Fear is primal. Raw. Blood pressure increases. Veins in your skin contract. Your immune system shuts down. Even if you attempt to steel against fear, ... it is undeniable. Fear makes us human. That was the conclusion of Charles Darwin. Who am I to argue? I'm a man of science, too. A psychologist. But few know my academic achievements. If you know me at all, you know me as ... the Scarecrow!
Isn't it wonderful? Together, the people find strength in their fear. Exhilarating. For there are true monsters in this world. Batman and Robin are ours. We must tear them apart, child. Rip the limbs from their bodies. Strip the flesh from their bones. In order to conquer our all-consuming fear... The Scarecrow decrees that the Bat-demons must DIE!
~ Scarecrow talking to a fear-toxin brainwashed girl.
Dr. Jonathan Crane, better known as The Scarecrow, is a fictional character and supervillain from DC Comics. He is a psychiatrist and master chemist who invented a hallucinogenic chemical compound, known as Fear Toxin, that he uses to commit crimes and test his victims' sanity.
In his youth, Jonathan Crane grew up with his abusive great-grandmother, a religious fanatic who tortured Jonathan so badly that he developed a crippling fear of her. His life at school didn't fare much better either, because of bullies who constantly teased him for his lean appearance. Jonathan eventually had enough of his tormentors and used elements from Kung Fu to developed his own fighting style called “Violent Dancing” which takes advantage of his thin frame. He also managed to create a fear-inducing chemical compound that made its victims hallucinate about their worst fears, which his grandmother used to frighten crows.
After school bully Bo Griggs and his girlfriend Sherry Squires played a cruel prank on him, Crane decided to get revenge by putting on a scarecrow costume and brandishing a gun at them in the school parking lot. As a result, Griggs and Squires drove off in a panic and got into an accident that left Griggs paralyzed and Squires dead. Intoxicated with power, Crane returned home and used his Fear Toxin to murder his grandmother.
Years later, Crane became a psychology professor at Gotham University - after murdering his predecessor - and used his students as human guinea pigs in his experiments, dosing them with Fear Toxin and recording their reactions. After Crane fired a gun at his students during a lecture in order to make a point about fear, the administrators at Gotham U fired him.
He then became the head psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, experimenting on his patients by dosing them with Fear Toxin and putting on his scarecrow costume. He also used his Scarecrow persona to commit crimes in order to afford the chemicals he needed for his experiments. Although Batman eventually discovered Crane's crimes and had him incarcerated, the Scarecrow would continue to pose a threat to the Dark Knight as one of his most twisted, dangerous adversaries.
New 52 / Prime Earth
The Scarecrow's origins were altered for the New 52. In this continuity, Jonathan Crane was raised by his scientist father, who was studying the emotion of fear. He would use Jonathan as a guinea pig for his research by locking him in a pitch-black test chamber to study the boy's terrified reactions.
One day, Jonathan's father died of a heart attack while Jonathan was still locked inside the chamber, and remained there days until police finally found him, starved and traumatized. Eventually Jonathan decided that he needed to learn how to control his fears so he would never have to experience such terror again.
After getting a degree in psychology, Crane began using his patients as test subjects to create a hallucinatory, fear-inducing gas called Fear Toxin before beginning his criminal career as the Scarecrow.
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.
Batman: The Animated Series
The Scarecrow was a recurring antagonist in Batman: The Animated Series. He was voiced by the late Henry Polic II. His background is similar to his comic book counterpart; he is portrayed as a psychiatrist who is obsessed with fear, and who was fired from his teaching job for experimenting on his students. He sought revenge on the superiors who fired him, using his Fear Toxin. He is eventually defeated by Batman, who uses Scarecrow's own fear - ironically, a phobia of bats - against him.
He later attempts to increase his cash flow by betting on sports games he had rigged. He did so by dosing the best players of the opposing team with a modified fear powder that reacts to adrenaline, effecting them in the middle of the game.
In his last major appearance, he attempts to poison Gotham City's reservoir with fear toxin, and sidelines Batman by giving him such a large dose of the toxin that the Dark Knight is institutionalized in Arkham Asylum alongside the criminals he has put away. With Robin's help, however, Batman manages to overcome his fears and stop Scarecrow from poisoning the city's water supply and inciting mass panic.
The Scarecrow makes a few more minor appearances; in one episode, he is one of the "bailiffs" in a kangaroo court in which Batman's enemies put him "on trial" in Arkham; in another, he is one of the Arkham inmates brutalized by the rogue guard Lyle Bolton, who later becomes the vigilante criminal Lock-Up.
The New Batman Adventures
Like all characters, Scarecrow was redesigned to give him a much more frightening appearance. He made two major appearances. He first created a new chemical that removed people's fear, causing them to do reckless and dangerous things, and planned to release it during rush hour on the subway to sell the antidote. He unknowingly infected Batman, who disguised himself to infiltrate his operation, which caused him to lose his fear of killing and become uncontrollably violent. Fortunately, Robin is able to restrain Batman in time to stop Scarecrow from destroying Gotham and provide Batman with an antidote.
Scarecrow was originally going to appear as the main antagonist of the cancelled film Batman Unchained. He would have teamed up with a reimagined version of Harley Quinn to fight Batman and Robin. He was planned to be portrayed by either Nicolas Cage or Coolio, the latter of which would have been reprising a role from Batman & Robin.
The Scarecrow appears as a recurring antagonist throughout Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, appearing as one of the main antagonists of the first film Batman Begins and a major antagonist in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. He was portrayed by Cillian Murphy.
The Scarecrow is one of the villains Batman faces in the Arkham video game series, appearing as a major antagonist in Batman: Arkham Asylum, a cameo character in Batman: Arkham City, and the main antagonist in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
The Scarecrow appears in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where he infects all of the pumpkin crop with fear gas on Halloween. It almost worked but Flash was able to take all the pumpkins away from the people in time. While he did this Crane tried to kill Batman with his scythe but was ultimately defeated. He later made a cameo in Arkham asylum.
Holy Musical Batman
In the show, Scarecrow, along with the other rogues, worked with Sweet Tooth in a plot to kill Batman, and take over the city after they attempt to put nuclear Warheads in the city's water supply.
LEGO Batman Video Games
The Scarecrow appears as a recurring antagonist throughout the LEGO Batman video games, teaming up with the Joker. He is playable as both an unlockable character and in the villain missions.
The LEGO Batman Movie
The Scarecrow appears as a minor antagonist in the 2017 Warner Animation Group film The LEGO Batman Movie, as a part of Joker's gang. After the Joker betrays him and the other villains, he briefly teams up with Batman to fight off the Phantom Zone Criminals. He was voiced by Jason Mantzoukas who also voiced Mr. Ross from Regular Show and Steelbeak in Ducktales 2017.