Monday, March 12, 2012

Blue Beetle

Blue Beetle is the name of three fictional superheroes that appear in American comic books published by a variety of companies since 1939.

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 used special equipment, a bulletproof costume and a superstrength-inducing "2-X vitamin", and the assistance of a neighborhood pharmacist to fight crime. He 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 rights of the Blue Beetle to Charlton Comics. That company published a few sporadic adventures of the Golden Age character before revamping the hero in 1964. In Dan Garret's revised origin, he was an archaeologist who found a magical Egyptian artifact, resembling a scarab, which he used to fight crime. 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 Garret's who took on the role when Garret 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 superhero groups, including 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." On March 12, 2009, DiDio announced that the character would be brought back to print in June 2009 as a "co-feature" of the more popular Booster Gold comic

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