The Four Blue Beetles

September 5, 2022|In Charlton, Comics, DC

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.

Since the mid 1980s, he’s been owned by DC Comics and they’ve focussed on the third and fourth iterations. But there were two different Beetles before that and we’ll have a look at those.

A great reference is The Blue Beetle Companion by Christopher Irving, published by TwoMorrows in 2007. It’s out of print now, but still available as an ebook, or you can try the used book market for a physical copy.

The Blue Beetle comics from the Golden and Silver ages are in the public domain, and you can find them on ComicBookPlus. I highly recommend YACReader for digital comics.


Blue Beetle V1 1

Blue Beetle, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1940, Fox Publishing. Art by Lou Fine.

Blue Beetle I

The first Blue Beetle was in the mould of popular newspaper strip character The Phantom. Dan Garret (one T) was a policeman who put on a costume to fight gangsters of the Golden Age. He would later gain powers like DC’s Hourman from a special pill, but by the end of his comics in the mid 1950s he had innate super powers.

While DC Comics holds the trademark to the name Blue Beetle, the copyrights on these stories have lapsed and they are in the public domain. DC Comics has not reprinted BB I’s stories. New stories can be created with this character though they would need to be packaged in a comic not titled Blue Beetle to avoid confusion in the marketplace.

Mystery Men Comics
Nos. 1–32
Aug 1939–Feb 1942

The Blue Beetle v1
Nos. 1–60
Spr 1940–Aug 1950

Big 3
Nos. 1–7
Fall 1940–Jan 1942

Real Hit Comics
No. 1
1944

All-Top Comics
Nos. 8–13, 16-17
Jan 1947–Feb 1949

Phantom Lady
Nos. 13
Aug 1947

Tegra, Jungle Empress
No. 1
Aug 1948

Zago, Jungle Prince
No. 1
Sep 1948

Space Adventures
No. 13–14
Oct–Dec 1954

Blue Beetle v2
Nos. 18–21
Feb–Aug 1955

Nature Boy
No. 3
Mar 1956

The Human Fly
Nos. 1, 10
1958, 1963


Blue Beetle V3 1

Blue Beetle, Vol. 3, No. 1, June 1964, Charlton Comics. Art likely by Bill Molno & Frank McLaughlin.

Blue Beetle II

Dr. Daniel Garrett (two Ts) is an archæologist who discovers a blue scarab in a tomb and is granted fantastic powers by the spirit of an Egyptian pharaoh. Garrett holds the scarab in his hand, says the magic words, “Kaji Dha!” and he is transformed into the Blue Beetle.

Note: Blue Beetle II is often identified as the same character as Blue Beetle I. However, they are different characters in origin and costume.

While DC Comics holds the trademark to the name Blue Beetle, the copyrights on these stories were unregistered or are expired and they are in the public domain. DC Comics has not reprinted BB II’s Charlton stories. New stories can be created with this character though they would need to be packaged in a comic not titled Blue Beetle to avoid confusion in the marketplace. In addition, DC has published stories including BB II that are their timeline branch. New stories would need to be developed along a separate branch.

Blue Beetle v3
Nos. 1–5, 50–54
Jun 1964–Feb 1966

Blue Beetle v4
No. 2
Aug 1967

Americomics
No. 3
Aug 1983

Secret Origins
No. 2
May 1986

Blue Beetle v5
Nos. 1, 14, 17–18
Jun 1986, Jul, Oct–Nov 1987

DC Universe Legacies
No. 10
Apr 2011


Blue Beetle V4 1

Blue Beetle, Vol. 4, No. 1, June 1967, Charlton Comics. Art by Steve Ditko.

Blue Beetle III

Brilliant scientist inventor Ted Kord inherits tech company Kord Industries from his father, and uses the vast resources at his disposal like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark to become a hero with cool transportation and gadgets.

DC Comics acquired the rights to the Charlton Comics Action Heroes in the mid 1980s and they focussed on BB III when they began including him in their comics. DC Comics has reprinted BB III’s Charlton stories. There is conflicting info that the Charlton stories for BB III are in the public domain via unregistered or expired copyrights. However, DC’s focus on and investment in BB III has established their trademark in the marketplace and they hold the copyrights for all stories they created including BB III, and it precludes anyone outside of DC creating new stories using BB III.

Captain Atom
Nos. 83–86
Nov 1966–June 1967

Blue Beetle v4
Nos. 1–5
Jun 1967–Nov 1968

Charlton Premiere
No. 3
Jan 1968

Charlton Portfolio
No. 9/10
1974

Ghost Manor
No. 21
Nov 1974

Charlton Bullseye
No. 1
Jun 1981

Americomics
No. 3
Aug 1983

Americomics Special
No. 1
Aug 1983

Crisis on Infinite Earths
Nos. 1–3, 6–7, 9–12
Apr 1985–Mar 1986

Secret Origins
No. 2
May 1986

Blue Beetle v5
Nos. 1–24
Jun 1986–May 1988

Countdown to Infinite Crisis
No. 1
May 2005

DC Universe Legacies
No. 10
Apr 2011

And other appearances


Blue Beetle V6 1

Blue Beetle, Vol. 6, No. 1, May 2006, DC Comics. Art by Cully Hamner.

Blue Beetle IV

Dr. Daniel Garrett’s scarab is unearthed and teenager Jaime Reyes finds it. The scarab attaches itself to Reyes’ body and is revealed to be an alien weapons system, departing from the original conception of the scarab as an ancient Egyptian artefact. When active, the scarab gives Reyes armour and creates a multitude of weapons.

DC Comics created their own Blue Beetle with IV. They hold all trademarks and copyrights for Blue Beetle IV.

Infinite Crisis
Nos. 3–7
Feb–Jun 2006

Blue Beetle v6
Nos. 1–36
May 2006–Apr 2009

Blue Beetle v7
Nos. 1–16
Nov 2012–Mar 2013

Blue Beetle Rebirth
No. 1
Oct 2016

Blue Beetle v8
Nos. 1–18
Nov 2016–Apr 2018

And other appearances