Steve Ditko original artist
After turning his back on Marvel Comics in 1966, Spider-Man's co-creator took on work at ACG, Dell, Warren, and an extended, critically lauded stint at Charlton Comics before finally moving over to the OTHER Goliath in the biz, DC Comics. Steve Ditko's newest creation was clearly intended to leave as big an impression on the reading public as Peter Parker's alter ego had just a few years earlier. A quick glimpse'll tell you Mr. D had the makings of a contender on his drawing board. Look at that get up! Unforgettable! The name? Evocative--can't get it out of my head! That maniacal smile and evilly tinged cackle? Oh yeah, buddy--memorable! The Creeper had all the goods to be a big time superstar, definitely! Except...I, um, have no actual memory of any of the STORIES the Clown Prince of Confusion starred in!?!.. Admittedly, there were only a handful, but the Spider-Man stories--even some of the Charlton and Warren jobs--THOSE I have vivid recollections of. Not the Creeper.
Maybe the inherent problem was right there on the cover of BEWARE THE CREEPER#1--dig that generic title: "Where Lurks The Menace?" Where? Certainly not at Paul Gambi's tailor shop, eh Flash fans? The only one likely to be menaced by an outfit as mundane as that would be Mr. Blackwell!?! And to compound the problem, our baddie goes by the equally generic nom de crook of "The Terror"! Why then not call our little tale "Where Lurks The Terror"? Or for those of you with an appetite for compromise, howsabout "Where Lurks The Menace of The Terror"? By whatever name, it's not a BAD story, just not one that sticks with you. The bean-counters were a little quick to yank the rug out from underneath a new series during that particular stage of DC's history, so our friend the Creeper never got more than a few chances to make his case on the nation's newsstands. Perhaps with a little more time, he would've grown to be something more than the fondly recalled cult character he ultimately became. If nothing else, creator Ditko left some typically atmospheric cover scenes to ease their way deep into our collective comic collector's consciousness. And as always, redoing a Ditko affords me an inordinate amount of fan-boy pleasure. You might say it's a treat, not a menace!!...