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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blue Beetle Copper Age Key Issues Part 1


Blue Beetle in the Copper Age of comics equals Blue Beetle finally being published by DC Comics. Yes, this character has gone through a few comic publishers before finally making his way to DC.

As mentioned in the Silver Age Blue Beetle key issues, the character that crosses over in the DC world is revamped version by Charlton Comics. The Golden Age Fox Blue Beetle was pretty much left out.

There will be 2 parts to the key issues list of Copper Age Blue Beetle. Plenty of short-lived villains appear in his 1st Blue Beetle comic series published by DC Comics.

During this era there are newsstand editions for most of these keys. I won't be featuring covers for all of them, but if you're getting into newsstands, just know that they're out there for these.

Alright, here's Part 1. 






CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #1
1st Blue Beetle in DC Comics


Earth-Fox, Earth-Four, Earth-S, Earth-One, Earth-two? Jeez. The title of this comic series says it all, and it was really a crisis with all these multi-verses confusing the hell out of things.

So George Perez during the Copper Age decided to make it simple, and as mentioned before plenty of times on here in past DC related posts, this series saw the destruction of DC's multi-verse for a while at least. It would also merge these different realities and erase quite a few characters from existence all together.

Earth-Four, as DC designated it's Charlton Comic's characters, was destroyed after the series, and Dan Garrett and Ted Kord became part of the New-Earth continuity. Before this would happen, they used this crisis to introduce Blue Beetle into DC Comics for the first time.

Blue Beetle does show up quite a bit in this first issue and is an active character in the story. This comic hasn't really caught on in a big way, but it is an important key for the character as well as DC's Copper Age era.

Welcome to DC Comics Blue Beetle. There are Newsstand editions of this issue, and Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 has the cover date of April, 1985.



SECRET ORIGINS #2 1986 SERIES
Origin of New-Earth Blue Beetle


Alrighty, this one should be interesting to explain. So after the collapse of the multi-verse during this time, the Charlton characters like Blue Beetle and the Question became part of DC's New-Earth. I think every DC character had their origins retold or revamped during this time.

For Blue Beetle and since he was a new addition to DC Comics, it made sense two-fold to introduce his origin to their new readers. So Ted Kord's first DC origin was told in this comic here.

It pretty much remained relatively the same to Ditko's origin during the Silver Age.  Ted Kord is a former student of Dan Garrett, who is still an archeologist. 

It recounts how Dan finds the mystical Scarab in Egypt again, and it retells how Ted Kord discovers that his uncle Jarvis is up to no good and how he and Garrett investigate. Dan as Blue Beetle is mortally hurt and makes Ted promise to take up the mantle.

Once again, the Scarab is not given to Ted, so he relies on his genius to invent gadgets to fight crime with. The only difference is that this story takes place on DC's world of New-Earth.

Technically, it's not the 1st appearance of Blue Beetle in DC Comics, but it could be the 1st appearance of New-Earth Blue Beetle, at least chronologically. Not 100% sure about that and no expert when it comes to Blue Beetle.

Secret Origins #2 from the 1986 series has the cover date of May, 1986.





BLUE BEETLE #1 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st DC Blue Beetle comic series
1st appearance of Melody Case 
1st Angela Revere & Jeremiah Duncan
1st Murray Takamoto & Max Fisher
1st Firefist & Conrad Carpax  


While this is an important key issue for Blue Beetle since it's the 1st self-titled comic for the character published by DC Comics, most of the supporting characters are pretty minor over-all.

In this 1st DC Blue Beetle series, though, they are major supporting characters, but this series only lasted for 24 issues before it was cancelled. Not quite sure, but I don't think any of the supporting characters for Ted Kord end up appearing outside of this titled series after it was ka-put.

After this first self-titled series, Blue Beetle would mainly be featured in the Justice League, Justice League International, and then Justice League America comics. He did cross-over into other DC titles as a guest-star as well.

Still lots of first appearances here. So Melody Case is Ted Kord's love interest in this comic series. She is a scientist at Kord's company.

Later in the comic series, she ends up being the 2nd in command and becoming a pushy, bossy, ill-tempered business woman who often makes Kord look like a spineless wimp. Angela Revere and Jeremiah Duncan are also employees of Ted Kord.

Jeremiah Duncan was actually good friends with Ted's father Thomas and later Ted. Angele Revere is is the administrator of the reception area at KORD, Inc. She is also a friend to Ted and just happens to be the niece of the time thief, Chronos.

Murray Takamoto is Ted Kord's college buddy and works for S.T.A.R. Labs in the comics. He shows up often in this comic series, but I don't think he is carried outside of it as of yet.

In terms of the villains that make their first appearance in this issue, Firefist and Carapax do end up crossing over into other comics. Firefist is Lyle Barnes was a researcher in the field of pyrotechnics and ended up burned quite badly.

Swearing revenge on all firefighters, because of the two firefighters who failed to save him after an explosion at work left him trapped under rubble. Creating a fireproof uniform that could also create fire, he set out on his path of villainy.

Aside from Ted Kord, Firefist would also have a run-in with Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle as well.

Conrad Carapax is an old rival of the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle, although he is created by Len Wein and Paris Cullins and first appeared in this Copper Age issue. In the comics, he was created by Ted's uncle, Jarvis's technology.

In the Modern Age, Carapax would go up against the likes of Superman, Suicide Squad, and Jaime Reyes as well.

Max Fisher is a Chicago PD Detective and appears frequently in this series as an ally of the Blue Beetle. There are Newsstand editions of this comic. There's also the 95 cent Canadian newsstand price variant for this issue as well.





Blue Beetle #1 from the 1st DC Comics series has the cover date of June, 1986.








BLUE BEETLE #3 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st appearance Curt Calhoun
1st New-Earth Madmen



Curt Calhoun was a small time crook who first appeared as working for Dr. Alchemy to steal some metal called promethium from KORD, Inc. They end up being captured by Blue Beetle and sent to prison.

In the comics afterwards, Calhoun helps Blue Beetle battle the Calculator and gains the trust of Ted Kord. Calhoun is hired as a foreman and would eventually save Kord's life.

His heroic act would lead to Calhoun becoming the original Prometheus, but that would happen in a later comic. This is his first appearance in his civilian identity, and he's not really a huge DC character.

The Madmen are a villainous group and enemies of the Blue Beetle from the Charlton Comics days. They first appeared in Blue Beetle #3 from the 1967 Silver Age series, and I think they only had one appearance in that era.

Farley Fleeter usually runs the band of misfits, and they started out as non-powered, small-time crooks or henchmen. Fleeter is the only known one, and the other in the group are mostly unknown from what I can gather.

Blue Beetle finally meets Dr. Alchemy at the end of this issue, and I do believe there are Newsstand copies of this issue also. Blue Beetle #3 has the cover date of  August, 1986.








BLUE BEETLE #4 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st full New-Earth Vic Sage in DC Comics


Vic Sage, otherwise known in Charlton Comics as the Question, makes his 1st full New-Earth appearance in DC Comics. He did appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 in a cameo, but the multi-verse hadn't collapsed into New-Earth by that issue.

He also had a brief cameo in the Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1, but it was in cameo in flashback. Vic Sage appears as a civilian reporter and investigative journalist in this issue but does not appear as the Question until next issue.

Vic Sage as the Question first debuted in Blue Beetle #1 of the 1967 Charlton Comics series. The Question is an investigative crime fighter with no real super powers.

He wears a mask made of Pseudoderm, that conceals his identity. He was created by Steve Ditko, but was a very minor character in Charlton Comics.

Vic Sage as the Question actually has his 1st appearance in the next issue of this comic series, but Blue Beetle finally have their first bout in this issue.

Blue Beetle #4 has the cover date of September, 1986.







BLUE BEETLE #5 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st full New-Earth Vic Sage as the Question
1st cameo appearance of the Muse


Vic Sage as the Question finally shows up in this issue, and the two team finally meet in the New-Earth continuity. While the two knew each other in the Charlton Comics and even teamed up prior and in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Vic Sage knows very little about the Blue Beetle as shown in the first few pages of this issue.

So when Vic Sage realizes he knows little about Blue Beetle, he decides it's time to get some answers as the Question. The character of the Muse shows up at the end of the issue in 2 panels, one in shadow and the other which reveals the character.

Muse is a very minor character that dies in issue #7. The Muse is Richard Perignon and the son of the ‘mob boss’ Vincent Perignon. Richard was one of his father's lieutenants.

This fool was groomed to take over the family by his pops, but Richard had dreams of being an actor instead. He used the character of the Muse to organize street gangs in order to overthrow his father and the family.

Then, this tool could pursue his dream of becoming an actor. It's hard when you're the king, even to the point when you can't even trust your own offspring.  

In the end, Richard would die saving his father from a bullet. Don't even know what Len Wein and Paris Cullins were thinking when it came to creating that character.

There are newsstand copies or editions of this issue. Blue Beetle #5 has the cover date of October, 1986.







BLUE BEETLE #10 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st appearance of Amelinda Lopez

A street kid, Amelinda Lopez is seen in this issue snatching Melody Case's purse. While trying to escape, she gets hit by a truck.

While the doctors did everything they could, they feared she wouldn't last the night. Melody discovers some henchmen taking her body from the hospital which we later learn were under the orders of Mento in the next issue.

Amelinda would end up becoming the super-villain Touch-N-Go with the ability to steal kinetic energy from anyone she came into contact with. Blue Beetle #10 has the cover date of March, 1987.








BLUE BEETLE ##11 1st DC SERIES (1986)
1st appearance of Amelinda Lopez as Touch-N-Go
1st appearance of Cassandra Sharp as Scirocco
Touch-N-Go & Scirocco join Hybrid


The Hybrid first debuted in New Teen Titans #24 volume 2 with the members of Mento, Gorgon, Harpi, and Pteradon. The character of Behemoth would join the group in the issue #25.

This group would make it to the pages of the Blue Beetle comic series with the original members plus two new additions. Cassandra Sharp would make her debut as Scirocco and join the team in this issue and Amelinda Lopez makes her 1st as Touch-N-Go.

Both were infused with the metal Promethium by Mento as explained in the panel below that debuts their new transformations.






Pretty minor Blue Beetle villains, and I am not sure if they later faced Jaime Reyes as the superhero. Blue Beetle #11 has the cover date of April, 1987.








LEGENDS #6
Blue Beetle joins Justice League
1st appearance New Justice League


Despite some sources that say Justice League #1 is the first appearance of the New Justice League, I don't think that's entirely true. At the end of this issue, the members all agree that a new League is necessary and agree to be a part of this new League of heroes.

Blue Beetle even suggests that the name Justice League is currently open. With that, I do believe this is the 1st appearance of the new Justice League which would be renamed to Justice League International in this comic series, and Blue Beetle joins the team in this issue. 

The team would regroup again in Justice League #1 to kick start the team's official titled series. The roster is Dr. Fate, Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Martian Manhunter, Captain Marvel, and Guy Gardner.

Superman decides to operate independently, the Changeling decides to stick with the Teen Titans, and the Flash does not join the team in this issue either. Legends #6 has the cover date of April, 1987.








I know this is the Copper Age key issues part for Blue Beetle, but there are some Silver Age enemies that do end up becoming a minor nuisance for both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes. As mentioned in Blue Beetle #3 of the 1986 series, the Madmen are an enemy of Ted Kord during his Charlton Comics days, and they first debuted in Blue Beetle #3 of the 1967 series.

They do pop up in titles outside of the Blue Beetle comics and have made a few appearances in the Modern Age of comics as well. There first appearance in New-Earth continuity should be in the 1986 1st DC Blue Beetle series.

Not too sure about their 1st appearance in DC Comics though or if issue #3 of the 1st Blue Beetle comic series published by DC Comics is their 1st in DC Comics.

Other pretty minor Ted Kord villains from the Charlton Silver Age of comics is the Squid Gang. They debuted in the 1st issue of the Blue Beetle 1967 comic series and only had a single run-in with Ted Kord and later the 3rd Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes.

Like the Silver Age, most of Blue Beetle's enemies that actually appeared in his titled series during the Copper Age are pretty much third-tier villains. They don't show up frequently over-all in DC Comics.
 
Ted Kord in DC Comics usually shares villains or they were once major foes of other comic characters like Chronos for Ray Palmer as the Atom and later ended up becoming a major foe for Ted Kord.

The original character of Chronos debuted in Atom #3 and was created by Gil Kane and Gardner Fox. The character was played by Dominic Purcell and Jordan Davis in the Legends of Tomorrow TV series. While a time traveler in the comics, he is not a bounty hunter nor works for the Time Masters like in the TV show.

Most all of the Blue Beetle keys of the Copper Age are over-looked nor overly desired at the time of this writing. Judging from the caliber of characters and villains introduced specifically for Ted Kord during the era, I can understand why they are and most did not become major menaces nor characters for either Blue Beetle or the over-all world of DC Comics.

Part 2 is read so see ya there.




GOLDEN AGE | SILVER AGE | COPPER AGE | MODERN AGE


2 comments:

  1. Hope they are a makin' that Blue Beetle/Buster Gold movie. Invested in both players, mainly the key issues, but haven' t heard anything about production dates yet. Well, goes to show, you can' t count on anything besides the Transformers hittin' the screen every year ;-)

    Max Rebo

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    1. I think if done right, a Booster Gold and Blue Beetle flick could be what DC/Warner Bros. needs. I'm really not all that impressed with their flicks post Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

      I don't think DC/Warner knows what they're doing concerning their movies. Perhaps, they should hire Kevin Feige?

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