Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Blue Beetle

The Blue Beetle had a short career on the radio, between May and September 1940. Motion picture and radio actor Frank Lovejoy was the Blue Beetle for the first 13 episodes, while for the rest of the shows, the voice was provided by a different, uncredited actor. The Blue Beetle was a young police officer who saw the need for extraordinary crime fighting. He took the task on himself by secretly donning a superhero costume to create fear in the criminals who were to learn to fear the Blue Beetle's wrath. The 13-minute segments were usually only two-parters, so the stories were often simpler than other popular programs, such as the Superman radio serial.

The original Blue Beetle, Dan Garret, first appeared in Fox Comics' Mystery Men Comics #1 (cover-dated August 1939), with art by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski (as Charles Nicholas); though the Grand Comics Database tentatively credits Will Eisner as the scripter.  A rookie police officer, he used special equipment, a bulletproof costume and a superstrength-inducing "2-X vitamin", and the assistance of a neighborhood pharmacist to fight crime. He starred in a comic book series, comic strip and radio serial, but like most Golden Age superheroes, he fell into obscurity in the 1950s. The comic book series saw a number of anomalies in publication: 19 issues, #12 through #30, were published through Holyoke Publishing; no issue #43 was published; publication frequency varied throughout the run; and there were gaps where issues were not published, with large ones occurring in early 1947 and between mid-1948 and early 1950.

Charlton Comics obtained the rights to the Blue Beetle and reprinted some stories in its anthology titles and in a four-issue Blue Beetle reprint series numbered 18-21. In 1964, during the Silver Age of comics, Charlton would revise the character for a new Blue Beetle series.

Two other men called themselves The Blue Beetle in comics published by AC Comics and DC Comics. For more info check out The Blue Beetle Wikipedia page.

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