Monday, August 24, 2015

Again with the negative waves...

I wrote in a previous article about negative reviews and received a lot of positive response from it.  Apparently people prefer hearing about the odd turd than the shining examples.  ...

Sigh. Thanks, sort of, to Kurt Wilcken for making me aware of this fuckery by DC.


DC Comics had been my preferred flavor in the vast buffet of characters and universes of imagination.  That is, growing up, and until the Crisis on Infinite Earths .  After that watermark for me, I chose to read anything with new eyes and new allegiances, because I felt that DC had burned down the past, the past I had loved.  A prime example WATCHMEN, however good, took characters from Charlton Comics, recently acquired and killed all but three of them.  (Spoiler that.)  With every new release the artist/writer/editor team seemed to feel a need to change characters, sometimes for better, but usually for change sake.

Despite new and different editorial teams and head of publishing changes, various turnover of talents, there was one thing at DC following the Crisis that never changed, the constant uprooting and changing what was given as "continuity" and the newly united universe.  It was true that DC made a choice to change the worlds in which their imaginary characters "lived" for a reasonably important reason.  They wanted all the characters in their worlds to be on the same "earths" the same "universes" and the like. But, what happened was disarray.  Soon enough the allure of breaking ground in the new territory of virgin lands was too tempting to the creative talents, and maybe even editorial staffs.  With every new series, every relaunched series, changes were made, and almost never were the changes made for any reason that made better the previous situation.   In some cases it mattered a lot.  Long time series were disrupted and went astray.   The multi generational fan favorite Legion of Super Heroes particularly saw changes that really were asinine and that could well have been written off and ignored.  But change they did.  Various attempts to revive the series suffered with each new attempt. 

One character that received the worst of this change for change sake was THE CREEPER.  DC made several attempts to renew interest in a great character created by Steve Ditko.   The origin of the character featured an investigative reporter attending a masquerade ball with the contents of a box of odds and ends of a costume shop.  An Eastern European scientist Dr. Yatz has been kidnapped, and he won't reveal his serum or studies to the nasty bastards holding him.  But Ryder infiltrates.  Yatz injects Ryder, giving him numerous powers, and leading him to a dual existence as a human with healing abilities and enhanced strength.   Dr. Yatz is shot, Ryder rounds up the bastiches, and now Ryder is a vigilante.  He can change his physical features between his human form and his bizarre Creeper look.   Over time there were various different nips and tucks, changes to the story.  But, the original is quite good enough.


In the aftermath of World War I, the bohemian art scene explodes onto Paris -- much to the chagrin of the rich and powerful Arbogast family. Surrealist painter Judith Benoir wants desperately to make a splash -- even if it means ignoring the warnings of others. And as The Creeper, she escalates  simple cat burglaries into spectacular art crimes, establishing her as a cultural icon. But what are the true motivations behind The Creeper's actions? And how long
before her antics spiral out of control and the law closes in?  

 This is a series that was based upon a juxtaposition of a character's traits and form, and placed in a different time and place.  As such the change is very evident and intentional and not an issue.  However, it is an unironic salute to the many attempts at fucking up a perfectly good concept, not needing change.

Len Kaminski and Shawn Martinborough addressed the Creeper through quite a different approach.  It was assumed that The Creeper had now gone insane.  Or had he?  Part of the modus operandi of Ryder while being Creeper was to ACT crazy.  So, this story angle was a case of literalism, or taking a tangent with the hope of making a story from it.  It was a considerably unsuccessful run in and of itself.  But, the change in the M.O., was the greatest issue.


Writer Steve Niles and artist Justiniano rebooted the origin, reintroduced the characters, and started all over.  DC Comics seemed to have greater plans for the character, as it was announced initially that this run was an ongoing series, but then backtracked that this was a limited run of 6 issues.  Steve Niles has a background of writing horror, and weird characters, he has the skills to write such a character.  The ultra moody art by Justiniano was suited for the character as well.  The change here wasn't as overt as previous efforts, but DC showed its lily liver by pulling the carpet from beneath the project.  But, that may well be part of the entire DC ethos, change the character until it can't be recognized, fuck with origins so that it can be considered unattached to the old continuity, or, get the creative team to change enough to do that, and stab them in the back before they can get their project up to speed. 

DC's NEW 52

And all of this leads us to this, DC's New 52.  Some idiot at DC has decided that Creeper is actually a Demon.  ... Um... yeah.   A demon.  And that means that someone at DC is really, I mean, REALLY stupid.  Instead of simply creating a concept and making it work, they've raped and destroyed a fine concept created by one of the masters of the medium, and they took that and turned it into a concept no more worthy than a dog taking a shit upon it.   This is the biggest insult to the readers of DC Comics. 

1 comment:

Kurt Wilcken said...

The Creeper origin story was in one of the first comics my parents bought for me and I always liked it. But it seemed to me that all of the later takes on the character missed the point that he wasn't really crazy, he was just pretending. I think they wanted him to be "What If the Joker Was a Good Guy".

Now, some of the later versions were fairly decent. I liked his appearance in the Animated Batman, where he was basically Freakazoid. But still wasn't Ditko's Creeper.