So, before we get into Ted Kord's adventures I'd like to acknowledge the man who came before him…Dan Garrett, or more specifically Dan Garret (single “t”). As I mentioned before, my first encounter with Dan (or Ted for that matter) came in DC’s “Secret Origins”, and Dan was portrayed as a bit of an Indiana Jones style bad-ass. Imagine my surprise when, years later, I find out in his original appearance he had a very different career, though still managed to be pretty bad-ass. Dan was a cop!
“Mystery Men Comics”, published by Fox Feature Syndicate in 1939 introduced the world to Dan Garret…a rookie cop out to avenge his father’s murder! And the differences didn’t stop there! In his first few appearances he didn’t even wear blue spandex…nope, he wore a suit! A suit with a fedora and mask, and he left behind a calling card of a blue scarab. I know what you’re thinking…”Hey, that’s very similar to another color coded hero, the Green Hornet.” And you would be correct. The reason? Publisher and owner of Fox Feature Syndicate, Victor Fox himself. According to the book “The Blue Beetle Companion” by Christopher Irving, several artists and writers that worked for Fox have gone on the record saying the publisher was not shy about borrowing good ideas. He even found himself in court when he tried to make a buck with Wonder Man, a clone of Superman.
For your viewing pleasure here’s the first 4 page adventure of Dan Garret…The Blue Beetle, by Charles Nicholas*!
In no time though, Dan upgraded his costume. Thanks to his friend and pharmacist Dr. Franz, he slipped into something that offered a bit more protection, light-weight chain mail! The good doctor also prescribed the mysterious vitamin 2X that boosted Dan’s strength and stamina. By day Garret walked the beat with his partner, Officer Mike Mannigan, and by night he was the scourge of the underworld, the Blue Beetle. It’s this version of Dan Garret/Blue Beetle that appeared on the radio in 1940…but that’s a story for another post!
See you next week!
*”Charles Nicholas” is actually a pseudonym used by 3 creators while working on “Blue Beetle” at Fox Features Syndicate…Chuck Cuidera, Charles Wojtkoski, and Jack Kirby!