Blue Beetle's 1st Origin in Series Debut, Blue Beetle #1 at Auction

Posted in: Comics, Heritage Sponsored, Vintage Paper | Tagged: blue beetle, Fox Feature Syndicate, golden age

After his debut in Mystery Men Comics #1, Blue Beetle finally gets his origin moment in his series debut in Blue Beetle #1.

1940 marked a significant level-up for the character Blue Beetle, especially with the launch of Blue Beetle #1, an important series debut that hit the newsstands alongside the character’s own newspaper strip starting in January of the same year.  The character had initially made his debut in June 1939 through Mystery Men Comics #1 as Dan Garrett, the Golden Age Blue Beetle, but it was the launch of his own series that brought the character a more defined and cohesive backstory.

Notably, the character underwent a further transformation in the comic books soon after the radio program launched in May 1940, marking an early soft reboot for the character. While much of the focus for collectors has remained on the character’s early Mystery Men appearances, the Blue Beetle title and the later Mystery Men Comics issues also contain important material.  Blue Beetle #1 is one of the character’s most important Golden Age moments. That issue, plus many other Golden Age Blue Beetle and Mystery Men Comics are up for auction in the 2023 September 28 The Fox Comics Showcase Auction #40239 at Heritage Auctions.

Blue Beetle #1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939)
Blue Beetle #1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939)

The developments in 1940 for the character commenced with the debut of Blue Beetle #1, which has a copyright date of January 2, 1940 and gave the character an in-depth backstory.  Earlier Mystery Men Comics issues had explained little of the character’s background elements. He debuted as a classic masked mystery man, and his costume and some gadgetry were slowly and somewhat sporadically introduced.  The important supporting character Dr. Franz, the druggist who would serve as Beetle’s confidant, advisor, and general technical support, was introduced with little explanation in Mystery Men Comics #5.

Many of these elements and the character himself gained some clarity beginning around the time of the debut of his own series. Blue Beetle #1 explains Dan Garrett’s somewhat Batman-like background. As a child, Garrett’s mother became a victim of the global flu pandemic that swept the world 1918-1920.  This caused him to be more independent and self-reliant than most other kids, propelling him to excellence in academics and athletics as he attended college and became street-smart.  When Garret was a young man, his father was murdered by gangsters, prompting him to become a police officer and, ultimately, the Blue Beetle.

In an era when many major-character Golden Age keys can command five to seven figures, this series debut feels underappreciated.  There’s a Blue Beetle #1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white pages plus many other Golden Age issues of that series and Mystery Men Comics are up for auction in the 2023 September 28 The Fox Comics Showcase Auction #40239 at Heritage Auctions.

Blue Beetle #1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939)
#1 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1939)
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