Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trick or Treat with Thom Zahler!

Check this out Beetlemaniacs! Thom Zahler, of the awesome comic "Love and Capes", just sent me a pre-Halloween treat...this AWESOME Blue Beetle sketch! We'd chatted a bit about this at the Baltimore Comic-Con, but when it showed up in my inbox it was a very pleasant Halloween surprise!
Thom is a very talented artist, a great mini-golfer, and someone I'm happy to know as a friend.

Check him out on Twitter @loveandcapes and be sure to stop by his Love and Capes site for some comic goodness!

House of What The Kaji Dha Wednesday

I can't quite put my finger on what started it, but I do remember the first movie I saw. I was probably 5 or 6yrs old and, if I remember correctly, saw a commercial for the late night creature feature show on a local station while watching wrestling on a Saturday afternoon with my grandfather. I begged my mom to let me stay up and watch. Surprisingly she did, and I was forever grateful! I sat up, on the couch, waiting for the clock to chime while the rest of the house slept. My eyes grew wide, and I pulled my blanket close while the fog rolled around tombstones and the “Ghost Host” delivered a creepy introduction to the feature for the night…Bela Lugosi in “Dracula”! As I sat there and watched the TV flicker, I learned about vampires, madmen and Dr. Van Helsing.

From that night on I was hooked! As often as my mom let me, I stayed up to watch! Soon I found these books at the library, orange covers with glorious black and white images of each monster. I checked out the Dracula book first…and discovered there was more than one Dracula! Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Jr. Then the Frankenstein monsters, the Wolfmen, the Mummies, and more…I can’t even begin to imagine the number of hours I spent looking through those books or how many times I checked them out, over and over again. It took me years to find them again…the Crestwood House Monster series.


From there it was comics. I’d already been reading stuff Batman, Superman, Archie, Spider-Man…but I soon discovered these monsters weren’t just on late night TV or at the library…they were in comics too! One Sunday morning after church my mom took us to a flea market. Not only that, she let me grab a stack of comics…tattered covers, yellowed pages…and full of monsters! ”Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery", "I...Vampire", "Ghostly Tales" and more.

As an adult, I still love this stuff! I look forward to each new Hellboy comic, I've been stocking up on DC Showcases like "House of Mystery", "Secrets of the Sinister House", "Ghosts", and back issues of "Weird War Tales" with the Creature Commandos. I own all my Universal Monster favorites on DVD and Bluray. Heck, the titles of these “What The Kaji Dha Wednesday” posts have been homages to those Universal classics of the 30’s & 40’s. Every time I read one of those comics, or watch one of those movies it takes me back to when I was kid, brings back so many great memories. This has been a year of ups and downs for me. We lost my mom back in January to cancer, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. Heck, I wouldn’t be the man I am today if not for her and her love and support. Halloween is no different…she said yes, all those years ago, to letting me watch “Dracula”, she drove me to the local comic store and flea market as I built up my collection of comic book monsters and heroes, and at Halloween, she used to help me make my costumes; mummy wrappings, Dracula capes, pirate swords and more. So it seems fitting to me as tribute to her to spend tomorrow, Halloween Night, reading some of those comics while I wait for trick-or-treaters to appear at the door. After the lights are out, and the little ghosts and goblins (and my girlfriend) are all tucked in bed…I’ll curl up on the couch, press “play” on the remote, and wait for that familiar flicker to come across the screen...


Happy Halloween Beetlemaniacs!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Super-Team Family Sunday #4

Welcome to another Super-Team Family Sunday! This month Ross returns with another cover featuring the Thing...and this time with Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes.
At the time this was originally posted (May 2, 2011) Ross said..."I was among the many Ted Kord fans that was not happy when the Blue Beetle was killed off to kick off a DC Comics crossover. Despite that, I decided to give his replacement, Jaime Reyes, a chance and I have to admit that I do like the character quite a bit. I really loved the look of the new Beetle armor that Cully Hamner designed - it really makes him stand out among the rest of their heroes - and Jaime was written with an appealing personality. I even got a kick out of his appearances on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon (not so much the recent Smallville appearance - the armor was way too clunky). This new Blue Beetle is definitely a welcome new presence in the DCU. That said, there was no reason he could not have been introduced while still keeping Ted Kord alive as well!"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Gang War"

It’s time for Blue Beetle #7 and “Gang War”*…the conclusion to the Muse/Question story arc. But wait! We lost someone on the way to the party…Bruce Patterson is no longer inking Paris Cullins’ pencils. Instead Del Barras is handling the job.

Last month, and the month before that, Blue Beetle and the Question found themselves teamed up against the Muse and his gang(s). Not just that, the last issue ended with them cornered by the Muse in an old theater! What happens next?
Tied up, and surrounded Blue Beetle and the Question appear to be in some serious trouble. The gangs have all signed on with the Muse and his plan to dominate Chicago. All they need to do now is eliminate the old mob, and our heroes. His first order of business? Muse asks for a vote on what to do with the captured heroes. “Kill‘em!” seems to be the popular response. Luckily Ted still has an ace up his sleeve…or rather, a remote control to summon the BUG which crashes through the wall just as Muse is about to make our heroes into Swiss cheese with an UZI. Chaos ensues as the police sirens signal law enforcement’s approach and the gangs scatter like bugs when the lights come on. Muse makes his getaway by tossing a smoke grenade leaving BB and the Question to deal with the cops…which Ted does with a strobe flash from the BB gun. 

We get a brief interlude as Angie the receptionist contemplates bashing her uncle’s head in while he tinkers with the Kord Omniversal electronics he’s forced her to steal. But she just can’t do it.
In the meantime, high over the windy city, Vic tells Ted he’s thinking about calling it a night. The gangs have scattered, and while they now know the plan…there’s not much they can do until Muse resurfaces. That’s when Ted pulls a Batman and unveils some new tech, “Snoopy” a small beetle shaped robotic drone with a camera and a microphone that can act as their eye in the sky. Even better? He’s built dozens of the things!
Don Vincent Perignon gets a rude awakening, literally, when the Muse sneaks in for a late night chat. “Psst, Pops…wake up! Hi. Can we talk?” he says, with a gun in the old mobster’s face. The two trade insults for a few panels, while Muse offers advice, “Get out of business Pops…while you still can!” Don Vincent doesn’t plan to give up so easy though…not after years building up his business. After all, he wants to leave his business to his son. Muse decides to bounce on the bed, giving the Don a moment to pull the sheets out from under the clown faced villain and call for help. Before the thugs can come to his aid though, Muse tosses a tear gas canister and leaps through a window. Geez he’s a slippery one, isn’t he? Richie, the Don’s son, comes in to see if his father is ok? He’s pretty ticked though that someone would try to scare him out of business and ruin the legacy he wants to leave for his son. “If these punks want a war…we’re gonna give ‘em one!”
Another interlude. Jeremiah Duncan, Kord’s chief chemist, meets his blackmailer in a dark parking garage. He hands the shadowy figure a package, and says it should finish his obligation. The figure says it does…for now, but Jeremiah will need to come up with “more of the same next week, and every week thereafter!” before disappearing into the shadows.

At that same time, the gangs collect at Wrigley Field…and so does “Snoopy”, which means Blue Beetle and the Question can’t be too far behind. Unfortunately, neither is Don Vincent’s mob. One of member of the youth gangs, a guy that looks like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” decides that if Muse doesn’t show he can step up and lead the gangs. Not everyone feels the same, but it’s ok…the mob is here to snuff out the competition. As guns are drawn and fists begin to fly, two familiar figures drop from the night sky to join the fight. Beetle and Question throw down with the thugs. The BB gun flashes, punches and kicks are thrown, jokes about critics are made…and then Muse tosses another smoke bomb as part of his grand entrance. This time, he’s looking to put an end to things. He asks everyone to give up on his bad idea. “Go home, all of you…before somebody gets hurt!” Muse has now done a complete switcheroo. This doesn’t sit well with Brando, who grabs a gun and opens fire on Don Vincent. Muse leaps into action “NO! Don’t shoot him…he’s my…father!” With that, the son takes the bullets meant for his father. Ted and Vic tackle the gunman as the Don comforts his dying son. Richie gasps, “Didn’t want anyone hurt Papa…just wanted to put you out of business…so I could lead my own life…” he follows that with some Shakespeare before taking his final breath. Then, after a moment of silence, the heroes, the gangs, and the mobsters give Richie a slow clap that builds to a round of applause and the curtain falls with a final, black panel.
WOW! That was an oddly dark and unexpected ending! Sure the Richie/Muse bit was kind of obvious…but him dying while quoting William Shakespeare? Didn’t see that coming! Having the Question join his Charlton buddy Blue Beetle was fun. I wonder if DC ever considered having the two costar in a regular team-up book? Another light month as far as subplots…I guess that’s both good and bad. Finally Del Barras’ inks give the book a little different look. Ted appears a little thicker more bodybuilder than acrobat. Not bad, but different.
Haven’t posted this recently, so for you new readers…here you go!
Remember you can follow me on Twitter @KordIndustries1
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*Look at that…two issues in a row where the cover blurb and story title match up!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forever Evil #1

Ok, ok...I'm a little behind, I know. I recently went through a move, went on vacation, and just a couple days ago went in to the hospital for an operation. Now, I'm settled in and conscious enough to start digging through my read pile. Shag, from Firestorm Fan, tipped me off to this recently...but when I read this page I got pretty excited!*

Kord Industries exists in the New 52! Not just that, it's big enough, important enough, that Lex Luthor is trying to buy it?! Thomas Kord, the man speaking to Lex, even makes a reference to his son running the company "one day soon". He never calls Ted by name, and I wouldn't put it past DC to throw a curveball our way...but still...Kord Industries exists!

What do you think Beetlemaniacs? Will we see good ol' Ted soon?

*so excited I immediately stopped reading, took the above pic and wrote this post. I'm going to go finish reading now! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hero Heritage #1

Here's a fun find...going through some old boxes I came across a set of 1991 DC Comics Cosmic Cards (try saying that 3 times fast).

Here's the Dan Garret "Golden Age" card, from the Blue Beetle "Hero Heritage" subset... with some sweet art from Paris Cullins and Karl Kesel

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vintage Blue Beetle Advertising #2

Here's a great vintage BB ad that covers the comics, newspaper strip and radio show all at once! can't go wrong with the Blue Beetle!

Special thanks to Rob "Aquaman Shrine" Kelly for sending this my way!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blue Beetle: The Boy Wonder?!

So, surfing the Internet looking for Blue Beetle stories, as you do when you run a BB blog, I stumbled on an interesting story. Apparently there were plans in the works about 10yrs ago to have Tim "Robin" Drake become a new Blue Beetle...mentored by Ted Kord! 

Chuck Dixon, had made Ted a semi-regular character in "Birds Of Prey" which he was writing at the time. He'd also been writing Ted in a way that developed a bond of sorts with Tim Drake. The intent, and the rumored pitch, being that when Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown took over as Robin, Tim would move into the role of Blue Beetle! How cool does that sound? I'm going to admit, as of this writing, I haven't read any of Ted's appearances in "Birds Of Prey"...but this idea sounds amazing to me! It clicks...makes more sense than, oh I don't know...throwing away the entire legacy of the character like DC did in the New 52?

Sadly, DC turned down Dixon's idea, and now Ted no longer exists in the current DCU (neither does Stephanie for that matter) we'll have to file this under "could of, would of, should of been"

I wonder if we reached out to Mr. Dixon if he'd be willing to share any more details?