Monday, October 13, 2008

(Really) Weird Heroes: the Scarecrow

During the Groovy Age, we got some really weird heroes, y'know. Yeah, you probably know all about the Thing, the Hulk, Swamp Thing, Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, and probably even Man-Bat and the Demon. But there are a few only the most hard-core groove-ophiles remember. This week, we're gonna shine the spotlight on those nigh-forgotten stalwarts of the supernatural as we continue our...Sure, you've heard of the Scarecrow. But not this Scarecrow. We're not talking about the Batman's psychotic sparring partner, here. We're talking about a magical entity. One of the "Fear Lords" who is also known as the Straw Man, guardian of a mysterious painting that serves as the portal between earth and another unearthly dimension.

Created by writer/editor Scott Edelman, the Scarecrow was originally to have been a continuing feature (drawn by fresh-from-Charlton John Byrne) in Monsters Unleashed. Unfortunately, MU was cancelled before work could begin in earnest. Next the feature was scheduled to appear as a back-up in Giant-Size Werewolf by Night, but that mag was cancelled, too. There were actually plans to just give the feature its own comic, but that never happened. Finally, it was decided that the Scarecrow would star in one of Marvel's color supernatural comics, a reprint title called Dead of Night. The strip finally appeared in issue #11 (May, 1975) of D.O.N., with art by Rico Rival (along with that truly far-out Gil Kane/Bernie Wrightson cover). The Straw Man's luck kept running true, as that was also the final issue of D.O.N.

Marvel rarely gave up on a concept back in the Groovy Age, though! They gave the Scarecrow another shot, this time in Marvel Spotlight #26 (December, 1975). No dice. Still, Marvel gave it one more shot, teaming the Scarecrow with the ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing in Marvel Two-In-One #18 (May, 1976--exactly one year after the Scarecrow's debut). Didn't set the world on fire that time, either, so it was hasta lumbego to the Straw Man for the rest of the Groovy Age. Too bad, 'cause he really was kinda cool. Sort of a straw-Spectre.

But shed not one tear, Groovesters! Thanks to the scanning skills and generosity of my pal and blogger par excellence, Joe Bloke, of Grantbridge Street and other misadventures fame, here for your enjoyment is that second-chance story from Marvel Spotlight #26, complete with art by Ruben Yandoc and cover by the unlikely team of Howard Chaykin and Al Milgrom. Thanks again, Joe (and read his blog! It's great!)! Enjoy!


  1. This was a super-villain, but wasn't there a foe in an issue of The Fantastic Four named Skorr? It was a giant hockey goalie. I'm sure I didn't hallucinate this. If true, as I'm sure it is, this must've marked a real low for the writers on that series.

  2. Close, m'friend. You're thinking of Gaard, an alternate reality version of Johnny Storm, who was that reality's version of the Silver Surfer. He appeared in FF #163, and yeah, it was a low point for Roy Thomas. He made up for it in the next two issues when he brought back the original Marvel Boy, though. ;D



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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