Friday 15 May 2020

Friday Fics Fix - The Fear of Jonathan Crane

(Warning: this post references child abuse and systemic child protection failings.)
'Jonathan held up his hands, retreating into his hood. Hide your face. It’s a monster.'

'Fics Fix!' with purple background and white lightning bolt shape

One of the most compelling and mature superhero shows of recent years is Gotham.

It's also one of the most under-rated, because people suck, and haters gonna hate. 

(Luckily, those of us who love this show know how goddamn awesome it is!)

Gotham is a Batman-prequel, showing the lives of many of the villains, and a few of the heroes, in the years between the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the time baby Bruce put on the Batman cowl.

It shows bad people doing good things, and good people doing bad things. Because life - especially in Gotham - is problematic and messy.

One of the most under-rated aspects of this under-rated show is the character development of one Jonathan Crane, who would eventually become the Scarecrow.

Because when we first meet Jonathan, he is not the Scarecrow. 

He's a scared and abused kid, who the system has failed, and - as will be seen in later series - who the system will continue to fail, until there is no bringing him back from the strange place he now inhabits.

Scarecrow: Show these fools the face of fear
...It's a very strange place.

Via Giphy

Honestly? It's both brilliant and highly disturbing.

Jonathan Crane is a car-crash life, playing out in slow-motion. 

And because this is a prequel, and Jonathan is a famous Batman villain, we know exactly where this is headed... and we're powerless to stop this terrified child from becoming a monster. 

We're just as powerless as Jonathan himself.

This week's fic is an exploration of Jonathan Crane, as a 'before' and 'after' - using the conceit of Little Red Riding Hood, and adding a nice dollop of general horror imagery.

Because Jonathan sees the wolves everywhere, until he decides to become one.

Jonathan is what happens when Red Riding Hood snaps - beseiged by wolves, with no sign of a saviour with an axe.

...And I love that.

More than that - I love that a fanfiction author decided to explore that idea. 

It's not always perfectly executed, but it's brave and interesting - and, imho, well worth the read. Especially if you're a Gotham and/or Batman fan.

So, there are a few warnings for this fic:

- Long-lasting effects of trauma
- References to child abuse
- Extreme Anxiety and Paranoia
- Violence
- Being drugged
- Spiders in a horror-setting - seriously, SPIDERS. Biiig warning for the spiders!!!! *shudders*

This week's fic, then, is:

Red As Blood by Raven_Song

Have you seen Gotham?
Do you think it's important to have sympathetic back-stories for villains?
Or is that something that should be avoided?
Talk to me!

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  1. I don’t think I really care if a villain has a sympathetic back story or not. On the one hand, it does make their story more complex. However, if a villain is just evil without any backstory explaining why, I don’t mind that too.

    1. Ha, you're just over here like, 'give me ALL the villains!' - lol!

      I always loved in Phineas and Ferb where they play with the whole 'villain backstory' thing (random additional detail there! Lol.)

    2. I LOVE Phineas and Ferb! The villain backstory is so funny in that show haha!

    3. Ha, the time where it turns out Doofenschmirtz was adopted by ocelots always cracks me up! XD


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