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Comic Book / The Creeper

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Fan-art by EdwardWhatley

"They call me... Yellow-Skinned Wacky-Man! But I prefer the Creeper."


Created by Steve Ditko, the Creeper first appeared in "Showcase" #73 (April, 1968). He went on to star in his own short-lived magazine, suffered a couple of retcons and revisions, and has done some guest appearances, never quite achieving wide popularity.

The original story tells about Jack Ryder, a Gotham City talk host who tries to save a scientist named Dr. Yatz from mobsters. An attempt to sneak in to the boss' mansion in probably one of the weirdest outfits ever, where Dr. Yatz was held during a masquerade, only got Ryder wounded and saved by Dr. Yatz who implanted him with a device that could make his costume disappear and with a serum that gave him super strength and agility, as well as the power to heal almost instantly. It's also mentioned that his laughter makes people nervous or is even physically painful. Ryder could activate the suit (and apparently the superpowers, too, since he mentions not being so fast and strong in his normal form) whenever he wanted with a button-like object.


Depending on the series, Creeper either acts like Ryder or is happily insane. Some versions explain the insanity by stating that he had a drug of some sort in his system at the time he had the device inserted, so the narcotic is recreated along with the costume.

The Creeper is also remarkable in being pretty much the only character The Joker fears (barring an encounter with Frank Castle), which is one hell of an accomplishment.

No relation to the walking green timebombs from Minecraft, or the hunched-over hulk who constantly shouts PAPER from Scooby-Doo, or the monster from Jeepers Creepers.

NOTE: Tropes specific for his version from Batman: The Animated Series go here.


This character provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Fran definitely wasn't left out when the gang fought against Disruptor's men.
  • Adaptational Villainy: His New 52 version is very much demonic, and even gets a Villain Episode in Justice League Dark during the Forever Evil event. As part of DC Rebirth, Jack Ryder appears to be back to his original pre-New 52 version from before.
  • Brown Note: Depending on the Writer, the Creeper's laugh can shatter anything from nerves to bones.
  • The Cameo: Aside from his many appearances in the comics as both Jack Ryder and the Creeper alike, he figures into animated continuities as this such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold and, most memorably, the DCAU.
    • Jack Ryder's voice can be heard on a radio on Batman: Arkham Asylum, and he appears as a minor supporting character in Batman: Arkham City. One of the tapes unlocked by talking to Quincey in the church makes it clear that the Creeper and Huntress exist.
    • He is also the source of a lot of discoverables in DC Universe Online, but he never turns into the Creeper.
  • Camp Straight: The Creeper has a rather flamboyant personality and outfit, but Ryder's only dated women.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: His insanity gives him the ability to come up with bizarrely irrational but effective plans. He stopped a prison riot a jailbreak at Arkham by inciting a riot between the inmates.
  • Creepy Good: The guy is so batshit loco that even The Joker considers him a lunatic! The Joker actually fears him. Let us reiterate that: THE Monster Clown of comics who terrifies millions has nightmares about this guy.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: When Hush posed as Bruce Wayne in the comics following Batman’s apparent death, Batman's friends and allies displayed a "show of force" to demonstrate how easily they could stop him if he tried anything. Most of them just block his path when he tries to escape (Katana going so far as to hold a sword to his throat), but the Creeper picks him up like a doll and throws him across the room. Later, he's seen in disguise personally babysitting Hush at work.
  • Dramatic Pause: I heard you guys worked for, dramatic pause, The Joker!
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Joker (yeah, that one) thinks he's uncontrollably insane, and wants the Creeper to get away from him, so it's more like "Even Insanity Has Standards."
  • Evil Laugh: The New 52 version.
  • Expy:
    • The Creeper's resemblance to Batman foe The Joker (both have green hair, clownlike faces and maniacal laughter) first pointed out in an issue of the latter's own comic book in the 1970's (where the two fought) may have led to the character's reinterpretation as being insane.
    • These days his "Jack Ryder" persona seems to make a growing resemblance in appearance and attitude to tv personalities Stephen Colbert or Bill O'Reilly
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The costume, famously, incorporates a giant red feather boa.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Not quite, but close. Part of the reason he's so terrifying to enemies is that he's literally wearing just a thong and booties.
  • Fun Personified: Imagine the Joker in one of his wacky phases... as a good guy. Including the part where wackiness doesn't mean not being good at what you do.
  • Future Badass: A dystopian future that Captain Atom appears in, during Brightest Day shows The Creeper still alive over 100 years later as a cyborg, and as noted, still insane.
  • Happy Rain: In one story he ponders how he's always enjoyed being in the rain, and as Ryder even doing news reports during blizzards and typhoons.
  • Healing Factor: One of the effects of his serum is his ability to heal from any wound he may sustain.
  • Hell Is That Noise: His laughter is depicted as this for his enemies, triggering primal fear or even inducing deep psychological problems.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: From his unnatural yellow skin, his molester's outfit (wearing only nothing but green skintight briefs) and his questionable sanity, you wouldn't believe Ryder is actually a benevolent figure.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: At least this is what Ryder's ex seems to think. "Switching from blondes to redheads now, you son-of-a—"
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: In the original comics the costume was actually a full suit, the yellow part being spandex or similar (and it was also the last suit available in the shop), the hair being a wig, and the cape being made from an old rug that the costume shop cashier threw in. It was also recognized to be a costume by some criminals, but since the doctor's device makes the costume stick like glue, trying to pull the wig off with no effect made them realize it to be the "real deal".
  • Intrepid Reporter: So much that he slips into jerkass territory now and then. He hosts a talk show called You Are WRONG!, not to say anything of the guest stars he has on just for the sake of deliberately antagonizing them.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Jack Ryder spent the good portion of one comic book spontaneously half-transforming into the Creeper without any control. His attempts to make himself scarce in the presence of his co-workers were entertaining.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In spite of his assholish tendencies with his fellow reporters, he’s shown to genuinely care where it counts when ex-girlfriend Vicki Vale approaches him for advice on whether or not it’s ethical to publish an incriminating story that could ruin someone’s life.
  • Large Ham: He purposefully invokes this in his original Ditko incarnation, in order to terrify criminals into submission. All subsequent versions, though, have portrayed the Creeper persona as being genuinely out of his gourd.
  • Laughing Mad: Sort of. His wild laughter made criminals extremely paranoid and nearly insane.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: The very first comic origin.
  • The Mad Hatter: Creeper isn't just irregularly insane and unpredictable, he loves being that way. Even when he's Obfuscating Insanity.
  • Magic Pants: It is never explained how he always manages to have his trademark striped briefs on when he transforms. Hammerspace or censorship maybe.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Downplayed but still part of his Full-Frontal Assault act. He never gets completely naked but these skintight briefs can't really hide the quite conspicuous large bulge which adds to his intended creepiness.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Depending on the Writer, his laugh can range from a deadly sonic weapon to just plain annoying.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A rare unintentional example. Jack Ryder is a black haired, caucasian reporter, who, as noted in the Strawman Political entry, is a left-wing political pundit, with a TV show that parodies right-wing political pundits. In a meta-sense, both were supporting characters for someone else, whose popularity rose significantly from one or more TV appearances. Also, Google 'Stephen Colbert smiling', we'll wait.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: In some stories the Creeper is perfectly sane; he only acts crazy because it scares the crap out of the bad guys. In his origin story the first opponents to see him took one look and assumed anyone dressed like that had to be insane. Since that meant they were too freaked out to fight him effectively, he decided to run with it.
  • Our Demons Are Different: His Creeper side has been revealed to be demonic in nature.
  • Slasher Smile: His trademark expression, albeit an often goofier take on the trope.
  • Plot Hole: Steve Niles's Retcon explains the change with nanocells, but the fact that Ryder can change to Creeper (who has his own set of "clothes") and back and still have his normal clothes is never explained or even lampshaded.
  • Retroactive Legacy: Of a sort. Vertigo Comics' Beware the Creeper was about a surrealist vigilante wearing a very similar costume in 20s Paris, and was more-or-less set in the DCU in the usual way of Vertigo things (the Shade appears, as does a member of the Zatara family).
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Literally. Ryder put together his costume with ten dollars of leftover costume parts, including a sheepskin rug for a cape.
  • Split Personality: Suffers from this depending on the story.
  • Strawman Political: In pre-New 52 continuity, Jack Ryder was a very outspoken left-wing pundit, whose show was called You Are WRONG! Though he did start to mellow a bit after becoming the Creeper.
  • Stripperiffic: Rare Male Example. His costume consists of a green speedo, red boots and gloves, and a giant, fluffy red boa. In the 2006 miniseries, the costume naturally grows on his body as another side effect of the nanocell technology with the “boa” resembling some sort of organic, tendon-like growth.
  • Super Serum: The source of his powers.
  • Talkative Loon: The Creeper is not a quiet or reserved individual, as anyone who has tried to fight him will attest.
  • Terror Hero: Creeper used to pull a scare shtick by pretending he was not human, describing the horrible fates of his enemies, laughing and acting weirdly to make his enemies panic (and loving every minute of it). This worked well enough that he actually managed to make one less hard-boiled guy faint. He even managed to make Scarecrow briefly recoil in fright while visiting him in his cell at Arkham.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Or insane at least, as is found out when he's tortured to test his pain threshold.
  • Underwear of Power: As part of his Stripperiffic outfit.
  • Wall Crawl: One of his usual feats is to be able to climb buildings effortlessly.
  • Weather-Control Machine: Dr. Storme's weather rod.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Zigzagged. Depending on the Writer, he's either insane because of his power, he's Obfuscating Insanity or his power ''is'' his craziness.
  • You're Insane!: Almost all times when doing something with (or near) other heroes and is usually treated with "Yeah... Ain't it cool?" Also, need we remind you that the JOKER called him a lunatic?


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