Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Showcase #73

Showcase #73 (On Sale: January 23, 1968) sports a wonderful cover by Steve Ditko. This is Ditko's first DC cover.

"The Coming of the Creeper" is scripted by Don Segall and plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko. After he is fired from his job as a television show host, Jack Ryder is recruited by a security agency to fight communist agents. Ryder's first assignment is to locate Professor Yatz, a scientist that was kidnapped by Angel Devilin's gang and is to be turned over to the communists.

Ryder tracks the crooks to a costume party. He crashes the party wearing a yellow and green costume with a red rug used as a cape. He soon locates Yatz in a hidden room, but is wounded during a fight. Yatz gives Ryder his scientific secrets including a healing elixir that enhances Ryder's strength and stamina. Ryder also has a tranmuter implanted in his wound which allows him to make his costume disappear and reappear at will. Yatz then destroys the rest of his research.

When the crooks find them, Yatz is shot and killed. Ryder is then forced to flee. His strange appearance and odd behavior including a maniacal laugh sets the crooks on edge. The police arrive on the scene and assume that the newly dubbed Creeper is a crook. Creeper battles the crooks while avoiding the police, until he finally takes down Angel Devilin and communist agent Major Smej. Reprinted in Detective Comics #443.

I'm not sure why they bothered with a Showcase tryout for this book, DC was going to publish the Creeper no matter what, with the first issue of Beware the Creeper coming out two months later. Me, I couldn't have agreed more with DC's move; I have always loved Ditko's Creeper.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

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