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|First appearance||Detective Comics #592 (November 1988)|
|Created by||Alan Grant (script)
Norm Breyfogle (art)
|Abilities||Can cause fear or hallucinations through telepathy|
Fictional character biography
Stirk, like Scarecrow, uses fear to get to his victims. Stirk has the ability to make other people see him as someone else, allowing him to get close to his victims. He operates under the delusion that he requires the nutrients and hormones from peoples' hearts in order to stay alive, and these are best prepared with norepinephrine by inducing fear in the victim prior to death.
In his first appearance, Stirk is released from Arkham Asylum, where he was confined at the age of 16 for trying to kill a classmate, after being certified as sane. He then subsequently stops taking his medication and begins his escalation into a serial killer.
Stirk professes to dislike both light and violence (despite his many murders), and operates almost exclusively at night. He also possesses an oddly polite speech pattern, referring to almost everyone he speaks to as "sir".
The Last Arkham
Stirk makes a brief cameo in the beginning of the four-part storyline The Last Arkham, where Jeremiah Arkham, Arkham Asylum's new director, utilizes more barbaric methods to "cure" him. When Stirk refuses to take his medication, for instance, Jeremiah has two orderlies brutally beat him with billy clubs and forces the medication down his throat.
During the "Knightfall" storyline, Stirk works with the Joker in an attempt to kidnap Commissioner Gordon. However, Stirk tries to kill Gordon rather than kidnap him, much to Joker's dismay. Gordon hallucinates that Stirk is actually Batman as Stirk tried to kill Gordon with a knife. Batman stops Stirk, but Gordon is still screaming in fear. In order to capture Stirk, Batman is forced to leave a terrified Gordon with his wife, who brings him to a hospital.
Stirk later appears during the "Madmen Across the Water" storyline, taking place after his capture but before Arkham Asylum (destroyed by Bane beforehand) is rebuilt. He, along with the likes of Riddler, Ivy, and Amygdala, are instead incarcerated in Blackgate Penitentiary, and involve themselves in a softball game with the prison's "normal" criminals. During the game, Stirk is revealed to be an excellent pitcher, because the ball feels "just like a human heart".
Road to No Man's Land
Stirk makes several more cameos in the "Waxman and the Clown" story arc (Shadow of the Bat #80-#82), itself part of the "Road to No Man's Land" crossover, the prequel to "No Man's Land". He is seen in the story arc offering to eat human hearts to save medication (as Arkham Asylum, in post-earthquake lockdown after the "Cataclysm" storyline, is running short of supplies). He later watches the gladiatorial match between fellow inmates Killer Croc and Pinhead, and is released with all the other inmates under Jeremiah's demand that none of them return to Gotham.
Stirk's fate is not known; he is never seen in the "No Man's Land" storyline itself.
Batman: The Widening Gyre
Powers and abilities
Cornelius Stirk is able to cast a hypnotic aura which allows him to take on any face he chooses, generally a face that people will trust.
- Batman #494
- Showcase '94 #3 & #4