Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some of my Favorite Scarecrows #5: Alan Davis'

One Batman creative team I’d love to see more of is the one made up of Mike Barr, Alan Davis and Paul Neary. I’ve only ever actually read two stories these guys have done, both collected in greatest hits style trades (Stacked Deck: The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, Batman in the Eighties), and in both cases they were among the very best stories in the collections (Confidential to DC Comics’ trade program: I would totally buy a trade collecting all Barr/Davis/Neary Bat-stories in one volume).

One of those two stories was 1987’s Detective Comics #571, which featured Batman and Robin vs. The Scarecrow. I won’t go into much detail here, because Dave Campbell has already written a better, funnier summary than I could, but it involves a new twist on The Scarecrow’s traditional fear toxin, and one of the greatest Batman panels of all time.

Let’s take a closer look at Davis and Neary’s Scarecrow:

Man, I love their Scarecrow (Actually, I love all their Bat-character designs…specifically their Robin, who seems like a real little kid).

Davis doesn’t do anything terribly radical with the design, and it’s pretty much your generic Scarecrow, just as Breyfogle’s and Jones’ were. Like them, he also has the face more or less blank, save for a bit of stitching for the mouth, except when some degree of expression is desired, and, also like them, he really draws attention to the hands, which become huge and clawlike—here the fingers moving seemingly at random, as if they have minds of their owns. I can see this Scarecrow’s digits kind of wiggling themselves in between panels, and it’s a pretty creepy image.

Davis seems to have been thinking Wizard of Oz when it comes to his Scarecrow’s posture, because he really seems to be devoid of a human skeleton, and just stuffed with straw, based on the weird angles at which his body bends. Just look at that panel where he shoots Batman (Phoot phoot phoot phoot!). His neck is diagonal between his head and shoulders, and the top half of his torso seems to have hinges right below the ribcages.

This bendy, boneless Scarecrow makes for a great punching bag too:

1 comment:

John said...

The Barr/Davis/Neary run was pretty darn good, wasn't it? That Scarecrow story was later (loosely) adapted for the animated series using their "hanged man" redesign of the character.