Welcome back to a new RETRO REVIEW. This week I’ve pulled out of the comic book vault, Showcase # 73, from DC Comics. The comic is cover dated April 1968. It features a brand new character; the Creeper. The Creeper was the brainchild of recent Marvel Comics stalwart, Steve Ditko.
Back in March of 2018, I covered the first issue of the Creeper’s short=lived series, but I wanted to go back and review his origin, and first appearance, which takes place within Showcase # 73.
First up is the great cover to grab potential reader’s attention at the comic book spinner rack. Take a look:
The colorful costume of this new character really jumps off the two shades of blue background. Practically screaming pick me up and buy me! The cover is both penciled and inked by Steve Ditko. I love that the cover declares that this is the “First Smash Hit of ’68!”
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. He did graduate to his own series after this single appearance, within Showcase, but it only lasted a mere six issues and it’s creator, Ditko was done midway through that final issue, having only completed the first half of the comic.
The Creeper is still around within the DC Universe, but he really has never made it past the B-List and never into the big time. But back to his initial appearance.
Once you took the comic home and opened it up, the reader back in ’68 was greeted by a nice splash page, featuring the Creeper “creeping” through a maze of large masks/faces. This origin story is entitled; “The Coming of the Creeper!!” Yes, it really did actually use two explanation points!!
We see the the script is written by someone named, Don Segall, though I suspect that it was actually Steve Ditko, as I’ve never heard of Segall previously or since, for that matter. Of course, like the cover, Ditko provided both pencils and inks for the comic.
The story begins with a Professor Yatz, being kidnapped by a gang of criminals, working for the “Reds”. The scene shifts to a television studio, where television host, Jack Ryder is not treating one of his guests too well, as a result he is fired immediately after the show ends.
But as Ryder leaves, he is stopped and offered a job by Bill Brane, the head of Network Security. Ryder accepts and is asked to investigate the disappearance of Professor Yatz. Exactly why the Television Network would be investigating this Professor is never explains.
Ryder is to begin his investigation at a costume party and as such, needs a costume. He stops into a store and buys a yellow leotard, green trunks, red gloves and boots. He adds a green wig and a red sheepskin rug around his shoulders. He sneaks into the party and later he discovers Professor Yatz being held captive. Ryder is trapped within the same room where Yatz is being held captive. The Professor explains his discovery, a healing serum which also provides greater strength and a devise which allows the rearrangement of matter, making it weightless and invisible. Hey, it’s a comic book, don’t ask how it does this, but it does enable Ryder to make his costume invisible while still wearing it.
Professor Yatz assists in the Creepers escape, but pays the price, from a bullet from the criminals. And with the Professor’s death, the secret to his discoveries are lost with him. The Creeper makes his escape, but then returns to route the criminals, who are turned over to the police and Ryder makes his escape by the simple means of using the Professor’s device to turn his costume invisible and walks away as Jack Ryder.