Jack Ryder, The Creeper, is an outspoken television newscaster and reporter for a Gotham City TV station. As Ryder, he is the anchorman of a show in which he deliberately antagonizes his guests in order to raise attention on hot topics, like stem cell research and medical nanotech. During his research on the revolutionary "nanocells" therapy of Doctor Vincent Yatz, he discovered an experimental mixture which enabled the body to regenerate to the point of completely replacing the skin of a badly scarred burn victim, not to mention the ability to heal practically any injury of any kind. Ryder was caught by mobsters when he attempted to steal Yatz's newly discovered technology. Unable to escape, Dr. Yatz injected his last sample of (still unstable) nanocells into Jack Ryder, as an attempt to keep it safe from the mobsters. Immediately afterwards, the mobsters shot Ryder in the head, seemingly killing him. However, the regenerative substance of the nanocells interacted with his body chemistry, thus resurrecting him as the Creeper. Ryder dispatched his opponents, and soon discovered that he was able to call forth his bestial alter-ego at will. When the Creeper began fighting crime in Gotham City, his archnemesis was the supervillain Proteus, who met a violent demise during these encounters. Eventually, the Creeper would encounter Batman for his first superhero team-up. He met the rest of the Justice League of America when Batman asked them to help determine whether or not he was an outlaw. During the recruitment drive, the Creeper was deemed more suitable for Justice League reserve status, rather than as a regular team member, despite Batman's recommendation.
Eclipso tricked The Creeper into taking up one of the Dark Crystals, thus putting him under his control. The Creeper was later freed by Bruce Gordon, along with all the other enslaved superheroes. The Creeper and Gordon teamed up again to try and defeat Eclipso when they made an initial foray into the South American territory that Eclipso had conquered. This led to an Eclipso-possessed peasant throwing The Creeper (and himself) off a cliff and plunging to their deaths. However, with the intervention of a stunt squad, their lives were saved. Several other heroes joined in the fight against Eclipso, including Major Victory, the original Steel, Amanda Waller and Wildcat. They formed a team called the Shadow Fighters. Despite being caught and escaping once, the Creeper was eventually killed by Eclipso when the team re-invaded the country Eclipso was ruling. Several hyenas, possessed by Eclipso, tracked down the Creeper and tore him to shreds. Most of the infiltration team was slain; only small parts of the Creeper were actually recovered. The remains, along with the other dead heroes, were stolen out from under Eclipso's control by surviving Shadow Fighters.
With his remains recovered, there was enough left to regenerate him. It has been strongly suggested that the convoluted Dr. Yatz origin of the Creeper was an implanted memory (or otherwise false), and that his actual origin was somehow related to his longtime villain, Proteus.
Reign in Hell
When Neron told Lilith, the Mother of All Monsters, to call her children home, among those who responded, was The Creeper, who was physically Jack Ryder during one of his shows. He was shocked by this news.
After spending time alone traveling in Kahndaq, the Creeper was approached by Alfred Pennyworth. Pennyworth was reforming the Outsiders after the death of Batman and invited The Creeper, and several other heroes, to be part of a team in order to keep the villain Hush from exploiting his resemblance to Bruce Wayne. The Creeper accepted the offer and disguised himself as a high-level employee of WayneCorp, as an excuse for him to accompany 'Wayne'. Jack quits the team following The Blackest Night, admitting that the only reason he joined the team in the first place was because he believed that they could help him find a way to remove The Creeper.
During The Event of FlashPoint, 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.
The Creeper is shown to have been one of the rejected potential candidates for the Justice League International; the reason for creeper not getting in is that the JLI feared he would scare the public.
Powers and Abilities
- Creeper Form: The Creeper's powers are physical in nature, as a result of Yatz's invention. Jack Ryder can transform into the Creeper virtually instantaneously, and vice versa.
- Superhuman Agility: The Creeper's amazing agility enables him to perform amazing feats of acrobatics and leaping. He also seems able to climb walls with little or no difficulty.
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Strength: His strength is enough to send grown men flying with a single punch and jump high enough to scale buildings.
- Enhanced Speed:
- Enhanced Reflexes:
- Superhuman Healing Factor: which enables him to heal from virtually any wound. Indeed, gunshots and stab wounds have healed in a matter of minutes. It even allowed him to return from death when his body regenerated after being torn apart by Eclipsed hyenas.
- Hypnotic Intimidation: apparent intimidation/hypnosis ability as one of the thugs seems to be mesmerized after an encounter with the Creeper.
- Pain Inducing Laugh: his laugh is depicted as being physically painful to the ears of his victims.
- Expert Combatant: His martial arts skills combined with his abilities make Creeper a formidable fighter, incorporating brawling techniques with his physical prowess. A signature move is jumping onto the backs of his opponents and throwing them off balance.
- Expert Acrobatic: Combining combat and acrobatic skills, this makes him very unpredictable (has similar acrobatic moves to Nightwing, Spider-man and Daredevil, whom are the greatest acrobatics in their respected universe).
- Following his debut in Showcase, The Creeper was given his own series Beware The Creeper, written by Denny O'Neil (and plotted by Ditko for the first issue only), which lasted only six issues. (The storyline begun would be concluded in Super-Team Family #2 in 1975/76).
- Apart from issue 1st Issue Special #7 (in 1975), and back-up series in Adventure Comics #445-447 (in 1976), World's Finest #249-255 (in 1978-79) and The Flash #318-323 (in 1983), all The Creeper's subsequent appearances have been guest roles. Over the years, The Creeper's personality underwent changes by different writers; at times his deranged behavior was depicted as only an act to frighten criminals, while at other times he seemed genuinely psychotic. DC gave The Creeper another chance in a solo entitled The Creeper, lasting 12 issues including the one millionth, Len Kaminski focused on the breakdown of Jack Ryder's sanity as influenced by The Creeper and making many references to the previous continuity.
- Originally, Jack Ryder became The Creeper when he was powered with a serum given to him by Doctor Vincent Yatz, a scientist being hunted by the mob. The serum gave him enhanced strength and agility, and a second mechanical device allowed him to phase his costume in and out from his surroundings, so he could become The Creeper almost at will. Ryder chose a cackling and maniacal facade to frighten criminals.
- After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Creeper's origins were different. While Ryder had been on the trail of a local mob boss at a masquerade party, he was captured, beaten, and injected with hallucinogens. Shot and left for dead, he was rescued by Doctor Yatz who implanted him with a device to keep him alive. The device meant to keep Jack Ryder separate from The Creeper accidentally imprinted the drugs in his system, causing The Creeper's activity to be genuinely psychotic. His garish costumed disguise was also imprinted with him, as the Doctor had no time to remove it. In this form, Ryder eventually began to believe that he and The Creeper were two completely separate people.
- After the Infinite Crisis, The Creeper appeared with a new origin once more. Ryder was accidentally injected with experimental nanocell technology, which additionally gave him regenerative capabilities. He found himself able to switch back and forth between being the Creeper at will.
- It has been revealed that The Creeper is a demon of some sort.
- Jack Ryder was born to the publisher of a successful Union Dispatch. His father's history would influence Jack's own future but so would his mother's. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia while Jack was still a child and died in an institution.
- A Creeper action figure was introduced by DC Direct in 2009 as part of their The History of the DC Universe line.
- The Creeper was featured in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Beware The Creeper, and also made numerous non-speaking appearances in Justice League Unlimited. The Creeper's origin in DCAU differed notably from any of the comic origins.
- In Earth-97 continuity, The Creeper was a human occultist and member of a coven known as, The Dark Circle.
In Other Media
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Jack Ryder has a recurring role as a news reporter. In a later episode, the Creeper was created by the Joker when he got pushed into the same vat of acid that created the Joker, but as an addition, the Joker had hit Ryder with his laughing gas/Venom. The resulting interaction between the two substances had the effect of creating a benign psychosis in Ryder, who still maintained a sense of right and wrong.
- Creeper later appears in the show Justice League Unlimited as a member of the expanded Justice League.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Jack Ryder's show is mentioned in an episode. In a later episode, the Creeper single handedly saves Batman and takes down Hellgramite while making many crazy comments. He then runs away when the police show up.
Batman: Arkham series
- Main article: Jack Ryder (Arkhamverse)