WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains
Name: Jonathan Crane
Residence: Gotham City
Occupation: Psychologist, University Faculty, Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): World's Finest #3 (Fall 1941)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Brave and t
Jonathan Crane grew up a solitary child in the late 1920's,
wiry and full of mischief. Even as a boy, Crane exhibited the characteristics
that would determine the course of his life: cruelty and an obsession with
fear. As he grew older, Crane developed a bookish personality and an interest
in psychology. His pursuit of this interest eventually landed him in a teaching
position at Gotham University in 1941. While this position afforded him
opportunities undreamed of in his youth, he found himself ostracized by his
colleagues. While Crane spent every dime he made on books and scholarly
pursuits, he ignored the trappings expected of his rank in society. His
colleagues ridiculed him privately for his clothes, his mannerisms and his
reclusive lifestyle. Stung by their censure, Crane determined that to have both
books and affluence, he needed far more money than his university income would
To meet his aims, Crane turned to crime. His modus operandi
was based on his own obsessions with the psychology and an insulting
description used by his colleagues: Jonathan Crane became The Scarecrow. In his
first foray into crime, Crane used a tactic of personal terrorism. Preceding
his arrival with a few wisps of straw, Crane appeared to his victims late in
the evening and blackmailed them with certain death if they failed to meet his
demands. His first client was Frank Kendrick, a businessman being sued by his
partner, Paul Herold. The Scarecrow offered to kill Herold unless he dropped
the suit. After a single visit the Herold, in which the partner was wounded
with a gun shot, the Scarecrow became a news phenomenon. When Herold refused to
co-operate, the Scarecrow sealed his reputation by killing him. In the
meantime, Bruce Wayne, a patron of Gotham University discussed the case with a
member of Crane's department with whom he was acquainted. Crane's name came up, along with his odd
habits and the revelation that he had been recently dismissed for his fanatical
teachings on the subject of fear. Wayne, in his guise as Batman, pursued the
In his second outing, the Scarecrow approached the manager of a failing department store, Richard Dodge and offered to rob rival stores to improve business as Dodge's. After his first theft, he was tracked back to his home by Batman. After a visit from the disguised hero, Crane witnessed Batman and Robin plotting to take their case back to Dodge. Enraged, Crane donned his guise as the Scarecrow, determined to kill Dodge before he could be questioned. En route, he was intercepted by Batman and Robin, who carted him off to prison after a melee in the city playground (World's Finest #3).
Crane spent two
years in Gotham State Penitentiary. In 1943, he emerged to wage crime in Gotham
again, this time using a more pedestrian format. Organizing a gang of thugs as
his assistants, he based a series of crimes on bookish lesson of rhymes,
stealing some expensive hats and following up with crimes based on words rhyming
with hat. In his final foray to a dealer in Chinese antiquities named
"Yat", he and his gang were rounded up by Batman and Robin and
returned to prison (Detective #73).
The events of in
Crane's life between 1943 and 1955 remain shrouded in mystery. It is known,
however, that when he emerged again in 1955 he had developed an impressive
arsenal of hallucinogenic chemical designed to cause fear. During a crime
spree, he caused Batman to imagine that he friends and colleagues had vanished
into thin air as a particularly aggressive form of autophobia (fear of
isolation). Losing his friends, Batman turned to an enemy, Selina Kyle, to help
track down the Scarecrow. The case brought the two close together and when it
was completed, they had determined to wed (Brave and the Bold #197).
The final fate of Jonathan Crane of Earth-Two has never been revealed.
Powers and Abilities
Crane lacked true super-powers but was especially agile and strong for his wiry frame. He was also well-versed in psychology and eventually developed sufficient expertise in chemistry to design custom hallucinogens.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Crane was a normal human when stripped of his weapons and chemicals and could be captured as such.
The origins of the Silver Age Scarecrow are thought to largely resemble that of his Earth-2 counterpart with minor variations (Batman #189). Although any collaborative actions of the Earth-Two Scarecrow have not been revealed, the Scarecrow of this Earth was a founding member of the Injustice Gang (Justice League of America #111) and participated in group gatherings of Batman's adversaries (Detective #526, Batman #400). He was part of Luthor's villain army during the Crisis on Infinite Earths but his ultimate fate remains unknown.
The origins of the Scarecrow of the post-Crisis Earth share many similarities to his pre-Crisis counterparts. More is known of his backstory, littered with abuse and he is widely recognized as a master of fear, even beyond the solar system when he was temporarily recruited to the Yellow Lantern Corps. His objectives, however, are always the same: Fear.
Like his counterparts close to this timeline, his origins and MO remain largely similar. In this case, he turns criminal after exposing students to the thing they most fear and ultimately kills a patient. This version of the Scarecrow is a central member of Gotham's criminal elite, collaborating extensively with Poison Ivy, Bane, and Killer Croc and is a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.
The Scarecrow of this Earth appears to have similar history has his primary counterparts, but in the mid 21st century, old age has robbed him of any interest in active crime and he spends the remainder of his days writing up the results of his lifelong history of experimenting with fear. These findings and his equipment eventually fell into the hands of Adalyn Stern, who used this to become a new female version of the Scarecrow. (Batman Beyond #22-24). While Crane is presumed deceased, his fate and actual relationship with Stern are unrevealed.