James O’Barr, creator of the world-renowned comic book series “The Crow,” will be a guest at this year’s Tucson Comic-Con.
O’Barr’s appearance in town coincides with the 30th anniversary of “The Crow” series’ launch through Caliber Comics in 1989, and the 25th anniversary of the film adaptation, which starred Ernie Hudson and Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee.
O’Barr grew up in a Detroit orphanage where he and his brother were often left out of activities.
He learned to entertain himself by drawing. A former United States Marine who was stationed in Berlin at the height of the Cold War, O’Barr partially attributes his creativeness for “The Crow” to the depressing and isolating atmosphere there.
O’Barr has attended Tucson Comic-Con before, and his fiancée lives in town. He visits the city about once a month.
“I really like Tucson a lot,” said O’Barr, who lives in Texas. “The old vintage buildings and the resale and antique shops make it a really fun place to go to.”
O’Barr is one of dozens of big names making appearances at this year’s comic convention, set to take place from Friday, Nov. 1, to Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., downtown.
Tucson Comic-Con was founded in 2008 by husband-and-wife team Mike and Teresita Olivares, who would spend every Wednesday night together at comic shops in Tucson.
“One night he just looked at me and said, ‘Ya know what? Tucson needs a comic convention,’ ” Teresita said. “He put it on in three months.”
The first Tucson Comic-Con was a single-day event that attracted roughly 500 people.
Attendance has grown by about 2,000 every year, Teresita Olivares said.
This year, she expects about 19,000 people to walk through the doors.
Fan groups from all over Arizona, including the 501st Legion Dune Sea Garrison that celebrates Star Wars through cosplay, and Arizona Avengers, honoring the heroes of the Marvel Universe, will be in attendance.
There will be a gaming area, where visitors can geek out playing the latest video, card and tabletop games and the convention’s Artist Alley, that will host writers and artists from around the world, some of whom will offer rare commissions.
Dozens of vendors will be on-hand to sell all kinds of fandom collectibles.
“I think we represent Tucson perfectly. Teresita said. “Our attendees are attracted by art.”
In addition to the artists and vendors, there will be a costume contest at the Leo Rich Theater on Saturday, Nov. 2, as well as seminars and workshops meant to help aspiring comic book writers and artists hone their craft.
Barr said he is looking forward to attending this year’s Tucson Comic-Con.
“I really enjoy the arts community in Tucson,” said O’Barr. “Everybody knows each other and it feels like an extended family.”
Photos from last year's Comic-Con:
Lee Jaramillo is a University of Arizona journalism student apprenticing at the Star.