The Creeper: a Tough Nut to Crack
For the most part, major publishers like Marvel and DC try their best to keep the majority of their respective rosters relevant or at least alive. After all, throwing away those characters would be a very bad business decision on their part considering the potential they have for selling books. That’s the whole trade of the superhero comic industry: characters that sell books keep the boat afloat. Why else would we get a little a hundred Batman titles every month? Hell, why would there be any reason to make team books where every reader gets a little taste of their favorite characters? The point is that it is good business to have cash cows that make fan fork over their cash.
Of course, there are also factors that affect this publishing trend that make companies want to try out other lesser known properties. For one, there’s the always welcome prospect of expansion, which means more properties will have the power to rake in some profit. Additionally, these publishers know that there is also a need for a bit of diversity in their offerings, considering you can only tell so much stories about men in tights punching bad guys in their almost one hundred years of existence; everyone gets tired of the same old dish served monthly. So, it’s like hitting two birds with one really nerdy stone for these publishing companies: they get to test out some relatively – or totally – obscure character while keeping geeks everywhere hanging on their strings.
But this is where Steve Ditko’s weird little character comes in, and I must say, this character really goes over all those trends and throws them right out the window. I am talking about none other than The Creeper. You see, this DC Comics property has been around ever since the tail end of the Silver Age of Comics yet still hasn’t found enough traction to gain a solid following. At best, we could all call The Creeper a cult favorite, but I honestly can’t say I have encountered anyone clamoring for a solo series starring this superhero. And that’s quite sad, really: there’s so much potential in this character that has yet to be tapped by writers and artists alike. Ever since his first appearance in 1968 within the pages of Showcase #73, he’s only had a couple of short-lived solo series and one miniseries. Aside from that, he just takes on a very minor role within the DC Universe, seeing him more as a disposable guest star than a potential moneymaker for the publisher.
I do, however, understand why that’s the case: it is honestly pretty hard to write a character like The Creeper, much less writing him as a protagonist. First of all, the whole fictional background of the character reads more like a maniacal science fiction creation than a superhero story. Come on, just look at the guy: it’s like Joker and Cruella DeVille had a baby who grew up to be a male stripper. Still, I am genuinely curious how DC can make this character work one of these days. There’s always hope.