INSIGHT: I am Blue Beetle

Posted by jadecanary on April 23, 2008

I don’t get it. You love Superman. Your blog reflects your Kryptonian passion. Hell, you named your kid Kal-el. What do you mean “I am Blue Beetle”?

In early 1990, my facination with comic books began. ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #463, Superman races The Flash. I was 12. Superman was big for me while I was growing up. I used to watch the George Reeves TV show on reruns on Sundays. Whenever the movies re-ran on TV, I was there. But there, before me, was an honest to God race between the two fastest heroes I’ve ever seen. After that, I was hooked. I bought a Superman comic every week my mom took me to the store. SUPERMAN, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, and ACTION COMICS. Every now and again, I’d flip through the other books there. I’d get familiar with some of the characters. I knew who the “Superfriends” were, but not much about current continuity. I bought JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #40, because Mr. Miracle died. I had no idea who he was, but he was dead. And Superman made a 3-panel appearance.

JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #52 came out in the summer of 1991. I was 13, the start of the rough road that was my teenage years. The cover featured Guy “Grinder” Gardner vs. Blue “Battling” Beetle in a boxing match. Then I flipped through it and saw this…

“Omigod. I’m Blue Beetle.”

A super-hero… that is fat. And unhappy about it.

Guy Gardner (of course) filled the roll of the bully, picking on Ted about his weight. The rest of the issue is unimportant, but I’ll tell you about it. General Glory tells Beetle and Guy to settle their issues in the boxing ring. In a book where the only villian was a friend being a bully, the hero did his best. He put Guy on his ass in one punch (“ONE PUCH AGAIN, BWAH-HA-HA”). Guy didn’t take kindly to that and tackled Ted and started to “kick” the crap out of him. Guy was immediatly expelled from the Justice League (a tragedy brought him right back in less then an issue later).

Ted later got himself back into shape by training under General Glory, but that’s not the point. Ted Kord was a comedian. Ted Kord was a nice guy. And Ted Kord was a dork and a fatty. I related to him at 13 and even now at 30. To see him beat up on himself for putting back on the pounds, for bring back all those forgotten demons, connected to me. I’m Blue Beetle. And I didn’t feel so alone anymore.

I’ve been a Ted Kord/Blue Beetle fan ever since. Right up until the day Max Lord blew his brains out. I was sad, but I felt vindicated. Max Lord was pimped up to be this powerful man. He had money, he controlled the Justice League, and he ran Checkmate. He even stole Batman’s super-hero spy satelite. But he had to kill Blue Beetle, because he was dangerous. The lame-ass, fat-boy dork was a threat to everything Lord had built. Ted Kord died a hero.

And then BOOSTER GOLD writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz brought him back. I know Beetle is only going to be around for this storyline, but I’m glad to see him back in action, one last time. I’ll have a BENDING STEEL REVIEW of the “Blue and Gold” story-arc from BOOSTER GOLD when it is completed.

I love Superman. I love his character, I love his personality, I love.. well, everything about the guy. But he’s no Blue Beetle. He couldn’t be. I thank Seigel and Shuster for giving me someone to look up in the sky for, but I thank even more Gerard Jones and JM DeMatteis for JLA 52. They made a little boy not feel so ashamed.


One Response to “INSIGHT: I am Blue Beetle”

  1. Anonymous said

    I’ve been looking for that certain comic for ages can you do a favour and scan all the panels in this issue thanks

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