The Crow: Dance With Death 7" Statue
Regular, Red Nights, Bloody and Unpainted

Red Nights version

The Crow is a character that is now part of our cultural history. Made famous by the film in 1994, he's been the focus of two sequels, and a a television series. Unfortunately, the first film became infamous for the death of it's star, Brandon Lee, son of the great Bruce Lee, during the filming.

But before all the mass marketing, there was the comic book by James O'Barr. Drawing from the pain and anguish of a personal tragedy, O'Barr created the character of Eric Draven, returned from the grave by love and revenge to right a wrong committed against him and the one he loved. Detroit was the scene for getting the comic published by Caliber Press in the last 80's.

Most of the merchandise we've seen based on the Crow has been based on the films, particularly the original with Brandon Lee. But Dragonfly Productions, designers and manufacturers of a variety of pop culture collectibles like snow globes, lunch boxes, wall scrolls and other items predominately based on characters from literature, has developed a series of statues based on the artwork of James O'Barr.

Regular version

Red Nights version

Bloody version

Unpainted version

I'm reviewing one of the 7" statues, although there are actually four versions, all pictured in the review. The statue is called The Crow: Dance of the Dead, and comes in four variations - standard, red nights, bloody, and unpainted. These are all limited runs of course, with the regular at 1250, the red at 100 (sold only at Megacon 2004, and now sold out), the bloody at 750, and the unpainted at 100. Retail runs from $40 - $60 depending on which you buy, and where you find them. Dragonfly themselves still has some available for sale through their site.

These statues - and their 12" counterparts - have been designed and produced with the backing and endorsement of James O'Barr.

Packaging - ***
The boxes work well at the basic job - keeping the statue safe, and showing the basic appearance. A window is always better than photos on the outside, but that's not unusual for statues. There's an indication of which number you've got on the outside of the box, along with a list of the four variants and their production numbers.

Sculpting - ***1/2
It might appear that these are photos of the exact same statue, but take a closer look - there's four different ones here!

The sculpt is identical across the group however, at least of the Crow himself.  Based on the artwork of O'Barr, and NOT the design or actors in the films and tv show, it might not be the version of the Crow most are accustomed to.  But it does match the original source material extremely well.

The sculpt is nice and detailed as well, particularly in the hair and clothes.  No softness here - every fold and wrinkle is given depth and dimension.

The boots and head sculpt are particularly impressive.  The level of detail and realism is extremely good for a statue this size and in this price range.

Each of the statues comes separately from the base, and attaches with metal pegs.  Therefore you want to be careful picking one up, since the base can fall off suddenly.

Paint - ***1/2
While the only difference in sculpt between these statues is in the bloody version, they all have differences in their paint.

The normal version is, well, normal.  He has a very white skin tone, black outfit and hair, with silver highlights like the buckles and buttons on the boots.  All the paint is fairly clean, although there was a some weak definition between the arms and gloves.

The Red Nights version is identical except for the blood on the sword, and an overall reddish tint everywhere.  There's reddish highlights to the hair, skin, and overall clothing.  It's not super obvious - you have to look in very good light, but once you see it, you realize just how cool it is.  This was done to be similar to the paintings O'Barr did in the back of the graphic novel, and it works great.

The bloody version also has the bloody sword, and it has the different base with the severed hand.

All the statues have nice small detail paint work, right down to the gold clips in Eric's hair and the shell casings on the floor.

Finally, there's the unpainted version, which is actually my favorite.  Originally intended for modelers who like to paint their own, it was tremendously popular and sold out very quickly.  The pure white statue looks really cool on the shelf!

Design - ***1/2
Eric is shown standing on a hardwood floor, shell casings at his feet, shotgun behind his head, sword to his side.

There's a cat-like grace expressed through the pose, as though he's ready to strike with either weapon.  The base on the 'bloody' version also has a severed hand, still touching a gun, at Draven's feet.

Overall, it's a great looking design, befitting the theme of the character, and giving fans of the comic something truer to the original vision of O'Barr.

Value - **1/2
These aren't exceptional for their price, but are in line with most of the rest of the statue/bust market at around $40 - $70, depending on the version and the exclusivity.  The 12" versions will be more expensive of course, closer to $150.

Overall - ***1/2
If you're a fan of the original comics and the art of O'Barr, then these are definitely for you.  While most folks love the film versions, these give the comic fans a chance to have something as well.  The unpainted version is pretty cool as well, and while it's sold out, they will be producing a 12" version.

For the regular statue collector, the 7" size might not fit in as well with your display as the 12" size.  I suspect the later release will look better with the Marvel Collector's Club statues, for example.

Where to Buy - 
Your best bet for the bloody and regular is the Dragon Fly site itself. You'll have to turn to the secondary market for the red version, which proved extremely popular.

While the unpainted and Red Nights versions are sold out, there will be 12" versions of each of these also produced later this year.  There are pre-orders already up at the Dragon Fly site, and numbers will again be limited, so if you're a big fan of the comic you may want to order early.

You can also try Ebay of course, but you might want to ask around your local comic shops just in case first.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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