Now, what if I told you that Scooby Doo met the Blue Beetle? Ok...Iet me clarify...what if I told you that the Mystery Inc. gang once encountered a superhero gone bad named the Blue Scarab? Intrigued? I thought you might be...read on, my friends, read on...
In 1979 the folks at Hanna Barbera decided to shake up the Scooby Doo formula by adding his nephew Scrappy to the mix. Scrappy is a love him or hate him kind of character, and I could go on about why I don't care for Crappy, I mean Scrappy, but that's not why we're here. We're here to take a look at "The Scarab Lives" the first episode of the "Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo" show.
The episode opens with a superhero, clad in blue tights, cape and mask with a scarab emblem on his chest, leaping across a roof top and slipping into a building through an open skylight. Inside an artist, Jerry Sloane, works at a drawing desk, the walls around him hung with posters bearing the figure's likeness. Suddenly the room is filled with a sound that is best described as being similar to cicadas in heat. The artist is quite confused and starts asking questions, like a kid who's bored on a long car ride..."That noise, where's it coming from? Who's there? Who are you?" The answers? The noise is the Scarab alarm, and Sloane should know where it's coming from...he created it, along with the Blue Scarab and his Scarab Sting (sort of an electrified suit). But the Scarab is there to tell him not to write anymore comics...or else!
The Mystery Inc. kids are hanging out at the Malt Shop, as mystery solving teens tend to do, when they read a newspaper report about the incident. Since the Scarab is Shaggy's favorite comicbook, they decide to investigate! They meet with Sloane and learn of his plan to have the Blue Scarab become a criminal (only temporarily...brainwashed by a real villain apparently). After stumbling on a new issue of the Blue Scarab comic at Sloane's studio, an issue that has the Scarab turning into a criminal, the gang head to the publisher to see if they can track down any clues.
They meet Mr. Hardy, the comic publisher, who bears a slight resemblence to boxing promoter Don King, and Sloane's rival artist Floyd Hotchkiss (aka suspect #1), who looks and sounds like horror movie star Peter Lorre. They head back to Sloane's but before they can get any further with the case, the Scarab shows up to make sure his warning was heard...and repeats it, just in case anyone missed it. The gang meets Sloane's assistant, Howard Cruger (aka suspect #2)...who just happens to be coming from the same direction they saw the Scarab running. Meanwhile the Scarab pulls off a jewel heist, just like he does in the comic, and steals a crown from a museum, leaving behind a beautifully painted scarab at each crime scene...only the comic hasn't been published yet and they only two people with copies are Sloane and his publisher Hardy (now moonlighting as suspect #3). While the Scarab continues his crime spree the kids try predicting his next move based on the comic. Sloane is ready to throw in the towel after his publisher informs him that subscriptions are being cancelled, no one wants the comic now that the hero has become a villain. So Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and the Doo's head back the publisher, figuring that if the Scarab is determined to stop the comics from being published he may target the printing presses.
Guess what? They were right! And after Scrappy tackles him, and Shaggy and Scooby roll him in a giant ream of printing paper they can finally reveal that the Scarab is someone who knew about the crimes in the unpublished comic. Mr. Hardy? No. The person under the mask also had to be a great artist based on the scarab paintings left at the crime scenes. Hotchkiss? Guess again. It's none other than...Cruger!
Tired of being Sloane's unknown assistant he figured if the Blue Scarab was no longer published he might have a shot at working on some of his own creations...and he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids! Sloane wonders how he can repay the gang and Scrappy suggests a couple of new characters...the Blue Scooby and Scrappy Blue!
So...is this a thinly veiled Blue Beetle? Well, maybe...I mean there aren't any other blue bug inspired heroes I can think of...and Mark Evanier (who has a lengthy career in comics) is credited as the episodes writer, so it's possible. In any case, it was fun...even with Scrappy.