One of Steve Ditko’s niftiest DC characters makes his way back in an unexpected way.
Deathstroke #11, out this week, deals with a heady subject — urban gun violence — but it also marks the return of a character missing too long from the streets of the DC Universe: the Creeper.
Steve Ditko’s yellow-hued creation has had something of a checkered history since his debut in 1968, going through at least two significant revamps — the last coming during the New 52.
But in the new Deathstroke issue by Christopher Priest, Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz, the classic version is back — green fright wig, furry read boa, striped shorts and all.
Not that Priest necessarily wanted him in the story. He wanted his alter ego, Jack Ryder.
Having the Creeper in the story “was an accident,” Priest told our columnist Christy Blanch in an interview. “I made the decision, but (DC co-publisher) Dan DiDio really made it because we had to ask him. In fact, we begged him. But, he was fine with it. What we wanted was a reporter. We wanted to tell this story through the eyes of a reporter. But, we needed it to be a known character, not one we just made up because what is the fun with that? Initially it was going to be Lois Lane – but then, which one? I don’t know who Lois is anymore.* So, we went through a few more and then settled on Jack Ryder. He was kind of a Jerry Springer type, but we were taking him seriously.
“When I was writing the story, I didn’t have any intention of using the Creeper, but as the story was developing, if Jack is in the book, the Creeper has to come out and say hello. It’s not a story about the Creeper, although there is a thematic resonance. …Part of the story is that in popular media we see far too much conflict resolution by violence. Whoever blows it up last wins. The interesting thing about Creeper is when he does pop out, he tries to solve the problem with violence and chaos. It’s a glorified cameo appearance. We were happy to have him, but (it was) not the original intent of the story.”
Cowan is a huge Ditko fan, he told Christy, and embraced the opportunity to illustrate him.
“To get a chance to draw him was awesome. I didn’t realize he hadn’t been drawn in, like, 10 years. I was looking for the latest reference and there wasn’t one. It was great to have a chance to play with that.”
MORE: Click here for Christy’s interview with Priest and Cowan about the thorny issues Deathstroke #11 raises.
*Until recently, there were two Loises on the main DCU Earth because comics.