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best blue beetle comics

blue beetle comics

blue beetle comics

Blue Beetle is a classic superhero that has been around since the Golden Age of comics in the 1940s. While the character has gone through several iterations over the decades, his core appeal as a hero powered by alien technology has made Blue Beetle a fan favorite character.

For both new and long-time Blue Beetle fans, there are some definitive comic book stories that showcase why this character continues to endure for over 80 years.

The Original Blue Beetle

The original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, first appeared in Mystery Men Comics #1 in 1939 published by Fox Comics. Created by writer Charles Nicholas Wojtkowski and artist Charles Wojtkowski, this first version presented a rookie police officer who gains super powers from a special vitamin that he takes called “2X.”

This early version combined elements of a superhero story with pulp fiction detective tales that were popular at the time. The design of the Blue Beetle was also notable for its unique mix of costumed hero and insect inspiration.Some of the best Golden Age Blue Beetle stories that are worth tracking down include:

  • Mystery Men Comics #1 – First appearance establishes his powers, supporting cast like Joan Mason, and villain the Mad Monkey.
  • Mystery Men Comics #7 – Blue Beetle battles spies and showcases his athleticism and detective skills against non-powered foes.
  • Mystery Men Comics #12 – Team up with fellow Mystery Men hero Mr. Scarlet shows Blue Beetle’s chemistry with other characters.

While crude by today’s standards, these early Blue Beetle comics established core aspects of the character like his costume, powers, and use of quirky gadgets that would influence all later incarnations. The mix of crimefighting, action and lightheartedness was also a template for the various relaunches over the years.

The Silver Age Blue Beetle

In 1964, during the era known as the Silver Age of comics when superheroes returned to prominence, the Blue Beetle was revived by Charlton Comics. With superheroes making a comeback, writer Joe Gill and artist Tony Tallarico re-established the character for a new generation but kept some familiar touches like the costume with the air jets and vitamin origin.

However, they also updated his arsenal with new gadgets like suction-cup shoes.Some of the best Silver Age Blue Beetle comics include:

  • Blue Beetle #1 – First Silver Age appearance brings back Dan Garrett as the Blue Beetle in a new adventure.
  • Blue Beetle #3 – Iconic cover with the Blue Beetle bursting through a brick wall as he battles the villain Dr. Spectro who could project light energy.
  • Blue Beetle #4 – Faces off against Atomic Tot, a super-powered toddler reminiscent of the style of humor comics popular in the 1960s.

Under Charlton’s watch, Blue Beetle became a more traditional costumed superhero that fit popular tastes of 1960s readers while still retaining his distinct charm and retro appeal. Readers could enjoy superhero action similar to Spider-Man and Batman but with a unique Golden Age hero.

1980s Relaunch

After bouncing around to different publishers like Archie Comics in the 1970s, Blue Beetle was relaunched by DC Comics in 1986 with an updated secret identity of Ted Kord and high-tech powers. Writer Len Wein and artist Paris Cullins introduced readers to Ted, a former student of Dan Garrett who decides to take on the role of Blue Beetle.

No longer needing a special vitamin to gain powers, Ted uses his scientific genius to craft special gadgets and vehicles to fight crime. This 1980s era tapped into the technology boom of the times to give Blue Beetle an upgrade for contemporary readers.

Under Ted’s watch, Blue Beetle was known for witty banter during fight scenes that became a signature of this version.Some of the modern era key issues include:

  • Secret Origins #2 – New updated origin story establishes Ted’s backstory and motivation for becoming the new Blue Beetle.
  • Blue Beetle #1 – First full appearance of Ted Kord Blue Beetle as he grapples with living up to Dan Garrett’s legacy.
  • Blue Beetle #5 – Blue Beetle battles his scientific rival Doctor Alchemy who wields alchemy-based weapons powered by the mystical Philosopher’s Stone. This issue highlighted Ted’s inventiveness against a villain misusing science.

With a new high-tech costume and revised backstory, this Blue Beetle made the character relevant for the times while keeping ties to what made the original appealing. Readers could relate to Ted’s genius and humor while also enjoying superhero action.

The Modern Blue Beetles

Most recently, Blue Beetle was rebooted in 2006 as teenager Jaime Reyes became the new heir to the Blue Beetle mantle. After Dan Garrett and Ted Kord, Jaime discovers the Blue Beetle scarab which gives him a powerful alien suit of armor and abilities.

This updated version has connected with a new young generation of readers who identify with Jaime’s struggle balancing school, friends and superheroics. An element distinct to this Blue Beetle was the addition of cosmic and magical elements to explain the suit’s powers.Some of the best modern Blue Beetle stories include:

  • Infinite Crisis #5 – Death of Ted Kord, as he passes legacy to Jaime marking a dramatic shift for the next era of Blue Beetle.
  • Blue Beetle #1 – First appearance of Jaime Reyes as he discovers the Scarab and has to deal with its dangerous powers.
  • Blue Beetle #6 – Jaime learns more about the history of the Scarab, revealing its connections to an alien race called the Reach who created it as an infiltration tool.

The current Blue Beetle retains ties to past versions but also demonstrates how the concept can be updated yet again for contemporary times. Readers today can relate to a teen hero trying to balance great responsibility with teenage life.

Version Secret Identity Era First Appearance Key Comics
Dan Garrett Rookie police officer Golden Age Mystery Men Comics #1 Mystery Men #1, #7, #12
Ted Kord Genius inventor Silver/Bronze Age Blue Beetle #1 Blue Beetle #1, #3, #4, #5
Jaime Reyes High school student Modern Age Infinite Crisis #5 Infinite Crisis #5,
Blue Beetle #1, #6

Why Blue Beetle Endures

Part of what has allowed Blue Beetle to be reinterpreted by new generations is the flexibility of the concept. At its core, it is the story of an ordinary man who gains extraordinary abilities and uses this power to fight evil. This basic superhero premise allows writers and artists to adapt the specifics to suit modern tastes.

The visual appeal of the Blue Beetle costume and name also lend themselves well to updated looks and powers over the decades. Fans enjoy seeing their favorite hero reimagined to fit the style of each comic age.While Dan Garrett, Ted Kord, and Jaime Reyes are very different characters, they all build upon the foundation of an everyday person trying their best to do good with the strange circumstances they find themselves in.

This aspirational theme has resonated with readers for over eighty years through Blue Beetle’s history. Readers connect with these heroes striving to live up to the responsibility thrust upon them.For both longtime comic book readers and those just learning about Blue Beetle through recent media appearances, this selection of key issues provides a look into the enduring appeal of this lesser-known but still engaging superhero. The history of reinvention connects old and new fans alike.