Believe it or not, during its long history, DC Comics has introduced over 30 thousand characters so far. While some of them are the absolute A-list characters and some of the most recognizable fictional characters in the history of entertainment, some are pretty less known. While Blue Beetle’s popularity can’t match Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman’s, that doesn’t mean he’s not an interesting superhero. Blue Beetle will finally get a chance to shine among mainstream audiences with the homonymous standalone movie, which is set to his theaters this August.
The history of the Blue Beetle goes all the way back to 1939. The character was created by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski for Fox Feature Syndicate, also known as Fox Comics. The original Blue Beetle was Dan Garrett, and he debuted in ‘Mystery Men Comics’ #1 in August 1939. In the 1950s, Fox Comics went out of business, and the character was handed over to Charlton Comics, for which Steve Ditko created the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, who debuted in ‘Captain Atom’ #83 in November 1966.
Charlton Comics ceased to exist in 1986, and three years before they went out of business, they sold Blue Beetle and the rest of their superhero line-up to DC Comics. DC used the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ crossover event to integrate Ted Kord into DC Comics’ mainstream canon. 2006 Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner created Jaime Reyes, the third and latest Blue Beetle. In the rest of this article, we’ll tell you more about each of these three characters that donned the mantle of the Blue Beetle as we rank them by their importance.
3. Dan Garrett
Dan Garret (later spelled Dan Garrett by Charlton Comics) is the first character ever who donned the mantle of the Blue Beetle. He first debuted in ‘Mystery Men Comics’ #1, published by Fox Comics, in August 1939. During the Golden Age of comic books, Dan was depicted as a patrolman and a son of a police officer who a criminal killed. Garrett fought crime without any special abilities but with the help of Vitamin 2-X, which provided him with enhanced strength and durability. He used a domino mask to hide his identity.
The original Golden Age version of Dan had its last appearance in ‘Nature Boy’ #3 in March 1956. However, after the character moved to Charlton Comics, Garrett’s origin story was drastically changed. The Silver Age version of the character debuted in ‘Blue Beetle’ Vol. 3 #1 in June 1964. From that moment on, Dan Garrett was depicted as an archaeologist who discovered a mysterious azure scarab in Egypt. The scarab granted him enhanced abilities and the suit to work as a crime fighter known as the Blue Beetle.
The Silver Age version of Dan Garrett didn’t last for long. Hence he was killed in action only two years later and succeeded by Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle. Charlton Comics’ version of Dan Garrett is officially placed on Earth-Four in the DC Universe, while Fox’s Golden Age version is placed on Earth-Fox. Although these two separate incarnations of Dan existed long before DC Comics had the rights to the character, the character of Dan Garrett also appeared in DC Comics’ New Earth and Prime Earth continuities as the occasional guest character.
2. Ted Kord
Theodore “Ted” Kord first debuted in Charlton Comics’ ‘Captain Atom’ #83 in November 1966. He was depicted as Dan Garrett’s former student, and therefore the character’s original incarnation was also placed on Charlton Comics’ Earth-Four. Dan and Ted were investigating Ted’s uncle Jarvis Kord, who wanted to create an army of androids to take over Earth. When Dan Garrett ultimately died in that battle, he passed the torch to Ted, who became the second Blue Beetle.
When Charlton Comics went out of business, the right for their entire superhero line-up was handed over to DC Comics. During DC’s crossover event, ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths,’ the Monitor recruited Ted to help fight Anti-Monitor’s shadow demons. Since the event erased the entire DC continuity before, Ted was moved to a newly established New Earth continuity, where he remained until 2005’s ‘Countdown to Infinite Crisis’ #1, in which Maxwell Lord executed him in cold blood after Ted refused to join his crusade against the metahumans.
The ‘Blue Beetle’ movie, which is scheduled to be released in August 2023, will feature the original character Victoria Kord, played by Susan Sarandon, as the main villain. She’s an original character who doesn’t exist in the comics, but judging by her last name, we wouldn’t be surprised if she would be related to Ted Kord in some way. Perhaps she will be depicted as some gender-swapped version of Jarvis Kord, depending on her ultimate objective.
1. Jaime Reyes
The third, latest, and arguably most popular incarnation of the Blue Beetle debuted in February 2006 in ‘Infinite Crisis’ #3. Shortly before his death, Ted Kord lost his Blue Beetle Scarab, the artifact Dan Garrett gave him while visiting the Rock of Eternity. The Rock of Eternity was eventually destroyed during the battle between Shazam and Spectre, and as all of its contents spread across the world, the Blue Beetle Scarab landed in El Paso, Texas, where young Jaime Reyes discovered it.
Jaime Reyes, the third Blue Beetle, eventually joined Teen Titans. New Earth’s Jaime Reyes made his last appearance in ‘Teen Titans’ Vol. 3 #100 in October 2011, before the Flashpoint replaced New Earth with Prime Earth as the mainstream DC Comics continuity. Prime Earth’s Jaime Reyes debuted in ‘Blue Beetle’ Vol. 8 #1 in November 2011, and his Blue Beetle was a part of The New 52 line-up. Volume 8 finished when The New 52 continuity was canceled and replaced with Rebirth, in which Blue Bettle also had his own series (Volume 9).
Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle was also a part of the roster in the acclaimed fighting video game ‘Injustice 2,’ in which he also had a supporting role in the game’s storyline. As the popularity of the character increased, Warner Bros. and DC decided to give him a shot with the live-action adaptation.
The ‘Blue Beetle’ movie was initially developed as an exclusive HBOMax movie before it was decided that the movie would have a regular theatrical release. After James Gunn announced that DCEU will conclude this year before his DCU takes over in 2025, he announced that the Blue Beetle is officially DCU’s first hero, even though his movie still takes place in the DCEU.
Xolo Maridueña is starring as Jaime Reyes in the upcoming ‘Blue Beetle’ movie. Directed by Angel Manuel Soto, ‘Blue Beetle’ is set to be released on August 18, 2023.
Who is your favorite Blue Beetle? Let us know in the comments!