Real Name: Jack Ryder
Voiced historically by Jeff Glen Bennett
During an investigative report into the life of the Joker—held at the Ace Chemical Factory, the chemical plant where the Joker underwent his transformation—reporter Jack Ryder was shocked to find the Clown Prince of Crime making an unexpected appearance on his own special. Not too keen on having his background delved into, he sprayed Ryder with his Smilex gas and dumped him into the same chemical bath that transformed him a lifetime ago. Surviving the experience, but transformed into a demented, laughing maniac with bright yellow skin; Jack Ryder raided a vintage clothing store for a costume and went out into the night as the Creeper to get his revenge on the Joker. Despite an elaborate car chase and significant property damage, the Creeper successfully aided Batman in the Joker's capture, who was so put off by the yellow maniac that he literally begged Batman to return him to Arkham.
Now, permanently transformed by his experience, he must wear a specially-treated skin patch that keeps his transformation in check. However, should he ever be needed, Ryder can pull the patch off and transform back into his zany alter-ego.
Paul Dini on the Creeper: "He's got green hair, a pale complexion, and a shrieking laugh that explodes out of a grotesquely twisted grin. But he's not the Joker—he's the Creeper, a self-styled superhero who is both ally and annoyance to Batman. Created in 1968 for issue #73 of Showcase by legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko (with a dialogue assist from writer Don Segall), the Creeper is the DC Universe's wackiest hero, an off-the-deep-end do-gooder who acts as insane as he looks. The repressed id of his alter-ego, no-nonsense TV news reporter Jack Ryder, the Creeper is gifted with superhuman agility, resilience, and a seriously demented sense of humor. Like Batman, the Creeper uses his bizarre appearance to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, but he acts so imbalanced, crooks fear he might off them for the sheer fun of it.
"The comics had pegged Gotham City as the Creeper's base of operations; therefore, it was only natural that the animated series should feature a meeting between the Dark Knight and the Yellow Fright. We originally wanted to do the team-up in our first run on Fox, and though several talented writers tried their best, the character never seemed to work at script stage. A few years later, the writers and producers spent some time rethinking the Creeper's origin, devising a closer like to the series by making the Joker responsible for Jack Ryder's transformation. That gave us the spark we needed to bring the Creeper to life. Suddenly he had an enemy to fight, a reluctant partner—Batman—to impress, and a beautiful woman to woo. That's right—in keeping with the skewed nature of our series, the Creeper has fallen hard for Harley Quinn. Needless to say, she couldn't stand him. Ain't love grand (courtesy of Batman: Animated)?”
Bruce Timm on the Creeper (circa 1998): “I was drawing the character and he kept looking like the Joker. He’s got green hair, the big smile, and the weird eyes. It was driving me crazy. I drew him a million ways trying to make him not look like the Joker. […Also], the origin in the comic is really convoluted, so it’s really hard to tell his origin in 20 minutes and actually have a story left over too. That’s what daunted us in all our previous attempts to do the Creeper.
“[Then], I was talking with Paul [Dini] about it one day and I said, ‘Wait a minute—what if it’s okay that he looks like the Joker? What if the Joker turned him into the Creeper by poisoning him? Somehow, the Joker toxin reacts with some other chemical, turning him into the Creeper’ (courtesy of [website name removed].”
Bruce Timm on the Creeper (circa 2004): "I was drawing him one day, just for fun, because we were talking about going back and trying the Creeper again, and I was having a hard time because we wanted him to be maniacal. I love the Ditko Creeper, but if you go back and read the actual comics, he laughs but you don't really see him laughing; it's always a long shot of his silhouette leaping over buildings and there's those big letters 'HA! HA! HA! HA!' He would use that to intimidate people, but it's a weird, absurd thing: he's a yellow guy with a feather boa and people are terrified of him. Why are they terrified of him? It works in the comics, but not logically if you really think about it. We thought, 'The laughing thing is good, and the reason people are afraid of him is because he's insane. He's maniacal, you never know what he's going to do.' So I kept drawing him with this big rictus grin, and it just looked like the Joker again and I didn't want him to look like the Joker. I wanted him to look unique.
"I don't remember who it was, but somebody said, 'Wait a minute, maybe he looks like the Joker for a reason.' And I said, 'Ahhhhhh.' It was probably Paul [Dini] and I and maybe Glen Murakami—I don't know, it was a long time ago. But it came about when we realized the Joker grin was the key (courtesy of Modern Masters: Bruce Timm)."
Creeper Model Design Sheet
Creeper Image #1 (Unused BTAS Image) | Creeper Image #2 (TNBA and JLU Image)
"Who are you?"
"They call me Yellow-Skinned-Wacky-Man! But I prefer the Creeper!"
"Call Arkham, quick."
An exchange between Batman, the Creeper, and Robin from "Beware the Creeper"
Commentary coming soon!
Images courtesy of Toon Zone, The World’s Finest, Cinefantastique Magazine, the New Batman / Superman Adventures Homepage, and Modern Masters, Volume Three: Bruce Timm. Freakazoid courtesy of Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment.
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