The son of a father obsessed with understanding and controlling fear, Jonathan Crane was used as the subject for illegal experiments from a young age following the death of his mother. Repeatedly locked in a small room beneath the floor and dosed with fear-inducing toxins, he became completely unhinged after his father unexpectedly died in the middle of an experiment. Jonathan was left for days, starving and terrified in a small pit. Even after he was finally rescued, he spent years deeply traumatized by the experience, before ultimately deciding to become the master of fear. Initially working as a professor, and later as a clinical psychologist, he finds his psychopathy does not lend itself to traditional practice of his chosen trade. Taking on the name Scarecrow, he begins a life of crime in constant pursuit of perfecting his fear toxin.
Scarecrow was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. He made his first appearance in World's Finest Comics #3. The character was revived in the Silver Age by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff, and has become a regular villain since then.
In his earliest appearances Scarecrow was a professor of psychology who was ridiculed by his peers for his clothes and behaviour. He decided to become a criminal to feed his desire for books, as well as to afford nicer clothing to fit in with his peers. Shortly after his first criminal outing he was fired for his unusual teaching methods, including firing a gun in his classroom while teaching about fear. This version of the character was not particularly obsessed with fear, and wielded a gun rather than fear gas. His criminal endeavours were restricted to protection rackets and theatrical robberies.
The character was revived in the Silver Age, which maintained his general Golden Age origin story. It was during this age that Scarecrow began using fear gas as a weapon. During this age he was also given a fear of birds, though he had two pet birds himself.
The character remained relatively unchanged throughout the Bronze Age.
During the Modern Age, Scarecrow's backstory was significantly expanded upon. Originally from Georgia, Jonathan Crane was the bastard son of a rich family in decline. Ignored by his mother and despised by his grandmother, he was raised primarily by his fanatically religious and sadistic great-grandmother. He was repeatedly locked in a cathedral where he was attacked by crows that had been trained by his great-grandmother for this purpose. Constantly abused both at home and at school, he learned the importance of fear, control, and knowledge. As an adult he sought employment as a professor, and as in his previous iterations, was dismissed for firing a gun in class. Notably, this version of the character became a career criminal only after being fired from his job. This version of the character was also much more adept with chemistry and psychopharmacology than his previous iterations. During this age the Scarecrow was briefly mutated into the feral Scarebeast, a massively powerful monster. As the Scarebeast, he was superhumanly powerful and durable, and could release a powerful hallucinogen. Also during this age he lost the ability to feel fear.
The New 52 introduced his current origin and powers. Notably his abusive backstory was altered so that his father was the main perpetrator while his mother, who had previously been alive, if neglectful, died early in his childhood. His turn to criminality is also markedly different, as he was fired from his professorship for covering a phobic student with spiders, and became a criminal after stabbing a patient to death. Unlike his previous incarnation, he appears to be capable of experiencing fear.
Major Story Arcs
Scarecrow escapes Arkham Asylum in the mass escape organized by Bane, and uses his fear gas to manipulate the mayor, later joining up with the Joker and holding the mayor hostage to attract Batman. The two villains fall out, however, and Scarecrow attempts to poison Joker with his fear toxin. Joker proves immune, however, and nearly beats Scarecrow to death with a chair. He reemerges sometime later attempting to take over the city with an army of hypnotized college students. He is stopped by Azrael and Anarky.
The Long Halloween
Scarecrow escapes Arkham Asylum with Carmine Falcone's help, poisoning Batman in the process. He joins the Mad Hatter in robbing a bank on Falcone's orders, but they are stopped by Batman and Catwoman. He joins other rogues in attacking Batman, but they are defeated.
Scarecrow joins up with Two-Face's gang, but is secretly working with Calendar Man. Together, they are slowly twisting Alberto Falcone's mind, in large part thanks to the fear toxin Scarecrow is slipping into his cigarettes. They force him to attempt to kill his sister, Sofia Gigante, but this fails. Later, he is caught by Batman during a raid on Two-Face's hideout, and gives him up immediately.
Scarecrow joins forces with Hush, a former student of his, and provides him with psychological profiles of Batman and his rogues. Later, he doses Huntress with fear gas, causing her to turn on Catwoman. He attacks Batman, leading him to the graveyard where his parents are buried. He is defeated by Batman after Batman is apparently unaffected by his fear toxin. He escapes capture due to the intervention of Jason Todd.
As the Crow Flies
Scarecrow is hired by Penguin, who has an ulterior motive; he convinces Fright to tamper with Scarecrow's genetics, transforming him into the monstrous Scarebeast. Penguin directs this monster against underlings who have defied him. The Scarebeast is ultimately defeated by Batman, and reverts to his usual self.
During the massive gang war the rocks Gotham's underground, he is involved in a coordinated attack on Batman by a number of other villains. He interferes in a fight between Black Mask and Batman, allowing Black Mask to escape. Later, he and Killer Croc track Black Mask down, and he travels with him to Gotham Clock Tower. There, Black Mask betrays him by tossing him into a room full of lasers, shorting out the tower's electricity, but also badly burning Scarecrow. Enraged, Scarecrow transforms into the Scarebeast. He is attacked by a number of heroes, and ultimately subdued following the destruction of the tower.
Scarecrow escapes Arkham and vows to give up on his fear toxin, instead relying on his psychological skills to manipulate the populace. He is successful in stirring some chaos, but ultimately tracked down by Batman. During his confrontation with the hero he is accidentally disembowelled by one of his own scythes being wielded by a scarecrow machine.
Scarecrow joins a number of other villains at the Iceberg Lounge, worried by the recent reports of villains going missing. They are attacked by the Suicide Squad, who have been taking villains into custody to be transported to the planet Salvation. He uses his fear gas to escape. He joins forces with the Ventriloquist's gang, but only with the intention of betraying them to Tobias Whale. Whale then himself betrays Scarecrow, beating him and hanging him up in the streets like his namesake.
Heart of Hush
Joining forces with Hush yet again, Scarecrow acts as a distraction while Hush prepares to attack Batman. He kidnaps a child and poisons him with Venom, setting him against Batman. He is defeated when the enraged child is turned back on him, and taken to Arkham. Before he reaches his cell he is tortured for information by Batman, to whom he reveals Hush's hideout. He is left, barely conscious, in the Joker's cell.
Battle for the Cowl
During the Battle for the Cowl, Scarecrow is among the villains who works for Black Mask. He works to create the drug Thrill, which soon spreads throughout the city. This brings him to the attention of Oracle and Batgirl. He manages to dose Batgirl with Thrill, incapacitating her briefly. She manages to shake off the effects and defeat him.
When the dead begin to rise on the Blackest Night, Scarecrow is uniquely immune to the Black Lanterns due to his complete inability to feel fear. During the push-back against the undead he is deputized into the Sinestro Corps and given a yellow ring, which allows him to finally feel fear again. Thrilled by the return of the emotion, he happily joins in the battle. His ring is stolen by Lex Luthor, wielder of the Orange Lantern ring, who has been overcome by avarice.
Seeking revenge against Luthor, Scarecrow begins killing interns who are working for LexCorp. When Robin and Supergirl attempt to arrest him he doses her with an extremely powerful fear toxin, which briefly manages to incapacitate her. However, Robin helps her regain her senses, and they arrest him.
Scarecrow works together with Bane to develop a potent Venom-fear gas hybrid. To this end he kidnaps Poison Ivy to use her botanical knowledge. He and Bane distribute this new toxin to Arkham Asylum inmates, enabling a mass breakout. When Batman tracks him down to Harmon Island, Scarecrow also poisons him with this hybrid toxin, and escapes. Batman catches up and manages to force Scarecrow's toxin back on him, incapacitating him.
Cycle of Violence
Obsessed with completing his father’s work in order to complete his own toxin, Scarecrow begins kidnapping children and repeatedly poisoning them in the hopes of extracting new samples with which to synthesize his toxins. This brings him to the attention of Batman and Commissioner Gordon. He kidnaps Gordon in order to draw Batman out, and when Batman attempts to rescue Gordon he poisons and traps Batman. Using Batman as a guinea pig he repeatedly doses him with his fear toxin. Finally completing his toxin, he is attacked by Batman, who had managed to escape his shackles, and seriously wounded when Batman fires a grappling hook through his lower jaw. Seeing that Batman has inadvertently opened a gas line, priming the house to explode, Scarecrow flees, but not before rescuing his final victim, with whom he has bonded. He is caught in the explosion but manages to drag himself to the Penguin, who gives him a blimp he had previously ordered, which he uses to distribute his new toxin at a Christmas parade. He is eventually found by Batman, and surrenders. When he is thrown in Arkham Asylum his hidden supply of toxin shatters, poisoning him.
Scarecrow is among the villains who carve up Gotham in the Batman's absence. With the growing threat of Bane, he visits several other villains warning that they will have to engage in a war against Bane to protect their hold over Gotham. He leads several Arkhamites in an attack on Blackgate, attempting to destroy Bane's newly acquired Talons. He succeeds in orchestrating the removal of all but one of the Talons, but is attacked by Bane. He is rescued by Killer Croc. Later, he and Mr Freeze succeed in awakening the Talons. He doses several other villains with a small amount of Bane's Venom, which he acquired when he and Bane fought, and leads them in an assault on Blackgate. He is defeated by Bane when the Venom runs out, and is strung up in the streets.
Determined to defeat Batman, Scarecrow uses specially-designed masks to induce peaceful hallucinations in Batman and his allies, convincing them that Gotham has become a utopia. Batman manages to shake off the hallucination, but allows himself to be captured by Crane's hypnotized minions in order to get to Crane. Batman defeats Crane by secretly developing and administering an antidote to his allies. He turns Crane's hallucinogen on its creator, causing him to live in a world in which he believes he has defeated Batman.
Managing to shake off the effects of his toxin, Scarecrow is used by Mister Bygone and Joker's Daughter as a power source for a summoning ritual. He is rescued by Batwing and Jim Corrigan, and manages to escape in the ensuing chaos. He meets with several other villains to plot a takeover of Gotham, and they are nearly killed by Bane, still bitter over their previous encounter. Scarecrow promises to help supercharge his Venom. Together with the other villains he is defeated by Batman, but they are rescued by a fellow villain. He is given several drones which he attempts to rig to distribute fear toxin from atop Gotham Cathedral. He is confronted by Batwing, who he poisons and nearly defeats, and by Batman, who defeats him.
Imprisoned once again in the interim asylum of Wayne Manor, Scarecrow is among the many villains who are dosed with Joker Venom. Like other villains who have had repeated chemical exposure, Scarecrow is immune to the toxin's effects. He bands together with Bane, Clayface, Mr Freeze, Penguin, and Poison Ivy to escape into the city, which has been similarly affected by the toxin. They are recruited by Batman to take down Joker, and reluctantly agree to assist.
Studying his Sinestro Corps Ring for months, Scarecrow develops a machine which can synthesize the power of the ring without needing permission to wear it. He uses the machine to instill fear into people through online videos. Batman enlists the help of Simon Baz & Jessica Cruz in order to take down Crane.
The War of Jokes and Riddles
Scarecrow sides with Riddler in his war against Joker.
DC vs Marvel
Scarecrow allies with Scarecrow, and together they kidnap Lois Lane. They are both defeated by Ben Reilly.
Scarecrow appears as a killer who has adorned his clothing with fingers belonging to victims, who were his former bullies. He is confronted and decapitated by Batman.
Batman/Daredevil: King of New York
Scarecrow attempts to use Kingpin to facilitate the dispersal of his fear toxin. However, he is defeated by Daredevil, who, being the man without fear, is immune to his toxin's effects.
JSA: The Liberty Files
Scarecrow is a German agent sabotaging the intelligence networks of the Bat, the Clock, and Owl. He kills the fiancée of Terry Sloane, who returns to the field and kills Scarecrow.
Scarecrow appears as a member of the Legion of Doom. He joins Clayface in attacking Black Canary and Green Arrow, which fails, and helps kidnap Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, and Supergirl. Later, he joins in the fight against the League. Escaping, he sends people from his city against the invading League. John Stewart frees the people from his clutches, and frees him from Brainiac's control. Unperturbed at having been under Brainiac's control, he releases fear gas over the city and escapes. He is later beaten nearly to death by the Joker as retaliation for being snubbed by the Legion.
Scarecrow retires from crime and takes up research as his primary vocation, spending a decade writing up his research.
In the Flashpoint alternate timeline Scarecrow is murdered by Batman.
Crane is the head of the Crane Institute for the Criminally Insane.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Scarecrow is poisoned with Joker Venom, and apparently dies. His own toxin is stole by Joker. Later, still alive, he joins with Black Masks's gang.
Powers and Abilities
Scarecrow has no known superhuman powers or abilities. He is extremely intelligent, with a particular facility for psychology, chemistry, and psychopharmacology. He is a skilled leader and tactician. Due to his long-term exposure to various chemicals and toxins he has an enhanced immunity to many of them. He is a competent fighter, and skilled in the use of the scythe as a weapon.
Weapons and Equipment
Scarecrow wields a variety of fear toxins that can be used to various purposes on various beings, including humans, aliens, and plants. These toxins may be administered via aerosols, which he can activate through a system in his sleeves, or through needles; occasionally he wields a glove with syringes full of poison on each finger. He also carries a scythe.
Scarecrow appears as one of the primary antagonists in this film. Initially introduced as Jonathan Crane, the head of Arkham Asylum, he is revealed to be working with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows to destroy Gotham. He develops the poison that is used to poison the city, and ultimately evades capture in the ensuing chaos, though he is also poisoned. He is portrayed by Cillian Murphy.
Batman: Gotham Knight
Scarecrow appears in the "In Darkness Dwells" segment as the leader of a small army of Arkham inmates who have taken up residence in the sewers. He puts a priest with whom he has taken issue on trial and sentences him to death, but is stopped by Batman. He is voice by Corey Burton.
The Dark Knight
Scarecrow makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of this film as a drug peddler who has been tainting his own supply with fear toxin, to the annoyance of his customers. He is captured by Batman. Cillian Murphy reprises his role.
The Dark Knight Rises
Scarecrow makes a cameo appearance as the judge in the courts that have been set up by Bane after the uprising in Gotham. Cillian Murphy reprises the role.
Batman: Assault on Arkham
Scarecrow is among the prisoners who are released by Joker as a distraction. He is voiced by Christian Lanz.
Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem
Scarecrow appears as a member of Joker's gang. He is voiced by Brian T. Delaney.
The Batman/Superman Hour
Scarecrow appears as the antagonist of the episode "The Great Scarecrow Scare." He is voiced by Ted Knight.
Challenge of the Super Friends
Scarecrow appears as an antagonist and member of the Legion of Doom in several episodes of this series, making his first appearance in "Wanted: The Super Friends". This version of the character is accompanied by a flock of crows. He is voiced by Don Messick.
Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians
Scarecrow appears as the primary antagonist of the episode "The Fear." He is voiced by Andre Stojka.
Batman: The Animated Series
Scarecrow appears as an antagonist in several episodes of this series, making his first appearance in the episode "Nothing to Fear." He is voiced by Henry Polic II.
The New Batman Adventures
In this continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, Scarecrow underwent a complete character redesign. He makes his first appearance in "Never Fear." He is voiced in his first appearance by Jeffrey Combs, and in his second by Jeff Bennett.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Scarecrow appears as one of the primary antagonists in the episode "Trials of the Demon!" He also makes cameo appearance in two other episodes. He is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker
A young Jonathan Crane appears in the episode "The Fearsome Dr Crane." This version of the character has an origin similar to his New 52 origin. He is injected with a fear toxin that renders him permanently terrified in the episode "The Scarecrow." He is portrayed by Charlie Tahan.
Holy Musical B@man!
Scarecrow appears as a minor antagonist in this parody musical. He is portrayed by Dylan Saunders.
Batman: The Animated Series
Scarecrow appears as a boss in this Game Boy game.
The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Scarecrow appears as a boss in this game for the Super Nintendo and Game Gear.
Batman: Gotham City Racer
Scarecrow is a playable character in this racing game.
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
Scarecrow appears as a boss in this game. He is voiced by Jeffrey Combs.
Scarecrow appears as a major antagonist in this game, based on the movie of the same name. Cillian Murphy reprises the role.
Lego Batman: The Videogame
Scarecrow appears as an antagonist and boss in this game. This version of the character is capable of mind control in addition to wielding his fear toxin. He is voiced by Dave Wittenberg.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Scarecrow features as a recurring boss throughout this game. This version of the character was significantly redesigned from previous appearances. He is voiced by Dino Andrade.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Videogame
Scarecrow appears as a boss in this Nintendo DS game based on the television series of the same name. Dee Bradley Baker reprises the role.
DC Universe Online
Scarecrow appears as a villain who can be encountered during some hero quests. He is voiced by Christopher S Fields.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Scarecrow appears as a minor antagonist and playable character in this game. He is voiced by Nolan North.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Scarecrow briefly appears, having apparently survived his poisoning, as an antagonist in Arkham Asylum and in STAR Labs. He does not speak in his appearance.
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure
Scarecrow appears as an antagonist who poisons the player. He is also playable as part of downloadable content.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
The version of the character introduced in Batman Begins is a playable character in downloadable content. He does not speak in his appearance
Batman: Arkham Knight
Scarecrow returns as a major antagonist in this game. He joins forces with Arkham Knight and is responsible for the threat that causes Gotham to be evacuated. He is voiced by John Noble.