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 Beware the Creeper!

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kurt wilcken

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PostSubject: Beware the Creeper!   Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:37 pm

Okay, time to put my Cranky Old Man hat.

I read this week that DC is going to be doing a "Villain Month" in which each of it's main titles will be a spotlight on one of that book's villains. Which is a sales gimmick to be sure, but a decent enough one. Not nearly as silly as the "Big Head Month" they had some years back. They've done this type of thing before. I have no problem with it.

No, the thing that bugs me is that scrolling down through the covers, the last one that was presented in the news release was JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, which for that one issue is going to be retitled THE CREEPER.

Wha...?

The Creeper has never been a villain. Granted, he has frequently been wanted by the authorities and is not exactly regarded as a hero; and true the Joker once suggested a team-up between the two, (it didn't work; Joker found him too annoying); but that hardly puts him in the same company as Darkseid, Gorilla Grodd, Poison Ivy and the Ventriloquist.

(Well, maybe Ventriloquist. Nah.)

But the kicker is that the cover art portrays a demonic-looking monster with big honkin' horns. Which, granted, is appropriate for a villian appearing in JUSTICE LEAGE DARK. But it's not the Creeper.

The press release says that this issue will be presenting the Creeper's brand new "NEW 52" Origin. So maybe Jack Ryder wasn't a villain who's a demon THEN, but he is NOW and I'll just have to live with it. And since I haven't bought any new comics in something like a decade or more, I suppose it doesn't really matter and I have no right to gripe.

But I do anyway. One of the first comics I ever read was one of DC's big chunky 100-pagers back in the '70s which included a reprint of Steve Ditko's first CREEPER story, and I've always liked it. To me, that will always be the definitive Creeper, even though important parts of his character changed almost immediately. (In the Ditko origin, the Creeper was not really deranged, he just acted that way because he figured as long as he was dressed as a raving lunatic he might as well go with it; Later writers made Jack Ryan/the Creeper more of a split personality).

But for me, the best Creeper stories have always had an element of wackiness to them.

From what I've seen of the New 52, wacky does not seem to be an option.

Okay, Cranky Old Guy Rant over. Now geddoffa my lawn, ya crummy kids.

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Peter Urkowitz

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PostSubject: Re: Beware the Creeper!   Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:30 pm

I loved the old Creeper too, and like you have no desire to see the New 52 version.

It did seem, though, that a fair number of old Ditko heroes acted insane, but saw themselves as perfectly normal, upright citizens. As soon as any other writer took over the reins, those characters started to be portrayed as actually insane. A short list of characters who fit this pattern to varying degrees:

Creeper
The Question (and his homage/avatar Rorschach)
Shade the Changing Man
Hawk and Dove
Speedball (and his renamed identity Penance)

Would it be going too far to interpret this as the judgement of the rest of the comics industry about Ditko himself? He's always seen himself as rigidly moral, but lots of people look at his behavior and call it admirable, but a bit nutty.
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edquinby001

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PostSubject: Re: Beware the Creeper!   Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:09 pm

I'm sorry to see this 'reimagining' of The Creeper from hero to villain if it does happen. Always had a lot of love for the Ditko character.

Interesting hypothesis about what happens to characters post-Ditko, Peter. It seems very likely given how well known Ditko is for his eccentricities and the fact that while Ditko is an arch conservative, I think most comics writers, Frank Miller aside, tend to skew liberal. But I think the visuals of the characters as drawn by Sturdy Steve had something to do with it as well. Ditko characters always have a lot of emotional intensity to them and , you know, some of them just LOOK crazy!
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J.M. Hunter

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PostSubject: Re: Beware the Creeper!   Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:44 pm

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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Beware the Creeper!   Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:26 pm

edquinby001 wrote:
I'm sorry to see this 'reimagining' of The Creeper from hero to villain if it does happen. Always had a lot of love for the Ditko character.
I hated the 'reimagining' of The Blue Beetle too.
No

Why change old characters at all, why not just make new stuff? Why buy old pantheons from other publishers only to change them? Is it that no one will create anything new for Marvel or DC anymore so they buy these old characters, but then they change them.

Is it to own these characters free and clear?

Would a new character create an entanglement that a 'reimagined' Creeper or Blue Beetle won't?
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