Ted Kord and Dan Garrett – Who are the Other Blue Beetles?

Jaime Reyes gets the spotlight in the Blue Beetle movie. But who held the mantle before him?

by Mike Bedard
Image: Warner Bros.

Blue Beetle gets the big-screen treatment with a new theatrically-released film. Now, a generation of moviegoers will associate the character with Jaime Reyes, played by Xolo Maridueña, who saves the day with some help from his family. But in the comics, Jaime is actually the third Blue Beetle. Two other men wore the costume before him, and they’re referenced in the 2023 movie. So here’s what you need to know about Dan Garrett and Ted Kord.

Who is Dan Garrett?

Image: DC Comics

Dan Garrett is the original Golden Age Blue Beetle, who made his debut in 1939. He made his first appearance in Fox Comics’ Mystery Men Comics #1 and even got his own radio serial. The rights to Dan Garrett’s Blue Beetle jumped around a bit over the decades, going from Fox to Charlton Comics to DC.

He was a typical noir hero of the time. He was the son of a police officer who died in the line of duty, so he dedicated himself to fighting crime as the Blue Beetle. Dan didn’t have superpowers initially, but after consuming a mysterious Vitamin 2X, he developed super strength and stamina. He’s largely been forgotten in comic book circles, only getting referenced briefly in something like “Dark Nights: Death Metal” as one of the heroes Batman revives. Fortunately, he gets a brief shoutout in 2023’s Blue Beetle as someone who inspired Ted Kord to pursue a search for the mythical scarab. Speaking of which…

Who is Ted Kord?

Image: DC Comics

The second Blue Beetle is Ted Kord, introduced by Charlton Comics who first appeared in Captain Atom #83 in 1966. He’s a former student of Dan Garrett with a super-genius intellect. Ted Kord assumed the mantle after Dan Garrett died, using a wide range of his personal technology to fight crime.

Ted Kord has had far greater luck in appearing in DC media over the years. He’s played a role in numerous storylines, from Kingdom Come to Countdown to Final Crisis. Ted has even been the prominent Blue Beetle in animated and live-action DC properties, being played by Sebastian Spence in Smallville and Wil Wheaton in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. And while he doesn’t physically appear in Blue Beetle, Kord Industries is front and center, and given that mid-credits tease, it seems there are plans to include him in a sequel if it ever gets off the ground

Many Blue Beetles have occupied pop culture for decades. And it’s great to see the movie paying tribute to all of them, hopefully encouraging fans to seek out more information about where this superhero has come from.

- This article was updated on August 31st, 2023

About The Author

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Mike Bedard has written tens upon thousands of articles online in all kinds of spaces. Some of his previous writing credits include Cracked, Ranker, and StudioBinder.