Although Straw Man appears to be an evil demon that causes fear and wreaks havoc, he is actually a fairly peaceful creature who brings fear to mortals for their own entertainment, hence his creation of HTV, or "Horror Television." Straw Man lives in a mystic dimension within an ancient painting, which has been passed around between many owners, beginning with a religious leader of the Cult of Kalumai and ultimately ending in the ownership of Dr. Strange. When the religious leader retired from his position and abandoned his religion, he donated the painting to a museum. Members of the cult later broke into the museum to steal the painting, shooting and killing the guard in the process. With the death of the guard, Straw Man emerged from the painting and killed the cultists. The museum afterwards put the painting up for auction, where there was a fierce bidding war between a man named Jess Duncan and the maniacal leader of the Cult of Kalumai, Gregor Rovik. Rovik would have one had Jess's brother Dave not sharply jabbed Rovik in the side with his fist at the right moment, not allowing him to outbid Jess. Angered by the loss, Rovik and his cult mugged the brothers, stole the painting, and kidnapped a friend of the brothers', Harmony Maxwell, to sacrifice for the cult beliefs. Straw Man once again emerged from the painting, killing all the present cult members and Rovik, and later returning Harmony to her rightful place. Throughout the years, Straw Man had many encounters with the Cult of Kalumai, but always defeated them, and, ultimately, wiped out the cult for good.
Major Story Arcs
When the Dweller In Darkness called the most powerful creatures to his lair to form the Fear Lords to take over earth, Straw Man warned him against it, claiming he saw the planet as a home. Straw Man later contacted Doctor Strange to inform him of the evil plan. The Lurking Unknown then appeared and set fire to the building Straw Man was in, rendering his physical straw body a pile of ash near instantly. Straw Man returned later to aid Dr. Strange in his battle against the remaining Fear Lords with his spiritual form contained in the body of Daredevil. He, along with Clea, Rintrah, and Dr. Strange ultimately defeated the Fear Lords and brought the earth back to safety.
Straw Man has demonstrated many various powers, and has shown complete knowledge and control over them all. He has shown the ability to animate any painting, especially things painted on the canvas of the portal to his mystical domain. He often animates tree roots and crows to serve his purpose. Although he is inevitably weak to fire, his spritual essence is thought to be immortal. Whenever his physical body is destroyed, he simply goes back to his mystic home and restores his energy, only to return a few days later. All of his powers seem to be mystically based.