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Blue Beetle’s Jeremy Adams Explains Why The DC Showcase Short Included The Question And Other Charlton Comics-Era Characters

Blue Beetle and The Question facing off against Captain Atom and Nightshade in DC Showcase short
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Animation)

The DC Showcase label provides opportunities for lesser-known characters within DC Comics canon to shine within their own animated short film. For example, take Ted Kord, a.k.a. the second Blue Beetle (not to be confused with Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle getting his own theatrical movie), who originally debuted as a Charlton Comics character in 1966, but was incorporated into the DC universe with the rest of his Charlton cohorts in the mid-1980s. The Blue Beetle short marks Ted Kord’s first time starring in his own animated story, and he’s accompanied by The Question, Nightshade, Captain Atom and Doctor Spectro, all of whom also originated from Charlton. Jeremy Adams, who crafted Blue Beetle’s story, talked with CinemaBlend about why he decided to make this short a Charlton-era event.

Blue Beetle was originally attached to Batman: The Long Halloween — Part 2 last year, but now it’s being re-released as part of the DC Showcase — Constantine: The House of Mystery compilation, along with the title extended short, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth! and The Losers. Along with learning what Jeremy Adams hopes to see from The Flash movie (given that he’s currently writing The Flash comic book), I also asked during the interview why he included those other Charlton characters, as opposed to telling a more standalone Blue Beetle story or pulling from Ted Kord’s years in the Justice League International. Adams responded:

Some of the joy in doing these Showcases is to show the audience that there’s more than just Superman and Batman out there, and hopefully get them excited about other characters that exist in the DC universe. Steve Ditko is on the Mount Rushmore of comic creators. He created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, incredible characters, and these characters have worth, Obviously, because Peacemaker is a huge show now on HBO Max, and he’s a Charlton character. Having this chance to show people these other characters, our hope is that people respond to them and want to see more of them. Because I love Batman, I love Superman, but I’m also a comic fan, and I want to see other characters in other mediums, and that only works if people get excited about those characters.

As Jeremy Adams noted, the late Steve Ditko co-created Marvel heavy hitters like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, but he was also behind the Ted Kord incarnation of Blue Beetle and all of the other Charlton characters who appeared in this animated short film, either by himself or while partnered with another creator. Peacemaker also originated from Charlton, and with John Cena’s incarnation of that antihero in the DCEU now enjoying worldwide popularity thanks to The Suicide Squad and his own HBO Max series (which has been renewed for a second season), Adams saw the Blue Beetle short as a way to enhance these other Charlton characters’ profiles in his own way. That’s not to say they’ll ever get to Batman and Superman’s level of fame, but Adams wanted to provide a platform where they could be discovered by many people.

Blue Beetle marks Ted Kord’s third time being depicted in animation, with Will Wheaton voicing him in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Max Mittleman voicing him in DC Super Hero Girls. Jeremy Adams also talked about his appreciation for The Question, Ted’s crimefighting partner in this short. In his words:

But this particular era meant a lot to me personally because that was the first time I was introduced to that version of [Blue Beetle], and I think The Question is just super cool. The original version of The Question, which we kind of hit on with Ditko’s Objectivism, he was really serious, but I really didn’t get that with the version of The Question that I loved from Justice League Unlimited, which Jeffrey Combs was the voice of… it’s so good. He was so funny in his conspiracies. We tried to get to a middle ground there because I love that version so much, and seeing Ted Kord frustrated with this guy who has all these conspiracies that keep ending up being true is pretty funny.

Done in the style of a late 1960s Saturday morning superhero cartoon, Blue Beetle sees the eponymous hero and The Question investigating a crime spree launched by Doctor Spectro, and they cross paths with Captain Atom and Nightshade along the way. The voice cast includes Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Jupiter’s Legacy actor Matt Lanter as Ted Kord, David Kaye as Question, Tom Kenny as Spectro, Jeff Bennett as Captain Atom and Ashly Burch as Nightshade. Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ Jennifer Keen wrote the Blue Beetle script based on Jeremy Adams’ story, Freedom Fighters: The Ray’s Milo Neuman directed the short.

You can witness the zaniness of Blue Beetle for yourself by picking up DC Showcase — Constantine: The House of Mystery compilation on Blu-ray and 4K from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment starting tomorrow, May 3. If you’re wondering what DC has coming up in the realm of feature-length storytelling, take a look through the upcoming DC movies lineup.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.