- "Fear is the glue that holds society together. It's what makes people suppress their worst impulses. Fear... is power."
- ―The Scarecrow
Jonathan Crane was interested in the study of human fears and phobias ever since he was a child. Nicknamed the "Scarecrow" as a teenager, Crane was bullied for his scrawny appearance and boys called him Ichabod Crane for his resemblance to the fictional character. Crane loved the character, except when he came upon the part when Ichabod was disgraced by his nemesis. Crane was outraged by the fear that overwhelmed Ichabod and swore to never expose his fears to a bully.
Crane was a Professor of Psychology at Gotham State University until his experiments in fear became too dangerous. Crane lost his job due to his obsession with inspiring terror in his patients and students. Crane then turned to a life of evil and used various drugs, chemicals, devices, and his expertise in psychology to terrify whoever crossed his path. Crane took the name "Scarecrow" which the bullies gave him as a boy, and used it to become one of the most feared criminals in Gotham City.
Scarecrow was known to pollute Gotham's water supply with his fear toxins, infect professional athletes with his chemicals, then bet against their teams for the money to fund his evil experiments. He even had one of his henchmen spray Batman with his toxin, in the hope of driving him mad with fear. A sick and twisted man, his ultimate goal of crippling Gotham State University was foiled by Batman. He was sentenced to Arkham Asylum where he became even more dangerous by gaining criminal contacts with the likes The Mad Hatter, who also shared a sick interest in various types of mind control. Those contacts aided him in his quest to bring Gotham and Batman to their knees with fear.
The New Batman AdventuresEdit
After his redesign in the New Adventures, Crane's control over human fear increased, which gave him not only the power to induce it, but also take it away. Scarecrow instead focused on removing fear from people in order to make them so reckless that the city would be plunged into chaos, in the hopes of being paid money to stop them. Scarecrow injected Batman with a much stronger fear toxin, which caused him to become reckless and unafraid of killing. As Scarecrow held Gotham ransom, Batman arrived and tried to kill him, but Robin stopped him and snapped him out of it. Scarecrow was then sent to Arkham Asylum (Never Fear).
In Over the Edge, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl attempted to stop a robbery by Scarecrow. In the midst of the fighting, Scarecrow attempted to flee with Batgirl in pursuit. When they reached the roof, Scarecrow sneaked up on Batgirl, knocked her off the roof, and killed her in front of her father, GCPD Commissioner James Gordon, which set in motion a sequence of events that culminated in the destruction of the Bat Family and the deaths of Gordon and Batman at the hands of Bane, who was hired by Gordon to aid in the capture of Batman whom he blamed for Barbara's death. At the end of the episode, it was revealed that it was all a hallucination that was brought on by Scarecrow's fear-gas that Batgirl had inhaled during the robbery.
- Scarecrow was also one of three villains whose voice actor changed between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. The other two were Killer Croc and Baby Doll.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Fear of Victory", Scarecrow's mask resembled the mask of Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie series. His mask in The New Batman Adventures also had that appearance.