Jack Ryder hosts a confrontational left-wing talk show, called You Are Wrong!. One of his interviewees, Dr. Vincent Yatz, created an experimental serum that could be used to regenerate tissue, effectively erasing essentially any injury sustained by the human body. Ryder attempts to steal this serum in order to monopolize the reporting of the new discovery, but fails, and is caught. Yatz, in an attempt to protect his serum from mobsters who intend to take it, injects it into Ryder. Soon after, Ryder is shot in the head by the would-be thieves, and left for dead. Instead, however, the serum regenerates his tissue and resurrects him as the Creeper. He easily defeats the villains, and soon discovers that it is possible for him to call forth his superpowered side at will. This origin was later revealed to be an implanted memory, and Creeper was retconned as a half-demon.
The Creeper was created by Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Showcase #73.
In his original origin story, television host Jack Ryder was fired for his overly-confrontational style, and offered a job as an investigator by the head of his network's security. Taking the job, he tries to rescue Dr Emil Yatz, who has been kidnapped by mobsters who aim to acquire his new discoveries in order to sell them to Soviets. Ryder disguises himself in a hastily improvised costume and goes to a masquerade ball being held at the estate of the mobster. Recognized as an intruder, he is shot when the mobsters open fire on him. To save his life, Yatz injects him with a serum that will heal his wounds, and that also enhances his strength and agility. He also places a device in Ryder's bullet wound which he accidentally leaves there after the wound closes. They are again attacked by the mobsters, and Yatz is killed. Ryder defeats the mobsters after discovering that an activator device connected to the device in his wound allows him to reacquire his strange costume.
His origin was revised slightly in the Bronze Age; the serum was eliminated from the origin and replaced with two surgically-implanted devices (sometimes given as only one device) that grant enhanced physical attributes. These devices can also recreate objects that have been "imprinted" onto them. The devices were implanted after Ryder was attacked and drugged during an investigation into a group of criminals. The devices accidentally imprinted both the strange costume he was wearing, and the drugs that were in Ryder's system at the time. Any time he transforms into the Creeper, his system is simultaneously flooded with the recreated drugs, inducing his psychosis. This effect grows stronger each time he transforms into the Creeper, as the effect of the recreation is cumulative, but disappears whenever he returns to the Ryder form. He begins to dissociate the personalities from one another, as both the Ryder and Creeper personalities grow progressively disdainful of one another.
In the Modern Age, the Creeper's history was rebooted and altered so that he became active shortly after Batman's return to Gotham following the Infinite Crisis. Later, his powers, previously explained as due to the injection, were implied to be demonic in origin, and his origin story was implied to be an implanted memory.
New 52: Post-Flashpoint
Creeper is shown to have been one of the rejected potential candidates for the Justice League International; the reasons for his rejection are not stated (Though as Plastic man was rejected for being 'too wacko', its likely a similar reason was used). His appearance is similar to that of his Pre-Crisis counterpart. Also Jack Ryder appeared in The Phantom Stranger where he was the host of the television show "You Don't Know Jack" on P.G.N. TV working for Morgan Edge, and was yet another victim of the Phantom Stranger's curse. This led Ryder to be killed along with some unnamed monster in Metropolis by the Challengers of the Unknown. This act of betrayal helped pay the debt of Phantom Stranger and allowed him to remove one the silver coins that are grafted to his body. Phantom Stranger feels guilty for betraying Ryder but is told by The Presence the he had been led to his destiny and that his story was not yet over.
In Katana #3, it was revealed that The Creeper was a spirit residing in Katana's Soultaker sword bearing the resemblance of an Asian dragon, possibly implying that Jack Ryder and The Creeper were originally separate beings. It has not yet been revealed how the two will relate to one another or if this will be brought up in the future. The Creeper will also be in Justice League Dark #23 either helping or fighting them in battle in a series called a Villains Mouth. We will have to see if he is working with JLD or if he is fighting against them.
Major Story Arcs
Beware the Creeper
The Creeper is introduced as an atypical hero. He spends much of his time locked in a series of battles with Proteus, a villain with a penchant for disguise. Proteus is revealed to be Remington Cord, a friend of Ryder's, shortly before Cord's apparent death. Cord would return just a few months later as an assassin for hire only to be defeated by the combined forces of the Creeper and Wildcat.
Eclipso: The Darkness Within
The Creeper becomes involved in fighting Eclipso after he is tricked into taking one of Eclipso's crystals and becomes possessed. Freed of the possession by Bruce Gordon, he joins Gordon and Mona Gordon on a trip to a South American village, where he is attacked by a man who has been possessed by Eclipso. The man throws himself and Creeper off of a cliff, but they are rescued. Creeper then joins with a team of heroes who are fighting Eclipso, called the Shadow Fighters. He joins a foray into Eclipso's territory, and is torn to pieces by a pack of possessed hyenas.
Brave New World
Creeper's new origin is introduced. He uncovers a plot to assassinate a senator, but lacks any solid evidence, and because of this is unable to get the police involved, or even report about it on his show. He frets over the problem, and ultimately goes to a rally where he leaps in front of an assassin's bullet, saving the senator. He also manipulates a guard into shooting the assassin. On air, Ryder issues a $1,000,000 reward for the apprehension of the Creeper.
Creeper is seduced and corrupted by Eclipso. Soon after, he is saved by Bruce Gordon. He later travels to New York, where he is among the heroes who fight the Sinestro Corps.
Reign in Hell
Ryder and Creeper are forcibly separated, when Creeper is called to Hell by Lilith. There, he is revealed to be one of a host of demons of similar appearance who possess similar powers.
Creeper is recruited into the Outsiders by Alfred Pennyworth. He is required to separate from his old life, to become a true "outsider," and is given a high-level job in Wayne Enterprises, as part of a mission to ensure that Hush doesn't take advantage of his resemblance to Bruce 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.
Beware the Creeper
A female version of the character appears in this Vertigo-published limited series. Set in 1920s Paris, it features twin sisters, both involved in the surrealist art scene, one of whom is raped. Soon after, a mysterious woman calling herself the Creeper begins terrorizing the family of the rapist. This instigates an escalating series of reprisals that eventually leads to murders.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Creeper makes a cameo appearance, and is swiftly murdered by "Joker Boy".
An aging Creeper works with Batman and his group of rogue metahumans.
DC One Million
Far in the future, an entity known as RYDR senses a disturbance that leads back to present-day Jack Ryder, who has been physically separated from the Creeper personality. Ryder has grown tired of the life of a superhero, and given it up, while the Creeper continues to divide, with each new Creeper taking on a specific trait of the Creeper's personality. The entity from the future merges all of the Creeper personalities into one body, except self-loathing, which it destroys, and encourages Creeper and Ryder to merge together again. They do so, and the entity returns home to the future.
In Superman's Reign, the Creeper is a demonic entity that feeds on the souls of others.
A version of the Creeper appears in the Amalgam universe. This version of the character was called Kurt "Jack" Ryder, also known as Nightcreeper- an amalgamation of Creeper and Nightcrawler.
Powers and Abilities
The Creeper has superhuman strength, stamina, reflexes and agility. He is a skilled fighter, very acrobatic, and able to scale walls with ease. He possesses an extremely powerful healing factor that heals major wounds in minutes, and has on at least one occasion resurrected him from the dead. His laughter has been shown to have paralytic qualities, and he possesses sharp, talon-like claws on each hand.
In Other Media
Creeper appears in The New Batman Adventures. He makes a number of cameo appearances as a broadcaster before his starring episode, "Beware the Creeper," which explains his origin. In the DCAU his origin is altered; he is dosed with Joker Venom and pushed into a vat of chemicals, put in close proximity to an explosion, and then flushed out into the bay. He survives, but turns yellow and goes insane.
During the course of the episode, he seeks revenge on the Joker, who caused him to transform into the Creeper, and becomes deeply infatuated with Harley Quinn. This version of the character is unable to turn back to his human form without the help of a cocktail of drugs administered through a skin patch that is given to him by Batman. He is voiced by Jeff Bennett.
He makes cameo appearances in the Justice League Unlimited episodes "Panic in the Sky" and "Destroyer" as a member of the expanded Justice League.
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Creeper appears in the episode "Time Out For Vengeance!" wherein he teams up with Batman to fight Hellgrammite. His civilian alter-ego is also referenced as a talk show host by Booster Gold in the episode "Shadow of the Bat!" He is voiced by Brian Bloom.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Jack Ryder appears as the host of The Jack Ryder Show, reports of which can be heard throughout the game. He also has an unlockable bio. He is played by James Horan.
Batman: Arkham City
Ryder appears again, and must be rescued from the forces of the Riddler. He explains that he was investigating Hugo Strange prior to waking up in Arkham City. He is again played by James Horan.
DC Universe Online
Ryder hosts a TV/Radio show called You Are Wrong that appears throughout the game. When he is found, Ryder reveals a number of facts that he has presumably gained while the Creeper.
In the DC Comics card pack called Crisis in 2008 they made the Creeper with his powers and a card that has his powers and his comic book appearance on the back of the card.