This character began as yet another attempt by me to update and modernize an old superhero who is now in the public domain, such as I did with The Fighting Yankee This time I was updating The Blue Beetle.
The original Blue Beetle was created in 1939 by Charles Nicholas and, like many costumed vigilantes in comic books at the time, his origin was pretty simple. He was a man named Dan Garret, who decided to become a police officer after his father was killed. But not feeling that he could do enough to fight crime as a cop, he donned a costume a proceeded to take the law into his own hands as The Blue Beetle.
The Blue Beetle was originally published by Fox Publications, the same publisher that would give us the original Wonderman. This version of the character didn’t last long, and other publishers attempted to revamp him until we got the current version owned by DC Comics. But this original version is in the public domain, so I came up with my own idea to revamp him, but as a Black man.
I came up with a little “meta” story origin for him. This story takes place in a world where the original Blue Beetle became immensely popular and was continuously published in comics from 1939 all the way to the present, and has also been adapted into other forms of media, from radio serials to cartoons to live action movies. Gary Daniels grew up reading comics and Blue Beetle was also his favorite character. He even decided to become a Police Officer because of his childhood love for the superhero. And he continues to read comics and attend comic-boo conventions. One year as he was planning to attend the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, Gary decided to cosplay as his favorite character, the Blue Beetle, just for fun. But like many attendees of EBACC, Gary plans to go as a “Black version” of the superhero, so he has his mother sew him a Blue Beetle costume but in black. On his way to the convention, in costume, Gary stops at a gas station which is in the middle of being held up by armed robbers. Gary beats the robbers and leaves, but his actions are caught on the gas station security camera and that gets broadcast on TV. Nobody knows who he is, but this “Black Beetle” is hailed as a hero. Inspired by this, Gary decides to adopt the costumed identity for real, and actually become a superhero.
When I first got the idea, I googled the name Black Beetle to see if it was already taken. It turns out DC Comics had a villain by that name, but they didn’t appear to be using him much so I just went ahead with the creation of my own character. So the next time I saw that CODY CONYERS was offering cheap commissions on Facebook, I took him up on it, and had him draw the above image.
The problem is that a couple of weeks later, I saw an article online that made mention of another comic which I then looked up, called The Black Beetle, by Francesco Francavilla.
So now I was stuck. I considered changing my character to The Brown Beetle, and even contact Cody to have him recolor his image for me, to see how it look in brown, but it just doesn’t work as well, in my opinion. It’s really a shame because I like the name Black Beetle, it’s just so simple and is an easy updated name of the Blue Beetle, while remaining similar. So now my options are changing it to THE BLACK SCARAB or maybe THE EBONY BEETLE, while I’m leaning towards the latter. But while The Ebony Owl works well as an updated name for The Black Owl, neither name rolls off the tongue as well as The Black Beetle does. But what can I do?