Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who's Who '90 (The Bug)

Yup...the Bug got it's own entry. Not until the 1990 looseleaf update, but still, not many vehicles get this honor! No Arrow-car, no Super-mobile...but Blue Beetle's Bug? Aww yeah!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Also The New Blue Beetle

From Captain Atom # 84, another adventure of the Blue Beetle brought to us by Gary Friedrich and Steve Ditko!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mystery Of What The Kaji Dha Wednesday

When you think "Kaji Dha" you think Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, and maybe "uh-oh, what's he springing on us this time" if you've been following this blog. When you think "mystery" you probably think Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys, "What is SPAM really?" and...Scooby Doo?

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 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! 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. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

If This Be Madness...!

Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Bruce Patterson return to bring us Blue Beetle #3 from 1986...and this time they have company! The cover promises "Blue Beetle Mixes It Up With The Malevolent Madmen!"

(Spoiler alert! They don't show up till about 2/3 of the way through the issue)

Things pick up right after the events of issue #2, with Ted soaring above the city in the Bug heading back to his hidden base at Kord Inc. Thinking to himself, he notes that...duh-duh-dum, the fire department found no trace of Firefist in the ruins of the burned down fire museum. As he nears home he spots one of his employees, Jeremiah, being hassled by some thugs. Thugs led by Farley Fleeter. Apparently Jeremiah is being coerced into doing something and Fleeter wants to speed up the time table. Ted's a good guy though and doesn't appreciate seeing his employee he swings into action as the Blue Beetle!

Next we check in on Ted's secretary Angela as she gets ready to leave for work. She checks on her uncle as he tinkers with some gadgets and he tells her to bring him back some more circuit switchers from Kord Electronics. When she tries to protest, he grabs her and lets her know she doesn't have a fact she owes him, "...this whole damn world owes me...and soon the world will pay!" Duh-duh-dum!

Once at the lab Ted checks in on the metallurgy lab, where Curt "there isn't a better metal man in the business" Calhoun is running some tests on the promethium that Takamoto brought over from Star Labs.

Meanwhile, Fleeter takes a meeting at a dingy dive bar, "the sort of joint even the cockroaches won't patronize unless they're especially desperate". The guy who sent the meeting request? The same freaky janitor that's been skulking around for the last 2 issues! He wants Fleeter to get his old gang, the "Madmen", together to pull off a job at Kord Inc.

Lt. Max Fisher, Chicago PD, shows up at Kord Inc., and spooks Angela. He's not looking for her though, he wants to talk to Ted about the death of Dan Garrett. His arrival though coincides perfectly with a delivery of several crates that just happen to contain the magnificently multicolored Madmen! Cue chaos and chase music! A worker on the loading dock sets off the fire alarm, and Kord and Fisher see what's going on through Ted's security monitors. Fisher leaps into action, while unbeknownst to anyone else Ted does too...slipping into costume as the Blue Beetle! Jeremiah does his part by activating an emergency security system that looks like something developed by Oliver Queen, launching electrically charged arrows at the Madmen. Jeremiah recognizes one of them as Fleeter, but Farley's not here about him this time...the Madmen are after something in the Experimental Weapons Lab! Ted and the Madmen twist and tumble in a turbulent tussle. (how's that for alliteration?) And just as BB manages to take out the last Madman standing, a mysterious figure slips into the metallurgy lab. Curt tries to stop him, but fails and the figure grabs the prometium in a flash of Kirby krackle. Ted get's to the lab just in time to ask "Who are you? What do you want here?" The answer? " My name is Doctor Alchemy!...and as of this moment, I am the rightful Ruler Of The World!" Duh-duh-dum!

This issue had some fast pacing and some frenetic, kinetic fight sequences expertly handled by Paris Cullins! Throw in 2 villain introductions and another cliffhanger ending and I'd say it's a winner!

See you next week!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

And for my next act...

So, I spent some time do I follow-up after a cool interview like the one I just posted? With some cool Blue Beetle art! Here's Dan & Ted by Gary Frank!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What the Kaji Dha? Blue Beetle...Lives!

Well, Beetlemaniacs, today I have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview with Donald McKinney III aka The Blue Beetle! What? You haven't heard of that particular alter ego? Then you're not looking in the right places...places like...the WORLD WIDE WEB…or more specifically, I mentioned them last week when I found their Blue Beetle webseries.

Kord Industries: Donald, thanks for taking time away from film making and crime fighting to chat with us! You're obviously a fan of the character. But can you tell us, why? Why the Blue Beetle, and specifically why Ted?

Donald McKinney III: I guess the seeds of The Blue Beetle were planted at an early age as the first two comics I came into contact with were on my parents’ book shelf. They were, The A Team and The Old Modern reprint of The Blue Beetle #3 (with the Mad Men!). Over the years I enjoyed the character, his humor, charm and his ability to get the job done when needed. Ted was funny, Ted was a man you'd wanna go have a burger and a beer with. Over the years he kinda fizzled, almost disappearing. Then came his death; the death of Ted Kord was so powerful, and so well written it made me realize that there was room for him again, there was room for a well-written Ted Kord story! The minute I thought that was the moment they killed him off. It was devastating to Kord fans everywhere.....

KI: That's funny, in another blog that I was working on, but haven't posted yet, I tried to answer that question myself and came to a similar answer. He's the average Joe who became a superhero! The kind of guy you’d want to hang out with! And when I read that book and saw Ted shot, I couldn’t believe what I was reading! It hit me the death of a good friend. It's good to see him back in action though! Tell us how your web series came about.

DM: The web series came about after a few short films I had finished, SUCCUBUS, and THE BIRTH. I enjoyed making them, and I enjoyed working with the people involved. I thought geez, maybe I can do something besides shorts, maybe I could do a web series. I was still upset about Kord's death and their refusal to bring him back (I asked DC at a panel at WonderCon about 4 years back). Then I thought if I have the time and can get the funding, perhaps I can bring him back on my own terms. I knew how to film, I knew the production side..the rest...the rest was history, lol.

KI: I had a similar encounter at the Baltimore Comic-Con a few years ago when I asked about Aquaman's possible return...DC shot my question down quick! They brought Arthur Curry back though, so I'd hope there's still a chance for Ted Kord. Speaking of history, on your website,, you have several shorts and outtakes in addition to the series episodes, including one titled "The Death of Dan Garrett". Any plans to revisit that character?

DM: Dan Garrett will be revisited in season 3, which we are filming now! I think everyone will LOVE what I have in store for him! :)

KI: Looking forward to seeing that! Some BB related characters you've haven't brought back, or brought back yet. How'd you choose Dr. Hypnovert as Ted's sidekick over say...Booster Gold?

DM: I chose Dr. Hypnovert for 2 reasons...I didn't want to introduce Booster just yet, and I wanted to introduce a bumbling sidekick of my own creation into the mix. It's a very simple call-back to Giffen and DeMatteis's occasional reference to Laurel & Hardy.

KI: I think you're onto something there! The rolling chair scene in the Scarecrow's hideout, while brief, had me laughing out loud! Now, you've referenced Blue Beetle history, DC continuity and several characters (especially those from the Batman mythos) already in series 1*. Any plans, teasers, or spoilers from series 2 you want to share?

DM: I chose to place several Batman characters into the series as Batman is a huge draw and his villains are so dynamic. Ted has a small amount of villains, and I thought "why can't Batman share?!". We'll be introducing 2 new Rumblespoon Original creations for season 2: Black Licorice and The Scarlett Beetle. We'll also be bringing in TED'S Ultimate Villain...the guy who started this all, Maxwell Lord. Season 2 is about revenge, redemption and a large man in a dress! lol

KI: This I have to see! Well, Max Lord...not the guy in a dress, unless they're one and the same? lol

Anyway, tell us about your Kickstarter project.

DM: My Kickstarter campaign is to get funding for season 3 of The Blue Beetle. I am adding a bit of a supernatural element into the 3rd season, which is not a cheap thing to do. I asked for a little amount so hopefully if people believe in the project, they'll donate what they can. The more money, the better the season!

The campaign story itself is about a 3 minute video filled with fun, laughs and information. I highly recommend people check it out!

KI: I second that! I've already become a backer myself! A man doesn't don a spandex costume without being a comic fan...let me ask you cats this question...Who were your influences? Which artists popped your cherry? Sorry, flashbacks to "That Thing You Do"*, lol What books are you reading now? Who are some of your other favorite characters?

DM: I'm currently reading Justice League Dark, Deathmatch, Age of Ultron, Batman, Superior Spiderman, Five Ghosts, The Black list goes on and on! (I'm a huge fan of the medium in general and am fascinated with it's history.)

Some of my current favs(besides Ted of course) would be Booster Gold, Deathstroke, Blue Devil, The Tick, Eclipso, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Frank, Beast, Plastic Man, Jonah Hex, Hercules, and The Question.

KI: SPOON! You have very good taste in comics, sir! Several of those titles and characters are part of my regular pull list too!

Ok, one last question...if Blue Beetle had appeared on the old “Batman” TV show with Adam West, which celebrity would you have cast to play him?

DM: That's a great question...I've always wanted to see William Shatner and Adam West share the small screen, so out of necessity for ridiculousness, I'd go with him..If that's too much crazy, I'd have a fallback...Patrick McGoohan! :)

This was fun...cheers!

KI: Shatner as Ted Kord! I'd have never come up with that! I was thinking Micky Dolenz from "The Monkees" as Ted, and Russell Johnson from "Gilligan's Island" as Dan Garrett, lol

Thanks for the interview, Donald! Hopefully we can bring you back to talk about future seasons at some point!

Check out Donald on Twitter @TedKordAlive
Like him on Facebook at The Blue Beetle: Ted Kord Returns Web Series
And check out the links to Rumblespoon Productions and Kickstarter, you’ll be glad you did!

* I've been watching lots of British TV lately, and have taken to referring to "seasons" of a show as "series" as a result. Some, like Donald, find this amusing...but in case you were confused I thought I'd clear that up.

** I worked in a video store for several years during college..."That Thing You Do" played in the store at least once a day for several years...I think the total number of viewings for me numbers in the thousands!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Who's Who '87 (Ted)

I already posted the cover when I put up Dan's page, so let's just look at Ted today! In the original Who's Who entry we saw Ted drawn by Steve Rude...this time we get Paris Cullins and Bruce Patterson who were working on the monthly book at this time....