Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Secret Origins Of The Blue Beetle

At some point, heroes fall, and are replaced by other heroes.  That is now a frequent occurrence in comics, but it had gone on before.

Even before Blue Beetle reached DC Comics, back when he was a character at Charlton, there was a replacement of the original super powered Blue Beetle to a non-powered tech driven hero.

In cooperation with the Super Blog Team-Up, now the story of that switch can be told!

The Original Blue Beetle

Dan Garrett was an archeologist, premiering (at least this Charlton version) in Blue Beetle #1 (June, 1964) by Joe Gill, Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico.  On an Egyptian dig with his friend, Luri Hoshid, Dan ran afoul of a local warlord, General Amenhotep, who fancied himself a descendant of the original pharaoh.  Heading back to the excavation, there the duo went into the crypt of Kha-Ef-Re, with Dan seeing an azure scarab on the tomb.  Touching it put him in contact with an Egyptian god, who, seeing Dan was an honorable man, gave him the power of the Blue Beetle when Amenhotep had the tomb bombed.  As they tried to escape, Dan summoned the power of the scarab with the phrase Kaji Dha.  

Now as the Blue Beetle, Dan was ready to face the reawoken Kha-Ef-Re (brought back to life by the radiation in the General's bomb).  

Fighting off the mummy, Dan and Luri escaped the collapsing tomb, with Blue Beetle dealing with the General and leaving Luri, to pursue a life as an adventurer.

What an adventure it was, where Blue Beetle faced Communists unleashing a prehistoric thread (#2), the electric villain Mr. Thunderbolt (#3), the Preying Mantis Man (Hunter Mann) (#4) and the Red Knight (Lew Coll) (#5), then a slight hiatus, coming back with much higher issue numbers to fight Mister Crabb and his Scorpion machine (#50), the robot Mentor The Magnificent (#51), the Magno-Man (Dr. Louis Forte) (#52), the return of the Preying Mantis Man (#53) and the Eye Of Horus (#54, written by Roy Thomas).

But then Dan was gone again.  When Blue Beetle returned again, it was a new man, Ted Kord, with a more acrobatic, non super fighting style and a giant vehicle that he called the Bug.     

The Replacement Blue Beetle

Ted Kord was an engineer, premiering as a back up in Captain Atom #83 (November, 1966) by Steve Ditko with dialogue by Gary Friedrich.  Taking down the thug Killer Koke in his first appearance, Ted continued the fight against crime in his next appearance, taking down the Masked Maruader (#84) (Count Von Steuben, while avoiding his secretary Tracey, and Lt. Fisher (who was looking for missing archeologist Dan Garrett, whom Ted was a student of).  Facing a spy in a submarine and getting in trouble (#85), dealing with Tracey asking about Dan's disappearance (#86), then getting his own title with (another) Blue Beetle #1 (June, 1967) and facing a group of thieves called the Squids.

With Blue Beetle #2 (August, 1967), it is finally revealed what happened to Dan Garrett.  Ted went to Dan for help, as his Uncle Jarvis called Ted to help build robots.  But, those efforts stopped when Jarvis; lab blew up, supposedly killing Jarvis. Ted, going through his uncle's papers, found a map to Pago Island and plans to create a robot army.  Going to Dan for help, Ted accompanied Dan to Pago Island, where the duo saw their boat destroyed by a robot army, who took them to...the living Uncle Jarvis!  Jarvis planned on taking over the world with his robots, but, Dan turned into Blue Beetle.  During the melee, the lab exploded, wounding Dan, who asked Ted to carry on for him as Blue Beetle, but another explosion separated them.  Leaving the island, Ted took up the mantle of Blue Beetle, but his way, creating the ship, the Bug, as well as a strobe light gun and metallic mesh cowl, Ted would fight crime as a mortal man, doing the best he could.

His next cases included facing the Mad Men (#3), the Men of the Mask (#4) and the Destroyer of Heroes (#5) in his last published issue (though a planned #6 was done by the CPL Gang in a pair of issue, and later included in DC's Action Heroes Archive, where Ted faced the Specter (Amos Fend).

Ted had a few more appearances in Charlton Bullseye #1 (June, 1981), Americomics #3 (August, 1983 and Americomics Special #1 (August, 1983) before showing up with other Charlton heroes on Earth-4 in the Crisis On Infinite Earths, then in Secret Origins #2 (May, 1986) by Len Wein and Gil Kane....which led to his own DC title, and eventually to the Justice League, and, unfortunately, Ted's death, which kicked off the Infinite Crisis!

Another Blue Beetle?

Jaime Reyes was an ordinary student in El Paso, Texas, until an alien scarab bonded to him, turning him into the Blue Beetle. 

Sucked up in the events of Infinite Crisis by Booster Gold, but later, was able to find and work with Ted Kord.

The Rest Of The SBTU

Here, from an unreplaceable group of bloggers...

...the Super Blog Team-Up members...

...are a few more cases of times identities were filled by replacements!

Between The Pages Blog: 

I Am Groot! - The growth of Groot from a seed of an idea to the world's most beloved tree.

Source Material Comics Podcast:


Super-Hero Satellite:

The Reign Of The Supermen

Asterisk 51:

Not-So-Giant-Size X-Men

The Telltale Mind:

Replacement Heroes - When Marcus Johnson finally became Nick Fury

Newsprint Commando:

Monolith of the Elementals

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