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Quote1 He calls himself "Scarecrow." Psychologist turned psychopath. He preys on the innocent and instill them with fear. When I chose to wear my... costume, it was to prey upon the criminals, and instill them with fear. The irony is not lost on me... Quote2
Batman src

Jonathan Crane, otherwise known as the Scarecrow, was a disgraced academic obsessed with people's fears. He uses his specially designed fear toxin to terrorize the citizens of Gotham City. This makes him a frequent enemy of Batman.


Jonathan Crane was a child born without benifit of clergy and suffered severe abuse as a child. His father took off before he was even born, and his mother was made to leave her newborn son in the hands of her grandmother, a religious fanatic with less than pure intentions for the boy.

As a child he was exposed to severe emotional and physical torment and torture from his great grandmother, the worst of course being the Keeny family's chapel, where flocks of crows nested. He was forced to dress in a suit contaminated with a homemade chemical designed to enrage nearby crows and encourage them to attack the source. It was because of this that Jonathan developed a crippling fear of his grandmother.[2]

Growing up, Jonathan was bullied for his lanky frame, spindly legs, and uncommon interests. His bullies gave him the name "the Scarecrow" for his skinny physique. His grudge against the people who hurt him grew stronger, and Crane was eventually tired of being a victim. He developed his own style of "violent dancing", which he combined with elements of Kung Fu. He also learned the recipe for the chemical that his grandmother used to scare crows.

One night, Crane dressed up as a ghoulish scarecrow to terrify some of the people who bullied him in high school. Unfortunately, his fear methods proved to be a bit too successful, as he literally scared his bullies to death. Crane became fascinated with the whole event and proceeded to murder his grandmother using the same fear chemical she previously used on him.

Early Adulthood

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Crane as an intern psychiatrist

After high school, Jonathan enrolled at Gotham University and became the new professor of psychology once he eliminated the original teacher through exposure to his experimental fear toxin. Crane started his classes, with an emphasis on the study of fear. Eventually, his harsh methods in the classroom caught up to him, and he was dismissed for firing a revolver in class. Later, he went on to murder people responsible for his dismissal.

Following this, Crane was transferred to Arkham Asylum and became the head psychologist there, where he performed fear-inducing experiments on his patients. He took the moniker "The Scarecrow", the favorite taunt of the hated bullies.[1]

Around his time, Crane also worked as an intern at a psychiatric clinic, where he was left in charge of a young and disturbed Thomas Elliot. Instead of curing him though, he allowed the kid's mental state to worsen.[3]

First Encounters with Batman

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Scarecrow's early costume

The deaths of the Gotham University dean and four regents earned Crane the attention of Gotham City's newest guardian - the Batman. Batman, working alongside the recently promoted police captain Jim Gordon, and traced the evidence back to Crane. Defending himself with his fear toxin and a makeshift costume, Crane officially embraced his nickname and became "the Scarecrow". Crane was apprehended by the hero and imprisoned in Arkham Asylum.

Back on the streets, the Scarecrow was soon recruited into a gang of super-villains led by Two-Face to battle Carmine Falcone's criminal empire. The group was also responsible for the Columbus Day Massacre of Gotham's mob bosses. The team disbanded after a battle with The Hangman and the battle at the Batcave with the newly-formed Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin.

The Scarecrow was a regular member of the Injustice Gang and briefly joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

Scarecrow eventually developed a new version of his fear toxin, which removed people's fears and made them act reckless and murderous. He was stopped while using this new strand by the second Robin Jason Todd.[4]

Scarecrow would try using this version of his toxin again years later, this time stopped by the new, young vigilante Tim Drake. Tim's defeat of Scarecrow in this instance convinced Batman to train him as the third Robin.[5]


 Main article: Batman: Knightfall

Crane escaped Arkham Asylum during the massive breakout orchestrated by Bane in a plot to break the Bat.

After a few days, Crane learned that Joker had teamed up with Cornelius Stirk and was insulted that the Joker had chosen to partner with an amateur fear-based villain like Stirk over him. Scarecrow terrorized one of Joker's henchmen to learn the location of his boss and confronted the Joker, offering to work together to terrorize Gotham's Mayor Krol.

That same night, they went to Krol's house and dosed him with Scarecrow's Fear Toxin, forcing the Mayor of Gotham to do as they told.[6] Following Joker's suggestion, Scarecrow forced Krol to call the president of the union of firefighters to tell him that he was cutting their rolls.[7] Scarecrow then used his Fear Toxin on Krol again in order to force him to call the GCPD and give them false information that would lead them to a death trap.[8]

Later, Joker came up with the idea of using Krol to lure Batman into a trap and, together, the villains took Krol to the Gotham River Tunnel, where they forced Krol to reveal his abduction. When Batman arrived, Scarecrow used his fear gas on him, hoping to cripple the hero, but Batman overcame the toxin. During their escape, Scarecrow used a rocket launcher to cave in the tunnel's walls, causing the place to be filled with water. Scarecrow and Joker were able to escape from Batman as he went back to save the mayor.[9]

Scarecrow and Joker retreated to their hideout, where Crane complained of not making money out of their latest stunt and to continue his experiments. When Joker mocked him, Scarecrow betrayed him, using his fear gas on Joker. However, the gas had no effect on him and, instead, Joker beat Scarecrow furiously with a chair, ending their partnership.[10]

God of Fear

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The God of Fear

After recovering from his encounter with Joker, Scarecrow conducted an experiment at Gotham University and lured young students with the promise of money for being test subjects. Scarecrow turned a small group of students into his faithful minions by using hypnotic techniques based on fear.[11]

Scarecrow provided them with several of his costumes and he commanded them to spread across Gotham and release his fear toxin in crowded places, which caused mass hysteria. His ultimate plan was to take control over the entire population of Gotham while the city was crippled with fear.[12] Scarecrow almost succeeded, but he was found by Batman and Anarky. Despite his efforts against them, Scarecrow was stopped for good and he was carried to the authorities by Batman.[13]


 Main article: Batman: Hush

Sometime later, Crane joined Thomas Elliot, who had taken the criminal identity Hush, and provided Hush with the psychological profiles of all his enemies, including Batman.

Scarecrow then used his fear toxin on Huntress but was stopped shortly after that by Batman. However, thanks to Jason Todd's interference, Scarecrow managed to escape.[14]

As the Crow Flies

Scarecrow was briefly transformed into a murderous creature known as the Scarebeast by the Penguin to kill off the Penguin's disloyal colleagues.[15] In this incarnation, the Scarebeast possessed super strength and endurance and could release an even stronger hallucinogenic gas. After being defeated by Batman, the Scarebeast reverted back into Jonathan Crane.

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Crane as the Scarebeast

Some time later, Scarecrow was present at the massive criminal meeting at Robinson Park during the great gang war of Gotham and attacked Batman along with many other criminals.[16] Batman grabbed and discovered Black Mask as the impostor posing as Orpheus and he was about to knock him down when Scarecrow attacked Batman, allowing Black Mask to escape.[17] Later, Scarecrow joined Killer Croc and together they followed Black Mask to the North End of Gotham.[18] Black Mask took Scarecrow to the Gotham Clock Tower, mistakenly calling it the Batcave and together went inside the tower. Black Mask used Scarecrow's body to overload the security system by tossing him into a room full of lasers, causing Scarecrow to be badly burned.[19] Scarecrow recovered and the thoughts of revenge filled his mind, allowing him to transform into the Scarebeast once again. He was attacked by the combined forces of Robin, Batgirl, Onyx, Tarantula and Catwoman, but he was most likely defeated by the destruction of the Gotham Clock Tower.[20]

The Scarecrow later became the pawn of Darkseid and his sycophantic toadie DeSaad. They used their resources to transform Crane into a being named Schrocken. Crane was taken to Apokolips, but was later rescued due to the efforts of Batman and Superman.[21]

Heart of Hush

 Main article: Batman: Heart of Hush

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Scarecrow terrorizes Colin Wilkes

Some time later, Scarecrow and Hush joined forces once again to eliminate Batman with Hush's ultimate plan and the first step included Scarecrow taking a kid from Gotham Children's Hospital and terrorize him.[3] Scarecrow took the kid to some caverns outside of Gotham and summoned Batman to a trap. He forced Batman to fight the kid, who was dosed with a weaker version of Venom, but his plan failed when Batman turned the enraged kid against him. Scarecrow revealed that it was all a distraction created by Hush to keep Batman busy. After the confession, Scarecrow was arrested by the GCPD.[22] Crane was taken back to Arkham, but before reaching his cell, he was brutally attacked by Batman, who wanted Crane to reveal Hush's secret hideout. To get answers, Batman forced Crane into Joker's cell soaked his head on the toilet in order and gave him electric shocks. Crane told Batman what he wanted to know and Batman left Crane barely conscious in Joker's cell, much to the madman's delight.[23]

After the Black Glove's failed plan to destroy Batman, all the inmates from Arkham Asylum were transferred to Blackgate until Arkham was completely decontaminated. On their way back to Arkham, the vehicles that transported the inmates were assaulted by a new Black Mask, who freed the inmates, blew the asylum in front of all of them and forced them to join his army. Crane was among the inmates who joined Black Mask's group.[24]

Batgirl Rising

Around the time that Stephanie Brown became the latest incarnation of Batgirl, Scarecrow developed a new recreational drug called "Thrill." He and his minions worked on spreading "Thrill" throughout the city, specifically in the "Devil's Square" area. Batgirl managed to track Scarecrow to his hideout, and engaged him in combat. Scarecrow deployed "Thrill" against her, making Batgirl's inoculation against his standard fear-gas next to useless. Batgirl was given hallucinations of Tim Drake and her Spoiler identity telling her that she was a terrible person and deserved to be dead, while at the same time, Scarecrow beat her. She snapped out of it just in time when Oracle shouted over her comlink, "Batgirl! Wake up!" Batgirl then proceeded to defeat Scarecrow, and then left him tied up for the police.[25]

Green Lantern Vol 4 51 Greg Horn Variant

Sinestro Corps

Blackest Night

 Main article: Blackest Night

During the Blackest Night, as the Black Lantern Corps rampages through Gotham City, Scarecrow wandered through the streets, wanting to feel the terror the Black Lanterns are causing the citizens, but revealing that overexposure to his fear gas has left him emotionally dead, unable to feel fear, courage, or any of the other five emotions on the Emotional Spectrum, except when facing Batman.[26] When Ganthet causes the rings of the Seven Lanterns on Earth to duplicate and deputize others on Earth, the Qwardian ring selects Crane, inducting him into the Sinestro Corps.[27] Overjoyed at being able to feel fear again, Scarecrow eagerly joins the battle against the Black Lanterns.[28] However, Lex Luthor, who had received the other Orange Lantern Ring, is overwhelmed by the orange light of avarice and takes Crane's ring.[29]

Brightest Day

 Main article: Brightest Day

Sometime later during the events of Brightest Day, Scarecrow begins kidnapping and murdering college interns working for LexCorp as a way of getting back at Luthor for stealing his ring. When Robin and Supergirl attempt to stop his plans, Scarecrow unleashes a new fear toxin that is powerful enough to affect a Kryptonian. The toxin forces Supergirl to see visions of a Black Lantern Reactron, but she is able to snap out of the illusion and help Robin defeat Scarecrow.[30] He is eventually freed from Arkham when Deathstroke and the Titans break into the asylum in order to capture one of the inmates.


  • Toxic Immunity: Crane developed an immunity to his own fear toxin, and fear itself, after years of repeated exposure.[26]
  • Transformation: After being modified by Fright's genetic expertise, Scarecrow gained the ability to turn into Scarebeast under strain or duress with enhanced strength, endurance, and emits a powerful fear-toxin. He was eventually defeated by Batman using a powered suit and reverted back to his original form.[15] Scarecrow transforms into Scarebeast once more after being badly injured by a laser security system, but reverts to his normal again after being caught in an explosion.[31]


  • Intimidation: Using a variety of toxins that cause his victims to hallucinate that their phobias have come to life, the Scarecrow instills fear in all who see him.
  • Violent Dancing: When forced to fight, Crane uses his own martial arts style he calls "violent dancing", which is based in part on the crane style of kung fu and makes full use of his long arms and legs.[13]
  • Genius Level Intellect
    • Psychology: Jonathan Crane is an expert in the field of psychology, specifically the study of anxiety disorders. He is a walking textbook on the study of fear, and can recite the name and description of nearly every known phobia. He often demonstrates his intellectual prowess by analyzing his fellow patients at Arkham Asylum.[32]
    • Chemistry: Jonathan Crane is a proficient chemist and has used this skill to develop his infamous fear toxin.
    • Pedagogy

Other Characteristics

  • Anxiety Disorder: Crane once suffered from corvidophobia (fear of crows) after being attacked by a murder of crows at his family aviary. He managed to overcome this somehow and is often seen with a crow named Craw. Since his first encounter with Batman, he had developed chiropteraphobia (fear of bats).[citation needed]
  • Obsession: Scarecrow is motivated by an obsessive need to spread massive terror around Gotham.[citation needed]
  • Fear Toxin: Should he not be cautious over his use, Crane will get a taste of his medicine. He eventually gained an immunity to the fear toxin during the Blackest Night after years of exposure.[26]


  • Scarecrow is afraid of rats.[35]



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