Ted Kord

Blue Beetle

Ted Kord as the second Blue Beetle.
Art by Dick Giordano.
Publication information
Publisher Charlton Comics
DC Comics
First appearance Captain Atom #83 (November 1966)
Created by Steve Ditko
In-story information
Full name Theodore Stephen "Ted" Kord
Team affiliations
Partnerships Booster Gold
The Question
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Excellent athlete, acrobat, and hand-to-hand combatant
  • Possesses advanced weapons and equipment
  • Highly skilled spy

Theodore Stephen "Ted" Kord is the second Blue Beetle, a superhero who was originally published by Charlton Comics and later picked up by DC Comics.[1][2] This version of the character was created by Steve Ditko and first appeared as a back-up feature in Captain Atom #83 (November 1966), with Gary Friedrich scripting from Ditko's conception and plot.

Publication history and fictional character biography

Charlton Comics

Ted Kord was a genius-level inventor and a gifted athlete, sharing much more in common with the Fox original than did Charlton's earlier reimagining of the character. Kord's signature equipment was his bug-shaped personal aircraft, which he entered and exited typically with a cable suspended from the cockpit. He also generally eschewed personal weaponry, except for a pistol that made a blinding flash of light and, additionally, a strong airblast to gain the advantage when he closed in for hand-to-hand combat.

Blue Beetle #3 (October 1967). Art by Steve Ditko.

Ditko is best known as the co-creator (with Stan Lee) and original artist of Spider-Man at Marvel Comics. While Blue Beetle and Spider-Man have some similar characteristics, such as being wise-cracking, acrobatic, arthropod-themed urban heroes, they evolved into very different characters. Both characters are accomplished inventors (Ted Kord is considered one of the premier minds of the DC Universe), great athletes, and skilled acrobats. Both characters also have strong, if sometimes ill-timed, senses of humor that they use to mask their insecurities — more so in the case of the Beetle, who has no powers of his own (and in later years has to deal with occasional weight gain). On the other hand, the Beetle has none of the angst associated with brooding vigilantes such as Batman. Unlike Spider-Man, Blue Beetle usually operates in a group rather than alone, but like Spidey, he is a loyal friend. In fact, Beetle has been the best friend of superhero Booster Gold since the two were paired in the Justice League, and they would continue to feature as a double act until the end of said superhero team.

The Ted Kord Blue Beetle ran as a backup feature in Captain Atom #83-86 (November 1966 – June 1967) before getting his own title,[3] which ran for 5 issues between June 1967 and November 1968. A sixth issue was produced, but published in the Charlton Portfolio by CPL/Gang. The Question ran as a backup series, with the fifth issue featuring a quasi-team-up in which the Blue Beetle story continues in part in the Question tale.

An origin was given in issue #2, linking Ted Kord to the previous Blue Beetle. Ted was revealed as a former student of Dan Garrett, and when they were investigating Ted's uncle, Jarvis Kord, they learned Jarvis was working to create an army of androids to take over Earth. Garrett changed into Blue Beetle, but was killed in the battle.[4] As he died, he passed on the responsibility of being Blue Beetle to Ted, but was not able to pass on the mystical scarab, a convenient means for Ditko to explain his preference for a power-free character. There was a hint that one android was still left in stasis, but this would remain unresolved until the DC series of the late 1980s.

In the early 1980s, the first issue of Charlton's anthology comic Charlton Bullseye featured a team-up of the Blue Beetle and the Question. Later, AC Comics would publish a story intended for Charlton Bullseye in Americomics #3, and a one-shot of a team-up of all the Charlton "Action Heroes" called the Sentinels of Justice, as the company called its lineup. Upon losing Blue Beetle, AC Comics created a similar character called Scarlet Scorpion.

DC Comics

DC solo series

Cover to Secret Origins#2. Art by Gil Kane.

DC Comics acquired the Charlton heroes in the mid-1980s and used the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event to integrate them all into the DC Universe. During this period, Blue Beetle had his own series, written by Len Wein,[5] which ran for 24 issues from June 1986 to May 1988. Also published during this time was Secret Origins #2 (cover illustrated by Gil Kane), which explained the origins and careers of the Ted Kord and Dan Garrett Blue Beetles in the post-Crisis continuity. They would also follow up on the hinted android in stasis from the Charlton series, which would eventually become "Carapax, the Indestructible Man".

Ted Kord was sometimes shown as an industrialist, the owner of KORD Industries; more often he was short on money, leading to his entering "get-rich-quick" schemes with Booster Gold. A brief appearance in JLA: Year One showed the young Ted working in Kord Industries R&D, where he designed the JLA HQ security system. Upon meeting the heroes, he thought, "Screw the family business. I want to be one of those guys," possibly explaining the company's fluctuating status since he took over. In recent comics, it has been implied that KORD Industries has become a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, headed by Bruce Wayne (also known as Batman).

Joining the Justice League

JLI #8 (December 1987). Art by Kevin Maguire (pencils) and Al Gordon (inks).

Blue Beetle is probably best known as the wisecracking member of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' lighthearted, five-year run on various Justice League of America titles (notably Justice League International), where he was memorably partnered with fellow third-string hero Booster Gold, and the two quickly became best friends. Among fans, they were known collectively as the "Blue and Gold" team. For a while, Beetle grappled with a weight problem, but with sheer determination and coaching from the hero General Glory, as well as competing against Power Girl, he defeated it. After Giffen and DeMatteis left, Justice League America continued to run until issue #113. Dan Jurgens tied the "Death of Superman" storyline into JLA, in which Doomsday left Blue Beetle in a coma during his murderous rampage, as well as a six-inch scar on the back of his skull. Beetle and Booster both subsequently joined the short-lived Justice League offshoot known as Extreme Justice.[6]

Blue Beetle then entered a period of relative obscurity. The miniseries The LAW (Living Assault Weapons) reunited Blue Beetle and the other heroes acquired from Charlton, but the series met with critical disfavor.

Super Buddies

Main article: Super Buddies

In July 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and original JLI artist Kevin Maguire reunited for the six-issue miniseries Formerly Known as the Justice League, where many of the original JLI characters re-teamed with a storefront office. Beetle, who had grown in maturity, was an important member of this new team known as the "Super Buddies". A sequel story arc, I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, was initially slated as a second miniseries, but instead ran, delayed, in JLA: Classified #4-9 (2005).

Ted made several appearances in Birds of Prey, at first as Oracle's internet friend and later in person. It was hinted in several issues that Ted had a crush on Oracle. Ted had gone back to his company, but still had many, many problems with it; problems Oracle tried to help resolve. During this time, it was revealed he had a heart condition (he had actually experienced multiple heart attacks while in action without noticing),[7] but this did not stop him from assisting when it was needed. After his death, the Birds of Prey visited a statue in Valhalla Cemetery built in his honor.[8] Black Canary revealed that being in the JLA was only fun when Blue Beetle was there. Oracle revealed that she had had a cyber crush on him.

Infinite Crisis


Ted Kord is shot by Maxwell Lord. Art by Phil Jimenez.

In the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis, published on March 30, 2005, Blue Beetle discovers a revived Checkmate organization led by Maxwell Lord, former bankroller of the JLA, headquartered in a Belgian castle fortress, where Beetle is captured. Lord reveals to Blue Beetle that his intent is to use the organization to ensure that metahumans, including superheroes, will be kept under surveillance and controlled by humans. Lord then gives Beetle an ultimatum to join his organization. When Kord refuses with the reply, "Rot in hell, Max," Lord murders him with a bullet to the head.[4]

That same story had earlier reiterated that Ted Kord had thought the scarab was destroyed back in Blue Beetle vol. 6, #18 (1987); however, it had been rediscovered, untouched, in a temple in Egypt and handed over to Kord. It is unclear as to whether or not this is the same scarab created from a piece of future technology magically infused by Nabu the Wizard in the Time Masters miniseries featuring Rip Hunter. Shazam took the scarab upon encountering Kord, fueling speculation about the possibility of the character's return during DC's Infinite Crisis series. This possibility was dashed when it was asked at the Wizard World convention if Kord would ever return. Writer Greg Rucka stated, "There was a breeze blowing through his brain, and he was incinerated. How much clearer can it be?"[9]


The death of Ted Kord precipitated the events of Infinite Crisis. Brother Eye was reorganized and the OMAC project restarted. Max Lord was revealed as a villain and took telepathic control of Superman, which led to Wonder Woman being forced to kill Lord. Shazam had warned Ted about Lex Luthor, who supposedly straddled the worlds of magic and science. Events in Infinite Crisis #3 revealed this to be Alexander Luthor, Jr., in disguise. Booster Gold returned to the 25th century. He later returned to the present with Skeets to help find Brother Eye. The success of the mission put Booster back into the spotlight and set in motion the events of 52.

One Year Later

Main article: One Year Later

The young teenager Jaime Reyes later discovers the scarab and becomes the new Blue Beetle. J'onn J'onzz has a statue of Ted Kord in his memorial to fallen Justice League members. When recruiting members for the new Justice League, Superman suggests Booster Gold, and Batman responds, "There are better ways to honor Ted."

After Ted Kord's demise, Shockwave, the enforcer of the 1000, is sent to destroy buildings of interest to the still active KORD Industries. Even though Red Devil and Reyes stop him, the 1000 manage to take over KORD Industries due to the property value plummeting.[10]

In Geoff Johns' 2007/2008 ongoing Booster Gold series, Booster agrees to help Rip Hunter set right the timeline, but at a cost: Rip must help Booster go back and save Ted.[11] Rip Hunter tries to shock Booster Gold into acknowledging his inability to change past "solidified" events, tricking him into witnessing Barbara Gordon's crippling assault over and over again.[12] As Booster Gold prepares to accept his fate, a futuristic Blue Beetle appears with Dan Garrett and Jaime Reyes in tow to show him how to turn the time around Ted's death into "malleable time." Booster Gold betrays Rip Hunter and with the other Beetles' help, rescues Ted Kord from death at the hands of Maxwell Lord.[13] The four Beetles escape together in time, the technology used to save Blue Beetle preserving the future events the way they were meant to unfold (thus enabling Jaime to keep his powers and his role as the "new" Beetle), with the world at large still believing Ted Kord to be deceased. The story arc "Blue and Gold" reveals that this act has altered the present, creating a timeline where Max and his OMACs have turned the world into a police state. The future Blue Beetle is also revealed to actually be Black Beetle, a supervillain allied with the Ultra-Humanite, Despero, Per Degaton, and Booster Gold's father (under the control of Mister Mind) as the Time Stealers, a time-traveling supervillain group. Facing the defeat of his former JLI teammates, the only free heroes in the new timeline, Ted Kord realizes that the only way to restore the timeline is to die the way he was supposed to. As Black Beetle tries to stop him, he grapples the villain and both of them are brought to the past in a Time Sphere. At the end of the issue, a shadowy figure enters an old KORD Industries storehouse, stocked with backup Blue Beetle equipment. The figure then laughs in Kord's distinct "BWA-HA-HA-HA!" style.[14]

Blackest Night

Black Lantern Ted Kord. Art by Dan Jurgens.

When a Black Power Ring reanimates Ted Kord's corpse as a Black Lantern, Black Lantern Blue Beetle is unable to locate Booster Gold due to his new time-travelling duties. He lures Booster into the open by targeting Daniel Carter (Supernova) and Rose Levin, Booster's 21st century ancestor. He is able to successfully pierce the Supernova costume shields with a Black Lantern BB gun, and holds Supernova in place while beating Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) and staving off Skeets' attack until Booster Gold arrives. He then moves in for the kill, hoping to rip out Booster's heart.[15]

He battles all of them, but is unsuccessful in killing anyone except a neighbor who complained about the noise from the fight. Jaime and Booster Gold remove Rose and Daniel from the scene and head to a KORD Industries warehouse where one of Ted Kord's hidden bases is located to collect special equipment to fight the Black Lantern. Booster Gold discovers that even though the doors were genetically coded, someone had accessed Ted Kord's hidden base a few months before his remains were reanimated. However to Booster's knowledge, only two people, had authorization to access it: Booster Gold and Ted Kord himself. They then head back, where Ted's corpse battles Booster until he is attacked by a light blast from a gun designed by Ted Kord himself, tuned to simulate the emotional spectrum. Separated from the ring, Booster Gold seizes his remains before the ring can reanimate them, takes them into the Time Sphere, and deposits them in a small grave at Vanishing Point Fortress.[16]

Brightest Day

Maxwell Lord, the former head of Justice League International and the murderer of Ted Kord, is restored to life and uses a device to amplify his mind control powers to erase his existence from the minds of almost everyone on the planet.[17] He also influences the superhero community into believing Ted committed suicide, which enrages Booster Gold, one of the few who could remember Max's existence and also the best friend of Ted.[18] Later, Power Girl regains her memories of Max and exhumes Ted's corpse in order to have Dick Grayson examine it. Dick refuses, still unconvinced about the existence of Max; Batman arrives to reveal that he remembers Max as well. Batman and Dick examine the body, which finally convinces Dick that Ted was indeed murdered.[19]

During a battle between the Justice Society of America and Doctor Chaos in the city of Monument Point, Manhunter arrives with a team of heroes meant to help turn the tide in favor of the JSA. One of the new heroes introduced is a woman clad in a red version of Ted's Blue Beetle costume, and is shown swinging from what appears to be Ted's trademark Bug.[20]

The New 52

Following DC's 2011 relaunch of its properties as part of its The New 52 publishing event, Ted Kord is not mentioned in comics until 2014, when he is reintroduced in the final pages of Forever Evil, DC's company-wide crossover event. At the beginning of the story, Lex Luthor threatens the owner of Kord Industries, Thomas Kord, and his entire family and company, as part of a plan to acquire the company but the helicopter loses control, and crashes into the side of LexCorp Tower. Lex later undergoes a change of heart after finding a message appearing on his phone's screen from the Crime Syndicate: "THIS WORLD IS OURS." Lex looks up to see that Thomas Kord is still alive, but dangling precariously from the helicopter's wreckage over a sheer drop to the street. He tries to save him but Ultraman accidentally causes Kord to fall to his death.[21] Lex Luthor later promises Ted Kord (depicted as a grad student) that he will not be acquiring Kord Industries despite Ted's desire to sell it to him. Lex compliments Ted on his genius with nanotechnology and offers him his assistance should he ever need it again. Ted thanks Lex and praises him for living up to his reputation for benevolence.[22]

A more traditional version of Ted Kord resembling Nite Owl from the Watchmen featured alongside other Charlton Comics heroes in stories set on the fictional world of Earth-4 in the "Pax Americana" issue of Grant Morrison's Multiversity series.


Ted Kord reappears, older and more similar to his former appearance, when Jaime Reyes seeks him for help with the Scarab.[23] He is established to have been Blue Beetle some time in the past, having worked alongside other heroes such as Nightshade.[24]

Hardcover collection

Nearly all of Ted Kord's Charlton Comics appearances as the Blue Beetle have been collected as part of the DC Archive Editions series.

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
The Action Heroes Archives, Vol. 2 Captain Atom #83-89
Blue Beetle vol. 5, #1-5
Charlton Portfolio #9-10 (written for and presented as Blue Beetle #6)
May 2007 978-1401213466

The Charlton Portfolio material is in black and white as originally presented, while the rest is in color. The collection includes nearly all of the Charlton appearances of the Question, as well as a brief appearance by Captain Atom. Volume 1 of the archive contained nearly all of Captain Atom's Charlton stories and a brief appearance by Nightshade.

Powers and abilities

Ted Kord had no superpowers; he possess a genius-level intellect, with an IQ of 192.[25] He was proficient in numerous sciences such as chemistry, physics, engineering, aircraft, and solar tech, as well as an understanding of alien tech. Despero once claimed that Ted's mind was second only to that of J'onn J'onzz.[26] Former Justice League teammate Guy Gardner claims that Ted was smarter than Batman, "although nobody ever noticed."[27] Kord was an Olympic-level acrobat and skilled hand-to-hand combatant, having studied in the martial arts of karate and aikido.[28] Dick Grayson stated that Ted was very adept physically, to the point where he was almost ambidextrous.[19] He is also highly skilled in espionage.[29]


Other versions

In other media


Video games



This version of Blue Beetle has been ranked as the 61st greatest comic book character of all time [43] IGN also ranked this version of the Blue Beetle as the 61st greatest comic book hero of all time stating that his intelligence, his “bwahahha” antics, his endearing partnership with Booster Gold, and his brave sacrifice during the build-up to Infinite Crisis all serve to cement this particular Beetle's legacy. [44]


  1. In many stories and character entries, it is noted that "Ted" is an abbreviated form of "Theodore". Although, in Chuck Dixon's Birds of Prey, Barbara Gordon states that "Ted" is actually short for "Edward" (e.g Senator Edward Kennedy, is known as Ted Kennedy). In Countdown to Infinite Crisis, the wizard Shazam repeatedly addresses Ted as "Theodore Kord"; and Checkmate's profile of Blue Beetle also lists him as such.
  2. Booster Gold vol. 2, #26, shows his tombstone engraved with the "Theodore Stephen Kord" name.
  3. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. After Ted Kord assumed the scarab as Blue Beetle in a back-up feature of Captain Atom #83, writer/artist Steve Ditko and co-writer "D.C. Glanzman" (who was actually Ditko) launched the Blue Beetle into his own series.
  4. 1 2 3 Beatty, Scott (2008). "Blue Beetle". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 57. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
  5. Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 219 "The Blue Beetle swung into his own DC series with the help of writer Len Wein and artist Paris Cullins."
  6. Beatty, Scott (2008). "Extreme Justice". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
  7. Birds of Prey #39 (March 2002)
  8. Birds of Prey #96 (September 2006)
  9. "WWC: Day 2 - DC Crisis Counseling Panel". Newsarama. August 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  10. Teen Titans vol. 3, #61 (September 2008)
  11. Booster Gold vol. 2, #1 (October 2007)
  12. Booster Gold vol. 2, #3-4 (December 2007 – January 2008)
  13. Booster Gold vol. 2, #6 (March 2008)
  14. Booster Gold vol. 2, #1,000,000 (September 2008)
  15. 1 2 Booster Gold vol. 2, #26 (November 2009)
  16. Booster Gold vol. 2, #27 (December 2009)
  17. Justice League: Generation Lost #1 (May 2010)
  18. Justice League: Generation Lost #2 (May 2010)
  19. 1 2 Power Girl vol. 2, #21 (April 2011)
  20. Justice Society of America vol. 3, #48 (April 2011)
  21. Forever Evil #1
  22. Forever Evil #7
  23. DC Universe: Rebirth #1
  24. Blue Beetle #1 (September 2016)
  25. 1 2 Countdown to Infinite Crisis (March 2005)
  26. Justice League America #39 (June 1990)
  27. Blue Beetle vol. 7, #14 (June 2007)
  28. Extreme Justice #18 (July 1996)
  29. DCU source, Ted Kord
  30. The L.A.W. #6 (February 2000)
  31. Infinite Crisis #5 (April 2006)
  32. Blue Beetle vol. 7, #16 (August 2007)
  33. Extreme Justice #0-18
  34. Kingdom Come #1
  35. Kingdom Come #4
  36. Justice Riders #1
  37. Justice League America Annual #5 (1991)
  38. Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1
  39. Countdown: Arena #1
  40. Countdown: Arena #2
  41. "Batman: The Brave and the Bold". TV Guide.
  42. Cornet, Roth (July 26, 2014). "SDCC 2014: ARROW PANEL TEASES ORACLE & WHAT'S TO COME IN SEASON 3". IGN. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  43. "Wizard's top 200 characters. External link consists of a forum site summing up the top 200 characters of Wizard Magazine since the real site that contains the list is broken.". Wizard magazine. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  44. "Blue Beetle is number 61". IGN. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
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