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Wednesday, May 10, 2023 

Valdosta Daily Times fluff-coats the Blue Beetle issue, along with Batman in the 80s

The Valdosta Daily Times announced a new comic to tie in with the upcoming Blue Beetle movie is scheduled to debut, and wasted no time getting around to writing up a fluff-coated view of the history of, shall we say, the costume:
A Blue Beetle movie is scheduled for release this summer and DC Comics will tag along with the big screen production by presenting a new comic book series.

“A new ‘Dawn of DC’ Blue Beetle ongoing comic book series will launch out of the final issue of writer Josh Trujillo and artists Adrian Gutiérrez, Wil Quintana and Lucas Gattoni’s ‘Blue Beetle: Graduation Day’ six-issue mini-series, on sale today,” according to a statement from DC Comics. “The first story arc of DC’s new Blue Beetle comic book series, due to hit comic shops in September, will be titled ‘Scarab War’ and will team Trujillo back up with artists Gutiérrez, Quintana and Gattoni.”
One can only wonder if this new volume will be as woke as the movie looks to be. No questions asked by the columnist, unsurprisingly. He continues to write an unobjective view of the Blue Beetle history:
Blue Beetle has undergone many changes through the years – and many comics companies.

Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski created the character in Fox Comics. Charlton Comics then published the character’s adventures. This lasted periodically through the late 1930s through the early 1970s.

Dan Garret was the Fox Comics Blue Beetle powered by a vitamin then a scarab.

Ted Kord was the Charlton Blue Beetle. When DC acquired the rights to the character in the early 1980s, the company kept Ted Kord and the Charlton look for the Blue Beetle.

Kord had his own title but gained a cult fan following as part of a comedic duo with Booster Gold in a tongue-in-cheek run of “Justice League.”

The Ted Kord/Blue Beetle died in the run up to DC’s “Infinite Crisis” mega-series.

Jaime Reyes became the latest Blue Beetle when he discovered the scarab can bestow a battle suit for its possessor.

Jaime Reyes is part of the DC Universe and is the hero in the upcoming movie and the new comic series.
And no complaints about the offensive way they got to that whole point, scripting Max Lord murdering Ted in cold blood in Countdown to Infinite Crisis? Well, that sums up just what's wrong with this column, refusing as it does to ask whether that's in good or bad taste, if Reyes' ascent to the costume was a diversity gimmick, and whether the movie's similarly adding insult to injury along the way by injecting a female character whose last name is Kord as a villainess. All this does is suggest the columnist has no faith in Blue Beetle as any kind of a creation, if he can't bring himself to condemn DC for the wrongs they perpetuated under the editorial of Dan DiDio back in the 2000s. And that only enforces my decision to boycott this movie.

Besides the Blue Beetle topic, the paper also did a sugary take on a collection of Batman in the Eighties, part of a series of paperbacks reprinting select stories from at least a few notable superheroes since the Golden Age, and I think there was one for Superman too:
The 1980s were strange years for Batman, a mixture of let-down from the great recovery period for the character in the ‘70s as well as a sneak peek into the fantastic Bat-events of the ‘90s.

In his regular monthly titles of “Batman” and “Detective Comics,” Batman almost became domesticated for most of the decade, sort of a Bat-father knows best in his cave filled with departing Robins (Dick Grayson graduating to Nightwing), etc., and new Robins (Jason Todd and Tim Drake), a paternal Alfred, love interests such as Vicky Vale, Catwoman and Nocturna, with a couple of them almost moving into Wayne Mansion and the Batcave.

But there were other events simmering on the perimeters of Batman’s regular titles.

Frank Miller’s groundbreaking “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,” which not only sold copies in the hundreds of thousands but made it onto bestselling book lists, and Miller’s “Batman: Year One,” which originally appeared in the regular monthly titles.

“The Killing Joke” graphic novel which offered a chilling origin story for The Joker while forever altering the Batman’s supporting cast.
Umm, if the past 15 years or so are any suggestion, Barbara Gordon wasn't altered forever, as the overrated Gail Simone restored Babs' ability to walk again, without the wheelchair. While Cassandra Cain, the new Batgirl, was sidelined in the most reprehensible ways possible. Interesting they cite how Miller's work sold in thousands, not millions. Doesn't that underscore how overhyped DKR could've been? And as for let-downs, well at least they admit it's possible for a bad Bat-story to be brewed up, and Jason Todd, cited below, certainly had a lousy retcon to his background.
The death of Robin, which occurred in the regular series, with the storyline having The Joker killing the Jason Todd Robin but, in truth, readers killed Robin when they were given a chance to phone in a vote to save or kill the newest Robin.
And was that acceptable, any more than if the scriptwriters penned Jason's curtain call? In some ways, it's even worse, because it demonstrates that whoever phoned in their approval of Jason dying (multiple times too, from what I'd read in past history articles), was seriously lacking intellect, and thought such violence was utter fun. That's why this is a most truly disturbing moment in comics history.
And by the end of the ‘80s came the blockbuster movie “Batman,” starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson as arch-enemy The Joker; the movie, along with Miller’s graphic novels, set the tone for the ‘90s when Batman was featured in several extracurricular projects outside of his three monthly titles and soon received a fourth monthly title.
And maybe that was just the problem. The editors of the times based their vision going forward largely upon Miller's, and no matter what one thinks of Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench's writing, it hurt everything in the long run, because look at how the premise of Batman as suspicious of everybody and a control freak was exploited for the aforementioned Tower of Babel tale in JLA.
“Batman in the Eighties” contains several Batman stories from the ‘80s, as well as reprints of “Teen Titans,” which changed the course of Batman’s relationship with original Robin Dick Grayson, a Batgirl story and a “Batman and The Outsiders” tale to show how Batman was added to numerous groups and given frequent guest appearances to boost sales for other titles. But don’t look for reprints of “The Killing Joke,” “The Dark Knight Returns” or “Year One” here. These titles are mentioned in great essays included in the volume and the covers are reprinted but not the stories.
Well thank goodness, IMHO. One could surely argue their angles were practically shoved down everyone's throats, at the expense of long-range entertainment value, and since both have been reprinted separately, that's one more reason this series of reprints didn't need to focus on them as well. Interesting how the Masked Manhunter came to be used as a gimmick for boosting sales, rather than let the comics in question sell on their own merit at the time. It proves company wide crossovers weren't the only gimmick that sprang up in the 80s.
Instead, there are some other gems from Batman’s career in the ‘80s but this volume also strays too far into reprints of Bat-related characters and is not as satisfying as some of the other volumes featuring earlier decades.

The trade paperback edition is, however, suitable for youngsters and adults, which is a plus.
But, what if it does contain stories with jarringly violent moments? Point: comicdom was exploring more mature themes since the early 1970s, Marvel included, and as a result, it's not like the Masked Manhunter didn't have questionable moments in terms of suitability for youngsters. I vaguely recall a 1986 issue that may have dealt with decapitation, and that's not exactly kid-friendly territory, any more than any stories since the Bronze Age where Batman could've battled drug trafficking. Plus, what's wrong with adding Bat-related characters to the mix? That in itself isn't the worst problem. No, worse than that would have to be all the PC insanity that's plagued Batman in the past 2 decades, as DC's cohesion collapsed along with Marvel's. Naturally, the columnist won't acknowledge that any more than he did what went wrong with the marketing of Blue Beetle.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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