us department of fear


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”.  

Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Tina St. Claire is sadly going to pass as a result of her Cancer.
I have sat with her everyday for the past 2 months, holding her and telling her I loved her daily, as she has gracefully prepared to leave us, with no fear, pain or tears, to depart this world for the next.
This is undoubtedly a tragedy, we are going to lose a beautiful human being far too soon. Tina was a undeniably talented individual who’s art was loved by many and who herself is loved even more by those who knew her close.
As her fiancé, closest friend and her artistic partner I cannot express the grief and sorrow this situation has left me with. However, I hope that you will take from her what I have and not allow this information of her inevitable passing to take you to a place of darkness.
Instead, please use the emotions that come from this as a source of inspiration and create something beautiful. 
Honor her life by doing as she had done, loving, creating and caring with a open heart - giving 100% of yourself to all and everything that you believe in no matter what the consequences may be. It will be worth it, I promise.
Dereck Seltzer / @hauntedeuth