Jack Ryder was a television personality working for Morgan Edge. An alcoholic and glory hound, he repeatedly clashed with his coworkers and boss, eventually quitting in a fit of pique. He met the Phantom Stranger in the aftermath, and when Metropolis comes under attack by a monster he sought to use the Stranger's powers to bolster his own image. This failed, and he was killed by the monster. Some time later his dead body is possessed by a Japanese Oni, the Creeper. An agent of chaos, the Creeper had crept into the world during the 16th century, and spent some time wreaking havoc in Japan before being killed and trapped in the Soultaker. He was released when the sword was broken.
The Creeper was created by Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Showcase #73. The character has undergone several redesigns, and the most recent major reinvention of the character was carried out by Ann Nocenti and Cliff Richards.
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 tried to rescue Dr Emil Yatz, who had been kidnapped by mobsters aiming to acquire his new discoveries in order to sell them to Soviets. Ryder disguised himself in a hastily improvised costume and went to a masquerade ball being held at the estate of the mobster. Recognized as an intruder, he was shot when the mobsters opened fire on him. To save his life, Yatz injected him with a serum that healed his wounds, and that also enhanced his strength and agility. He also placed a device in Ryder's bullet wound which he accidentally left there after the wound closes. They were again attacked by the mobsters, and Yatz was killed. Ryder defeated 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 granted enhanced physical attributes. These devices could also recreate objects that had 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 transformed into the Creeper, his system is simultaneously flooded with the recreated drugs, inducing his psychosis. This effect grew stronger each time he transformed into the Creeper, as the effect of the recreation was cumulative, but disappeared whenever he returns to the Ryder form. He began to dissociate the personalities from one another, as both the Ryder and Creeper personalities grew progressively disdainful of one another.
In the Modern Age, the Creeper's history was again rebooted and altered so that he became active shortly after Batman's return to Gotham following the Infinite Crisis. Jack Ryder hosted 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 attempted to steal this serum in order to monopolize the reporting of the new discovery, but failed and was caught. Yatz, in an attempt to protect his serum from mobsters who intended to take it, injected it into Ryder. Soon after, Ryder was shot in the head by the would-be thieves, and left for dead. Instead, however, the serum regenerated his tissue and resurrected him as the Creeper. He easily defeated the villains, and soon discovered that it was 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. In this incarnation and all previous incarnations, Creeper had superhuman strength, stamina, reflexes and agility; he possessed an extremely powerful healing factor; his laughter had been shown to have paralytic qualities, and he possessed sharp, talon-like claws on each hand. He wielded no weapons.
The New 52
The New 52 radically rebooted the Creeper's origin story and powers, with Creeper and Ryder now firmly identified as separate entities. Canonically it appears that the Creeper and Jack Ryder have met at some point prior to their introduction, however, given that the Creeper was trapped in a sword for several centuries it is unclear how this could have possibly occurred.
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 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.
Creeper is freed from his imprisonment and seeks out Jack Ryder, recently killed by a monster in Metropolis. He possesses the corpse, simultaneously returning Ryder to life. They attack Katana in the hopes of preventing her from reforging the Soultaker, which Creeper believes will cause him to become imprisoned again. They are defeated, but track her to Japan, where Creeper kills the only person able to repair the sword, but is forced to flee when the sun rises. Returning to America, Ryder attempts to piece his life together despite frequent blackouts, while the Creeper enjoys nocturnal forays into creating chaos.
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.
Justice League Unlimited
The version of the character from the DCAU appears in several issues of this comic book adaptation of the series of the same name.
Powers and Abilities
As an Oni, the Creeper is able to possess the bodies of other, particularly those with weak or corrupted souls. He has limited mind control powers, and is able to force people to carry out terrible actions by whispering to them. He is capable of flight, as well as possessing superhuman strength and agility. He is a skilled in the use of his chains and scythes as weapons. He is vulnerable to sunlight, and must retreat into a host body during the day.
Weapons and Equipment
Creeper carries chains which he claims he must bear as a form of penance; he is able to spin these chains fast enough to create a tornado. The chains are affixed to short scythes.
The New Batman Adventures
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.
Justice League Unlimited
He makes cameo appearances in the Justice League Unlimited episodes "Panic in the Sky" and "Destroyer" as a member of the expanded Justice League. He does not speak in his appearances.
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 learned while the Creeper.