November 16th is the birthday of Dr. Jonathan Crane, better known as the menacing Master of Fear, The Scarecrow.
Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, The Scarecrow first appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3 (September1941) as an adversary for Batman. He was a professor obsessed with rare books, who decided to become a criminal in order to purchase them. I guess Gotham State University didn’t have a world-class library with a sweet Special Collections Department like The University of Iowa.
Using fear as a weapon, he took on the nom de crime, The Scarecrow, because it symbolized both poverty and fear.
The Scarecrow made only a couple appearances during the Golden Age of Comic Books, and wasn’t heard from for decades until he was revived by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff in Batman v.1 #189 in February 1967. The Brown Prince of Crime* has been a recurring member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery ever since.
Dr. Crane is quite the “joiner” and has been a member of the Injustice Gang, The Injustice League, The Secret Society of Super-Villains, and The Legion of Doom. He was briefly deputized into the Sinestro Corps during the Blackest Night crossover.
The Scarecrow made his cinematic debut in 2005 with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. He was portrayed by the dreamy Cillian Murphy.
These comics (and many more) are part of the DuGarm Collection at the University of Iowa: Special Collections:
interior art from Justice League of America v.1 #111 (June 1974), written by Martin Pasko, art by Pat Broderick
Batman v.1 #291(September 1977), cover by Jim Aparo
Detective Comics v.1 #503 (June 1981), cover by Jim Starlin and Tatjana Wood
interior art from Batman v.1 #456 (November 1990), art by Norm Breyfogle
Batman v.1 #373 (July 1984), cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano
Justice League of America v.1 #111 (June 1974), cover by Nick Cardy
Batman v.1 #540 (July 1984), cover by Gene Colan and Dick Giordano
interior art from
Justice League of America v.1 #143 (June 1977), script by Steve Englehart with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin
Uncredited panel from the 1976 DC Comics Calendar
Scarecrow origin panels from Detective Comics v.1 #486 (November 1979), written by Jack C. Harris, with art by Kurt Schaffenberger and Jack Abel
*No one has ever called The Scarecrow, “The Brown Prince of Crime”.