DC History Club Blue Beetle: Dan, Ted & Jaime

Blue Beetle should have never survived. Born during the Golden Age, Blue Beetle moved from one publisher to another with changing powers, irregular comic output by often disinterested creators. A radio program and newspaper strip barely existed. Revived with a new hero in the Silver Age by the immensely talented Steve Ditko, Beetle made an early impression but quickly passed again into comic book limbo. Finally, introduced into the DC Universe during Crisis on Infinite Earths, a home and audience was found for two generations of Blue Beetles.
Join the DC History Club as we explore the path Blue Beetle took from Dan Garrett to Ted Kord to Jaime Reyes. See how DC’s talent brought a convoluted origin together into breakout characters in the '80s and 2000s. It’s worth the ride.
Week 1: Dan Garrett’s Golden Age Struggles
Week 2: Ted Kord Carlton to DC
Week 3: Ted Kord The Booster & JLI Years
Week 4: Jaime Reyes Saves the Universe and El Paso

History Challenges:
Research Wiki: Got some good info sources on Blue Beetle from any era? Drop it in the research wiki below and let everyone know.
Polls: Coming Soon
Quiz: Coming Soon

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Golden Age Blue Beetle: Dan Garrett


Introduced in Mystery Men Comics #1 in August 1939, Blue Beetle would morph from a caped adventurer, to a noir vigilante, to a superpowered crime fighter clad in chainmail. In the process, Fox Comics would try elevating their star character into the big leagues with a radio show and a newspaper strip. But, haphazard story and art quality, a reluctance to pay creators, bankruptcy, and switching back and forth between different publishers, kept the Beetle firmly out of DC Comics league. But, this azure avenger would not be kept down permanently and would return in the Silver Age. First though, …

Suggested Readings:
There’s no Golden Age Blue Beetle on DCUI, Dan Garrett does show up in a couple of comics but that doesn’t really give you a feel for the original comic. So, just stop by here. I will try to drop Golden Age content daily including the story of Fox Comics, screen shots from comics and newspaper strips, and info on the radio show.

Or, check out these public domain Blue Beetle comics.

Discussion Suggestions:

  1. What do you think about the Blue Beetle Info Droppings?
  2. Create some Blue Beetle droppings of your own. Golden Age covers, art or whatever you’ve got.
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Ted Kord: Charlton to DC Comics


Carlton Publishing got its start with printing music lyric magazines before branching out into comics. While they tried capitalizing on television’s The Adventures of Superman with new Blue Beetle issues in 1954, it was their second try at the character in the mid-1960s that left a lasting imprint. After a few lackluster Dan Garret (he lost a ‘t’ along the way) stories, the reins were handed over to Steve Ditko who had left Marvel for the lower paying Carlton to get away from Stan Lee. Applying lessons he learned on Spider-Man, Ditko killed Dan Garret and turned Blue Beetle over to Ted Kord. With no powers, a more dynamic fighting style, and an increasingly wild rogues gallery, Ditko’s Ted Kord may not have guaranteed huge comic sales, but he did leave a lasting impression on readers.
By 1985, with Carlton having folded its comic business and DC permanently acquiring its characters, it was time for a new chapter in Blue’s life. Introduced dramatically in Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, Blue Beetle was here to stay.

Suggested Reading:
Captain Atom (1965) 83-86: We’re very lucky here. DCUI contains seven issues from Carlton’s original Captain Atom run. The first four of those (83-86) feature the new Blue Beetle in back up stories. If you haven’t already, these are definitely worth reading. The Captain Atom stories aren’t bad either.

Captain Atom (1965) link

DC Universe

Blue Beetle (1986) 17-18: Blue Beetle’s initial DC series has its charms, but only lasted 24 issues in the days when that was a short run. Check out this two part story with the return of Dan Garret.

Blue Beetle (1986) 17-18 link

DC Universe
DC Universe

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Ted Kord: Justice League & Booster Gold

250px-Justice_League_1_DC_1987

KFM8BAAAQBAJ

Some fans of Blue Beetle felt the character had been turned into a joke. With Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis placing more emphasis on punchlines than punches and accompanied by Kevin Maguire’s expressive pencil, Blue Beetle final found something that set him apart. The truth is though Ted Kord found his comedic grove with this running mate Booster Gold, he proved time and again that the joke was on anyone who underestimated him. As Maxwell Lord knew too well.

Suggested Reading this week from @ashleywilbanks:

2005’s Countdown to Infinite Crisis

Countdown to Infinite Crisis

DC UNIVERSE INFINITE

Suggested Discussion Topic: What do you think? This take on Blue Beetle cemented him as, to use that dreaded overused phrase, a ‘fan favorite,’ but some people including Len Wein thought it turned him into a joke. What’s your take?

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Jaime (pronounced as Hy mie) Reyes is
The Third Blue Beetle

Although he had series in both New 52 (2011) and Rebirth (2016), those two titles are not very good.

The best version of Jaime was in the 2006 title, which is what we will be covering the fourth week of March

Jaime is a teenager, kind of like Early Spider-Man, but he has good friends
He also has a mom and dad and a little sister, unlike Peter Parker who only has old Aunt May and is considered a loser by his classmafes

He wears armor like Iron Man but his is way more powerful and he found the device that gives him his suit, he did not invent it. He is not scientific.

He can sprout wings like The young Jason Troy, The Fly, from DC Impact Comics licensed from Archie Comics, but does not have insect powers, even though he has the name of an insect.

He has a Scarab that gives him his powers, instead of a power ring like a Green Lantern, but the Scarab is embedded in his back and he can’t take it off. The Scarab allows him to fly, have great strength and many gadgets and weapons, instead of creating constructs.

Jaime is unique. A Hispanic teenager who lives in El Paso, Texas.
The Scarab gives him powers but he doesn’t completely control it.

The Scarab is defective. It was created to conquer worlds, not for a teenager to play at being a super hero. It has a mind of its own.

Jaime has no instruction book for the Scarab, like in the TV show, The Greatest American Hero or the CW Stargirl.

Family and friends play a big part in this series. Even the Big Boss in the title is within this social circle.

All these combinations of ideas meld together to make a great series.

We will explore the early issues of this series, and have some really entertaining fun.

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Which Jaime Reyes series did you like the most?

  • 2006
  • Teen Titans
  • 2011
  • 2016

0 voters

Which Blue Beetle do you think is the most historically significant?

  • Dan Garrett
  • Ted Kord
  • Jaime Reyes

0 voters

Which Blue Beetle do you personally enjoy the most?

  • Dan Garrett
  • Ted Kord
  • Jaime Reyes

0 voters

Which video version of Jaime Reyes do you like the best?

  • Brave and the Bold
  • Smallville
  • Young Justice
  • Justice League
  • Teen Titans
  • Injustice video game

0 voters

What would you do with a bottle of Kooba Cola?

  • Prominently Display
  • Return for Deposit
  • Sell to Temporarily Rich Movie Star
  • Drink

0 voters

Considering the entire history and all three iterations of the character, how do you rank the importance of Blue Beetle?

  • Long-lived, but still minor character
  • Mid-level character but not essential to the story of comics
  • Under-rated important contributor to history of comics
  • Top Tier icon

0 voters

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Blue Beetle Quiz Think you know all about Blue Beetle’s long history? Give this quiz a try, then tell us what you think.

  1. Which of these was a role Golden Age Dan Garrett did not play?
    • Rookie Cop
    • Noir Vigilante
    • Police Detective
    • Super-powered Crime Fighter

0 voters

  1. Blue Beetle has not appear in which of the following medium?
  • Comics
  • Newspapers
  • Radio
  • Movie Seriels
  • Television
  • Video Games

0 voters

  1. Which of the following comics did Dan Garrett not appear in?
  • Mystery Men
  • Big Three
  • Fox Showcase
  • Blue Beetle

0 voters

  1. Where does Jaime Reyes live?
  • El Paso, TX
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • San Diego, CA
  • Metropolis, USA

0 voters

  1. What Blue Beetle nemesis group debuted in Captain Atom but does not include Don Draper?
  • Vultures
  • Madmen
  • Exterminators

0 voters

  1. Which Carlton character acted as a mentor to Jaime Reyes during his original series?
  • The Question
  • Nightshade
  • Captain Atom
  • Peacemaker

0 voters

  1. Which one of the characters does NOT appear with Blue Beetle on the cover of Justice League #1 (1987)?
  • Dr. Fate
  • Batman
  • Booster Gold
  • Dr. Light
  • Black Canary
  • Guy Gardner
  • Mr. Miracle

0 voters

  1. Kord Industries headquarters is in the same city the Supergirl once patrolled. What city is it?
  • Stanhope
  • Danville
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago

0 voters

  1. Blue Beetle was the basis for which Watchmen character?
  • Comedian
  • Dr. Manhattan
  • Silk Spetre
  • Ozymandias
  • Nite Owl
  • Rorschach

0 voters

  1. Who was the first superhero to meet Jaime Reyes after he found the Blue Beetle Scarab?
  • Ted Kord
  • Guy Gardner
  • Batman
  • Booster Gold

0 voters

Bonus Question: What is the name of Jaime’s sister?

  • Maria
  • Milagro
  • Jessica

0 voters

Answer Key:

1. Police Detective
2. Movie Seriels
3. Fox Showcase
4. El Paso, TX
5. Madmen
6. Peacemaker
7. Booster Gold
8. Chicago
9. Nite Owl
10. Booster Gold
Bonus 11. Milagro

Blue Beetle Acumen Score
1-3: Don’t be blue, read more comics
4-6: Good start, you’ve won an internship at Kord Industries
7-9: Nice, is that a Scarab you’ve found?
10+: The Reach doesn’t stand a chance against you

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Blue Beetle Research Wiki: Got something to add, click on the pencil to the right.

Dan Garrett

The Man Who Would be King of Comics, Victor Fox
http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue257/victor_fox.html

Fox Sues Timely (Marvel)
http://www.comicsdetective.com/2019/09/fox-v-timely-hell-hath-no-fury-like-a-publisher-scorned/

DC Sues Fox

Ted Kord

http://majorspoilers.com/2009/01/19/in-case-you-missed-it-ted-kord-rides-again-on-batman-the-brave-and-the-bold/

Night Owl in Watchmen is based on the Ted Kord Blue Beetle

https://whatculture.com/comics/8-watchmen-characters-based-on-charlton-comics?page=1

Most of Charlton’s superhero characters were acquired in 1983 by DC Comics, where former Charlton editor Dick Giordano was then managing editor. These “Action Hero” characters were originally to be used in the landmark Charlton Comics – SNGPODuctions

JLI Blue and Gold

Jaime Reyes

TV shows and Games
Jamie appeared in

Potential movie

Other Jaime Research

Where to start reading Jaime Reyes?
Let

Where to start reading Jaime Reyes?

Let’s start with his first appearance in Infinite Crisis #3 and then continue on with

  • Infinite Crisis 4-7
  • Blue Beetle vol.8
  • Teen Titans vol. 3 #50-100 (especially #50-54, 61, 72-74, 99-100)
  • Brave and the Bold vol.3 #25
  • Supergirl vol. 5 #61-64
  • Teen Titans Annual vol. 3 2009
  • Booster Gold vol.2 (especially #0, 1, 3, 5-6, 14, 19, 21-29, 40)
  • Brightest Day #0
  • Justice League Generation Lost
  • Blue Beetle new 52 v9 #0, 1-16
  • Justice League International v3 Annual #1
  • Treshold v1 #2-3, 6-8
  • Booster Gold Futures End #1
  • DC Universe Rebirth #1
  • Blue Beetle Rebirth #1
  • Blue Beetle v10 #1- (ongoing)
  • Dark Nights: Metal v1 #2

https://www.dcuniverseinfinite.com/encyclopedia/blue-beetle/

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Last night I have just finished Wonder Woman and Justice League America Vol. 1. Sadly, the books collected are not on DCUI. This was the era after the huge Death of Superman event and Ted was skittish to put on the blue suit again. I wouldn’t say this is required reading in the least but it did show Booster’s and Ted’s friendship and that was enjoyable.

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I’m surprised that era isn’t digitized

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Same here! If I have the physical copy, I read that version over the DCUI version but I still had to look it up for reasons. The second volume of Wonder Woman and Justice League America is on DCUI!

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Blue Beetle Fact Droppings:
Victor Fox emigrated to the United States looking to make his mark. After a conviction for mail fraud in the '30s, Victor was working as a bookkeeper at National (DC) Comics when Superman exploded on the scene. Fox quit DC, rented an office in the same building and launched Fox Comics. His first character Wonder Man immediately got him sued by DC.
Wonder_Man_Fox
Fox had better success with his Mystery Men Comic and its soon headlining character Blue Beetle.

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Blue Beetle Fact Droppings: Victor Fox employed some of the best creators of comics Golden Age. Will Eisner’s studio created the ill-fated Wonder Man and later Fox hired Simon and Kirby. But, he had a contentious relationship with his talent. “I thought he was a great character,” Kirby says “He was Edward G. Robinson. I remember him walking back and forth… just saying, ‘I’m the King of Comics!" Simon on the other hand thought, “The man was insane, absolutely insane. Artist Howard Nostrand called him “just one of the world’s worst people.”
Checks to creators bounced and printers went unpaid far too often. Eventually, Fox declared bankruptcy. Holyoke Printers, owed money by Fox, took over creating and publishing Blue Beetle Comics from issue issues 12 to 30 in 1942 to 1944. Fox, having reorgnized his company takes of Blue Beetle again until issue 60 in 1950.

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Blue Beetle Fact Droppings


Blue Beetle’s first appearance in Mystery Men #1. He starts his career looking more like the Shadow than a superhero.


By the time Blue Beetle launched his own title, his look was largely set, but his powers seem to match whatever was needed for a particular story. One constant seen here in BB #4 was his frightening villains with the appearance of a blue beetle. Because, bugs are really really scary to criminals.

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Blue Beetle Fact Droppings
If you’re the King of Comics in the 1940s, you need your biggest character to appear in a newspaper strip. Blue Beetle achieved that in January, 1940. It even managed to displace Superman in The Boston Evening Transcript which thought “the escapades of Superman…often strained our sense of logic.” While Superman at its height appeared in 285 newspapers, as far as can be determined Beetle only managed to make it into the Evening Transcript during its nine month run.
On the plus side, though credited to Beetle’s fictional creator Charles Nichols the stripe was penned and drawn by Jack Kirby. Though there were differences between the strip and comic book that would confuse readers, Kirby’s strips were recut and later used in the books.




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For week three, focus on Justice League issues 1-7, or if you want that 4 issue limit, just 1-4. The first seven though give you a good look at that first arc leading up to the “International” title on the end of it.

Justice League America 34 also gives us a good look at Beetle and Booster’s Kooey Kooey Kooey.

Of course Legends 1-6 mini series is a great book to start before reading any of the Justice League stuff.

His original DC series was okay, but he really hit popularity with the Justice League book. Every issue of the series from DeMatteis and Giffen is gold and should be required reading for Beetle fans (including the crossovers with JLE).

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Think you’re right. But just finished Countdown to Infinite Crisis which I haven’t read in years. It’s a love letter to the Ted Kord character and has to go in the list too.

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We don’t talk about Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

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Even considering that understandable stance, that single book is really good.

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Even with the whole hole story

See what I did there?

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