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Blue Beetle Reading Order (Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes)

Officially created by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski in 1939 (working for the Eisner and Iger shop), Blue Beetle is a superhero that started his career at Fox Comics. Charlton Comics acquired FOX Comics and, ultimately, was itself bought by DC Comics. That’s how Blue Beetle joined the Justice League. In truth, the original Blue Beetle was not the same as the one that became friends with Booster Gold.

Everything began with Dan Garret, the original Golden Age Blue Beetle. Introduced in Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939), Dan was a Rookie patrolman and the son of a police officer killed by a criminal. He simply became a vigilante, without powers, who wore a bulletproof blue costume–looking a lot like the Phantom. At some point, he temporarily gained power with the help of a special vitamin. He even got a sidekick named Sparky. Also, during World War II, Garret became a government agent–a got his cop uniform back after the war ended. As time went by, he gained even more powers, but that didn’t save him from Fox Comics going out of business.

Charlton Comics reprinted some Blue Beetle stories for a time and, during the Silver Age of comics, launched a new series–in 1964, written by Joe Gill. This time, Dan Garrett (with two “t”) was an archaeologist who discovered a mystical scarab during a dig in Egypt. This artifact gave him superpowers. Like Shazam, he only needed to say the word (“Kaji Dha!” in his case) to transform into the Blue Beetle. This Dan Garrett only got two years on the newsstand before getting replaced.

Introduced by Gary Friedrich and Steve Ditko in a backup story in Captain Atom #83 (November 1966), Ted Kord was a genius-level inventor and a gifted athlete without superpowers who operated out of his airship, “the Bug”. When he died, Garrett passed the torch to Ted–years later, DC Comics retconned his origins by adding that Ted was a former student of Dan Garrett. The series was canceled shortly after its launch.

When Charlton Comics went out of business in the early ’80s, AC Comics bought the right to the character, among others, did some stories, then the rights reverted back to Charlton and DC Comics purchased them.

Using the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, DC introduced Charlton’s characters into its own universe. After the Crisis ended, Len Wein wrote a new Blue Beetle series after penning Secret Origins Vol. 2 #2 in which he rewrote Ted Knight’s origins. After 24 issues, the series was canceled, but Blue Beetle joined the Justice League not too long after and found a new life. Ted became Booster Gold’s best friend, a relationship that defined the hero as a proper character in the DC Universe.

In 2006, DC Comics decided to retcon and expand upon the Blue Beetle mythos with the help of Jaime Reyes. Introduced in Infinite Crisis #3 (February 2006), he really became the new Blue Beetle in Infinite Crisis #5. Created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, Jaime bonds with the scarab, and it is revealed that it is an artifact alien in origin. Soon, Jaime became friends with Booster, and joined the Teen Titans and even the Justice League.

Blue Beetle Reading Order

The Blue Beetle adventures from the Charlton Comics era are hard to find and not really connected to the character as we know it since the late 1980s. The reading order is focusing on the DC Comics era. Though, if you want to read Steve Ditko’s Blue Beetle series, it has been collected in Action Heroes Archives Vol. 2.

Also, as a member of the Justice League, Ted Kord appeared as a guest star in multiple other series. The reading order does not list all of them.

Ted Kord as Blue Beetle

Ted Kord was integrated into the DC Universe in 1985 during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event (to learn more about this event, go to the dedicated reading order). After that, he got his own Blue Beetle series, written by Len Wein–24 issues published from June 1986 to May 1988. 

After his solo series concluded, the Blue Beetle became a member of the Justice League by Keith Giffen and Jim DeMatteis. This is during that time that the character really developed. This is where you should start with Ted Kord.

The series is not fully collected yet. You can go to our Justice League International Reading Order to learn what to read and in what order.

  • Justice League International Omnibus Vol. 1
    Collects Justice League #1-6, Justice League International #7-25, Justice League America #26-30, Justice League Annual #1, Justice League International Annual #2-3, Justice League Europe #1-6, and Suicide Squad #13.
  • Justice League International Omnibus Vol. 2
    Collects Justice League America #31-50, Justice League Europe #7-25, Justice League America Annual #4, Justice League Europe Annual #1, Justice League Quarterly #1, and Justice League International Special #1. 
  • […]
  • Superman & Justice League America Vol. 1
    Collects Justice League America #60–68 and Justice League Spectacular #1.

Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle

Sadly, Ted was famously killed in the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis, an event that push the DC Universe into the Infinite Crisis–see our Infinite Crisis Reading Order for more information.

During that crossover event, Jaime Reyes became Blue Beetle’s new incarnation. Soon after, he starred in his own solo ongoing series initially written by Keith Giffen and John Rogers, with artist Cully Hamner.

 

Those last two books collect issues previously available in the following books:

At that point, Blue Beetle is already mostly absent from the Teen Titans but officially left with issue #83 and joined the Justice League: Generation Lost title.

Blue Beetle during The New 52 era

Following the Flashpoint event (see reading order), DC Comics rebooted its universe with the New 52 initiative. Jaime Reyes is still Blue Beetle, but his story was in part retconned.

The Convergence event is out-of-continuity, see the reading order for more information. The Blue Beetle issues featured Ted Knight, not Jaime Reyes.

Blue Beetle during The Rebirth/Infinite Frontier era

Once again, DC Comics reset the timeline again. This time, Ted Kord is back as a mentor for Jaime. Again, the beetle’s origin is retconned (it’s not alien anymore, but magical, as it originally was).

Ted Kord and Booster Gold teamed up once more. This time, in their own miniseries, Blue & Gold (Jaime Reyes also appeared in some issues) while Jaime Reyes graduates a little bit later.

Blue Beetle in Dawn of DC

A new Blue Beetle series starring Jaime Reyes entering a new phase of his livfe in Palmera City, with Ted Kord as a supporting character, as well as Xiomara Erazo and Nitida (both introduced in Graduation Day). The world of Beetle is expanding!

  • Blue Beetle (2023) #1-
    Coming in September

Last Updated on November 9, 2023.