Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Marvel Horror - The Scarecrow!

One of the most short-lived and weirdest Marvel horrors was The Scarecrow who showed up for a one-time performance in Dead of Night #11.

There have been a lot of scarecrows in comics (see above) but this one was not a super-villain looking to boggle his superhero opponents, nor was he looking for a brain with unusual friends, nor was he saving the downtrodden of England from the burdens of excise taxation. This Scarecrow was a demon who was fit to fight other demons who wanted to take over this dimension from the other side.

Original Scarecrow Design by Byrne
Created by Scott Edelman, the original design for Scarecrow was done by the up and coming John Byrne, who first envisioned the incarnate demon a pumpkin-headed terror.

Later the design was altered to reflect a somewhat more serious horror.

In the two stories starring the Scarecrow (the second being in an issue Marvel Spotlight) we meet the demon who exists in a painting but is able to bond with a human being to become the bane of the Cult of Kalumai which seeks to prey on humanity itself. We meet three folks in our main cast, and two brothers both might be the Scarecrow and we are left guessing who might have the role, if not both of them.

The story line is abruptly interrupted by cancellation but finds a resolution of sorts (as did so many fractured Marvel stories) in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One where we learn a few of the secrets but not all as the Scarecrow appears to help Ben Grimm repel the demon threat.

The Scarecrow was graced with some dandy artwork. His debut was drawn by Rico Rival and the second story by Ruben Yandoc. The reliable Ron Wilson seemed less able to handle the idiosyncratic character in h is MTIO appearance. 

Years later the character is renamed "Straw Man" and shows up here and there, notably in the pages of Doctor Strange. Of all the Marvel horror characters who rose up during the heady Bronze Age, the Scarecrow remains one of the least developed and least seen.

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  1. One good thing about some of these lesser known, eclectic supernatural bronze age characters (The Golem, Scarecrow, It, etc.) – is they don’t have to suffer the fate of the better known characters that are reconned every few years now into ridiculous super-team configurations (e.g. The Supernaturals, Howling Commandos, the Legion of Silly Monsters – or whatever they are this year.)

    1. I don't know that that saves them, as the Golem was in one of those kinds of latter-day monster gangs. Sigh.

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