Blue Beetle is the name of three fictional superheroes who appear in a number of American comic books published by a variety of companies since 1939. The most recent of the companies to own rights to the Blue Beetle is DC Comics who bought the rights to the character in 1983, using the name for three distinct characters over the years.
|Publisher||Fox Comics (except #12–30: Holyoke Publishing)|
|First appearance||Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939)|
|Created by||Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski|
|Blue Beetle #4 (October 1940). Cover artist unknown; possibly Edd Ashe.|
|Series publication information|
|Schedule||Vol. 1: Bi-monthly #1–13, #41–44|
Monthly #17–36, #45–60
Vols. 2, 5–9: Monthly
Vol. 3: Monthly #1–4
Vol. 4: Monthly #1–53
Standard U.S., 4 color. When published, ongoing.
|Publication date||Vol. 1: 1939 – August 1950|
Vol. 2: February – August 1955
Vol. 3: June 1964 – March/April 1965
Vol. 4: July 1965 – February/March 1966
Vol. 5: June 1967 – November 1968
Vol. 6: June 1986 – May 1988
Vol. 7: May 2006 – February 2009
Vol. 8: September 2011 – January 2013
Vol. 9: September 2016 – present
|Number of issues||Vol. 1: 59 (numbered 1–42; 44–60)|
Vol. 2: 4 (numbered 18–21)
Vol. 3: 5
Vol. 4: 5 (numbered 50–54)
Vol. 5: 5
Vol. 6: 24
Vol. 7: 36
Vol. 8: 17 (numbered 1–12; 0; 13–16)
Vol. 9: 19 (Includes a DC Rebirth one-shot)
|Main character(s)||Vols. 1–2: Dan Garret|
Vols. 3–4: Dan Garrett
Vols. 5–6: Ted Kord
Vols. 7–9: Jaime Reyes
The original Blue Beetle was created by Fox Comics and later owned by Charlton Comics. The first Beetle was Dan Garret (later spelled Dan Garrett), who initially gained super powers from a special vitamin, which was later changed to gaining powers from a "sacred scarab". The original Blue Beetle was featured not only in his own comic but also a weekly radio serial.
The second Blue Beetle was created by Charlton and later taken over by DC Comics, the successor to Dan Garrett known as Ted Kord. Kord "jumped" to the DC Comics universe during the Crisis on Infinite Earths alongside a number of other Charlton Comics characters. The second Blue Beetle later starred in his own 24 issue comic. Kord never had any super powers but used science to create various devices to help him fight crime. He became a member of the Justice League of America and was later killed during DC Comics' Infinite Crisis cross over.
The third Blue Beetle, created by DC Comics, is Jaime Reyes, a teenager who discovered that the original Blue Beetle scarab morphed into a battle suit allowing him to fight crime and travel in space. Over the years Reyes became a member of the Teen Titans and starred in two Blue Beetle comic series. In DC Comics' 2011 "New 52" reboot, Jaime Reyes was the primary Blue Beetle character, only occasionally referring to past versions. However, with the subsequent continuity revision "DC Rebirth", the previous versions were restored.
The original Blue Beetle, Dan Garret, first appeared in Fox Comics' Mystery Men Comics #1 (cover-dated August 1939), with art by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski (as Charles Nicholas); though the Grand Comics Database tentatively credits Will Eisner as the scripter. A rookie police officer, he wore a special bulletproof costume and took "Vitamin 2X" which endowed him with super-energy, and he was assisted by a neighborhood pharmacist in his fight against crime. Blue Beetle starred in a comic book series, comic strip and radio serial, but like most Golden Age superheroes, he fell into obscurity in the 1950s. The comic book series saw a number of anomalies in publication: 19 issues, #12 through #30, were published through Holyoke Publishing; no issue #43 was published; publication frequency varied throughout the run; and there were gaps where issues were not published, with large ones occurring in early 1947 and between mid-1948 and early 1950.
In the mid-1950s, Fox Comics went out of business and sold the rights to the Blue Beetle to Charlton Comics. That company published a few sporadic adventures of the Golden Age character before revamping the hero in 1964. Charlton tried three times to use the character to carry a self-titled series. Two of the attempts retained the numbering of a previous title. These also were eventually replaced with new titles that carried on the numbering.
The new series was short-lived, and in the pages of Captain Atom #83 (cover-dated November 1966) through #86, Charlton introduced Ted Kord, a student of Dan Garrett's (note the changed spelling) who took on the role when Garrett died. Kord was an inventor hero, using a variety of gadgets. This Beetle received his own series in 1967, but the entire Charlton "Action Heroes" line of comic books ceased publication in 1968. With the rest of the Charlton line-up, he was sold to DC Comics in 1983 and appeared with several incarnations of the Justice League.
In 2006, DC introduced a new Blue Beetle, teenager Jaime Reyes, whose powers are derived from the scarab, now revealed as a piece of advanced alien technology. The series was initially written by Keith Giffen and John Rogers, with artist Cully Hamner. Giffen left in issue #10 and Rogers took over full writing duties, joined by a new artist, Rafael Albuquerque. Rogers left the title with issue #25 in order to concentrate on his television series Leverage. After three fill-in issues, Matt Sturges became the main writer in issue #29, but the series was cancelled with issue #36. Editor Dan DiDio put the cancellation down to poor sales and said that Blue Beetle was "a book that we started with very high expectations, but it lost its audience along the way." In June 2009, Blue Beetle was brought back as a "co-feature" of the more popular Booster Gold comic. In September 2011, a new Blue Beetle comic was launched as part of The New 52 initiative, with Jaime Reyes' history being rebooted with a new origin and without any apparent history of Kord or Garrett as prior Blue Beetles. The new book was written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Ig Guara.
Fox Feature Syndicate and Holyoke PublishingEdit
The original Golden Age Blue Beetle is Dan Garret, son of a police officer killed by a criminal. This Fox Feature Syndicate version of the character debuted in Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939), and began appearing in his own 60-issue series shortly thereafter. Fox Feature Syndicate sponsored a "Blue Beetle Day" at the 1939 New York World's Fair on August 7, 1940, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and including 300 children in relay-race finals at the Field of Special Events, following preliminaries in New York City parks. The race was broadcast over radio station WMCA.
Rookie patrolman Dan Garret originally fought crime as the Blue Beetle without the benefit of superhuman abilities. Garret later donned a bulletproof blue costume (described by Garret as being chain-mail made of a cellulose material which was "as thin and light as silk but stronger than steel") and temporarily gained superhuman strength and stamina by ingesting the mysterious "Vitamin 2X". Like the Green Hornet, the Blue Beetle would use his signature scarab symbol to bedevil criminals, leaving it to be easily found, hanging it down into a room on a string and even projecting its enlarged image onto a wall with a flashlight.
The supporting cast remained fairly stable throughout this original run and included Joan Mason, a beautiful blond reporter for the Daily Blade who would ultimately star in her own backup stories, and Mike Mannigan, Dan's stereotypically Irish partner on the force who believed despite all evidence to the contrary that the Blue Beetle was a criminal and was always trying to arrest him with little success. Dr. Franz, a local pharmacist and inventor of the bulletproof suit and 2-X formula (as well as many other handy gadgets, including a portable wireless telephone a good half century before they came into common use), played a large role in the early issues but eventually faded from the cast. The Beetle also had a short-lived spunky kid sidekick in the form of Sparkington J. Northrup (Sparky), who originally wore an abbreviated version of the Beetle's costume but later went into action wearing his regular clothes.
During World War II, Dan Garret became a government agent who was often sent overseas on secret missions, but after peace was declared he returned to his old role of neighborhood cop. The Blue Beetle's powers slowly increased over time with him eventually gaining the ability to fly and x-ray vision among other bizarre talents that changed from issue to issue at the whim of the writers. However, when superheroes fell out of vogue in the late 1940s, Fox started to downplay his superheroic aspects and his superhuman abilities were removed, and his now considerably darker adventures became full of sadistic violence and scantily-clad women until he was eventually relegated to hosting true crime stories before the character went on hiatus.
In 1964, during the Silver Age of comics, Charlton revised the character for a new Blue Beetle series. Charlton's new Blue Beetle retained the original's name (adding a second "t"), but none of his powers or origin, making him a different character. This Beetle was archaeologist Dan Garrett, who obtained a number of superhuman powers (including super strength and vision, flight, and the ability to generate energy blasts) from a mystical scarab he found during a dig in Egypt, where it had been used to imprison an evil mummified Pharaoh. He would transform into the Blue Beetle by saying the words "Kaji Dha!" This version, by writer Joe Gill and artist Tony Tallarico, was played at least initially for camp, with stories like "The Giant Mummy Who was Not Dead". The Charlton Dan Garrett version of the Blue Beetle ran only until 1966 before his replacement debuted.
Both Blue Beetles (indeed, all three Blue Beetles) reappeared in the third issue of Americomics, a title published by AC Comics in 1983/1984. In the first story in this issue, Ted Kord fought a bogus Dan Garrett, but the second story was more significant. It revealed that the original 1940s Dan was reincarnated as the Silver Age version (minus his memories of his earlier existence) by some unspecified "gods", presumably the ones responsible for his mystic scarab. The gods subsequently resurrected Dan again and sent him off to save Ted Kord's life (leaving him a note saying simply, "Try not to get killed this time") After this adventure, Kord turned the Blue Beetle name back over to Dan. Americomics was canceled after issue #6, and so far this story has never been referenced by any other publisher.
The Charlton version of Dan Garrett was spotlighted in the second issue of DC's 1980s Secret Origins series, in which his origin was retold along with that of Ted Kord. Subsequent appearances by Dan Garrett (in flashback stories) include guest spots or cameos in Infinity, Inc., Captain Atom, JLA: Year One, and Legends of the DC Universe.
The character briefly returned in DC Comics' first run of Blue Beetle, resurrected by his mystical scarab to battle against his successor. He can also be seen in various flashback stories. His 1940s incarnation is briefly glimpsed in DC's 1993 limited series The Golden Age.
In issue #0 of the Project Superpowers miniseries, the Fox Feature Syndicate version of the Blue Beetle appeared in flashbacks (as by now the character/spelling "Dan Garret" was in the public domain). To avoid trademark conflicts with DC Comics, he is referred to in this series by the nickname "Big Blue".
It was eventually established that the Charlton Comics incarnation of the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle made his debut on August 14, 1939. The Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle has met Daniel's granddaughter, Danielle, and has also met Dan himself.
The replacement Blue Beetle created by Charlton Comics, and later published by Americomics and DC Comics, is Ted Kord, a former student of Dan Garrett, a genius-level inventor and a gifted athlete. Kord and Garrett were investigating Kord's Uncle Jarvis when they learned Jarvis was working to create an army of androids to take over Earth. Garrett changed into Blue Beetle, but was killed in battle. As he died, he passed on to Kord the responsibility of being Blue Beetle, but was unable to pass on the mystical scarab.
Ted had the scarab for some time, but never used it. He carried it during the Crisis on Infinite Earths when he was chosen by the Monitor to protect the multiple Earths, but it only reacted when he was attacked; it did not give him superpowers.
During the "Death of Superman" saga, the Blue Beetle and the other JLA members tried to stop Doomsday's path of destruction. Doomsday displayed his near-invulnerability and, while brutally defeating the League, put the Blue Beetle into a coma. Upon recovery, he continued his tenure with the JLA as well as its offshoot, Extreme Justice.
Blue Beetle discovered a renewed Checkmate organization led by Maxwell Lord, with a database containing information on every metahuman on Earth. He was captured and executed with a single gunshot to the head. Before dying, he had used the scarab in an attempt to contact Shazam, but was forced to leave it with the wizard Shazam in the Rock of Eternity when the wizard sent him back to Earth.
Jaime Reyes is a teenager who lives in El Paso, Texas, with his father, mother, and little sister; his father owns a garage and his mother is a nurse. Jaime has offered to help his father out at the garage, but his father has turned him down. He feels Jaime should enjoy his childhood for as long as he can, and should attempt to further his education. He finds the scarab in a vacant lot and it fuses with him while he sleeps. After Booster Gold revealed Jaime's new powers to him, Jaime was swept up in the climactic battle with Brother Eye during Infinite Crisis. He later becomes a member of the Teen Titans, and is good friends with Rose Wilson (Ravager), Robin, Static, and others. In Teen Titans vol. 3, #83, he takes a break from the team to be with his mother.
Jaime has a girlfriend, the young sorceress Traci 13, who gets along well with Jaime's family. His large and loving family is a major source of strength and guidance for Jaime. Christopher Smith aka the Peacemaker also became a mentor for the young Blue Beetle.
Jaime co-starred along with the rest of the former Justice League International in Justice League: Generation Lost.
Following DC's "Flashpoint" storyline Blue Beetle was one of 52 monthly titles launched in September 2011, again starring Jaime Reyes. The series was cancelled after 17 issues in January 2013.
The Scarab - Khaji DaEdit
The Blue Beetle scarab, previously shown as an artifact of magic, is later retconned as a tool of war of the Reach, an ancient race of cosmic marauders. After being defeated by the Guardians of the Universe thousands of years ago and forced into a truce, the Reach poses as benevolent aliens lending their advanced technology to budding civilizations. The scarab is a gift for that world's champion, giving him amazing powers and the knowledge of the Reach to protect his or her peers. Secretly, the scarab is part of an advanced hive mind, with its own artificial intelligence covertly supplanting the wearer's own. The wearer is turned into the "ultimate infiltrator", a covert agent intended to take over its own world. However, the Blue Beetle Scarab is damaged and so instead of it controlling the host, it forms a symbiotic relationship with them.
The Blue Beetle scarab uses its serial number, Khaji Da, as its name.
In The New 52, the Reach forgoes the secrecy, and each wearer immediately becomes possessed by the scarab. It then uses its host's knowledge to decimate the world and prepare it for a full invasion by Reach forces.
In DC Universe: Rebirth, Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes believe the scarab is an alien device that bonded to Jaime's spine. Kord is fascinated by this scarab and wants to investigate the potential of it while Jaime fears it. When Jaime leaves Kord's lab to get to school, Dr. Fate appears in the lab to warn Kord that the scarab is not an alien device, but it is instead magic. This further sparks Kord's interest in the potential of the scarab.
Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) was seen in Alex Ross and Mark Waid's limited series Kingdom Come. He is shown with the rest of the Charlton "Action Heroes" not as a member of Magog's Justice Battalion, but as part of Batman's group and later of the MLF (Mankind Liberation Front). He would be shown later in the title in a suit of armor powered by the then-mystic scarab, working with Batman's team. In the novelization of the series, Batman thinks of Blue Beetle, along with Green Arrow and Black Canary, as his closest (at the time) friends. Blue Beetle is killed with most of the other heroes by a nuclear explosion.
The final issue, #52, of DC Comics' 2006/2007 year-long weekly series 52 revealed that a "Multiverse" system of 52 parallel universes, with each Earth being a different take on established DC Comics characters as featured in the mainstream continuity (designated as "New Earth") had come into existence. The Multiverse acts as a storytelling device that allows writers to introduce alternate versions of fictional characters, hypothesize "What if?" scenarios, revisit popular Elseworlds stories and allow these characters to interact with the mainstream continuity. For example, the Ted Kord of the Kingdom Come limited series is said to reside on Earth-22.
Spin-offs from the series Countdown to Final Crisis would introduce more alternate Blue Beetles in 2007. Earth-19 (the Gotham by Gaslight universe), set in a Victorian-like era, has its own version of Dan Garrett who in his secret identity is the leading Egyptologist at the Gotham Museum of Natural History and wears a monocle, appearing in The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight. The limited series Countdown: Arena depicted three more: Earth-26 Blue Beetle, a swarm of sentient insects that form a man-shaped body (calling themselves "The Scarab"), Ted of Earth-33, an anthropomorphic beetle, the pet of Mr. and Mrs. Kord, and Earth-39 Blue Beetle, a younger version of Dan Garrett, who has bonded with his scarab in the same way as Jaime Reyes.
A new version of the Blue Beetle known as "Blue Scarab" was shown as a member of the Justice League in the apocalyptic future depicted in Justice League: Generation Lost. He is stated as being the "descendant of the Blue Beetle", and has a very alien-looking appearance.
DC Animated Universe comicsEdit
Blue Beetle has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited spin-off comic book, in issues #5 and #8.
In other mediaEdit
The Blue Beetle had a short career on the radio, between May and September 1940. Motion picture and radio actor Frank Lovejoy was the Blue Beetle for the first 13 episodes, while for the rest of the shows, the voice was provided by a different, uncredited actor.
The Kingdom Come story, in which the Blue Beetle took part, has been adapted as an audio drama by John Whitman, based on the story by Mark Waid and Alex Ross and the novelization by Elliot S. Maggin (Time Warner Audio Books, 1998).
- The Dan Garret Blue Beetle appears on the cover of a comic book in the Watchmen film tie-in Under the Hood.
- A Crime Syndicate version of Blue Beetle named Scarlet Scarab briefly appeared in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
- Blue Beetle is a main character in Justice League vs. Teen Titans, where he is a member of the Teen Titans. He is a close friend of Beast Boy and helps in fending off Trigon's demonic emissaries from Hell. He is voiced by Jake T. Austin.
- Blue Beetle is a main character in the sequel Teen Titans: The Judas Contract with Austin reprising his role again.
- Ted Kord as Blue Beetle makes a brief appearance in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
- On the PBS children's educational series The Electric Company, the Blue Beetle was a bumbling superhero (played by Jim Boyd) who would often make matters worse instead of better. He wore a mask, a hood with antennae, wings, tennis shoes, boxer shorts, and a T-shirt bearing the name "Blue Beetle". Outside the name, the character is unrelated to any of the comic book versions.
- At the San Diego Comic-Con 2010, it was announced that Jaime Reyes would appear in the episode "Booster" in the final season of Smallville, where the scarab bonds with Jaime who is saved by Booster Gold. It was confirmed that Ted Kord would make an appearance as well, searching for the lost, and apparently extremely dangerous Blue Beetle scarab. Dan Garrett is also mentioned, with Clark Kent stating he was a Kord Industries scientist who was killed after the Scarab bonded with him.
- Kord Industries is referenced in the second and fourth season of The CW show Arrow. The producers planned for Ted Kord to join the show in the third season, however, when DC told them that they had "other plans for him", he was replaced by Ray Palmer.
- Blue Beetle was referenced in the 7th episode of Legends of Tomorrow when Kendra asks Ray about his favorite color, blue, and his favorite Beatle, he does not have one.
- Several incarnations of the Blue Beetle appear on Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
- The Jaime Reyes incarnation is a featured character, with Jaime Reyes voiced by Will Friedle and the Blue Beetle Scarab voiced by Ioan Gruffudd. He appeared in the episodes "The Rise of the Blue Beetle!", "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", "Fall of the Blue Beetle!", "Game Over for Owlman!", "Night of the Huntress!", "The Fate of Equinox!", "Revenge of the Reach!", "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!", "The Power of Shazam!", "The Siege of Starro! Part One", "The Siege of Starro! Part Two", "Cry Freedom Fighters!", "Darkseid Descending!", "Shadow of the Bat!", "Time Out for Vengeance!", and "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!".
- The Ted Kord version appears in the episodes "Fall of the Blue Beetle!" and "Menace of the Madniks!", voiced by actor Wil Wheaton.
- In "Rise of the Blue Beetle", an alien Blue Beetle was alluded to have previously fought Kanjar Ro but died in the battle. Dan Garrett makes a brief, non-voiced appearance in "Fall of the Blue Beetle!" as Batman narrates about the Blue Beetles to Jaime Reyes and "Menace of the Madniks!" displayed his Blue Beetle suit next to Ted Kord's suit.
- The Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle appears in season 2 of Young Justice, voiced by actor Eric Lopez. In a running gag, Jaime can often be seen rejecting the Blue Beetle Scarab's (also voiced by Lopez) more violent and bloodthirsty suggestions ("No, it would not have been easier to just vaporize him back in the diner!"), which confuses those around him as it looks like he's talking to himself. Much of season 2's main story arc also revolves around Jaime's main antagonists, the Reach. Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle, appears in a non-speaking cameo in the episode "Failsafe", in which several scenes depict the members of the Justice Society of America, in 1939. Dan appears among several of the most prominent members of the team, such as Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, and Flash. The episode "Intervention" later tells the full story of the scarab: ancient Bialyan mystics deactivated its Reach control centuries ago, and it lay dormant until it was discovered by Dan Garrett, who fused with it to become the first Blue Beetle. His successor and protege, the technological genius Ted Kord, was able to recognize the Scarab as a potentially dangerous piece of alien technology, and thus made use of his own inventions as a hero. Kord later lost his life in a battle with Deathstroke and Sportsmaster upon discovering The Light planned to steal and reactivate the Scarab. Jaime came across the Scarab just after Ted Kord's death, and became the third Blue Beetle believing it was Kord's own invention. He was recruited into the Justice League's teenage strike team, where conflicts with the Reach led him to discover the Scarab's true origin and purpose, but his attempts to remove it were unable to keep his body from being completely controlled by it. Some of the Team made a separate discovery of a ritual that could remove the Reach's control over the Scarab, and then kept the knowledge quiet while Doctor Fate taught Zatanna the ritual, so the Team could once again deactivate the Scarab to allow Jaime to resume control. The Scarab then cooperates with Jaime without much resistance, preferring their partnership over enslavement.
- Jaime Reyes appears in the animated series, Justice League Action, voiced again by Jake T. Austin.
Unreleased Screen TestEdit
Geoff Johns announced on his Twitter account that there is a live action screen test of Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle. This screen test is being used to trial the concept of a Blue Beetle television series.
In the game Infinite Crisis, a multiplayer online battle arena developed by Turbine, the Jaime Reyes is playable character. All three Blue Beetles appear as playable characters in the Wii U version of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Jaime Reyes also appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Lego DC Super-Villains as a playable character. Jaime Reyes is also a playable fighter in Injustice 2.
- Wojtkoski's family has supplied the online comics encyclopedia "The Lambiek Comiclopedia" with documentation to support the overall Wojtkoski credit. Another artist, Charles Nicholas Cuidera, also drew Blue YEEtle stories later, and has claimed to have been the creator, but comics historians credit Wojtkoski.
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