"Jonathan Crane isn't here anymore. It's just the Scarecrow!"
—Jonathan Crane to Grady Harris[src]

Jonathan Crane is the son of the late Gerald Crane and Karen Crane. As a child, his mother died in a house fire, causing his father to try to stop fear until his inevitable death. Not long before this, his father injected him with the serum he made, which overloaded Jonathan's fear response causing his mind to create a boogeyman of what he feared the most, a scarecrow, driving him insane. He would later be transferred to Gotham Asylum for his condition, until Merton and his gang bribed the warden into releasing him so they could make Jonathan recreate his father's serum and pose as a threat to Oswald Cobblepot. However, the gang locked him in a closet with a scarecrow much to his dismay and horror until he overcame his fear, wearing the scarecrow and donning the moniker as The Scarecrow. After spraying a member of the gang with fear toxin, he would return to the old asylum seeking revenge on the warden and attempting to "free" his fellow inmates until Jim Gordon would arrive, discovering the serum's weakness, water, but Crane managed to flee the scene.


Early life

Jonathan lived with both parents in a house outside of Gotham. Though most of the exact details of his childhood (along with the exact relationships he had with both of his parents) are unknown, it is known that his mother died in a fire when he was eight years old.[1]

Assisting his father

During his first appearance, a teenage Jonathan helped his father murder people by killing them with their worst fears, although he did so with some reluctance and second thoughts over his father's actions. While Gerald was in the process of drowning a bound and gagged Scottie Mullen at a swimming pool (due to drowning being her worst fear) he ordered his son to return to the van and feed the parking meter. But Gerald's plan to kill Scottie failed as detectives Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock arrived on the scene and save her, though Gerald managed to escape in the van with Jonathan.[1]

Using the adrenal glands taken from his victims, Gerald created a serum which he believed would remove all fear. He uses it on himself in order to face up to the death of his wife, having felt extreme guilt over allowing her to die due to his fear. When the process works Gerald plans to use it on Jonathan to eliminate his fear. The terrified young man flees their home and showing reluctance at his father's beliefs says he isn't afraid, though Gerald manages to convince Jonathan to return home by saying that he's trying to help mankind. Later that evening Gordon and Bullock track them down. Out in a field, Gerald withdraws a large amount of the serum (which Jonathan tries, but fails, to tell him is 'too much') with a syringe and injects it into Jonathan's arm; as he looks up at a Scarecrow, with the serum immediately kicking in, he starts screaming in terror. At the scene Gerald ends up being killed when (due to not having fear) he opens fire on the two detectives, which leads to him being shot dead. Jonathan is then taken to hospital, where the doctor reveals to Gordon that he received a massive injection of condensed hormones (cortizal, and adrenaline, specifically), along with the Fear Toxin, the combination of which nearly killed him, and that they ran a catscan to determine if he had suffered any brain damage, but the results were like nothing they had ever seen before: the hormones themselves had long since worn off, but the effects seemed to be lingering and that Jonathan's brain activity showed that he was not just scared, but was constantly in a state of perpetual terror. When Gordon asks whether or not he will make a full recovery, the doctor says they can't be certain if he will, and that he'll be forced to see his worst fear every moment of his life. As the doctor leaves, Gordon sadly watches a terrified Jonathan, who is strapped to a bed and under a great deal of stress as he hallucinates a monstrous scarecrow sneaking around his bed, and eventually 'attacking' him.[2]

Sent to Gotham Asylum

At an unspecified point in time afterwards, Jonathan Crane was sent to Gotham Asylum.[3] During his stay at the asylum, it is said that Jonathan was treated horribly as he got no treatment or therapy and just ice baths and electric shocks.

Three years later, Warden Reed released Jonathan from the asylum and handed him over to Grady Harris and his cousin Merton who wanted Crane's formula to use as part of their plan to send a message to Penguin, who wanted all criminals in Gotham to use a license so he would get part of their earnings.

Becoming the Scarecrow

Its Only The Scarecrow

Jonathan Crane becomes the Scarecrow

A confused and still unstable Jonathan took the gang back to his family home, where he uncovered his father's notes from the floorboards of the porch, and was ordered to make a new batch of the formula. He initially tried to refuse saying that he only knew "some, but not everything" about his father's experiments, but the gang refused to hear it and made him comply by forcing him to be in the presence of a large scarecrow, causing him to go into a panic. Jonathan managed to replicate the formula, which the gang used to attack a bank. Just as Jonathan was finishing up a third batch that they would use to lead their planned attack on Penguin's new club, the Iceberg Lounge, he politely asked them to get rid of the scarecrow, but instead, they locked him in a closet with it. While begging to be let out, he heard a 'voice' call out to him (which he believed came from the scarecrow) and, his mind having finally snapped, Jonathan tore apart the scarecrow and began wearing it as a suit, giving him the form of a terrifying living scarecrow.

Passing on his Father's name

When Grady returns after a failed attempt to rob the Iceberg Lounge, he initially begins barking orders at Crane to make another batch of Fear Toxin in order to bust Merton out of jail, but when he opens the door to the closet Jonathan is in, he is confused to see Jonathan standing in the corner and calls out to him. Under his new persona, Jonathan informs Grady that "Jonathan Crane [was no longer present]", before turning around and spraying Grady in the face with the Fear Toxin while identifying himself as 'The Scarecrow'.[3]

Tying up Grady, Jonathan dresses him as a scarecrow and leaves him outside for reason unknown. He then invades Gotham Asylum and sprays Reed with Fear Gas, in vengeance for his hostile actions towards him. He then sprays the Asylum inmates with his fear toxin in order to convert them into his army. When Gordon arrives, he recognizes him as the one that killed his father and (after the inmates fail to kill Gordon), he confronts him and sprays him with Fear Toxin in an attempt to make Gordon kill himself to avenge his father's death, but this fails when Gordon overcomes the effects of the Fear Toxin.


After his sensitive fear-filled mind snapped, Jonathan became a psychopath, to the point that he refused to answer to "Jonathan", and insisted that "Scarecrow" was his true name, and referred to the Arkham inmates as his "brothers" and "sisters". He also develops an interesting outlook on the concept of fear itself: he believes that one simply cannot stop being afraid, and that the only outcome is to become one with their demons, as he had.

Powers and abilities


  • Illusion Casting: Using his Fear Toxin Dispenser, he is capable of casting illusions which can make people hallucinate their deepest and most disturbing fears in demonic forms.


  • Genius Chemist: Despite claiming to have only helped his father's experiments "some", and not knowing everything about them, he is a masterful chemist, having used his father's notes to recreate the Fear Toxin, even while he was under the stress of being in the presence of a scarecrow, his greatest fear.
  • Intimidation: While people are under the spell of his Fear Toxin, he can easily induce fear into them.
  • Manipulation


  • Scarecrow Suit: After being locked in a closet with a scarecrow, Jonathan's sensitive fear-filled mind snapped, and thus, he tore apart the scarecrow and began wearing it as a costume.
    • Fear Toxin Dispenser: On his right arm, Jonathan wears a device that is capable of spraying Fear Toxin unto his victims.


  • Scythe: After his transformation into Scarecrow, Crane started to wield a Scythe for intimidation and offensive purposes.
  • Fear Toxin

Enemies/Fear Toxin victims


Season 1

Season 4


  • Interestingly, when Jonathan identifies himself as 'the Scarecrow' to Grady, he can be heard growling like an animal/demon.


  • Jonathan Crane, known as the fear-based supervillain Scarecrow, was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger and he was introduced in World's Finest Comics #3 (Fall 1941). Although he initially made only two appearances, the character was revived during the Silver Age of Comic Books by writer Gardner Fox and artist Sheldon Moldoff.
  • Jonathan having a device on his arm capable of dispensing Fear Toxin is likely a nod to the Arkham Asylum and Arkham Knight video games, in which the "Arkhamverse" incarnation of Scarecrow used a glove to inject Fear Toxin directly into his victims' bloodstream, and the Dark Knight Trilogy incarnation (portrayed by Irish actor Cillian Murphy), which also used a wrist-mounted device to expose his victims to the Fear Toxin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Stephens, John (writer) & Behring, John (director) (February 2, 2015). "The Fearsome Dr. Crane". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 14. FOX.
  2. Woodruff, Ken (writer) & Copus, Nick (director) (February 9, 2015). "The Scarecrow". Gotham. Season 1. Episode 15. FOX.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stephens, John (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (September 21, 2017). "A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina". Gotham. Season 4. Episode 1. FOX.

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