Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blue Beetle #33

Here's another classic Dan Garret adventure, this time from 1944's Blue Beetle #33. "The Adventure of the Double Cell"

"His entire face is blown away!" What the what?! That's a pretty rough ending for poor Sonny the clone! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Super-Team Family Sunday #2

Last month I posted Ross Pearsall's most recent Blue Beetle themed entry of his great blog Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues...this week I want to share the very first one he awesome Batman/Blue Beetle team-up that coulda, woulda, shoulda been!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ask The Right Queston!

Ride with us now to the thrilling days of, I mean let's go back to July of 1986, when Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Bruce Patterson brought us Blue Beetle #5 (cover dated October 1986). And, as the cover proclaims, "The Question is back--and the answer is murder!"

We open with someone looking at a whole lot of notes, files and photos on Blue Beetle, that someone has questions*...and that someone is reporter Vic Sage! Vic's boss doesn't want him wasting time looking into the Blue Beetle though, not when their are gangs running wild on the streets of Chicago. And out of sheer coincidence on the very next page...a gang is running wild on the streets of Chicago! With cops hot on their tail the thugs pile into their car and speed away! One of the thugs panics "What's wrong--I thought we wuz protected!" and at that very moment someone fires a missile at the police. "See? What'd I tell ya? With the Big M backin' us we can't be stopped!!" A second shell crashes into the cops and releases...laughing gas! the Joker moving into town? There's no time to wonder because Blue Beetle is now on the scene, following the criminals from the air in his Bug! Just when he gets close though, another explosion rocks a nearby building and Ted has to evade falling bricks, allowing the gang to getaway.

We're then introduced to the king of the underworld, no not the devil, Vincent Perignon mob boss of Chicago. Seems that gang had actually hit one of his numbers operations and he's not too happy about it. His son Richie is on the case though.

Meanwhile, at a coffee shop, Vic Sage is meeting with an informant by the name of "Rodent". The rat (haha, he's an informant, and his name is Rodent...get it?) tells Sage he's heard someone is trying to organize the "kid" gangs. He doesn't have a name, but he knows they're planning to meet at midnight!

Ted brings the Bug back to his underground hide-out for a check-up, and things look good. No damage from the falling bricks!

Lt. Fisher is still determined to pin Dan Garrett's death on Ted, but his boss has other plans. The Captain tells Fisher he needs to drop the Garrett case, or at least do it on his own time. The police are focusing on the gang problem and Fisher needs to get on board.

Ted and Melody have a brief interlude.Ted's questioning how he got here.** The conversation seems to cover both Ted being placed in charge of Kord Inc and becoming Blue Beetle (though he never tells her this). She assures him he's doing the right thing, and that under his leadership Kord Inc has grown into a force second only to STAR labs! We also learn that Ted's dad is MIA, involved with some kind of Egyptian dig before Ted steps out for fresh the Blue Beetle!

Faster than you can say "gang fight", Vic and Ted are fighting side by side, as the Question and Blue Beetle of course, against an army of gang members in a junk yard! What follows is 5 pages of great action and bad puns. Putting hoods under the hood (of a car), using a garbage can to take out the trash (gang members being the trash). This all comes to a "wha-whoom" stop when another missile comes flying into the dump giving the gang members a chance to get out. BB and the Question dust off and decide to work together on this gang issue...and the starting point? Figure out who is "Big M"? Two panels later we readers know the answer...a comically clad villain named "The Muse"!

So there you have it, another fast paced, action packed issue! A lot of the previous sub-plots take a break this issue (like Angela the receptionist, Carapace back on Pago Island, and Jeremiah) which works well to move things along. And I've said it before, I'll say it again...Paris Cullins draws some amazing fight sequences...I think I'm going to have to start scanning a few panels to include with these reviews in the future...great stuff!

* get it? Questions...sorry, couldn't resist.

** This kind of statement always reminds me of the movie "That Thing You Do" the band in the film takes the stage the guitarist looks at the drummer and asks "How did we get here?" The response? "I led you here sir, for I am Spartacus."

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vintage Blue Beetle Advertising #1

How cool is this Beetlemaniacs? Blue Beetle temporary tattoos! 
Based on the "comic favorites" listed, like supporting cast players Mike Mannigan and Joan Mason, this is clearly from the golden age era of Dan Garret (single "T")

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blue and Gold Sesame Street Style!

I just stumbled on this today on CBR and had to share! 

Ernie and Bert as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold! I LOVE it!

The artist is Bill Walko, check out his web page here!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who...or What the Kaji Dha Wednesday #1

Today I'm going way off the usual topic, but that's part of the fun I have with my "What The Kaji Dha" posts. Today I'd like to talk about, as Craig Ferguson (go on, click it...I'll wait) said, "a man, who's not really a man. He's a doctor, but he's not really a Dr. Phil, but AWESOME!" Today I want to talk about Doctor Who. Why you ask? Well...the show is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, they just made a big deal announcing the latest actor to take on the role! (Peter Capaldi in case you missed the live BBC multi-national simulcast). Not just that though...I'm a legitimate fan! I've been watching Doctor Who about as long as I've been collecting comics...and much like my love of comics, my love of Who began with my family, sort of. My first time watching Doctor Who was at my Gram's house one Sunday afternoon during a PBS pledge drive. They were running 'The Five Doctors", which was the show's 20th anniversary special.

(left to right, Richard Hurndall, Peter Davison, Tom Baker's wax dummy, K-9, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton)

In all honesty though the special could have been called "The Three Doctors, a stand in and some unused footage" as William Hartnell, the First Doctor, had passed and was replaced by Richard Hurndall, and Tom Baker, the Fourth, opted not to participate so unused footage from an incomplete episode (Shada) and some clever writing was used to include his incarnation. It doesn't really matter though, I found myself drawn to Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor! He was younger than the others, charismatic, likable...and blond. See as a kid, a blond haired kid, I always found characters that looked like me more easy to relate to (or pretend to be)...Aquaman, Green Arrow, Bo Duke, and the Fifth Doctor.

(Peter Doctor)

I found that PBS aired episodes every Saturday night (along with the hilarious sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf), and I watched them loyally...for years! I made my way through all of the Fifth Doctor's stories, met his companions (Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, Turlough, and Peri) and his enemies (Anthony Ainley was brilliant as the Master)...and saw him die, sacrificing himself to save Peri.

(Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker)

I saw Colin Baker, with his technicolor dream coat take over as the Sixth Doctor. I was unsure if I'd like the show without Davison though, but Peri (Nicola Bryant) was cute enough to keep my attention...and after a while I liked number Six. Not a fan of Mel, his second companion though...

(Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred)

And then Sylvester McCoy stepped in, with a curious mix of mirth and mystery. He could go from bumbling comedy to dark and creepy at the drop of a hat. The downside? Mel was still with him...though not for too long. She was replaced by Ace, who was a explosive carrying tomboy...and kind of a must be good to be the Doctor, traveling through time and space with attractive young companions, lol

Yes, I quickly declared myself a Whovian and set about to find out as much as I could about this show. My local comic store carried Doctor Who Magazine, as well as comics. I could pick up novelizations at my local bookstore. I didn't know many people that shared my interest at the time, just a couple friends from school and one of my cousins, I did get to attended a Doctor Who convention and see I wasn't alone...and then I was...the show was cancelled...then it was back with a made for TV movie in 1996...but that was just a tease, and it was quickly gone again...or was it?

To be continued...

(Paul McGann from the 1996 TV movie)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Menace Of The Madniks!



A while back I blogged about 2 episodes of "Batman The Brave And The Bold"..."Rise Of The Blue Beetle", and "Fall Of The Blue Beetle". Both featured Ted to varying degrees, but were definitely Jaime-centric. This time we get "Menace Of The Madniks!"...with Booster Gold...and a lot more Ted!
The episode opens with Batman in high speed pursuit of Ma Murder. She leads him into an ambush but he's rescued by the ghost of Jeb the Haunted Tank! Oddly, even though this is General Jeb Stuart and not General Lee they still jump a bridge and yell "Yeehaw!" while honking a horn that plays "Dixie"...just like on the old "Dukes Of Hazzard" TV show.
(I know...this image has nothing to do with Blue Beetle, but the Haunted Tank is cool!)
After the opening titles we find Batman fighting with the Madmen (for some reason called Madniks on the cartoon) outside a bank. A group of reporters swarm in around Batman followed by Booster Gold. Booster plays it off like Batman's his hired help and tells the reporters to let Bats do his job in rounding up these criminals. As Bat's and Booster resume the fight the caped crusader tells Gold to back off...he's settling a score for an old friend, the Blue Beetle! " knew Ted Kord?" BG asks. "He was a true friend, and a real hero! Something YOU wouldn't understand" is the reply. We've seen it with Jaime, and now we see it with Booster...Batman can be a real ass! Gold doesnt take it too personally though, he tells Skeets he thinks this is the closest he's seen Bats to being emotional. Apparently BG is a little emotional too and tells Skeets he thinks they should go visit Ted...not the memorial statue, but the man himself! Oh the benefits of time travel!
In just a few seconds Booster and Skeets arrive 2 years ago at Ted's headquarters. While the Blue and Gold duo catch-up, alarms sound alerting BB to a break-in at STAR Labs...and coincidentally, the culprits guessed it the Madn...Madmen! Maybe not too coincidental, the episode is named for them after all. The Madmen (I just can't gt myself to call them Madniks) have broken in to steal a Quark pistol. What is it? Why do they want it? It's not clear. It does appear to have the ability to disintegrate walls though. The Madmen taunt BB. He's fought them before, but they always get away. What makes him think it'll be different now? He's got Booster Gold in his corner! And with a quick shot from his wrist blasters BG destroys the Quark gun and helps his pal Ted finally get "the one that got away".
Sadly, once he returns to the present Booster finds that the world is overrun by giant energy monsters! Batman shows up and after some premature denial Gold admits to have meddled in the past..."A lil bit...yeah." So Bats and Booster head back to just after Blue and Gold defeated the Madmen. When Booster asks why this point in particular Bats declares "Look! I'm not going to explain the intricacies of time travel to a man without a library card!" Another dickish move by Batman...what does he have against Booster anyway? Ted seems pretty shocked to see them together when they arrive at the Bug Cave and explains that he didn't think they'd get along. That's why he doesn't discuss them around each other. Batman is a work friend, and Booster is fun friend. Ha! That ought to put ol' pointy ears in his place!
Ted's been looking into the Madmen and the Quark pistol and thinks the explosion may have altered their DNA and suggests the trio go to Hub Island Penetentiary to investigate before it's too late. They arrive just in time to see the Madmen...transformed into the future/present energy monsters after touching an electric fence while trying to escape. The trio has some trouble working together at first, Booster and Bats both acting like Betty and Veronica trying to get Beetle/Archie's attention, but then Ted comes up with a plan. The creatures are drawn toward energy. If they follow them toward the nuclear power plant, and Ted alters the radiation signature of the BB gun they may have a shot at defeating them. Booster quickly volunteers, but Batman tries to steal his spotlight. Ted points out that they'll ALL need to be involved and the plan is set in motion.
By resetting the BB gun, and linking it into Booster's suit so it can be broadcast through its forcefield generator they can defeat the energy monsters! Bats settles down, after realizing how much his friendship with Ted really means to Booster and they finally work together. After the plan ends succesfully and the Madmen are captured, Ted comments how this has been a great night...seeing his two best friends working together. Back at the Bug Cave, Ted finds a message waiting from...Batman. Seems there's trouble on Science (Pago) Island. (kinda creepy...this is the mission that Ted gives his life on) Booster and Bats say their goodbyes and time hop to the present, just as Past-Bats shows up to leave for Science Island with a slightly bewildered Ted. Back in the present Booster says he's ok with Batman being Blue Beetle's "second best friend". And Batman, maybe realizing now that he's been an ass for most of this adventure, invites Booster to help him take down some thugs committing the 2nd bank robbery this episode.
This was another fun episode, even with the slightly depressing/sad "we all know Ted's about to die soon" stuff. In fact I'd love to see them bring back Booster and Beetle for a Blue and Gold cartoon! It won't happen...but sometimes it's fun to dream.
Until next time!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ditko Beetle Designs!

While surfing Google images for more Blue Beetle goodness I stumbled on this...

The page it was linked to says this is a page from Ditko's sketchbook showing his early designs for Ted Kord's costume...a design that remained more or less intact and unchanged from 1966, even as the character moved from Charlton to DC, until Ted's death in 2005!