DC’s Batman universe has more than its fair share of dastardly and highly memorable villains. One such is The Scarecrow. Dr. Jonathan Crane, also known as The Scarecrow, is a supervillain and member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. The Scarecrow is an enduring villain, having first debuted in “World’s Finest Comic’s #3” in 1941. His scarecrow costume, lanky appearance, and surname were inspired by Ichabod Crane of the horror fable “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
The Scarecrow is a deranged and overly-obsessed former professor of psychology who uses a variety of drugs and psychological tactics to manipulate the fears and phobias of his opponents. He isn’t out for wealth, nor does he commit crimes in order to gain power or political influence. Rather, his mindset is one of “research,” and early on his interest was mostly in studying the effects of fear on humans, with the innocent citizens of Gotham as his unwilling lab rats.
Jonathan Crane was the very definition of a mad scientist. He invented a gas that causes its victims to experience terrifying hallucinations, which in turn altered the victims’ behavior and encouraged horrified and/or violent reactions. As The Scarecrow, he wears a disturbing burlap (or similar) scarecrow mask to enhance the effect of the hallucinations. The mask contains filters to protect him from his own fear gas. Although skinny and not particularly physically intimidating, Scarecrow is adept at physical combat, using a style called “violent dancing.” Prolonged exposure to this fear toxin has damaged Crane’s brain to the point where he cannot feel fear for anything…except Batman. This proves to compulsively push The Scarecrow into confrontations with Batman to feed his addiction to fear.
Though The Scarecrow only made two appearances in the 1940’s, his character was revived in the 1960’s and since then has been a popular mainstay of the Batman comic books, as well as Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy, video games, merchandise, animations, and the Emmy-winning cartoon Batman: The Animated Series. At the time of this writing, Scarecrow has appeared in ten different video games. Out of those ten, his contribution to Arkham Asylum should certainly be noted for the heart-rending hallucinations he delivers to Batman, the well-timed “glitch” that messes with the player’s head as well, and his awesomely creepy character design.
As with nearly all enduring characters, The Scarecrow’s look and costume have changed through the years. At times, he’s used a skull to spread his fear gas, other times he’s fought with a giant sickle that’s not terribly different from the grim reaper’s scythe. In the Batman: Arkham Asylum game, Scarecrow is equipped with Freddy Krueger-esque bright orange hypodermic needles strapped to the fingers of his right hand, which he uses to inject his fear toxin.
It’s the Arkham Asylum version of The Scarecrow that talented cosplayer Kay Victoria has chosen to portray. The Scarecrow in his patchwork tatters and burlap mask isn’t exactly pretty, but Kay Victoria is. Very much so. So Kay made some modifications to Scarecrow’s Arkham Asylum look to feminize it, while still keeping the supervillain essence. We love how the hooded corset she made mimics the patchwork stitching of Scarecrow’s canon design. Then there’s the burlap fabric behind the gas mask and the artfully-applied make-up. But most of all, we want to give credit to Kay Victoria for that hypodermic needle glove. It’s wonderfully terrifying, just like The Scarecrow. This is an excellent example of a crossplay where the canon costume is not attractive but has been expertly adapted into something easy on the eyes.
Photography by Ron Gejon Photography