|First appearance||Showcase #73 (April 1968)|
|Created by||Steve Ditko |
|Alter ego||Jack Ryder|
The Creeper (Jack Ryder) is a superhero created by Steve Ditko and Don Segall for DC Comics. He is portrayed as a journalist and talk show host, usually living in Gotham City, who gains the ability to transform into the superhuman the Creeper (and vice versa) thanks to experimental science developed by Dr. Yatz. First appearing in Showcase #73 (March 1968), his origin was revised in Secret Origins (vol. 2) #18 in 1987, then partially revised again in The Creeper #1-4 in 1997, then completely reimagined in the six-issue miniseries The Creeper (vol. 2), published in 2006-2007.
Originally, Ryder's transformation into the Creeper involved activating a device that granted superhuman abilities while also causing his face to be covered in yellow make-up, his hair to be concealed by a green wig, and his clothing to be instantly replaced by a yellow and red costume with green trunks and a sheepskin cape; as the Creeper, Ryder then shifted his voice tone and acted chaotically in order to intimidate foes and protect his identity. Starting in 1987, it was said Ryder suffered an actual slight change in personality when he became the Creeper, as the device not only empowered him and dressed him in a costume but also altered his brain chemistry. Starting in 1997, Ryder and the Creeper are treated as two personalities sharing the same body. The 2006-2007 miniseries The Creeper (vol. 2) presented a new origin. Starting with this story, Ryder's transformation no longer involved a costume and was now depicted as a physical transformation into a yellow-skinned, green-haired superhuman with a different face, voice and body and a red mane of fur sprouting from his shoulders and back. Along with his strange appearance, the Creeper is characterized by superhuman strength, agility, healing and stamina, as well as a maniacal laugh. Starting in the 1990s, this laugh has been able to cause pain or immobility in enemies. Through experience and training, the Creeper is a formidable fighter and acrobat. In the New 52 continuity, a short-lived incarnation of the Creeper was a villain, not a hero, a malicious oni (demon) who inhabited human hosts in order to create chaos.
The Creeper is a frequent ally to Batman and has been a recurring character in that hero's stories. Outside of comics, the Creeper has appeared in the TV shows The New Batman Adventures and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and appeared in his civilian identity Jack Ryder in the Batman: Arkham video game series. The Creeper shares visual similarities to the villain the Joker, but originally no connection was intended and the two characters did not meet until 1975, seven years after the Creeper's debut. The animated series The New Batman Adventures connected the Joker to the Creeper's origin in the 1995 episode "Beware the Creeper". The 2006 comic book miniseries The Creeper (vol. 2) followed suit by revealing the Joker's signature poison was one of several agents used by Dr. Yatz to first transform Jack Ryder into the Creeper.
The character first appeared in Showcase #73 (April 1968). Later the same year, the Creeper starred in his own series Beware the Creeper, written by Dennis O'Neil (with Steve Ditko plotting the first issue). It lasted six issues. The Creeper repeatedly fought a chameleonic villain called Proteus, whose true identity was revealed just before his violent death in the final issue.
For the next two decades, the Creeper made sporadic appearances in DC Comics stories, often aiding other heroes such as Batman. Most of these stories were written by Denny O'Neil. The Creeper teamed with Batman in The Brave and the Bold #80 (November 1968), then guested in Justice League of America #70 (March 1969). He also appeared with Batman in Detective Comics #418 (December 1971). After the origin was reprinted in Detective Comics #443 (November 1974), Jack Ryder was shown working as a news anchor on Gotham City television in issue #445 (March 1975). In Detective Comics #447–448 (May–June 1975), the Creeper helped Batman prove he had been framed for murder by Ra's al Ghul.
In 1975, he met Batman's archenemy the Joker for the first time in The Joker #3. The story, which featured a character intended to emulate Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, began with the Creeper being mistakenly blamed for a crime the Joker committed due to their similar appearances (specifically, green hair and a maniacal laugh). Later that year, the hero appeared in Super-Team Family #2 and was given a new origin that was not referenced again until later.
The Creeper appeared in a one-off solo story in 1st Issue Special #7 (October 1975), penciled by Ditko. He met Wildcat in Super-Team Family #2 (January 1976) and reunited with Batman in The Brave and the Bold #143 (October 1978) and 178 (September 1981). He and other stars of Showcase appeared in that comic's 100th issue (May 1978). A story intended for the never-published Showcase #106 in 1978 (written and drawn by Ditko) was later included in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 and in The Creeper by Steve Ditko hardcover collection published by DC in 2010. The hero also appeared in back-up stories featured in Adventure Comics #445–447 (1976), World's Finest Comics #249–55 (1978–1979, written and fully drawn by Ditko), and The Flash #318–323 (1983). He teamed up with Superman in DC Comics Presents #88 (December 1985), written by Steve Englehart.
Following the company-wide crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986), DC Comics rebooted large portions of its superhero universe, and many characters were given revised origins or reimagined natures in order to make them more relevant to modern comic book readers. In Secret Origins (vol. 2) #18 (1987), in a story presented by Andrew Helfer and Keith Giffen, the Creeper was given a new origin and it was now said Ryder's behavior while in costume was not simply an act. In this origin, Ryder is drugged against his will when he is then exposed to Dr. Yatz's technology. Whenever he summons his Creeper costume afterward, a side effect is that his mind reverts to the state it was in when he was drugged, thus causing the Creeper's strange behavior.
In Eclipso #13 in 1993, the Creeper joined a group of heroes in an attempt to defeat the DC villain Eclipso. They failed and the Creeper was killed. He then made an appearance in The New Batman Adventures in 1995, in the episode "Beware the Creeper". The episode depicted him as reporter Jack Ryder who is investigating the Joker and then accidentally transformed into a similar looking being with yellow skin and green hair. His personality altered by this transformation, Ryder grabs a red boa and declares himself the Creeper. Back in the comics, the character was revealed to be alive following his adventure against Eclipso due to a newly-revealed healing ability so powerful that he could even restore severed limbs. In the 1997 series The Creeper, written by Len Kaminski, Ryder realizes that before he was ever transformed into the Creeper he possibly had multiple undiagnosed mental illnesses (mentioned are bipolar disorder and an obsessive need for order), apparently inherited from his mother. The series depicted the Creeper as a second personality distinct from his own and occasionally warring for control over their shared body. Ryder also realizes he has repressed the memories of his true origin; the two versions he has recalled before (the original Ditko origin and the Helfer/Giffen origin) were each skewed versions of the truth that his mind found more acceptable. While trying to discover the truth, he fights Proteus again. The series ended in 1998 before the full truth of the Creeper's origin could be fully revealed. The series included a special issue #1,000,000, a tie-in to the 1998 crossover DC One Million.
In 2003, DC's Vertigo Comics imprint released a new miniseries called Beware the Creeper. Taking place outside of mainstream DC canon, this story featured Judith and Madeline Benoir, twin sisters living Paris in the 1920s. The story explores their lives and their connection to the Creeper, a mysterious costumed woman who terrorizes a corrupt family.
Following the DC crossover Infinite Crisis (2005-2006), parts of DC Comics continuity were revised and some characters were given altered histories. Jack Ryder was reintroduced in a follow-up comic DCU: Brave New World (2006), in a short story written by Steve Niles and drawn by Justiniano. The story depicted Ryder as a former journalist who now hosted a talk show named You Are Wrong, where he often attempted to expose corruption and provide commentary on news events. In narration, Ryder reveals that he has been secretly fighting crime as the Creeper for some time and his transformation is presented as a physical alteration of his body and appearance, not just having a costume, wig and make-up appear on him. Ryder also comments that the Creeper is a separate personality sharing his body, a creature who seems wild and sometimes fights for control of their shared body but is also in some ways more altruistic than the talk show host and whose conscience is now influencing Ryder to be a better person. Later the same year, The Creeper (vol. 2) (October 2006 – March 2007), also written by Niles and drawn by Justiniano, featured a flashback story revealing the Creeper's newly revised origin, connecting him to the Joker. The idea that Ryder has a mental illness before ever becoming the Creeper is eliminated; this alter ego's personality is a result of experimental science affecting his body, mixed with the Joker's signature madness-inducing chemical weapons. Batman becomes involved in the story and later gives Ryder a chemical solution that can cure him of the Creeper entirely. Ryder throws away the cure, deciding that he and the Creeper can do more good together.
During the Reign in Hell miniseries (2008-2009), the Creeper was presented as a demon co-inhabiting the body of Jack Ryder, one of several yellow-skinned demons inhabiting Hell. The same story quickly became notorious among readers for many internal continuity errors and unexplained contradictions with the accepted DC Comics canon, making its place there questionable at best. Following this story, other comics featuring the Creeper once again depicted him as a human who had been altered by science rather than one possessed by a demon.
In the collected edition of Wednesday Comics (200 pages, DC Comics, June 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2747-3; Titan Books, July 2010, ISBN 1-84856-755-3), the Creeper is featured in the story Beware the Creeper, written by Keith Giffen with art by Eric Canete.
In 2011, DC Comics rebooted its superhero universe again with The New 52. The New 52 continuity gave a new origin for the Creeper in Justice League Dark #23.1. The issue portrayed the Creeper as an oni who "justifies cruel temper tantrums under the guise of spreading chaos" and inhabits numerous human hosts, including Jack Ryder. The 2017 DC Rebirth comic removed many ideas introduced by the New 52 comics and brought back many ideas and stories published before 2011. Jack Ryder and the Creeper appeared again afterward, now once again depicted as a man who becomes a yellow-skinned superhuman due to scientific experimentation rather than demonic possession.
Jack Ryder is a former Gotham City resident and is the host of a political talk show. He is fired after criticizing his own sponsors on-air and refusing to change his behavior or apologize. Knowing Ryder is a decent detective, Chief of Network Security Bill Brane hires the former talk show host as one of his investigators. Brane reveals that CIA contacts have asked him to help find Dr. Yatz, a scientist recently captured by local gangster Angel Devlin who is working with Communist powers. Ryder decides to infiltrate a masquerade party at Devlin's mansion and visits a local costume shop. The clerk explains he mainly sells costumes for children, but offers Ryder "leftovers" from adult orders. Ryder cobbles together the costume involving yellow tights, green trunks and red gloves and boots. He completes the disguise with yellow make-up, a green wig and a red sheepskin rug he decides to use as a cape. At the costume party, Ryder fights some of Devlin's henchmen, suffering injuries in the process, and then discovers the kidnapped Dr. Yatz. The scientist injects Ryder with a chemical serum designed to accelerate healing while also granting great strength and stamina. He also hides a tiny device of his own creation in Ryder's wound, saying it is the safest way to keep the technology hidden from Devlin. The device, he explains, can "rearrange the molecular structure of matter", making clothing or items weightless and invisible until needed. By activating the device now hidden beneath his skin, Ryder is able to instantly cause his yellow and red costume to vanish or reappear instantly.
As Yatz then destroys the evidence of his work, Devlin's men arrive and shoot him dead. In costume, Ryder escapes Devlin's party, but is blamed for the chaos. Police arrive and one of the cops refers to the yellow-costumed intruder as a "creeper". Deciding he likes the name, Ryder later attacks and defeats Devlin's gang. He then reverts to his civilian guise and informs Brane and the police of Devlin's involvement in Yatz's death. Ryder then decides to continue secretly operating as the Creeper whenever he needs to fight crime. In his private life, he continues acting as a WHAM-TV network security investigator for Brane. A month after first becoming the Creeper, Ryder is assigned to help WHAM-TV weather correspondent Vera Sweet, who has been threatened. The two initially dislike each other, but over time they develop a flirtatious relationship.
Although the Creeper fights crime, he is frequently considered a villain himself by news media and authorities. During his first adventure involving a costumed villain, a man called the Terror, Ryder realizes that Yatz's implanted device has two side-effects: when he is the Creeper, it prevents his costume and make-up from being removed from his body, and when he is Ryder his superhuman powers become dormant, leaving him vulnerable.
During his early adventures, the Creeper regularly fights a shape-shifting terrorist named Proteus. At one point, Proteus reveals that he is motivated by being overwhelmed by how corrupt he finds society. He had hoped to find a friend in the Creeper and had spared his life before, but then concluded the yellow-skinned vigilante is actually an enemy after learning he is secretly Jack Ryder. While attempting another attack on society, Proteus seemingly kills himself and the Creeper muses whether he has lost both an enemy and a friend. Following this, the Creeper continues operating in Gotham City and Jack Ryder becomes a television reporter for WHAM-TV. He winds up teaming up with other superheroes often, most frequently aiding Batman. During an encounter with the Joker, the Creeper is rendered temporarily amnesiac and is tricked into helping the Joker plant a bomb, only realizing the truth at the last moment. He then brings the Joker to justice, not as the Creeper but as Jack Ryder.
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of DC Comics history is revised. The Creeper is given a new origin and interpretation as well. In the new continuity, Ryder is not a talk show host or TV reporter initially. Instead, he is a newspaper journalist working for the Herald Examiner and known for exposing corrupt criminal operations. Investigating the home of criminals during a masquerade party, he is ambushed and knocked out. The criminals knew he intended to investigate them and have decided to humiliate him before taking revenge. They drug him with a hallucinogen, one said to cause psychosis if used in too strong a dose, dress him up in a yellow and red costume with a green wig, and present him to the masquerade party as a jester called "the dancing creep". Drugged and confused, Ryder attempts to escape, but is severely beaten. He is then taken some distance away, shot and left for dead.
Ryder awakens in the home of Dr. Emil Yatz, a German immigrant and scientist who discovered the journalist dead near his estate. Yatz explains he used his experimental "inorganic matter transference" technology to heal and revive Ryder. Yatz explains he was rejected by the scientific community and became a science fiction writer before finding a sponsor. He created a device that can map the atomic structure of inorganic objects and then "swap" them with others, rending one temporarily invisible and intangible. Yatz realized his criminal sponsors intended to kill him soon and, when he found Ryder, he decided to hide his powerful device inside the man's body. Attaching the power source activated the device now in Ryder's forearm under his skin, healing the man. After destroying his scientific notes, Yatz explained that the device's "sub-atomic matrix" has been imprinted with Ryder's costume since he was wearing it when the scientist attached the power source. Now realizing Ryder also had a drug in his system, Yatz warns the drug may have been imprinted as well, meaning Ryder will once again be in a drug-induced state if he activates the device. The criminals arrive and murder Yatz before the scientist can say more. Touching his forearm, Ryder activates the Yatz device and becomes the costumed, chaotic Creeper, bringing the criminals to justice with physically enhanced abilities and healing. He later wakes up at his typewriter, having no real memory of his activities as the Creeper, but knowing his alter ego will be an effective weapon against crime.
The Creeper appeared in the Eclipso: The Darkness Within crossover event that happened in various DC Comics annuals in 1992. Tricked into being mentally controlled by the dark diamonds of the demonic Eclipso, the Creeper is later freed by Bruce Gordon, the villain's longtime adversary. In the self-titled Eclipso comic book series, the Creeper, Gordon and Gordon's wife Mona make a foray into a South American territory Eclipso has conquered. Later, the Creeper joins government operative Amanda Waller and several heroes to fight against Eclipso. Called the Shadow Fighters, the group included Major Victory, the original Steel, and Wildcat II. In Eclipso #13, some of the Shadow Fighters venture into Eclipso's territory and engage the villain in battle. Eclipso uses his power to possess several hyenas, using them to track down the Creeper and literally tear him apart limb from limb, apparently killing him. The remains, along with those of other fallen heroes, are stolen from Eclipso's control by surviving Shadow Fighters.
Years later, the new series The Creeper reveals that the Creeper's healing ability increased in order to compensate for the damage inflicted by Eclipso, allowing him to heal and resurrect. He also now exhibits a weaponized laugh that can cause pain and even stun opponents. The experience of death and resurrection is traumatic for Jack Ryder, who becomes a patient to the psychiatrist Dr. Solos. While undergoing therapy, Jack Ryder considers the possibility that he has inherited his mother's mental illness and may have only mistakenly believed the Creeper's personality is a result of drugs and a scientific device. He later realizes that he has conflicting memories of the Creeper's origin. In one version, he remembers buying costume leftovers before infiltrating a masquerade party. In another version, he remembers being drugged and shot before Dr. Yatz resurrected him. He realizes the different versions of this origin include elements that do not make much sense to him and concludes that none of these memories are accurate, that he has repressed the memory of his origin and his mind created other scenarios he found more acceptable. Ryder discovers Dr. Solos is actually his old enemy Proteus in disguise and learns the villain is somehow connected to his origin. Further information is not revealed, as The Creeper was cancelled.
Following the crossover Infinite Crisis, several areas of DC Comics continuity are revised again. Jack Ryder is a former journalist who now works as the host of a controversial political and news commentary TV show You Are Wrong!, where he regularly challenges criminals and politicians and often praises costumed vigilantes. Later on, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home - Outsiders reveals that in the new history, Ryder briefly dated Gotham photojournalist Vicki Vale when he was younger. His ex-girlfriend Vera Sweet is now a producer and on-air reporter for the same network. When he realizes others are becoming suspicious of his connection to the notorious Creeper, Ryder pretends to be disillusioned by that particular vigilante, promising $1 million to the person who catches the Creeper and brings him to face the law.
The Creeper's new origin story is soon revealed in a flashback in the miniseries The Creeper (vol. 2). Years earlier, Ryder is interested in the work of scientist Dr. Vincent Yatz, who is combining stem cell therapy and microscopic nanotechnology to create a revolutionary "nanocell" treatment called "smart-skin". This technology enhances a human body's regeneration, not only healing wounds, but even preventing scarring and restoring burns. Local mobsters come to Yatz's lab to steal this new technology and Ryder accidentally interrupts when he arrives. Unable to escape, but determined to keep the mobsters from taking his discovery, Yatz quickly injects the last sample of smart-skin, still somewhat unstable, into an unwilling Ryder. Believing that Yatz will create more nanocells if forced to, the criminals shoot Ryder in the head and throw him into the ocean. The smart-skin activates and revives Ryder, transforming him into a yellow-skinned superhuman with green hair and a mane of thick, red hair growing on his back and shoulders. The Creeper has Ryder's knowledge, but acts as a separate personality. After the Creeper transforms back into Ryder, the TV host discovers he can still hear the Creeper's voice in his head, allowing them to communicate.
Batman encounters the Creeper while on patrol and then investigates the Dr. Yatz case, discovering in the process that this new yellow-skinned vigilante is really Jack Ryder. Ryder and the Creeper learn that Yatz secretly intended the smart-skin to be a weapon and that tests on human subjects repeatedly resulted in mutated monsters. To achieve better results, Yatz took on a silent partner who introduced his own chemical "nerve agent" to the smart-skin, which resulted in Ryder's unique transformation into the Creeper. The silent partner is revealed to be the Joker and the "nerve" agent used was a version of his Joker venom, known to normally alter skin and hair color in victims while inducing temporary madness and uncontrollable laughter before killing them. In exchange for helping Yatz improve his results, the Joker wants to use the man's technology to create an army of maniacal, super-strong, near-invincible soldiers. Seeing the successful results with Ryder, the Joker refers to the Creeper as "family". A similar batch of smart-skin is then used to turn dozens of others into maddened, yellow-skinned soldiers with green and red hair.
Batman and the Creeper defeat the Joker and his operation with Yatz. Batman creates a chemical agent that can cure Ryder of the Creeper and offers it to the TV host. Ryder decides to throw away the cure and instead forms a truce with his alter ego, agreeing to let the Creeper out from time to time to fight criminals. This ends the flashback miniseries and the Creeper shows up sporadically in other DC Comics stories, encountering Eclipso again and helping to fight the Sinestro Corps. During the crossover Final Crisis, Batman is believed killed. It is then revealed that Batman prepared for this eventuality by leaving instructions to recruit a team of heroes he trusts, tasking them to act as a new version of the Outsiders. The Creeper is recruited into this new team, though this version of the team lasts only a year. Later, Batman is revealed to be alive.
During the Reign in Hell miniseries, the Creeper was presented as a demon that co-inhabited the body of Jack Ryder rather than an identity he assumed due to scientific experimentation. The story shows the Creeper demon separating from Jack Ryder, having been recalled to Hell by Lilith, the mother of all Earthborn atrocities. It is later revealed that the Creeper demon is just one of a similar-looking species of demon. The Reign in Hell miniseries had many internal continuity errors and unexplained contradictions that made its place in mainstream DC Comics canon questionable at best and the idea that the Creeper was a demonic entity was not repeated afterward.
In 2011, DC Comics created a new version of its universe called The New 52. In this timeline, the Creeper is first seen in a brief cameo when he is considered as a candidate for a new United Nations-sanctioned Justice League International team. In The Phantom Stranger (vol. 4) #7 (June 2013), Jack Ryder is introduced as a talk show host at Morgan Edge's network who recently quit his job. After encountering the Phantom Stranger, Ryder is killed by a monster attacking Metropolis. The Presence, in the form of a dog, notes that Ryder's story is not over, that he was not led to his death but rather to his destiny.
In Katana #3-4 (June-July 2013), the New 52 version of the Creeper is a malicious and fearsome-looking oni who regularly "rides" human hosts in order to cause chaos and violence. Unlike previous incarnations, this Creeper is a villain (though why he would be considered for membership in Justice League International earlier is never explained). This oni is revealed to be locked inside Soultaker, the mystical sword of the hero Katana, along with many other souls of enemies the blade has defeated over the centuries. When the villain Killer Croc breaks the sword, all the souls are released, including the Creeper, who reveals that he sometimes whispered to Katana through the sword, pretending to be her dead husband. Seeking out a new body to "ride", the Creeper discovers the recently deceased Jack Ryder and decides to possess it.
The relationship between this oni Creeper and Jack Ryder is further explored in Justice League Dark #23.1 (subtitled Creeper #1), part of the Forever Evil crossover. The story reveals the Creeper's past in feudal Japan and describes him as a wild being who "justifies cruel temper tantrums under the guise of spreading chaos". Although in his appearance in the series Katana indicated the Creeper was defeated by Katana herself and that he has possessed Jack Ryder's body before, the origin revealed in Justice League Dark contradicts this by revealing the oni demon has been trapped inside of Soultaker since the days of feudal Japan, passing the time by tormenting the other imprisoned souls, and that he never and could never have met Jack Ryder before meeting him after being freed. Possessing Ryder's body results in Jack Ryder being resurrected, unaware that he now shares his body with an oni demon who occasionally takes over his form and uses him to cause chaos and death. Ryder is confused by his occasional blackouts, but continues working as a TV reporter for the show Life After Death.
The 2017 initiative DC Rebirth altered DC Comics continuity yet again, removing much of the New 52 changes and restoring several stories and ideas from comics published before 2011. Post-DC Rebirth, the Creeper is reintroduced with his more classic appearance, once again the product of experimental science rather than a demon inhabiting a human host. While investigating a series of murdered criminals down in Chicago, Jack Ryder becomes the Creeper to battle a Deathstroke copycat, then is recruited by Bizarro to join the Red Hood's team of Outlaws. In the Watchmen sequel Doomsday Clock, the Creeper is shown to have been captured by Kobra's cult until he is retrieved by Black Adam. He and Black Adam later attack Israel.
The Creeper's powers are physical in nature and a result of Dr. Yatz's discoveries. Pre-Crisis, Jack Ryder transformed into the Creeper by holding and pressing the button of a small "activator" device he often kept in his pocket. This activated another device hidden underneath his skin that would rearrange molecules, immediately replacing Ryder's clothing with the Creeper's costume, yellow make-up, green wig and red sheepskin cape. This would also activate a chemical Dr. Yatz had injected in Ryder, granting the Creeper superhuman strength, healing and stamina. As soon as Ryder deactivated the Creeper costume and forced it to disappear, his superhuman powers would become dormant as well. Later comics indicated the Creeper also had superhuman agility and reflexes, allowing him to be an effective fighter and acrobat. His strength, balance and agility enabled him to scale buildings with great skill and speed.
This version of the Creeper has the same powers and abilities as before, but owes them all to one device implanted in him rather than to a chemical agent and two devices. When he first becomes the Creeper, he is under the influence of drugs. As a result, each time he becomes the Creeper again, the device not only restores his powers and replaces his clothing with his costume, wig, and make-up but also alters his brain chemistry to mimic how it had been when he had been under the influence of drugs. When the Creeper transforms back into Ryder, Ryder has trouble remembering the Creeper's actions.
After seemingly being killed by being dismembered, the Creeper later turns up alive and it is now said that his healing ability is so great he is possibly immortal. After this revelation, the Creeper is able to stun and inflict pain with his laughter and Ryder now recalls some of the Creeper's memories, though he now regards him as a distinct personality.
In this version of history, Jack Ryder is injected with "nano-cell" technology called "smart-skin", an experimental science intended to create aggressive superhuman soldiers. The smart-skin is created with a combination of stem cell research, nanotechnology, and the Joker's madness-inducing and pigmentation-altering "Joker venom" chemicals. As a result, Jack Ryder physically transforms into a yellow-skinned, green-haired superhuman with a mane of red fur and its own distinct personality. The nano-cells that transform Ryder into the Creeper also rearrange the molecules of his clothing to become the Creeper's costume and vice versa. The Creeper has superhuman strength, agility, stamina, healing and reflexes and his laugh can be focused to inflict pain on targets. The Creeper and Jack Ryder are able to share information and mentally communicate with each other.
The 2003 Vertigo Comics series Beware the Creeper features a female Creeper living in the 1920s Paris in a world separate from the mainstream DC Comics canon.
The Creeper makes a cameo appearance in the 2001–2002 miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, wherein he has already been struck fatally. He is impaled by "Joker Boy" as part of a revenge scheme against Batman.
In the 1996 miniseries Kingdom Come, The Creeper appears as an elderly metahuman who works for Batman's rogue faction of metahumans.
In the 1998 miniseries JLA: The Nail, where the public has been convinced that metahumans are alien invaders thanks to a smear campaign masterminded by Lex Luthor and a part-Kryptonian Jimmy Olsen, the Creeper is imprisoned by Cadmus Labs, Lois Lane noting that she once saw him save a family from a psychotic gunman.
The 1998 DC One Million event revealed the legacy of the modern DC heroes by depicting their successors who lived in the 853rd century. In the year 85,271 on the planet IAI, an entity known as RYDR senses a disturbance that may unravel all that is and transforms into its other, the sum total of collective unreason, a shamanic avatar and raw distillate of madness known as the Creeper. The trail leads back to Jack Ryder, who grew tired of being a superhero. Jack and the Creeper became separate parts of each other, actual living beings. After the Creeper side kept splitting into bizarre and dangerous alternate Creepers, each representing a different part of the Creeper's personality, Jack realized that whether he liked it or not, the Creeper was a part of him. The future Creeper ingested all the alternate Creepers, but realizing the truth of the event, he returned them to the original Creeper and told him and Jack Ryder to remerge and the Creeper was reborn. The future Creeper returns to IAI with the last remaining alternate Creeper, the one representing self-loathing, which he disposes of before transforming back into RYDR to catalog the event.
In the Tangent Comics universe, the Earth-9 version of the Creeper is a powerful warlock and member of an occult organization known as the Black Circle. In one of the possible origin stories for the Earth-9 version of the Green Lantern, the Creeper and the other members of the Black Circle task Zatanna to retrieve the mystical Green Lantern.
Nightcreeper (Kurt "Jack" Ryder) of Amalgam Comics combines DC's the Creeper with the Marvel Comics mutant hero Nightcrawler. Nightcreeper's debuts in JLX #1 (1996). He is a member of the JLX (Justice League X-Men), an amalgamation of DC's the Justice League of America and Marvel's the X-Men.
In the alternate timeline of the 2011 Flashpoint storyline, Jack Ryder is in news broadcasting. He sends a message that Wonder Woman leads the Amazons in conquering the United Kingdom, renaming it New Themyscira during the war.
In the New 52 Batman Beyond series, Jack has retired the Creeper identity, but still anchors on News 52. He co-sponsors a criminal rehab program which includes Melanie Walker, who was formerly Ten of the Royal Flush Gang. His co-anchor, Adalyn Stern, becomes the new Scarecrow due to a traumatic childhood experience she had with Batman, leading Jack to resent Bruce and his past actions.
In the concluding miniseries, Smallville: Continuity, Lex Luthor's assistant reminds him that Jack Ryder has an exclusive interview with him.
Jack Ryder is featured as a supporting character in the Batman: Arkham franchise, voiced by James Horan:
Writer/artist Steve Ditko and co-scripter Don Segall gave [character Jack Ryder] more than the last laugh as the garishly garbed Creeper, one of DC's quirkiest protagonists.