Real Name: Ben Hobbs
Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments; pre-modern era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: His scarecrows, unidentified sheriff
Known Relatives: Simon (nephew)
Aliases: "The old goat", "the old coot" (as referred to by Simon)
Base of Operations: His farm, somewhere in America
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#77/4 (February, 1962)
Powers/Abilities: The elderly Ben Hobbs was skilled in agriculture, but he apparently possessed no paranormal abilities.
The eccentric old farmer often held one-sided "conversations" with his three scarecrows--later, he apparently stuffed straw in his clothing (see comments).
Height: 5' 10" (by
Weight: 160 lbs.
(Journey into Mystery I#77/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Ben Hobbs is largely unrevealed, but the eccentric old farmer always talked to his three scarecrows, as though they were alive.
One year earlier, Hobbs' nephew Simon sold him some worthless stock--thereafter, the angry Ben ordered Simon to stay away from his farm.
(Journey into Mystery I#77/4) - Early one morning, Ben went out to his fields to visit his scarecrow friends--he gave "Reuben" a new hat, and "Clem" predicted stormy weather.
A half-hour later, when it began to rain, Ben had his three scarecrows inside his house, where they all played poker.
The next morning, Hobbs got an uninvited visitor--Simon, whom he angrily ordered to leave. But that night, Simon silently returned to look over the farm; since his uncle's land was worth a small fortune, then Simon--being Ben's only living relative--figured that he would inherit it if something should happen to Ben. Knowing of his uncle's odd propensity of talking to his scarecrows, Simon schemed to have Ben committed to an asylum, then Simon would "generously" consent to take over the farm.
Simon went to tell the sheriff that his Uncle Ben wasn't in his right mind, because he talked to his scarecrows all day long, so he wanted the sheriff to put Ben away to a sanatorium...for his own good, of course. Agreeing to investigate the complaint, the sheriff drove Simon out to Ben's farm.
While Simon waited in the sheriff's car, Ben invited the lawman into his house--the sheriff was startled to find that Ben had the three scarecrows inside for a game of poker. When Ben admitted that he talked with the scarecrows, the sheriff--concerned about the old farmer's irrational behavior--tried to convince Ben that they were only rags and straw, so they couldn't talk! Sadly realizing that the elderly farmer was probably demented, the sheriff told Ben that he'd have to take him back to town for his own good. But then Ben insisted that he had to show the sheriff something first... (see comments)
Meanwhile, as Simon waited in the sheriff's car, he was glad they arrived when Ben had the scarecrows in his house--now the sheriff would have to believe Ben had "lost his marbles"; Simon gleefully giggled to himself, because he was convinced he'd soon become a wealthy land-owner.
But when the sheriff finally came back to the car alone, the lawman seemed to be emotionally shaken from his experience--when Simon questioned why he didn't bring Ben along with him, the sheriff angrily insisted that Simon couldn't have his uncle committed to an asylum ("He's as sane as we are! Maybe saner!").
As the sheriff's car drove away, Ben Hobbs walked back into his house to rejoin his scarecrow friends...and bits of straw-stuffing could be seen protruding from his clothing... (see comments)
Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
The bizarre ending of this 5-page story--They Were Only Scarecrows--left it up to the readers to draw their own conclusions about the true nature of Ben Hobbs--we never learned what that "something" was that the sheriff saw. My guess is that the three scarecrows were somehow alive, and Ben stuffed his clothes with straw to fit in better with his friends...unless something weird happened, and Ben was somehow transformed into a scarecrow himself...
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Ben Hobbs has no known connections to:
Simon has no known connections to:
Reuben the scarecrow has no known connections to:
Clem the scarecrow has no known connections to:
Ben Hobbs' three scarecrows have no known connections to:
A trio of scarecrows composed of old garments and straw, they
guarded the fields of Ben Hobbs' farm. They included "Reuben" (wearing
top hat), "Clem," and an unidentified third.
The only living relative of Ben Hobbs, Simon was Ben's
He was the American lawman of the territory where Ben Hobbs'
farm was located.
images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p2, pan2 (Main Image - Ben Hobbs)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p2, pan4 (Headshot - Ben Hobbs)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p2, pan6 (Ben Hobbs, playing poker with his scarecrows)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p5, pan5 (Ben Hobbs (with straw protruding out of his clothing); goes back into his house, as the sheriff and Simon drive away)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p1, pan1 (scarecrows surrounding Ben Hobbs)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p2, pan4 (Ben Hobbs talks to Reuben)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p2, pan5 (Ben Hobbs talks to Clem)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p3, pan4 (Simon thinks aloud with his scheme)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p3, pan5 (Simon talks to sheriff about having Ben Hobbs committed to an asylum)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p4, pan1 (Ben Hobbs introduces his scarecrows to sheriff)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p4, pan4 (sheriff apparently learns Ben Hobbs' secret)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4, p5, pan1 (emotionally-shaken sheriff returns to his car and talks with Simon)
Journey into Mystery I#77/4 (February, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)
First Posted: 09/23/2020
Last updated: 09/23/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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