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Blue Beetle


The original Blue Beetle bears little resemblance to those would would carry the name later.  In fact, he bears little resemblance to how later continuity would portray him, as well.  Dan Garret is a police officer, who gets dressed up in costume to catch the crooks he cannot get while on the beat.  There is no beetle “scarab,” at all, though he does occasionally leave blue beetles to warn criminals, or as a calling card after apprehending them.

The costume alters hugely in the first few issues.  In his debut, Dan wears a blue suit with a black fedora and a mask, and a tie with a big blue beetle on it.  More than anything he resembles the Green Hornet, and based on the names of the characters, this is clearly who he was derived from.  In his second appearance he wears dark blue tights and a matching top, with a covering over his head, but not his face. Issue 3 replaces the top with a short sleeved tunic, and gives him blue gloves and a yellow belt.  Finally, in issue 4, the sleeves return to their previous length, his costume now has the texture of metal scales, and he is wearing the tiny eye mask that completes his look.

Blue Beetle has no special weaponry, aside from a “wireless phone,” though even that is only used once.  He relies on his fists, courage and bravado to take down kidnappers, murderers, armed robbers, loan sharks and a protection scam.

His beat cop partner, Mannigan, has no idea of his double identity.  Blue Beetle is wanted by the police, and Mannigan almost captures him once, leaving Dan feeling bad for having to fight his partner to escape.  In the last issue of this era, we meet Dr. Franz, who knows Dan is Blue Beetle, and who makes him up an old man disguise, to allow him to approach a gang of hoods trying to kill Beetle.

Although this character is very different than how Dan Garret would retroactively be portrayed, he is very close to Hollis Mason, the golden age Nite-Owl in Watchmen, which was based on the Charlton heroes.  Perhaps I should add that Blue Beetle would move from Fox to Charlton by the Silver Age.

 

Blue Beetle continues in the Early Golden Age

 

 

Blue Beetle:  Mystery Men  1 – 5  (Aug – Dec 39)

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