Sunday, April 3, 2016

1PanelReview Beware the Creeper

Here's an excellent book which I'm sad to say nobody read at the time...

What it is: Beware the Creeper

Which is: A reimagining of a classic Steve Ditko comic book character.
Written by: Jason Hall
Art by: Cliff Chiang & Dave Stewart
Published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint from DC Comics 
From 2003
Lineup DC Universe/Vertigo lineup
Format: Trade paperback collecting Beware The Creeper (2003) issues #1-5.

The original Creeper was created in 1968 by by Steve Ditko, for the anthology series Showcase #73. The character would eventually receive his own title Beware the Creeper... which actually only lasted for six issues. Nevertheless, the character became a cult classic "Silver Age" DC character and despite the cancellation of the comic he would still get several appearance in DCU over the next years, mostly in titles taking place in Gotham City.

This 2003 miniseries actually has very little obvious connections to the original series (although it alludes to a few subtle ties to the larger DC Universe continuity). This 2003 iteration is a complete reimagining of the original concept, by writer
Jason Hall and artist Cliff Chiang. It's a five issue limited series that was actually printed under the Vertigo Comics imprint. (Kind of like the Angel & The Ape reboot from 2001!)

Our story is set in Paris, 1925. "Beware the Creeper" tells the story of two twin sisters, Judith and Madeline Benoir, one is a surrealist painter and the other writes plays. A mysterious figure that calls herself "The Creeper" suddenly appears out of nowhere and stars terrorizing the upper class, committing a series of "art crimes". But when this creepy anti-hero takes this surrealist movement too far, things get complicated for the sisters...

What's Good about it: On the surface this book seems to have no apparent connection to the original Beware the Creeper comic, but I actually found it was a pretty clever return back to the original concept, with some clever nods to it.
This was a really fun and smart reinterpretation of The Creeper. And that's what it offered, a new interpretation of that character with some great intrigue and twists.
Tying this Creeper into the whole surrealist movement was a pretty fun idea. Which really works great with the imagery and visuals you expect from the Creeper. Plus that time of history is pretty interesting and not really much explored in comics usually.
The story was great. The situation quickly got out of control from the hands of our protagonist(s?). Also there's even a decent love story beneath the colorful attacks of this Creeper. Revolving around this ex-soldier who fought in the Great War and who is now the inspector leading the investigation.
And finally, let's not forget to mention the gorgeous artwork of Cliff Chiang. I always absolutely adore his work which is always quite detailed and clean. And thanks to the setting he can even play with some great compositions and abstract representations. And Dave Stewart did a fantastic job with the colors.

What's Bad about it: Well, if you call yourself a purist of were expecting a much more traditional superhero comic book, this book might not be for you.
A lot of people probably ignored the title when it was original published because it was realeased through the creator-owned brand of Vertigo Comics instead DC Comics, but that's a pretty silly excuse to miss a quality comic.
It's also pretty "talky", there's not a lot of action scenes, but I really recommend you have a look even if it's outside the range of comics you would usually read.

Overall: Beware the Creeper is a really, really good comic. 

With a fairly unique period piece serving as a setting for a really original reimagining of a classic DC character. Let's be clear, as much as I love the original character The Creeper has always been a fairly silly character. It's great to see people inject this much creativity and originality to make the concept work like this!

Plus it's gorgeous to look at and a really great read. This book comes Highly Recommended for any fans of good serialized fiction!
I give it: 2.5 / 3!

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