Sunday, December 08, 2013


Of the two titles that Ditko took to DC, I think the best one (and the one closest to his heart) must have been BEWARE THE CREEPER.

To me, Ditko was obviously doing his best to recapture some of the imagery and power of his Marvel creation, The Amazing Spider-Man. But he was also doing his best to infuse it with parts of one of his personal favorite characters, The Question.

Like Spider-Man, The Creeper is an acrobatic creature comfortable with dancing along the rooftops and dropping into alleyways to kick criminal ass. Just as with The Question, the hero's alter-ego is an investigative journalist sniffing around for clues of criminal activity and political corruption. It actually made a pretty darned good combination. Unfortunately, as with THE HAWK and THE DOVE, BEWARE THE CREEPER suffered the same fate--cancellation after a mere six issues, with the last one mainly being illustrated by someone other than Ditko.

The Creeper is, as super-heroes go, not very super-powered. He has slightly superhuman strength and agility, combined with a puzzling electronic gimmick that allows him to transform instantly from civilian attire to the strange costume the hero cobbled together from bits and pieces found in a room during an investigation.

The iconography of The Creeper is pretty cool. He doesn't much look like any other superhero the fans had seen. And it's still almost unique nearly 50+ years later. Ditko later did at least a few stories featuring his creation for DC. And he has popped up now and again as a supporting character in other books.

He obviously is still a valuable commodity to DC, as I doubt they'd be eager to give him back to his creator at any point. Not that Ditko would even accept the offer if it was made.


SHOWCASE #73, introduction of The Creeper.

Here, with less interference from meddling editors, Ditko could have a more human hero who does battle with human villains. This is the kind of thing he successfully did with the Spider-Man title at Marvel.

And whenever I see the action pages in BEWARE THE CREEPER it is obvious to me that either Ditko wanted to hang onto his Marvel fans with similar Spider-Man type antics, or DC editors had requested that he serve up the same type of stuff. This sequence could just as well have been Spider-Man and Kraven.
The first issue after the Showcase introduction. Ditko pretty much kept the villains in BEWARE THE CREEPER as close to human as possible. They just didn't have super powers. Even The Creeper's super powers were muted when compared even to Spider-Man. Slightly enhanced strength, and the ability to switch to his alter ego at will.

Ditko introduces Proteus, a villain who is, in pretty much every way, the Chameleon that he gave us in The Amazing Spider-Man #1.

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