Blue Beetle

Original + Charlton + Post-Crisis

Created by Gary Friedrich & Steve Ditko

Thanks to John Wells

Blue Beetle I

NAME + ALIASES:
Dan Garrett

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical: Mystery Men Comics #1 (Aug. 1939, Fox Features)
DC: Secret Origins v.2 #2 (May 1986)

Blue Beetle II

NAME + ALIASES:
Theodore "Ted" Kord

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Thomas M. Kord (father), unnamed mother, Jarvis (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League International, The L.A.W., "Birds of Prey," The "Superbuddies"

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Historical:
Captain Atom v.1 #83 (Nov. 1966, Charlton Comics).
DC: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 (Apr. 1985)

History

DC owns the rights to all Blue Beetles, including the original 1940s vitamin-powered hero, published by Fox Features Syndicate. He was acquired and retooled by Charlton Comics in the 1960s. This '60s Beetle possessed a magic amulet and was the basis for DC's Garrett Blue Beetle.

Blue Beetle I, Dan Garrett

Written by John Censullo

With the help of a pharmacist friend, Dr. Franz, police officer Dan Garrett acquires temporary super-powers from a secret experimental substance called Vitamin 2-X. The amazing Vitamin 2-X bestows upon its user such powers as super-strength, rapid healing, increased speed, heightened senses, and enhanced intelligence. Garrett dons a costume made of a bullet-proof chain-mail and becomes the Blue Beetle. In 1942, Sparkington J. Northrup becomes the Blue Beetle's boy sidekick, Sparky, wearing a simplified version of the Beetle's costume.

In DC continuity, Garrett was initially portrayed by DC as a Silver Age hero (in the 1986 Blue Beetle series). After the Infinite Crisis Booster Gold v.2 #2 (2008) depicted the original Blue Beetle as active in 1939.

When Dan Garrett died, he passed his mantle on to Ted Kord, Blue Beetle II. After Kord's death, young Jaime Reyes became a very different kind of Blue Beetle.

Appearances

Fox Features Syndicate, Golden Age

  • All Top Comics #4, #8–13 (Jan-Feb 1947, Nov 1947–Sep 1948)
  • Big 3 #1–7 (Fall 1940–Jan 1942)
  • The Blue Beetle #1–41 (Spring 1940–Mar-Apr 1946), #43A (May-Jun 46), #43B (Jul-Aug 46), #44 (Sep-Oct 46)–60 (Aug 50)
    • (#1 includes new material plus reprints from Mystery Men #1-5)
    • (#2 includes new material plus reprints from Mystery Men #6,8)
  • Mystery Men Comics #1–31 (Aug 1939–Feb 1942)
  • Phantom Lady #13 (Aug 47)
  • Real Hit Comics #1 (1944) (reprints from??)
  • Tegra, Jungle Empress #1 (Aug 48)
  • Zago, Jungle Prince #1 (Sep 48)

Newspaper Strip

  • ? 1940?–? 1940? (? installments)
  • Weekly Comic Magazine (12 May 1940, 2 versions) (undistributed newspaper inserts)

Radio

  • 15 May 1940–13 Sept. 1940. 36 episodes, aired Wednesdays and Fridays.

Charlton Comics (reprints of Golden Age Fox Comics)

  • Space Adventures v.1 #13 (Oct./Nov. 1954) (reprints #35, 59)
  • Space Adventures v.1 #14 (Jan 1955) (reprints #59)
  • Blue Beetle v.1 #18 (Feb 1955) (reprints #40)
  • Blue Beetle v.1 #19 (Apr 1955) (reprints #38,55)
  • Blue Beetle v.1 #20 (June 1955) (reprints #??)
  • Blue Beetle v.1 #21 (Aug 1955) (reprints #??)
  • Nature Boy #3 (Mar 1956)

I.W. Enterprises/Super Comics (reprints of Golden Age Fox Comics)

  • Human Fly #1 / I.W. Reprint #1? (?? 1963) (reprints#44?)
  • Human Fly #2 / Super Reprint #10? (?? 1964) (reprints #46?)

Americomics

  • Americomics #3 (Aug 83)

Blue Beetle II (Charlton Comics)

History

Blue Beetle v.2 (Charlton) #1 (June 1964)

Story: "The Giant Mummy Who Was Not Dead"; Part 2: "The Birth Of Evil!"; Part 3: "The Mummy's Return!"

Synopsis: Dr. Daniel Garrett, a leading archeologist and authority on ancient Egypt, is asked to lead an expedition to investigate some pre-Dynastic treasures at a dig in El-Alil. Garrett passes on the offer for the time being, because some nuclear devices had been detonated in the area. He comments that the artifacts have been there for 6000 years, and that a few more years won't make much difference. That evening at his home, Garrett's studies are interrupted by a knock on the door. It is Prof. Luri Hoshid. He politely asks her to leave, but she drops her coat and reveals that she is dressed as a dancer from the court of Abydos, circa 1305 BC. Although he has denied her previous attempts at a meeting, this time he allows her to enter. She is concerned because the proposed dig is at the burial site of Kha-Ef-Re, the Evil Pharaoh. Garrett decides to lead the expedition after all, but only if she'll act as his Egyptian contemporary. To his surprise, she shows her gratitude with a peck on the cheek.

Later, after they have reached the site, the workers unearth an entryway, which is flanked by a scowling statue. Garrett comments that the old Pharaoh was allied with the powers of darkness. When Luri expresses uneasiness, Garrett asks her out to dinner. Garrett, an experienced pilot, flies the two of them toward Cairo in the expedition's plane. Suddenly, they find themselves in the path of long-range missiles with what look to be nuclear warheads. Garrett wonders who in that part of the world has nukes, and upon which side of the border they're based. He suggests heading back, but Luri warns against it. She explains that General Amenhotep, descendent of a mighty Egyptian ruler, is in command of disputed territory below them, an area from which he dreams of conquering the world. Later, in Cairo, the pair happen to be dining in the same place as the General, who is bullying the staff. Garrett challenges him over his bad manners, and ends up punching the General in the gut. He and Luri make a quick retreat to the plane to avoid the ensuing gunfire.

The next morning at the dig, the workers breach the door. The two archaeologists explore the huge rooms. Luri says the tomb has an evil smell, that in no other excavation has she ever felt such fear. Soon, the workers run away as though their lives depended on it. The pair find evil paintings and a sacrificial alter. Atop the alter is the mummy case of Kha-Ef-Re! On its chest, Garrett sees a blue scarab carved of precious stone. When he inadvertently presses a lever, a slit in the ceiling stones opens, flooding the room with light. Luri reads an inscription that says that Kha-Ef-Re will live when the white-hot light touched him again. Garrett wonders if this means sunlight... or the light of an atomic blast! His attention returns to the blue scarab affixed to the top of the case. Garrett ponders whether the scarab is guarding the pharaoh, or holding him prisoner in his tomb. He touches the blue scarab and senses its power, feeling it within himself. Suddenly, he finds himself in a dream, transported back in time and wearing a blue costume, standing before the most magnificent of the great and good pharaohs. This being informs Garrett that the powerful scarab is his as long as he uses its power wisely, and if he battles the mad pharaoh and his 20th century conspirator.

In the next moment, Garrett is back in the real world. He is able to magically see through solid stone, and spots a plane overhead carrying a hydrogen bomb. The vision power then reveals that Kha-Ef-Re had built a massive lead-lined chamber nearby. Speaking a word from ancient Egypt, "Kaji Dha", Garrett is suddenly dressed in the blue costume from his dream, the garb of the Blue Beetle! He smashes through the enormous stone doors blocking the protective chamber, and he and Luri take cover. Moments later, General Amenhotep's supersonic plane drops a bomb near the tomb of Kha-Ef-Re! Its searing light illuminates the desert, casting a beam through the opening in the ceiling and onto the mummy case. Garrett and Luri watch the rise of a spindly, living mummy. It is huge, and is growing every second thanks to the atomic light. The mummy is soon so large that it bursts through the chamber ceiling and into the outside world. The plane flies off, radioing General Amenhotep with these new developments. Garrett once again speaks his magic words and changes into the Blue Beetle. He then asks Luri where she thinks the evil pharaoh would go now. She surmises it would be to the one who gave him life, and she intends to go there too. The Beetle then flies off without her, and is fired upon by one of the General's fighter jets. The bullets simply bounce off him. The pilot suddenly receives a telepathic message, words of fire in his brain, which tell him to abandon his aircraft or else! The Beetle then blasts the jet with an offhand gesture, causing it to explode.

Soon, the Beetle is standing atop the head of the sphinx. His vision power reveals that the giant mummy has reported to General Amenhotep, who the mummy recognizes as a descendant of his dynasty. The General then brags about ruling the world. The Beetle arrives on the scene, threatening to invoke hieroglyphics that will put the mummy back in the time and place of his origin. In response, the mummy blasts the Beetle with eye beams, draining the hero of his power and leaving him unconscious. The General surmises that the beetle scarab is the source of his power, and reaches toward it, while musing that he will have the mummy destroy the Blue Beetle and the scarab both. The General pauses before removing the scarab, daydreaming of his plans of conquest.

Meanwhile, Luri is driving a jeep toward the camp. Instinct leads her to a huge stone altar in the middle of nowhere, just in time to see the mummy leaning over her friend. (The General is nowhere to be seen!) The mummy looks on as Luri shakes the fallen hero awake. She hands him the scarab and urges him to say the magic words, which he does. The mummy attacks, but after a short fight, the Beetle flies into the mummy's jaw and knocks him down, whereupon the creature shrinks to its original size. Not wanting to take any chances, the Beetle places the mummy inside the lead-lined chamber and fuses the rock shut with his vision power. He then easily destroys the General's arsenal of missiles. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.2 (Charlton) #2 (September 1964)

Story: "Hot War In The Arctic"; Part 2: "Prisoners Of Time"; Part 3: "The Master Plan"; Part 4: "Atomic Death"

Synopsis:? (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.2 (Charlton) #3 (November 1964)

Story: "Mr. Thunderbolt And The Superstar"; "Part 2 Storm Of Fear"; "Part 3 Flames Of Fury"

Synopsis: Dr. Dan Garrett stops Mr. Thunderbolt from destroying The Superstar, a new rocket-powered aircraft, with lightning. Mr. Thunderbolt is reputed to be the richest man in the world, but the Blue Beetle knows he is an evil alien from the planet Uxer. Later, after learning that three major cities were razed by electrical storms, the Blue Beetle tracks the villain to Tokyo, but his powers are exhausted stopping a new storm. When the villain again tries to destroy The Superstar, the Blue Beetle captures him, and flies him all the way back to Uxer.

Blue Beetle v.2 (Charlton) #4 (January 1965)

Story: "The Praying Mantis-Man"; Part 2: "The Chlorophyll Man"; Part 3: "The Garden Of Crawling Death"; Part 4: "The Mantis And The Beetle"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle encounters the Praying Mantis-Man for the first time. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.2 (Charlton) #5 (March-April 1965)

Story: "Blue Beetle Challenges The Red Knight"; Part 2: "Capture Of The White Queen"; Part 3: "Checkmate"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle fights the Red Knight. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #50 (July 1965)

Story: "The Scorpion"; Part 2: "Tomb Beneath The Sea"; Part 3: "Oilstrike"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle battles the Scorpion. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #51 (August 1965)

Story: "Mentor The Magnificent"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle fights a robot called Mentor. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #52 (October 1965)

Story: "Magno, The Man Who Shakes The World"; Part 2: "Crater Of Fire"; Part 3: "On The Trail Of The Mole"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle battles Magno. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #53 (December 1965)

Story: "The People Thieves"; Part 2: "Baiting The Trap"; Part 3: "The Cave Of The Living Dead"

Synopsis: The Blue Beetle encounters the Praying Mantis-Man for the second time. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #54 (February-March 1966)

Story: "The Eye Of Horus"; Part 2: "Slaves Of The Ancient Eye"; Part 3: "Menace Of The Mind-World"

Synopsis: Prof. Philipps unleashes the Eye of Horus. Only the Blue Beetle can stop the ancient evil. (From other sources, not verified personally.)

Thunderbolt v.2 #51 (March-April 1966)

Story: "The Evil That Is Evila!"

Synopsis: Dr. Daniel Garrett and Peter Cannon are called to the Museum of Exploratory Sciences to help identify a mysterious sarcophagus. Garrett dates it at around 1375 BC and translates a curse inscribed on its front. He then leaves on a vacation cruise. Peter Cannon later deals with the curse as Thunderbolt.

Blue Beetle v.3 (Charlton) #2 (August 1967)

Story: "The End Is A Beginning!"

Synopsis: Scientist Ted Kord agrees to help his Uncle Jarvis with some mysterious experiments. However, Jarvis only gives pieces of the experiment to Ted for research and testing, so that he can never know the full details of the project. After Ted successfully solves all of the tasks given to him, he makes Jarvis promise to reveal to him the purpose of the experiments. However, shortly thereafter, an explosion destroys the laboratory, apparently killing his uncle. In the rubble, Ted finds a box containing a map with Pago Island marked off, some indecipherable notes, and an old roll of film. Ted watches the film and is shocked to discover footage of old experiments, ones which he now realizes he finished for Jarvis. Fearing that Jarvis is still alive, he shows the film to Dr. Dan Garrett, a friend he knows from college. The eight year old film shows footage of a robot, which was powerful, but awkward and slow. Ted was tricked into solving all of his uncle's problems. He believes Jarvis is still alive, and on Pago Island. He wants Garrett's archeological knowledge to help locate the workshop.

Moments after landing on the island, they are surrounded by the advanced robot models. They are captured and brought to Jarvis. He admits that he faked his own death so that he could complete the production of an army of new, invincible androids, which he will use to rule the world. When Jarvis orders the robots to kill the captives, Garrett uses his magic scarab to transform into the Blue Beetle. The Beetle frees himself and Ted. In response, Jarvis orders dozens of robots to attack. He then activates a device he calls the elector, which sends an overload blast through the robots. Although Ted reaches cover, the Blue Beetle takes the brunt of the blast. Unexpected feedback causes an explosion in the room in which Jarvis was standing. The fallen hero makes Ted promise that he will keep his secret and carry on for the Blue Beetle. Ted agrees, but before he can say another word, the floor and ceiling begin to collapse, separating the two men. Ted is cut off from his friend, but he is able to find his way out before the facility is completely destroyed. Ted wonders how he is going to keep his promise without the magic scarab, but then one day in his father's workshop, he spots machinery that gives him an idea. First, he designs a large, flying beetle. Then, after months of labor, and crash physical training program, he keeps his promise by becoming the new Blue Beetle.

Americomics #3 (August 1983)

Story: "Return From Pago Island!"

Synopsis: The second Blue Beetle seemingly returns from the dead, accusing the new Blue Beetle of leaving him on Pago Island to die. In reality, he is the prototype android built by Ted Kord's mad uncle Jarvis. Just as the new Beetle is about to be defeated, his Bug ship blasts the android, destroying it.

Story: "The Blue Beetle To Live Again!"

Synopsis: The first, second, and third Blue Beetles are shown in flashback.

Appearances

Charlton

  • Blue Beetle v.2 #1–5 (Jun 1964–Mar-Apr 1965)
  • Blue Beetle v.3 #50–54 (Jul 1965–Feb-Mar 1966) …continued from Unusual Tales #49
  • Thunderbolt v.2 #51 (Mar-Apr 1966) (as Dan Garrett only)
  • Blue Beetle v.4 #2 (Aug 1967) (in flashback)

Americomics

  • Americomics #3 (Aug 83) (in flashback)
     

Ted Kord (Post-Crisis)

Ted Kord is the second hero to adopt the Blue Beetle moniker. The first, an archaeologist named Dan Garrett, received his powers from a mystic scarab that he found in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Kha-ef-Re, a long-dead high priest of the Egyptian gods. After a distinguished crime fighting career, Garrett seemingly expired on the shores of the mysterious Pago Island while helping young Ted Kord, one of Garrett's erstwhile students, prevent Kord's evil uncle Jarvis from taking over the world. Just before he died, Garrett extracted a promise from young Ted to carry on the crime-busting tradition of the Blue Beetle. Unfortunately, Garrett and his mystic scarab were buried under several tons of rubble during his final battle on Pago Island. After Ted's departure, an alien homed in on the Scarab and kept Garrett alive with its power. (Secret Origins v.2 #2, Blue Beetle v.2 #18)

Ted continued an exhausting regimen of college studies and began working in his father's company's (KORD, Inc.) Research and Development department. (S.O. #2) The scruffy young man cemented his reputation as an electronics prodigy when he provided the newly-organized Justice League of America with its first security system. (JLA: Year One #3)

Kord was intent on keeping his word to Garrett and augmented his education with KORD's technical resources to become the new Blue Beetle! Without the benefit of the scarab, Ted relied on his wits, ingenuity and clever gadgets. He devised a whole arsenal of equipment, including the "BB Gun" and the awesome flying vessel known as "the Bug." After a few early successes during an intense burst of crime fighting that followed the development of his equipment, Kord relaxed for a while and temporarily hung up his Beetle goggles in order to concentrate on building up his business interests. (Blue Beetle v.1 #1-5) Ted assumed full responsibility for running his father's company. Thomas M. Kord had founded KORD, but he was consumed by grief over the death of his wife. (B.B. v.2 #24) As Thomas lost interest in his company, young Ted's interest in KORD grew.

KORD Inc. was very successful and eventually grew to rival S.T.A.R. Labs itself. Ted Kord grew bored of this success and he chose to come out of retirement. (Blue Beetle v.2 #1) During this second wave of activity, Beetle met some of his greatest nemeses, including the Madmen, (#3) the deadly Overthrow, (#15) and the mighty Carapax. (#14) It was also during this time that Beetle became caught up in Darkseid's plan to rob the Earth of its "legends." At the end of this campaign, Beetle was among the heroes who decided to gather together and form a new Justice League to replace the longstanding institution that had been recently disbanded by the Martian Manhunter. (Legends #6) There was one final chapter to Ted's origin, however. He eventually returned to Pago Island to retrieve the Scarab of Kha-ef-Re and discovered that Dan Garrett had been kept in statis by an evil alien inside the scarab! The alien forced the Beetles drove Garrett mad and to fight Kord. In the end, Garrett shook off the alien's influence and the scarab was sattered to pieces. Garrett died from the strain. (#17-18)

Shortly after Carapax destroyed KORD's corporate headquarters, Thomas Kord, reasserted control over his company and ousted Ted. Ted then became a resident of the JLI embassy in New York. (Blue Beetle #24) Ted and fellow Justice Leaguer/millionaire-gone-bust Booster Gold formed their first super-powered venture known as "The Blue and the Gold" in order to conquer their joint financial woes. (Justice League International Annual #2) When the League was given the island of Kooey Kooey Kooey as their landed holding, Beetle and Booster built a huge resort on the island called Club JLI. This particular money making scheme went bad when the island (a sentient entity) decided to move to a new location, destroying Club JLI in the process. (Justice League America #34-35)

The Beetle was critially injured and put into a coma in the JLI's fight with Doomsday. (#69) He temporarily hung up his costume, but recovered in time to fight Guy Gardner's evil clone (#83) and to help save Booster's life. (#90) After Ice's death during the "Judgment Day" saga, Beetle appeared on a tabloid show to talked about her. This furthered the already widening gap between he and the team. He then joined Captain Atom's short-lived JLI off-shoot, Extreme Justice.

He retired when that League disbanded and threw himself back into his civilian career. Despite his public failure, including an embarrassing exposé about his “bankruptcy and humiliation” (Batman Secret Files #1), Ted has persevered, initially helping pal Booster Gold develop Blue and Gold Software. (DCU Heroes Secret Files #1). Presumably using the capital from that venture, Ted seems to have regained control of his father’s company (L.A.W. #1), putting much of his emphasis on its consumer electronics division Kordtronics, Inc. (Birds of Prey #15, 35) Though Ted hasn’t initially been able to stem KordCo’s mediocre profits (L.A.W. #1; BoP #35), the company remains attractive to outsiders and was the subject of at least one hostile takeover attempt. (BoP #40-41)

Most recently, Kord’s friendship with Oracle brought him back into action as the Beetle. (BoP #15, 22, 25) The two of them met online under the possbility of romance, but quickly discovered they were better off as friends. He has become very insecure about his ability as the Blue Beetle and now has a good reason to avoid adventuring: he was diagnosed with a serious heart ailment. (BoP #39-40) Despite this fact, he has reluctantly accepted Maxwell Lord's offer to join a regrouping of his original Justice League comrades in the Superbuddies. His teammates had a hard time accepting either his newfound serious side or his medical condition. Regardless, Ted maintained a level of activity safe for his condition. (Formerly...)

Despite his "respectful" work with Oracle, much of the public (including other heroes) still regarded the Blue Beetle as a goof. He got plenty serious when his company and assets came under attack. The Beetle called in every favor to help him uncover the saboteur, but few would take him seriously. Of course, his best friend, Booster was there for him. Ted always suspected that Booster — who was from the 25th century — knew more about 21st century events than he let on. This intensified when Booster took the brunt of an explosion that destroyed Ted's house. And in the hospital, Booster tried to stop Ted from pursuing the case further. Perhaps he knew what was in store for his friend.

Beetle successfully traced the chaos to a hidden base in the Swiss Alps. He surpassed the Checkmate guards and discovered that the organization held detailed information on all metahumans. The mastermind? Maxwell Lord, who confronted him and explained that he wanted to rid the world of the threat posed by metahumans. Max offered Ted the chance to join him. The Beetle refused and was immediately shot in the head by Max.

At some point, Hawkman discovered Dan Garrett's magic scarab and returned it to Ted. Just before his death, the Scarab eventually led Beetle him to the wizard, Shazam. Shazam kept the talisman and sent Ted on his way. (DC Countdown #1)

Notes

It is uncertain how many (if any) of Ted Kord's Charlton Comics adventures are considered canonical. DC continuity asserts that Ted was active as the Blue Beetle for a time before retiring. His DC debut takes place after that brief retirement. Also, the events of Blue Beetle #18 are questionable because that story maintained that the Scarab of Kha-ef-Re was sentient and forced Garrett to fight Ted Kord. Recent revelations, however, suggest that Nabu (Dr. Fate) created the scarab in ancient Egypt (Time Masters #6).

In current DC continuity, the original Beetle debuted in the Golden Age, per Booster Gold v.2 #2. He appeared in August 14, 1939.

+ Powers

The Blue Beetle possesses no metahuman abilities and relies more on his wits as an inventor. Most frrequently, he employs a strobe light (the BB gun), a hovering, amphibious aircraft (the Bug), and various other gadgets as needed. As the Beetle, Kord has historically been a poor hand-to-hand combatant. His fitness level has fluctuated as well. At times he has demonstrated great acrobatic skill, but his heart condition now limits his level of exertion.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Birds of Prey #15, 22, 25, 39-40
  • Booster Gold v.2 #1, 4-10
  • DC Countdown #1
  • JLA: Classified #4-9
  • Secret Origins v.2 #2

» SERIES:

Fox Features:

  • Blue Beetle, 60 issues (1939-50)

Charlton Comics:

  • Blue Beetle, issues #18-21 (1955, formerly The Thing)
  • Blue Beetle "v.1", 5 issues (1967-68, Charlton Comics)

DC Comics:

  • Blue Beetle, 24 issues (1986-88)
  • Justice League, #1-68 (1988–94)
  • Extreme Justice, 18 issues (1995-96)
  • The L.A.W, 6-issue limited series (1999-2000)
  • Formerly Known as the Justice League, 6-issue limited series (2003)
  • Blue Beetle v.2, current (2006-)