The Creeper (Jack Ryder) is a fiction comic book superhero in the DC Comics universe. Created by Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Showcase #73 (March 1968).
Following his debut in Showcase, The Creeper (Jack Ryder) was given his own series Beware the Creeper, written by Dennis O'Neil; Steve Ditko plotted the first issue. It lasted six issues. Most pitted him against a chameleonic villain called Proteus, whose true identity was revealed just before his violent death in the final issue. The character's reappearance in Super-Team Family #2 in 1975/76 is unexplained, and his briefly described origin doesn't match the one given initially. Shortly after his last solo issue, The Creeper teamed up with Batman in The Brave and the Bold #80, October-November 1968 (a natural progression, since they were both fighting crime in Gotham), then guested in Justice League of America #70, March 1969, where the Caped Crusader asked that the League determine whether The Creeper was an outlaw or not. An appearance in Detective Comics #418, December 1971, seemed to put finish to the character, showing that the transformation device had ceased functioning and The Creeper could not regain his Jack Ryder identity, a situation that seemed to corrode his mental stability. Batman somehow managed to get his normal appearance restored. After the origin was reprinted in the same title during its run in the one hundred page Super Spectacular format in 1974 (#443, October-November), Ryder was shown working as a news anchor on Gotham City television (#445, February-March 1975), and soon after (#s 447, May & 448, June) became The Creeper again to help Batman escape a frame-up for murder.
After this, DC kept the character active with sporadic solo runs and guest shots over the next few years. He turned up almost immediately in the Joker's short-lived self-titled series (#3, September-October 1975, written by O'Neil), where the similarity in green hair and maniacal laugh caused confusion. This was followed with a one-off solo story in issue #7 of 1st Issue Special (October 1975, penciled by creator Steve Ditko). Other appearances in this period included team-ups with Wildcat (Super-Team Family #2, December 1975-January 1976, O'Neil again), Batman (The Brave and the Bold #s 143, September-October 1978 and 178, September 1981), and many other fellow alumni (and a few non-graduates) of Showcase in that comic's special 100th issue (May 1978). Among further solos were a story intended for the never-published Showcase #106 in 1978 (written and drawn by Ditko and which would be included in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2), and backup series in Adventure Comics #445-447 (in 1976), World's Finest Comics #249-55 (in 1978-79, written and fully drawn by Ditko) and The Flash (vol. 1) #318-323 (in 1983).
Beginning in a team-up with Superman (in DC Comics Presents #88, December 1985, written by Steve Englehart) during the Crisis, The Creeper's depiction changed under different writers, which included a revised origin referenced, but never wholly revealed. His deranged behavior, initially an act to frighten criminals, transformed into genuinely (narcotics-induced) psychotic behavior. In addition, Ryder could access his enhanced physical abilities only in his costumed form, and could no longer control his transformations. The new version came into focus when The Creeper teamed up with the post-Legends revamped version of the Justice League, Justice League International, in 1987. A decade later (December 1997), DC gave The Creeper another chance in a solo comic entitled The Creeper. It lasted 12 issues including the one millionth. Writer Len Kaminski focused on the break down of Jack Ryder's sanity under the influence of The Creeper and made many references to previous continuity.
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