34 years ago - Ted Kord is born.
20 years ago - 14-year-old Ted begins inventing for his uncle's company, Kord Industries.
15 years ago - 19-year-old Ted helps develop the security systems for the Justice League teleporters, and in the process sees superheroes for the first time.
13 years ago - 21-year-old Ted has Dan Garrett as a professor in an introduction to archaeology course.
10 years ago - 24-year-old Ted helps Dan Garrett stop his uncle from building & selling an android army. Dan is mortally wounded & passes the Blue Beetle scarab to Ted. He can't activate it, but begins building the equipment to become the new Blue Beetle.
8 years ago - 26-year-old Ted begins fighting crime as Blue Beetle.
7 years ago - 27-year-old Ted joins the Justice League during it's first major recruiting drive, where he meets Michael Jon Carter.
3 years ago - 31-year-old Ted is one of the only survivors of the White Martian assault on the Justice League satellite. He begins his work to build the Hall of Justice for a next-generation League.
2 years ago - 32-year-old Ted is killed on a solo mission tracking Kobra. Michael Jon Carter and Dinah Lance work to rebuild his vision of the new Justice League.
While the modern Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes is a very popular character (with good reason, because he's great), and the original Blue Beetle Dan Garrett is a very good example of a style of Golden Age hero, Ted Kord is truly the definitive version of the character. He's such a particular combination of classic superhero tropes; he's an inventor, an adventurer, a relentless source of positivity... and then he's also sometimes something totally unique. There really aren't many characters in comics that are so often defined by their own fallibility. That's a quality you don't generally see in the world of comic book fantasy. He's decidedly, unwaveringly human, and that makes him something special.
Ted Kord's Comic History
Ted Kord was created in the pages of Charlton Comic's Captain Atom in the mid sixties. He was an early legacy character; Charleton had inherited the character and name Blue Beetle from an old Fox Comics character that was originally scripted by comic legend Will Eisner, a character that had never lasted that long but whose name had enough recognition that several attempts were put in place to give him his own comic before the new version of the character was created, staring in his own series until Charlton ceased publication in 1968,
DC acquired the Charlton Comics catalog in 1983. Ted Kord began to appear in several versions of the Justice League and in the Crisis of Infinite Earths. His role as an inventor was actually extremely well suited for the Justice League of the time, but he also started to be played for laughs along with fellow Justice League member Booster Gold during Keith Giffen & J. M. DeMatteis's infamously hilarious run on the book. While it made for some great comics, Ted was basically defined from then on by the jokes being told during that series run.
In 2006, during the build up to the Infinite Crisis crossover, Ted starred in a fantastic story that detailed his final adventure, laying all his personal flaws and shortcomings bare but also establishing him as one of the great heroes of his era, setting the groundwork for the next Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes.
Our Ted Kord Story
We like the comedy of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League as much as anyone, but Ted has always been a better character than just the punchline to the jokes of that series. He's a consummate hero and force for good, always bringing a positivity and excitement to his stories that they sometimes desperately need. To that end, We wanted to focus on his life as an inventor and his eagerness to give of himself.
We introduced the idea that Ted's early career as an inventor led to him actually being involved in the construction of the original Justice League satellite before he ever started his life as a hero and adventurer. It makes a lot of sense... the dude has an origin that actually left him unable to access the powers of his predecessor, but he decides to be a superhero anyway. Suggesting that he had been connected to the League from the very beginning just makes a ton of sense.
We've made Ted one of the longest-serving members of the Justice League. In a lot of ways, he's perhaps the heart of the team as much as Martian Manhunter; he believes in the team and everything it stands for. We even made him the person responsible for the idea of what the League becomes. Even if this happens after his death, it actually really works as a way to honor him and see to it that he's always remembered by the team he helped define.
The Legacy of Blue Beetle
While Jaime Reyes is a fantastic and beloved modern comic character and a great evolution of the legacy, you actually see a lot of people really struggle with completely embracing him because Ted's Blue Beetle is a fantastic little slice of comic book joy. He's been misused over the years, but ultimately he's fun, adventurous, and a delightful departure from many of the traditional tropes of superhero fiction. No one else ever really did what Ted Kord was doing (unless you count deliberate pastiches of the character like the Watchmen's Night Owl), and the world of comics are better with him as a part of it.
All that said... we are building an ongoing timeline, and that allows us to make changes over time. Our characters can be everything they need to be, while still allowing the world to change. Ted Kord can meet his end and pass on the mantle of the Blue Beetle, but that doesn't mean that his time as a hero was any less valid. He can be the bright, wonderful character he has always been.
Also... We've taken this idea just a tiny bit further. His time with the Justice League ended when the team was defeated by White Martians, necessitating the creation of the Watchtower. When the League is rebuilt in the Hall of Justice, it makes so much sense that this is all to honor Ted and his vision for what the Justice League should be.