his sweet sweet hallmark cheques but, so you get an idea of what his agents were trying to do with him, effectively he was getting roles in the 2000s that they are offering Jason Momoa 20 years later. Considering its difficult history with the death of the original film's star Brandon Lee and the studios need to tread respectfully, the third movie in The Crow franchise is actually quite interesting. Alex Corvis (Mabius) is execured for the murder of hi sgirlfriend dispite maintaining his innocence. After his death he is resurrected by the power of The Crow to hunt down the real killer by working his way through the peiople that lied at his court hearing and investigation.
The film itself offers quite a few interesting visuals including bleeding angels and death by electric chair with a metal mask that burns away your face. But the most interesting part for me is when Corvis sees his reflection for the first time with his unique scars running through his eyes. He smashes the mirror into pieces and later when the police investigate the morgue they find the symbol of The Crow created from the shards. It was this image I wanted to capture. Characters are highlighted within the pieces of the puzzle and the eyes of Alex Corvis staring intensely through his reflection as if you are looking through his eyes. It is also reflective of the logo of the original The Crow with how Brandon Lees eyes can be seen in the feathers of the bird wings. To create the artwork I wanted to make it look much more ornate and intricate than how it appears in the film so i purchased a cheap mirror and smashed it into pieces. After that i positioned the pieces i liked in the correct position making the reference and pieces as realistic as possible. After the pieces were created I illustrated each cast members face, fully and masked it beneath the pieces of glass. the villain of the story has his identity hidden so that his appearance can still be impactful. I'm really pleased with Astro's mediabook release. The artwork worked really well and the quality of the lether print Astro uses paired with the general appearance of Mediabooks make it an excellent addition to a collection and makes the title worthy of being included alongside the original title. You can pick up a copy the bluray here though I'm informed that it may have sold out pretty quickly