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  1. #1
    The Gentleman Gamer I Have No Mouth's Avatar
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    Default How to make the Scarecrow scary

    Greetings all

    My favourite Batman villain has changed over time. When I was first introduced to Batman through the Adam West TV show it was Egghead of all people, and then I went onto the Tim Burton movies and was more drawn to the Joker, finally arriving at the animated series and the comics, settling on Scarecrow as one of the most intriguing and frightening characters.

    My problem is that Scarecrow has routinely been portrayed as something of a 'jobber to the stars' as it were, in that he is often casually flung aside, never seen as a real threat by Batman, and rarely changes up his gimmick. The Scarebeast idea was poorly conceived and I write it off as something to be forgotten. I think what makes Crane an interesting character is that he was a horrendously bullied geek of a sort, who turned the table on the bullies and became a sadistic bully himself. His focus on phobias and fear aside, his is kind of a story where he becomes the thing he loathes without acknowledging it.

    Anyhow, my question is whether the Scarecrow has had his run and can no longer be a source of originality and fear. I recall a comic (I forget which issue and would love to have a reminder) where he starts acting up the part of a serial killer in order to instil fear via another method, but this was a flash in the pan as he primarily always goes back to the fear toxin. The Sinestro Corps ring was all too brief and he didn't really capitalise on its use. His Arkham Asylum (video game) portrayal was excellent, but he is rarely portrayed with that much savvy or even malevolence in the comics.

    I would be incredibly interested to hear your thoughts on how Scarecrow could be made into an A-List threat like he maybe once was. How could a character such as Crane instil fear into the hearts of Gothamites and the assorted heroes and villains of the DC universe?

  2. #2
    Senior Member WhitOro's Avatar
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    Well, first of all, you have to find artitst that actually makes him scary. Most of the time I see him on a issue he looks more goofy that threatning.

  3. #3

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    I agree that in comics, he has yet to be given that definitive look. His best look was after the redesign of Batman the Animated Series. He had a creepy western undertaker look. Adopting that look or something similar would go a long wY in improving his image.
    No Bane, this time I break YOU! - The Batman

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Retro315's Avatar
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    I don't mind the aspect of the guy where he's got a very thin frame, and doesn't seem that intimidating, and where you think about it for a second and realize it's just a thin little head-shrinker with a burlap sack over his head.

    But there are things I'd do as an artist. I'd always, ALWAYS, even when nobody is "undergoing the effects of fear gas" have a slightly hallucinogenic quality to his appearance, where he is depicted as clear as clear can be, but the background blurs, breaks at the edges, gets sketchy, fades, people twist and deform around him.

    And the other thing I'd do is play 100% with phobias. There are a LOT of things people are afraid of, and I think I'd put a different common phobia in every frame as an easter egg but also as a psychological game. Where one person would read a talking head frame of Scarecrow giving some rant to Batman, the arachnophobe would see there's a brown recluse on the bookcase behind him drawn with enough detail to make it so their phobia forces them to focus on it, whereas anyone who could care less about spiders just sees it as "dusty old bookcase, haunted house cliche". The soldier or family member of a soldier/vet might hone in on the broken down soldier missing a leg in the crowd. The list goes on and on.

    Likewise for every phobia I can think of. Worms, bees, clowns, heights, crowds (actually deforming the crowds kind of covers agorophobia), and while backgrounds would be a little skewed and distorted around him, whatever scary phobia snuck in there would be rendered clearly so it sticks out.

    Other than that, you know ... hope he has a good writer playing with him. The last good, freaky thing I saw from Scarecrow was in the Arkham Asylum game. It wasn't particularly scary, but it had that classic videogame feeling of "oh crap" that you get in "weapons are useless, stay covert, avoid the search light" moments, and I thought design-wise, adding gas-mask flavor to his burlap sack (gas-masks are not fun) and syringes for fingers were inspired choices. Carrying that "DREAD" to comics shouldn't be that hard, you just have to earn the reader's investment by having them be truly part of Batman's character in that given story so that when the "dread moment" comes, it's their life meter that Scarecrow is threatening to wreck.
    Last edited by Retro315; 01-05-2012 at 07:27 AM.
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  5. #5

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    He should look like Dr. Decker from "Nightbreed."

    Who knows? Not me. We never lost control. You're face to face. With the Man who Sold the World

  6. #6
    Senior Member Statham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotSuper View Post
    He should look like Dr. Decker from "Nightbreed."

    Buttonface is freaking terrifying. I love Cabal as a novel - It has a great ink-blot style illustration of Decker in his Buttonface guise in there, and Cronenberg in the film was quite creepy. I also love the concept, somehow, of a psychiatrist who uses his patients to cover up his own crimes. That in itself could be an angle to explore to Crane/Scarecrow, somehow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai_Apocalypse View Post
    I agree that in comics, he has yet to be given that definitive look. His best look was after the redesign of Batman the Animated Series. He had a creepy western undertaker look. Adopting that look or something similar would go a long wY in improving his image.
    I really liked that concept, somehow. His face retained enough of the first redesign from BTAS - when he actually started to have facial features rather than just a burlap sack, but it was the idea of incorporating things were scary into the design rather than making a scarecrow scary. Because scarecrows aren't really that scary in real life, after all. But the NBA concept was pretty solid - is he a corpse, an undertaker, is it a mask, is that what he actually looks like? He had a great look and a great voice. Taking that look and applying it to the comics could work.

    As for the people arguing that the NBA version didn't really look like a scarecrow - neither did the AA version, really.

  7. #7
    Hail Hydra Nefarius's Avatar
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    I think his look at Batman Begins was quite great and creepy enough to be used in mainstream comics.It's simple as a look and makes Crane a credible villain.

    "I am Loki Scar-Lip, Loki Skywalker, Loki Giant's Child, Loki Lie-Smith. I am Loki, who is fire and wit and hate. I am Loki. And I will be under an obligation to no one."

  8. #8
    Feathers Of An Arrow death rey's Avatar
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    I really want to see the BTAS Redesign with the black preacher / noose look incorporated into comics. Even if the story / plot wasn't that "creepy," just having that version of Scarecrow running around would be creepy enough.
    Last edited by death rey; 01-05-2012 at 10:00 AM.

  9. #9
    Robin Graves zur en arrh's Avatar
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    He needs to be written by Snyder (would be freaky) or Morrison (would be trippy).

    I like the burlap sack look.

  10. #10
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    I remember lots of people i knew were making fun of the look in Batman Begins. "He just puts a sack bag on his face."

  11. #11
    Shut up, Leonard FHIZ's Avatar
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    Its not so much make Crane himself scary, but the visions his fear gas produces need to be scary. The scenes in Batman: Arkham Asylum where Thomas Wayne's corpse just starts talking freaked me the hell out. Just have scarecrow, and have a trippy issue, something like Animal Man did with Maxine eating her father's face.

    I'd love to see Grant Morrison do a full Scarecrow story... no one does trippy quite like him haha.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by FHIZ View Post
    Its not so much make Crane himself scary, but the visions his fear gas produces need to be scary. The scenes in Batman: Arkham Asylum where Thomas Wayne's corpse just starts talking freaked me the hell out. Just have scarecrow, and have a trippy issue, something like Animal Man did with Maxine eating her father's face.

    I'd love to see Grant Morrison do a full Scarecrow story... no one does trippy quite like him haha.
    This. The visual aspects may be important, but the story telling has to clinch it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Statham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FHIZ View Post
    Its not so much make Crane himself scary, but the visions his fear gas produces need to be scary. The scenes in Batman: Arkham Asylum where Thomas Wayne's corpse just starts talking freaked me the hell out. Just have scarecrow, and have a trippy issue, something like Animal Man did with Maxine eating her father's face.

    I'd love to see Grant Morrison do a full Scarecrow story... no one does trippy quite like him haha.
    The entire Scarecrow sequences are pretty much one of the most remembered things from AA - especially the scene where it pretty much looks like your computer's screwing up with the static or whatever. The other sequences, where you actively evade him, are pretty cool, too, especially the final one with the lobotomised and insane Batmen wandering about. But I don't really know how you'd replicate those kinds of effects in a comic without some severe fourth-wall breakage.

  14. #14
    R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie Greg Anderson's Avatar
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    You need a writer and artist who are good with psychological horror. Think Hine/McKean!
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  15. #15
    BAMF!!!!! KurtW95's Avatar
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    He needs to have a good mask. I didn't like the potato sack they used in the Nolan Batmans. He should be dressed like a creepy scarecrow and he foremost should have his pointy hat.
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