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Blue Beetle History OG

The Four Blue Beetles

The Blue Beetle is one of the earliest costumed adventurers appearing in American comics. He debuted in 1939 in Mystery Men Comics No. 1, published by Fox Publications. Over the years he would evolve and become completely different characters as he was passed from publisher to publisher.

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Time Warp No. 1 Cover by Michael Wm Kaluta

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June 12, 2022|In Comics, DC, Sci Fi

It was this comic from the summer of 1979 with my 14th birthday approaching that sent me over the edge. As my paperboy income increased, my comic book buying increased. DC was on the move again having recovered from the Implosion of two years earlier and their penchant for exploration and trying things out was at the forefront once again.

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The Legion of Super-Heroes No. 282 Cover by Jim Aparo

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May 27, 2022|In Comics, DC

Jim Aparo wasn't known for his work on the Legion, but he turns in a serviceable job here on a Time Trapper tale.

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Batman No. 296 Cover by Amendola & Milgrom

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May 24, 2022|In Comics, DC

Sal Amendola has had a long career as a comic book artist and teacher. Though his work at DC was mostly accomplished during a brief period in the early 1970s, what he did do is well remembered. "Night of the Stalker" – eventually published in Detective Comics No. 439 – was a story he and brother Vin plotted from an idea by Neal Adams, and Sal pencilled. It had its words added by Steve Englehart and inks by Dick Giordano.

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The New Teen Titans No. 1 Alternate Cover by George Pérez

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May 12, 2022|In Comics, DC

In 1980 I was in my first years of regularly collecting and then as now DC's books drew me more than Marvel's (plus I was picking up books available on the emerging direct market). I saw the New Teen Titans first appearance in DC Comics Presents No. 26 not because of them, but because I normally bought DCCP, and cool, Jim Starlin did layouts for the Superman and Green Lantern team-up. GL was, along with Batman, my favourite DC character.

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Tales of the Unexpected No. 10 Cover by Mort Meskin

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May 1, 2022|In Comics, DC

A prolific and skilled artist working in comics Golden and Silver ages, Mort Meskin eventually left comics for agency work in illustration and storyboarding.

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Batman by Rob de la Torre

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April 30, 2022|In Comics, DC

Rob de la Torre is a Spanish artist who has done work for Marvel Comics. When he works on Conan, it's as if he's channeling the soul of the late, great John Buscema with lush linework and deep, mysterious blacks.

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Superman The Secret Years No. 4 Cover by Frank Miller

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April 30, 2022|In Comics, DC

Miller was at DC. While Ronin had found an audience, it hadn't been a resounding success. But now he was working on The Dark Knight Returns, and that would change everything.

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DC Comics Presents Pin-Up by George Pérez

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April 20, 2022|In Comics, DC

DC Comics Presents was modelled after The Brave & the Bold, which is largely remembered for being the Batman team-up book. As the Superman team-up book, DCCP had some great stories in it. It also had some clunkers and from my point of view it was the ever-changing creative teams that worked on DCCP that gave it its up and down feel, while B&B had the creative team of writer Bob Haney and artist Jim Aparo to keep the book's feel consistent.

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Wonder Woman No. 258 Cover by Delbo & Giordano

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April 16, 2022|In Comics, DC

José Delbo was the penciller on Wonder Woman from 1976–1981, encompassing the time when the Lynda Carter TV series was on American television. This cover by him and inker Dick Giordano came right in the middle of his time on the book.

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Detective Comics No. 443 Alternate Cover by Walt Simonson

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April 2, 2022|In Comics, DC

I was just a few years too young to get comics regularly when Manhunter was the back-up feature in Detective Comics Nos. 437–443. Written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Walt Simonson, it combined pulp high-adventure themes with espionage and thriller elements. With Goodwin's tight, evocative prose and Simonson's groundbreaking storytelling techniques, Manhunter always punched way above its weight as an eight-page back-up in the Batman comic that consistently sold the least copies.

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Justice League of America No. 193 Cover by George Pérez

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March 28, 2022|In Comics, DC

A fellow on facebook reminded me that another great George Pérez cover had been given the inset treatment. Justice League of America No. 193 carried a preview for All-Star Squadron. Written by Roy Thomas and initially drawn by Rich Buckler & Jerry Ordway, it was the then-current revival of DC's Golden Age characters. The book lasted 67 issues and three annuals.

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The New Teen Titans No. 16 Cover by Pérez & Tanghal

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March 27, 2022|In Comics, DC

Not a lot new to say this time out, except it's another of The New Teen Titans covers that was put into an inset so that another new book preview could be marketed. In this case it was the wonderful Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew, and I'm sure the preview gave a boost to a book that might have disappeared after only a few issues. As it was, it lasted 20 issues and has had some revivals over the years.

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Wonder Woman by José Luis García-López

Few artists can convey the romance, drama and power of a character like Wonder Woman better than García-López. While much of his work for DC Comics licensing is crisp, clear and by necessity stylised and simplified, pieces like this one show his full skill with lush ink work.

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Superman No. 338 Cover by Andru & Giordano

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March 5, 2022|In Comics, DC

As a part of the mythos of Superman's world, the city of Kandor had been stolen from Krypton by the android Brainiac and in the process it was shrunken and put into a glass bottle as part of his collection preserving civilizations that would be otherwise lost. Years later, Superman encounters Brainiac and steals back Kandor, vowing to one day return the city to its normal size. Until then, it sat on a shelf in his Fortress of Solitude like a futuristic ant farm.

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Superman No. 186 Cover by Swan & Klein

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February 26, 2022|In Comics, DC

As adult readers of comics, the lure of nostalgia can be powerful. We remember a time when responsibilities were simpler and lighter, and our understanding of the world was no where near complete.

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Batman No. 251 Cover by Neal Adams

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February 22, 2022|In Comics, DC

Neal Adams had arrived in comics in the mid 1960s, bringing art skills and techniques that had been honed in commercial art. Making his biggest impact at DC Comics, he's still associated with Batman and Green Lantern decades after he was active as those books' penciller.

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Batman No. 291 Cover by Jim Aparo

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February 20, 2022|In Comics, DC

David V Reed was a notable Batman writer, first writing the character in the late 1940s/early 1950s. He would return in the 1970s and likely his best moment was a four-parter published in Batman Nos. 291–294.

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DC Special Series No. 27 Cover – Batman and the Incredible Hulk by José Luis García-López

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February 19, 2022|In Comics, DC, Marvel

It was the end of an era. Earlier in 1981, Marvel Comics had handled the second team-up of Superman and the Amazing Spider-Man. And then this book followed, shepherded through the DC offices. While DC and Marvel would still occasionally team-up their characters for reader excitement and mutual profit, the tabloids – a fixture of both companies throughout the 1970s – would not continue much further into the 80s.

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The House of Mystery No. 175 Cover by Neal Adams

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February 17, 2022|In Comics, DC

Kids in peril was an effective theme Adams used for his DC horror covers. Scare the kids, they'll love it and they'll buy the comic.

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Limited Collectors Edition C-37 Cover – Batman by Jim Aparo

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February 12, 2022|In Comics, DC

Another solid volume of Batman stories, these from the Golden Age and featuring villains from Batman's rogues gallery. All of it wrapped in an iconic cover by The Brave & the Bold regular artist Jim Aparo.

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Limited Collectors Edition C-43 Cover by Swan & Oksner

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January 31, 2022|In Comics, DC

DC's 1970s tabloids were great treasure of reprinted material and this – the second "Christmas with the Super-Heroes" collection – was no exception. There was nothing like seeing favourite stories at a larger size.

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Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter Cover by Dave Gibbons

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November 16, 2021|In Comics, DC

I'm guessing I don't need to tell readers much about Watchmen here. You likely are already familiar with the 12-issue series – written by Alan Moore, drawn and lettered by Dave Gibbons, coloured by John Higgins and published by DC Comics in 1986 – to be even remotely interested in Tales of the Black Freighter, the allegorical/metaphorical comic within the Watchmen comic.

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Sword of Sorcery No. 1 Unpublished Cover by Jeffrey Catherine Jones

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October 28, 2021|In Comics, DC

The early 1970s saw an influx of new talent at DC, most of it shepherded by editor Joe Orlando. The four artists who would later make up The Studio – Bernie Wrightson, Michael Wm Kaluta, Jeffrey Catherine Jones and Barry Windsor Smith – had three of their number at DC while Windsor Smith was over at Marvel. Working outside the normal super-heroic books, they made their mark with covers, as well as adventure and horror stories.

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Stalker No. 1 Cover by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood

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October 23, 2021|In Comics, DC

Another of DC's short-run comics of the 1970s, this one boasted young Paul Levitz early in his career as writer, with veterans Steve Ditko and Wally Wood on art duties. Despite the quality of Stalker, it lasted only four issues.

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Super DC Giant S-20 The House of Mystery Cover by Neal Adams

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October 20, 2021|In Comics, DC

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, DC Comics leveraged their library of existing stories effectively with specials, annuals and series of books built around reprinted material.

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Starfire Poster by Mike Vosburg

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October 17, 2021|In Comics, DC

Starfire was another creation of writer David Michelinie – creator of Claw the Unconquered – and brought to visual life by penciller Mike Vosburg, debuting with Starfire No. 1, cover dated Aug/Sep 1976.

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Claw the Unconquered Nos. 13, 14 and 15 – Unpublished

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October 11, 2021|In Comics, DC

Following up on a post discussing Claw's origins, we turn to the issues produced but unpublished after its cancellation with issue No. 12.

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Green Lantern No. 110 Cover by Mike Grell

Along with writer Denny O'Neil, artist Mike Grell had taken Green Lantern from being a back-up in The Flash and relaunched into his own mag with No. 90 in 1976. By the time No. 110 came out in 1978 during the DC Explosion, Grell was about to leave the book to handle writing and pencilling duties on his own creation The Warlord, a book that went from bi-monthly to monthly status during the same time.

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Green Lantern No. 56 Cover by Kane & Anderson

A great cover to a great issue of Green Lantern from 1967. The creature is reminiscent of Jack Kirby's Thing for Marvel's Fantastic Four and bears some resemblance to The Abomination from The Incredible Hulk, a character Gil Kane also designed.

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The Justice Society of America by Anderson and McCorkindale

Editor Julius Schwartz did a brilliant thing when he had Gardner Fox write "The Flash of Two Worlds" for The Flash No. 123. Bringing back the original versions of the Second World War-era characters was a unique and compelling way to integrate them into the Silver Age - the second era of super-heroes.

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The Arthurian Era by Brian Bolland

Crisis on Infinite Earths had concluded, turning the DC Comics multiverse into a supposedly coherent universe. The History of the DC Universe two-book set documented the new timeline, and The History of the DC Universe Portfolio celebrated it with tabloid-sized images by some of DC's top talent.

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Detective Comics No. 481 Unpublished Cover by Jim Aparo

Books come and books go, and in the latter half of 1978, DC Comics was in the throes of The DC Implosion and nearly half their titles disappeared.

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Batman Family No. 20 Cover by Jim Starlin

It was the best Batbook of its era, and it had gotten there with new talent like Marshall Rogers, Mike Golden, Joe Staton and others breathing new life into the Batman family of characters.

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Superman Pin-Up TPB Cover by Neal Adams

Neal Adams is recovering from an illness that nearly claimed him, and we're all reminded that those whose work we love won't be around forever. And when Adams can still knock it out of the park, it's a testament to a life spent practising his skills, and that we always look forward to seeing more from him.

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Batman No. 313 Cover by José Luis García-López

This is an amazing symbolic cover. On the surface, it's merely a clever division of Two-Face's hideout, but if you extend the idea to the tragedies these antagonists have endured, it's even more interesting.

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BEM No. 28 Cover by Brian Bolland

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June 19, 2021|In Comics, DC, General

BEM – or Bemusing Magazine was a British comics fanzine of the 1970s and 80s, and I've had a scan of this cover in my files for a bit, meaning to do a new colour version.

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Batman No. 340 Cover by Jim Aparo

Jim Aparo became so strongly associated with DC heroes like Aquaman and Batman that we sometimes forget that he was a solid horror artist and in an alternate reality could have spent his career working in DC's anthologies.

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Time Warp No. 4 Cover by Michael Wm Kaluta

As ever, I'm a sucker for a Time Warp cover drawn by Michael Wm Kaluta. How the trumpet player ended up with demons/angels on a rock in space is anyone's guess, but it was certainly headier stuff than your average DC fare of the day.

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The Phantom Stranger No. 33 Cover by Jim Aparo

In the early 70s, both DC and Marvel went to a cover format that put solid colour behind the masthead and boxed in the cover art below it. It might have made covers more consistent and easier to lay out, but to my eye it was cramped and did a disservice to the power a good cover could generate to get a potential reader to pick up the comic off the newsstand. It put production convenience and cost control before editorial and artistic decision making. Penny wise and pound foolish is another way to express it.

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The Brave & the Bold No. 122 Cover by Jim Aparo

Swamp Thing was a great comic, and the issues done by creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson are classic horror tales, but the book's sales waned in other creators' hands. For the remainder of the 1970s, Swampie was relegated to reprints, and guest-star appearances like this one in B&B.

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The Brave & the Bold No. 116 Cover by Jim Aparo

Another of Aparo's inset covers for a 100-page The Brave & the Bold. A creepy idol comes to life in a supernatural team-up of Batman and the Spectre.

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The Brave & the Bold No. 112 Cover by Jim Aparo

In early 1974, DC Comics decided to turned part of its line into 100-page comics for 60¢ after previously releasing specials and one shots in similar sizes and price points. Accompanying the normal features were reprints from DC's large library of material. It was my generation's introduction to the deep well of Golden and Silver age stories.

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Wonder Woman No. 184 Cover by Sekowsky & Giordano

Coming in the middle of the New Wonder Woman run – where Diana lost her powers and resembled Emma Peel more than an Amazon princess – we have this issue where her warrior roots are front and centre.

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The Brave & the Bold No. 87 Cover by Sekowsky & Giordano

I've always loved this cover with Batman driving a Formula One car of the era. But it wasn't until I found a scan of the original art that I realised I liked it even more. Behind the trade dress and flat orange background colouring, there was a great European mountain village and the wheel the Speed Racer-style villain had just sheared off the Wayne Special.

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Wonder Woman Neal Adams OG

Wonder Woman Pin-Up by Neal Adams

I'm less of a fan of the Wonder Woman as warrior than I am of her original conception with bracelets she used to bounce bullets off of, and a Lasso of Truth that forced bad guys to own up to what they'd done. But, her popularity now is due in part to the current conception of her kicking butt while wielding a sword and shield.

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Madame Xanadu Pin-Up by Michael Wm Kaluta

Michael Wm Kaluta has been associated with Madame Xanadu from her first appearance in Doorway to Nightmare No. 1 in 1978.

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World's Finest Cover by Jim Aparo

Jim Aparo spent most of his comics career at DC Comics, associated with Batman, Aquaman, Spectre and a plethora of team-ups in The Brave and the Bold. He was a triple threat, pencilling, inking and lettering his stories.

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Wonder Woman by Colleen Doran

For the better part of 40 years, Colleen Doran has had a diverse career in comics, encompassing her own epic saga A Distant Soil, assignments from publishers both large and small, and collaborating on graphic novel projects with writers at the top of the field.

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DC Special Series No. 26 Superman and His Incredible Fortress of Solitude Cover by Andru & Giordano

One of DC's best tabloid editions was nearly its last. An all-new tale by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, Romeo Tanghal, Gaspar Saladino and Jerry Serpe, it used the rich mythos of mementoes in Superman's Fortress of Solitude as its backdrop.

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