James O’Barr was born in a trailer in Detroit just in time to see Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy die, but claims no responsibility for either.
He spent his first seven years in an orphanage and foster care as the token white kid (it was,after all,Detroit) and as such had poor communication skills. When he was adopted he brought along his crayons and has been using them ever since. While stationed in Berlin (Semper Fi,dude) in the late 70’s he created The Crow as an attempt to deal with the death of his fiance at the hands of a drunk driver. It took nearly ten years to finish and no publisher was interested in it (“too gloomy, too confusing..”) until, on a whim, Caliber published the first issue in 1989. It is currently the best selling independent graphic novel of all time at over 3/4 of a million copies sold,though he is not rich by any means.
In 1993 his book was adapted into the cult film of the same name starring Brandon Lee. He would like you to know that nearly all of the money made from the film was donated to children’s charities and he had nothing to do with the subsequent 3 sequels or TV show (though he does like Mark DaCascos) and scoffs at the current plans to remake the first film.
He has worked for every major publisher, with the exception of DC who is apparently afraid of what he would do with Batman. In Italy, 1995, he won the Academy Award of comics, the Yellow Kid award for best storyteller and has been ignored ever since. After 35 years in Detroit (shot ,stabbed, and run over by Sanford and Son are not too subtle hints it is time to move) he currently lives in Dallas collecting old books, records, skulls, and the hearts of young waifs. He does commissions from his website, jamesobarr.typepad.com (how clever) and paints, draws, and writes every day.
He is tall, happy, approachable, quite charming, and looks nothing like Robert Smith (except for, maybe, the smeared lipstick on Goth night at The Church).