Year One: Batman/Scarecrow (2005)
This two-part mini-series, designed to tap into interest in Scarecrow around the release of Batman Begins essentially retells and greatly expands Scarecrow’s 1941 origin story. The story adds a southern gothic element to Scarecrow’s origin, introducing us to the bitter, insane grandmother who raised him. Scarecrow himself is reimagined as more of a Hannibal Lecter-type serial killer, who talks his victims to death before methodically putting them down for real. It’s not a perfect story, but it’s probably the best semi-recent Scarecrow tale, and it features some top notch early art from Sean Murphy.
The New Batman Adventures “Never Fear”
Okay, I’ve run out of good Scarecrow comic book stories, so let’s move on to cartoons! Batman: The Animated Series really nailed a lot of Batman villains, but they mostly flubbed Scarecrow. WB Animation didn’t really nail it until The New Batman Adventures, but boy did they ever nail it.
Essentially a loose adaptation of Fear for Sale, this episode finds Scarecrow trying to sell anti-fear gas. Eventually Batman is dosed and essentially becomes Frank Miller Batman, beating goons within an inch of their lives and killing crocodiles with his bare hands. The episode delves deep into some dark territory, essentially implying that Batman’s ban on killing is based on fear, not some sort of noble moral code.
Oh, and Jesus, I can’t even imagine how many kiddie nightmares this episode’s redesign of Scarecrow caused.
Kartoons for kids everybody!
Well, those are my favorite Scarecrow stories. Got any good ones I missed?
Oh, and if you’re wanting to read most of these stories, probably the best source is Batman: Scarecrow Tales, a collection of his best/most important stories released a few years back. It’s where I read some of these for the first time.