Showcase #73: The Creeper classic comic review

January 31, 2021
Louie Fecou 0


The Creeper may not be one of the most well-remembered Ditko creations, but if you are a fan of Steve’s work, then it is a chapter that you should seek out and enjoy.



The Creeper may not be one of the most well-remembered Ditko creations, but if you are a fan of Steve’s work, then it is a chapter that you should seek out and enjoy.

This classic comic review of Showcase #73: The Creeper contains spoilers.

When you mention Steve Ditko to the great comic-buying public, they will probably think of Spider-Man or Doctor Strange, however, when the dust had settled at Marvel, Ditko did a bit of work at DC, and one of his creations was The Creeper.

Showcase was a title for DC that would present new creations to the readers, in the hope they would hit a winning formula eventually. In Showcase #73: The Creeper from 1968, we were introduced to the laughing, brightly-costumed crime fighter The Creeper.

Jack Ryder is an outspoken TV host, who becomes a network security inspector, and ends up investigating Professor Yatz who is about to get handed over to the Soviet Secret Service in Russia. Jack has to infiltrate a costume party so finds a costume made of odds and ends, resulting in a garish outfit. At the party, things go south, but Jack is attacked and stabbed. Yatz though has a few secrets up his sleeve. He plants an activator in Jack’s wound. It heals him and gives him the power to activate his costume whenever he likes. It also enhances Jack’s physical prowess, giving him extra strength and agility. Yatz is killed, though, but Jack defeats the villain, however by this time he has become hunted by the mob, and the police want to ask a few questions too.

Ditko received help with the script from Don Seagall, but the art is unmistakably his. The panel grid layouts and look of this book is pure Spider-Man. The Creeper moves like Spidey, fights like Spidey, and quips like him too, and if you replaced The Creeper with Ol’ Web-Head, I doubt you would notice. However, this is not a bad thing. In 1968 Ditko was still a master craftsman and seemed to be enjoying his work on this book.

The issue zips along at a great pace. There’s plenty of action and Creeper’s red mane is almost a prototype for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn cape. As far as origin stories go, it’s probably on par for a late Silver Age book. It’s silly, but you have to run with it, and despite the Silver Age camp, there’s a bit more violence on display, with lots of gun-wielding gangsters and The Creeper’s weird laughter sets him apart from other superheroes, who are very rarely seen smiling, never mind laughing.

The issue must have done well, as before long The Creeper got his own book. The action takes place in Gotham City and picks up where the Showcase issue finished off. The cover is a true Ditko classic, but this first regular series would only run for six issues.

Denny O’Neil wrote the story with Ditko on art, inks, and plot, and Ditko would continue on art, although he would be inked by various others as the series moved forward.

It’s not sure why the run ended, probably falling sales, but The Creeper would be relegated to guest appearances for the next few years.

The character though has had great staying power, popping up in Batman comics, then eventually getting reboots all the way through to a New 52 reboot. He would also have appearances in various DC animated shows, and getting another shot at the spotlight in DC Rebirth.

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