Scare Tactics

Created by Len Kaminski & Anthony Williams

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Showcase '96 #1 (Jan. 1996)


NOTE! This profile was written by someone else, but I don't know his name. If you are he, please contact me.

Scare Tactics is the name of a band of misfits. A real band, the rock and roll kind. These young adults left their homes for the world of rock and sometimes on the road supernatural trouble calls them to acts of heroism.

This new breed of night stalkers are teenage monsters seething with attitude and a side order of angst. They've traded in fog-shrouded ancestral mansions and the Necronomicon for rock n' roll and Mortal Kombat. In your face and on the loose, they're a danger to themselves and others — mostly others.

Blink and you'll miss them, because they don't sit still for long. Part of that comes from being teenagers, sure, but for this bunch it's not just adolescent overdrive that keeps 'em moving, it's survival. Stay in one town too long, and it's only a matter of time before the locals start talking about the palefaced girl's nasty overbite, or how the look in the shaggy boy's eyes is a little too wild. Definitely time to hit the road again, before things get ugly. And believe it, these kids know how ugly it can get. They've lived it.

So yeah, they're misfits and outcasts, hunted and despised by the world at large — and proud of it. They don't want to "fit in," and they aren't dumb enough to be hoping for an ideal world where humans and monsters live together in harmony.

"Fight to protect a world that hates and fears them"? Forget that noise. We're talking about the same world that invented silver bullets and wooden stakes, remember? They sure haven't forgotten.

Okay, sure, if a threat to the world drops into their lap, they'll do something about it, the last thing they want is for things to get worse. And they really don't like it when one of their own kind is up to the type of things that give monsters such a bad reputation. They believe in truth and justice and all that, it's just that they've got their hands full staying alive to, y'know, fight crime or something.

That, and sound checks. Because they're not just a bunch of kids roaming the country together -- they're a band. They're not exactly good, but they're loud and fast. They are...

Arnold Burnsteel, Manager

Scare Tactics' manager, bus driver and chief of paranoia; a living breathing encyclopedia of arcane trivia, conspiracy theories and questionable provenfacts. Ever since college, Burnsteel slowly started to drift towards the darker side of the society. Not even close friend Jared Stevens could sway the fascination with the the arcane or paranoid dillusions that swarmed around the mind of Arnie Burnsteel. When Jared Stevens received the mantle of Doctor Fate from the Lord of Order Nabu, he turned to Burnsteel for advice. Burnsteel was connected to a wealth of information via the internet and mysterious contacts from the government. He's got connections you wouldn't beleive, with contacts ranging from NASA insiders and prestigious political think tanks to survivalist militia groups and the Flat Earth Society. Also an electronics whiz, Burnsteel's equipped the gang's bus with as much gadgetry as a covert operations mobile headquarters.

Burnsteel had dirt on just about anyone important and helped Jared Stevens understand just who Doctor Fate was. Burnsteel has been chased by men in black, demons and almost killed by Charnelle, a female warrior from the Dreadlands because of his connections with Fate. Burnsteel thought that his life couldn't get any weirder but thats before he met Scream Queen, Grossout, Fang and Slither. Four teenagers with one hell of an attitude. That's when Scare Tactics began!

Powers/Skills: Burnsteel has a knack for the paranormal and paranoid. Although Arnold Burnsteel is only human, his connections and contacts around the world make him a formidable person. Burnsteel is an electronics whiz and is able to get his hands on as much futuristic gadgetry as possible. Even more than his bottomless pit of arcane knowledge or his hi-tech equipment, Burnsteel's greatest asset may be that virtually NOTHING fazes him, let alone SCARES him. He's SEEN what was left of Jimmy Hoffa, and he knows what's REALLY going on at Area 51, and it's a LOT worse than an invasion by aliens.

Weaknesses/Limitations: Arnold Burnsteel is only mortal but his paranoia may be his greatest weakness

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Fate #1 (November 1994)

» FEATURED APPEARANCES: Book of Fate #1 • Fate #1-22


Fang, from Scare Tactics #6 (1997).

NAME: Jake Ketchum, Lead Guitar

For hundreds of years two supernatural clans have been feuding among themselves. One clan, a group of werewolves called the Ketchum's and another clan of ghoulish aristocrats called the Kingsbridges. The Ketchums travelled to the northern Appalachians to rid themsleves of mankind but they soon found out they were not alone. The Kingsbridges were the Ketchum's neighbors and a blood feud would soon begin. The Kingsbridges discovered that they could no longer continue their blood line thus in exchange for their humanity, they were granted limited immortality and they have fell under the influence of the dread Old One called Tsathugoth, the eater of Dead Dreams. Stripped of their humanity, the Kingsbridges became ghoulish parodies of their former lives.

Jake Ketchum was born into a redneck clan of werewolves called the Ketchums in the Appalachians of the United States. Little is known about Jake's parents but evidence suggests that his father may not have been a werewolf. Jake's father shared a short lived romance with his mother before leaving the clan for unknown circumstances. Jake was the blacksheep of clan, a poor hunter and often spent time alone from the clan. The clan leader of the Ketchum's known as Warden often accused Jake of being useless and shunned him because he was different then the others. However, because of their blood bond, Warden allowed Jake to stay with the clan and by his 18th birthday, Warden finally found a use for him. Warden made a deal with their warring clan, the Kingsbridges to finally bring peace. Jake would marry a ghoul from the Kingsbridges called Pearl and their union would become a symbol of peace between the two clans.

Warden offered Jake no choice in the matter but Jake thought otherwise. The day before the wedding, Jake escaped from his clan and headed for the over populated cities of the civilized world. Eventually Jake met Burnsteel, Screamqueen, Slither and Grossout. A group of misfits and outcasts of society that needed each other to survive a world that feared them. Jake became known as Fang within the small group of heroes and they became known as Scare Tactics! Jake discovered that he was more comfortable among humans than the werewolves, having chosen his status as an outsider rather than having it thrust upon him—and the fact that he threw away the very thing some of the others most want is an irony that hasn't escaped their notice. He's also the most centered, with an intuitive grasp of interpersonal dynamics that makes him the most aware of the bunch just what kind of responsibility for each other they've taken on.

Fang eventually became the star of a television show, "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker" after saving the star and some members of Young Justice from a werewolf named Turk. (Young Justice #33-34)

Powers/Skills: Fang has all the powers and abilities of the werewolf from legend. Fang can transform into a werewolf at will that increases his strength, senses and his abilities by ten fold.

Weaknesses/Limitations: Fang's greatest weakness are weapons crafted from silver such as silver bullets of silver knives that can destroy werewolves. Holy water does not harm werewolves as they are creatures of nature rather then creatures of evil. When Fang is in human form, he loses all his powers and is merely human.


Gross-Out from Scare Tactics #4 (1997).

NAME: Philbert Hoskins, Drummer

Philbert Hoskins was the class reject, the fat kid that nobody liked but Philbert had a secret passion for astronomy until even the stars themselves turned on him. Philbert's mother was overly protective of her son while his school life was made hell by jocks and bullies. Philbert's only escape from the reality, was the world of stars, astronomy. One night when star gazing, Philbert noticed a blazing meteor whizzing through the sky that hit the ground within his neighborhood. Philbert rushed to the impact site and discovered a first-sized meteorite that was still smoldering from the heat of re-entry. Philbert slowly prodded the meteor with a stick and suddenly the the meteorite exploded with a searing blue flash of unknown energy.

Philbert rushed home after the incident and discovered that his body had begun to change horribly. Mutated and horribly disfigured, Philbert's appetite began to grow along with the rest of his body. Philbert's mother Winnie could no longer sustain his growing appetite and arranged R-Complex agents, men in black to take her son away. Philbert desperately tried to run from his captors but was soon overwhelmed by the men in black. Little is known about where the men in black took Philbert Hoskins but evidence suggests that he was taken to a secret complex in New Mexico where he met the other members of Scare Tactics.

Gross-Out ultimately flew off into space, heeding some mysterious call. (Scare Tactics #12)

Powers/Skills: The powers of Grossout have yet to be fully been explored but his occasional outbursts of violent rage indicate tremendous strength and power.

Weaknesses/Limitations: No weaknesses and limitations are currently known about Grossout but his personal weakness is his inability to communicate verbally.

Scream Queen

Scream Queen, from Scare Tactics #7 (1997).

NAME: Nina Skorzeny, Lead Singer

Nina Skorzeny, a survivor of the Bosnian-style purge of vampires that swept the European nation of Markovia. A witness to the brutalities of human "ethnic cleansing," she saw hundreds of her people butchered before escaping to America, and her experiences have left her with a deep-seated distrust of "the normals." In fact, she hates them so much she doesn't even find them appetizing anymore.

Having lost all she knew and loved, Nina now maintains a hard shell of cynicism to keep others at arm's length. Often haughty and abrasive, she's rarely at a loss for a cutting comment or snide remark, and reserves the cruelest of them for those she most fears caring about. Beneath it all, though, is a terrified little girl — a frightened child she still sometimes sees in the faces of the humans who now fear her.

Powers/Skills: Scream Queen has similar powers to the vampires of legend. She possesses super natural strength, enhanced speed and has the power to mesmerize her victims. However Scream Queen never drains her victims fully of blood. Scream Queen cannot turn into a bat or into gaseous form.

Weaknesses/Limitations: Scream Queen has similar weaknesses and limitations to that of vampires. It should also be noted that her "limitations" are, at least in part due to the fact that she doesn't know half as much about being a vampire as she wants everyone else to think. In the future, she might eventually manage to turn into a bat and mist, although probably by accident. However, subtle differences exist; Her coffin does need dirt, only mirrors made of silver will not show her reflection & holy items such as crosses will only have an effect if the wielder has a strong enough faith. However, sunlight and strong lights can harm and even kill Scream Queen. Others items such as wooden stakes through the heart will utterly destroy Scream Queen.


Slither, from Scare Tactics #9 (1997).

NAME: James Tilton, Bass Guitar, deceased

James Tilton, formerly known as Jimmy the Reptile Boy. Jimmy grew up as part of a traveling freak show which featured custom-made freaks created by his depraved biochemist father. Needless to say, he's got a few problems with authority figures. Just getting him to the dentist is a nightmare... and that's before they find out his bite is poisonous.

At 14, Jimmy's the youngest of the bunch and a classic "troubled youth"carrying around a huge load of free-floating anger and a hint of incipient sociopathy. The uncomfortable question of whether his violent and sadistic tendencies are a result of his upbringing or his mutated genetic code is something the rest of the group will have to face.

Slither was ultimately killed by Grossout. (Scare Tactics #11) In their last known appearance a new, unnamed four-armed bassist joined the band to replace Slither. (#12)

Powers/Skills: Slither can climb walls and ceilings in any direction with his special lizard like powers.

Weaknesses/Limitations: Jimmy's main weakness is in ability to control himself when he becomes angry. The more he becomes angry, the less control he has and becomes a danger to himself and others.

Appearances + References


  • Catwoman Plus #1
  • Impulse Plus #1
  • Robin Plus #2
  • Showcase '96 #11
  • Superboy Plus #1


  • Scare Tactics, 12 issues (1996-98)