Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

11 Blue Beetle Facts DC Comics Fans Know About The Superhero

With the DC universe in the early stages of undergoing some massive, James Gunn-fueled changes, the final films of the previous regime are reaching completion. One is "Blue Beetle," featuring "Cobra Kai" star Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes. Made popular by his role in the early 2000s "Infinite Crisis" limited comic book series and frequent animated appearances in "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," the Blue Beetle is the first Latino superhero to headline a film.

Though the Modern Age incarnation of the hero is currently in the limelight, the hero's history extends all the way back to the Golden Age of comics. But, whether you like old crime stories or contemporary sci-fi epics, it's clear that the best part about Jaime Reyes is his reliability. Not unlike Spider-Man when he first debuted, the modern Blue Beetle is a teenage superhero with real-world problems. Whether it's grades, relationships, or intergalactic alien invasions, Jaime always has something going on.

Diving into the history of the character, from the first incarnation to the present, there are some fascinating factoids to be uncovered. Below, the hidden secrets of the Blue Beetle.

There's more than one

While Jaime Reyes is the most well-known hero to don the Blue Beetle mantle, at least in this day and age, he wasn't the first. The initial "Big Blue" was a rookie cop named Dan Garret, who took to vigilantism after the death of his father, also a policeman. He first appeared in the Fox Feature Syndicate comic book series "Mystery Men Comics #1" in 1939, donning an outfit more akin to the Green Hornet than his successors. Decades later, the Blue Beetle was reinvented by the folks at Charlton Comics (now spelled Dan Garrett), who likewise introduced his new superpower-inducing Egyptian Scarab.

The second Blue Beetle took over Garrett's mantle in a backup feature at the end of "Captain Atom #83," then went on to earn a series of his own. This version, named Ted Kord, was engineered by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, though he shared little in common with the wall-crawler or his predecessor. Instead, Kord was a billionaire inventor who used his technical prowess to develop beetle-themed equipment and save the day. 

By the time DC Comics acquired Charlton's library in the mid-1980s, Kord was ushered into the Justice League following the "Crisis on Infinite Earths," where he'd serve as DC's primary Beetle until his death. Following Kord's murder, Garrett's original Scarab found a new host in teenager Reyes, who has been the face of the Blue Beetle legacy ever since.

Vitamins first gave him his superpowers

When the original Blue Beetle made his debut, Dan Garret didn't sport any fancy superpowers. He was a normal guy who wore a suit and a beetle mask to fight crime, much like the most famous noir vigilantes of the 1920s and '30s. But that all changed in 1940, when Garret armed himself with his trademark bulletproof outfit and a compound called Vitamin 2X. This vitamin, developed by his ally Dr. Franz, gave Blue Beetle superhuman strength, stamina and an edge over his enemies.

As his adventures continued, Garret, following Batman's example with Robin, adopted a sidekick of his own named Sparky. Though Sparky wasn't granted a magic vitamin of his own, he did earn himself a mini-sized bulletproof uniform. Like many other sidekicks, Sparky was phased out altogether — as was Garret's strange medical concoction — but that doesn't mean the Blue Beetle was without a host of superpowers.

Upon the character's revival, Dan Garrett — now reinvented as an archeologist — was given superpowers via a magical Scarab he found in Egypt. His adventures became more tied to magic than to science, and with the Scarab his abilities changed too. Now, the Blue Beetle had not only incredible superhuman strength, but also enhanced vision, the ability to project energy blasts, and even the power of flight. This new origin would become the template for the Jaime Reyes version who appeared years later, claiming the Scarab as his own.

The second Blue Beetle was a Batman wannabe

There's no denying the vast impact The Dark Knight has had on comic books and superheroes over the past 80 years. Not only has Batman been the direct inspiration for a host of other heroes, sidekicks, and otherwise, but he's arguably the most popular comic book character ever created. So, it's little surprise he influenced the Blue Beetle. While the Ted Kord incarnation of the character is a direct revamp of the original Golden Age version, he was also inspired by the Caped Crusader's own Silver Age adventures.

Much like Bruce Wayne, Ted Kord inherited his family's company, Kord Industries, used to build weapons and gadgets to fight crime in the city. Though Kord didn't don a cape or feature a plucky sidekick, he built his own flying vehicle — affectionately nicknamed "the Bug" — which puts the Batmobile to open shame. Though Kord's personality couldn't have been more different from Batman's, the Dark Knight still held Blue Beetle in the highest honor, and has called on him for aid in recent years.

Kord is also known for being a good friend (and possibly more) to Wayne's former sidekick, Barbara Gordon. In fact, Kord helped fund her Birds of Prey outfit before his initial death — which has since been wiped from the DC Universe — and even left some valuable Kord Industries assets to assist with her operation.

He's been on plenty of superhero teams

Between the three different men to boast the Blue Beetle name, this hero has been on more superhero teams than you might expect. Though DC's Dan Garrett was never a part of a team, Ted Kord quickly became a founding member of the Justice League International. The JLI was an all-new version of the team that formed after the mega-crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths," collecting heroes from around the globe to combat evil.

As one of the most consistent members of the League, Kord stuck with the team through several incarnations, including the early '90s Extreme Justice and the Justice League America branch that aided Superman in his deadly battle with Doomsday. Kord also allied himself with other Charlton-turned-DC Comics heroes on the team L.A.W., which stood for Living Assault Weapons. Joined by the Question, Captain Atom, Nightshade, and Peacemaker, their adventures were fairly short-lived.

The Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle has made his way onto a few different teams over the years, each more impressive than the last. Though he joined the Teen Titans for a time, Jaime was also a member of not one but two incarnations of the Justice League. Aside from the mainline team, he also joined a reformed Justice League International as they aimed to take down Kord's killer, Maxwell Lord. Over the years, he's also fallen in with the Young Justice and Secret Six crowds, making him the most well-rounded Beetle in the DCU.

The balance between magic and science

When Dan Garrett was reimagined in the 1960s, introducing the Egyptian Scarab to his mythos, it was clear his powers came from some magical means beyond his knowledge. "The gods" had bestowed on him incredible abilities that he then used to fight evil on a superhuman scale. This was common back in the early 20th century, and other heroes that today lend better to science-fiction — such as the original Flash and Green Lantern — were generally considered fantasy.

By the time Ted Kord took over the mantle, his advanced technical abilities forced his tenure to become more science-based. A brilliant chemist and inventor, Kord's world was infused with sci-fi, especially after he got involved with the Justice League — and his time-traveling bestie Booster Gold. This change in the mythos carried over to the Jaime Reyes version as well, which retconned Garrett's Scarab as not magic, but a living weapon created by an advanced alien species known as the Reach.

Jaime's Blue Beetle series was filled with wild sci-fi antics and alien species that separated the Beetle mythos drastically from the original material, which always pushed the character to his limits. But in the DC Universe, everything circles back to the original. As recently as the DC Rebirth era, Doctor Fate revealed to Jaime that his Scarab armor was not a scientific marvel at all, but magical in origin, seemingly returning to the older Blue Beetle's origins — at least, for now.

He's best friends with Booster Gold, sometimes

Speaking of sci-fi, once the Ted Kord incarnation joined the Justice League International, he quickly became friends with another hero named Booster Gold. Hailing originally from the 25th century, Booster Gold was an out-of-luck football star who stole a Legion of Superheroes flight ring and some futuristic equipment to travel back to the 21st century and make a name for himself as a superhero. While Booster is generally one of the more self-absorbed heroes out there, his friendship with Kord helped grow him into a better hero, as well as a better man.

Though Blue Beetle was a positive influence on Booster Gold, the opposite wasn't always true. When these two got together, their prankster antics often proved too much for the likes of other heroes, like Batman. Together, the two make one of the best pairings in comics, having proven their worth time and again. As recently as 2022, they had their own limited series "Blue & Gold," which followed their adventures across the DC Universe.

After Kord was killed prior to the events of "Infinite Crisis" — and before his "DC Rebirth" resurrection — Booster Gold took successor Reyes under his wing. Though the two were never as close as Kord had been with the time-traveling hero, Booster still felt a responsibility to the young hero, even if they didn't always get along. For a while, Jaime's continued adventures were a "co-feature" of the "Booster Gold" storyline.

The inspiration for Watchmen's Nite-Owl

As the longest-running Blue Beetle, Ted Kord certainly made an impact on the greater DC Universe. But more than that, he's also influenced plenty of other heroes out there, including characters in Alan Moore's "Watchmen" series. It's no secret that "Watchmen" first began as a way to reinterpret many of Charlton Comics' heroes — many of whom became members of L.A.W. — into a darker world, but soon Moore was forced to create entirely new characters to fill his alternate world. So, exit Blue Beetle, and enter Nite Owl.

That's right, the character who looks to have taken a few cues from Batman (at least, in Zack Snyder's version) is actually a closer match to Blue Beetle than the Caped Crusader, but given Kord's own fascination with Gotham's Dark Knight it makes sense that there would be some obvious crossover. Instead of Kord's trademark flying Bug, Nite Owl — who, like Kord, is actually the second to use that identity — has his own Owlship nicknamed "Archie." Naturally, Nite Owl's technical abilities rival Blue Beetle's own, making them two sides of the same coin.

Although these heroes have never met on the page, the limited series "Doomsday Clock" effectively united the world of "Watchmen" with the DC Universe. Though it took place after the events of Moore's infamous graphic novel, with Doctor Manhattan now invading the DCU, Blue Beetle can be seen uniting other Charleton Comics heroes to take on the godlike being.

His live-action debut was on Smallville

Like other DC Comics heroes before him, Blue Beetle first officially appeared in live-action on the CW series "Smallville." Showing up near the tail-end of the tenth season in the episode "Booster," Jaime Reyes (played by Jaren Brandt Bartlett) was depicted as your average awkward teenager in Metropolis, until the mysterious alien Scarab took hold of him. From the moment the Scarab activated his Blue Beetle armor, Jaime lost control, threatening to destroy the city.

Naturally, it takes the combined efforts of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and the time-traveling Booster Gold (Eric Martsolf) to help Jaime take control back from the alien entity, inspiring Jaime to choose the hero's path. Aside from Jaime's appearance, the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, is mentioned as having first bonded with the Scarab before his untimely death, and Ted Kord (Sebastian Spence) also appears as the CEO of Kord Industries — though sadly, he doesn't much resemble his comic book persona.

Joining other heroes like Green Arrow, Aquaman, Cyborg, Impulse, Stargirl, and others, "Smallville" paved the way for Blue Beetle's introduction into live-action. Not long after the character's success on the CW, it was announced that a "Blue Beetle" television series was in development. They even developed some test footage to promote the potential series with Garrett Plotkin in the titular role, but the show was never picked up. This did, however, open the door for the 2023 feature film.

He's battled entire alien civilizations solo

One thing worth noting about the Jaime Reyes incarnation of the Blue Beetle is that he has gone up against some pretty nasty adversaries over the years. After first being inducted into the world of superheroics during the world-changing events of "Infinite Crisis," Jaime was thrust head-first into inter-world conflicts that had multiversal ramifications. Though he survived the conflict, his world was forever changed when he woke up back in El Paso one year later, although for him hardly any time had passed.

Growing into a hero worthy of the Blue Beetle name, Jaime gains the attention of an alien species called the Reach. As it turns out, the Reach initially created the Scarab, and after all this time they want it back. Since Earth is the center of the multiverse, they hope to conquer the planet and thereby rule its resources and people. They even manage to capture Jaime and remove his Scarab, nearly completing their plans.

But because of the bond between Jaime and his Scarab — now named Khaji Da, in reference to the words Dan Garrett used to utter upon his own superhero transformation — they reunite and overcome the Reach's plans, saving the world. Even as recently as 2022's "Blue Beetle: Graduation Day" and the animated series "Young Justice: Invasion," the Reach are still a recurring threat, but thankfully Blue Beetle is always there to stop them, even if he's flying solo.

There are plenty of ripoffs

Aside from the countless different multiversal counterparts running around on the page of DC Comics, there are plenty of other Blue Beetle would-be imitators who have attempted to capitalize on the success of the original hero and his successors. 

The first was a Marvel Comics character created by writer Roy Thomas (who had previously written for the original Blue Beetle) called the Scarlet Scarab. Named Abdul Faoul, this hero was a World War II-era archeologist who discovered the Ruby Scarab, a device created centuries prior by a man named Garret. Naturally, this encounter gave Faoul superhuman abilities, and even fought alongside the Invaders, a team led by Captain America. Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy), a character from Marvel Studio's "Moon Knight" series, is an MCU re-imagination of this character.

Another homage was also created by Roy Thomas, though this one existed within the DC Universe. Hector Hall was the son of the original Hawkman and Hawkgirl who served on the Justice Society of America but was turned down by the team due to his inexperience. Afterwards, he formed Infinity, Inc. with his friends where he became the Silver Scarab, though that didn't last. Eventually, Hector became the new Sandman before settling as the JSA's new Doctor Fate, an identity he'd hold until his death. Hector, played by Lloyd Everitt, later appeared on Netflix's "The Sandman."

The original lies in the public domain

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original Blue Beetle — the Dan Garret whose name is only spelled with one "t" — now resides in the public domain. Having first appeared in 1939, the character has been used by various comic book publishers since his original days at Fox Feature Syndicate (also called Fox Comics), including both Charlton and DC. Though DC's retconned version, complete with his Egyptian Scarab backstory and powersets, are off limits, the original adventures of "Big Blue" are free for public consumption and adaptation.

In 2008, Alex Ross and Jim Krueger collaborated with Dynamite Comics to breathe new life into old Golden Age superheroes, many of whom have been entirely forgotten. Among them was the original Blue Beetle and his sidekick Sparky, who appear in "Project Superpowers #0." Though, to avoid any potential conflict with DC Comics, Dynamite had the character's name changed to Big Blue. Interestingly, "Project Superpowers" also introduces a hero named The Scarab, a character adapted from the Nedor Comics character of the same name, though he shares some obvious similarities to Jaime Reyes.

While the version mentioned on "Smallville" and referenced in the "Blue Beetle" feature film is undoubtedly the Dan Garrett version made popular by Charlton Comics in the 1960s, the original single "t" version of Garret still stands as a notable Golden Age hero. No doubt, Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord are certainly the most popular Beetles, but Garret is the one who started it all.