How did I miss this news when it first came out?! I don’t know, but either way, good friends Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook will be bringing their story about also besties, Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) and Booster Gold to comic shops in July. It’s a comic I can’t wait for, with Blue Beetle and Booster Gold being some of my favorite heroes within DC. However, both of these heroes aren’t terribly mainstream, with most fans aware of their friendship on the panels, but having little exposure from the duo outside of their minor appearances in Justice League titles. Outside of that, Ted Kord can be found in the recent Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle runs and the handful of self-titled series featuring the character, and as for Booster? You can find him in Justice League comics and some of his own self-titled series. So, there’s no doubt that this book will be filled with lighthearted comradery and action, but where did these characters start? Well, for both, it was a bit of an uphill battle at times, but over the years, these two characters seem to only get more popular with every bit of exposure!
When it comes to Booster Gold, Michael Carter’s origins aren’t too outlandish but have just enough variety to make it interesting and stand out from the hordes of overused, superhero origins tropes. Born in the twenty-fifth century, Michael was a gifted football player, starting at quarterback for Gotham University. However, his father left when he was young and would return to manipulate Michael into losing games on purpose for gambling purposes, causing the quarterback to be expelled. Then, after being kicked out of college, the character would begin working as a security guard for a museum where he’d meet his legendary sidekick Skeets while learning about the heroes of the past. So, Michael essentially nerded out, wishing to be a hero too, and stole from the museum- most notably the flight ring from the legion of superheroes and Brainiac’s force field belt before traveling back in time as a newfound fugitive of the future. Then, Michael finally takes on the name Booster Gold after arriving in Metropolis and saving the President’s life, causing an explosion of popularity that landed Booster several commercials and movies that would make him a national celebrity of sorts.
Although Booster Gold and Skeets have made their mark in comics, Booster was met with mixed feelings from fans. The character was constructed in his original depiction with a kind of “I know you don’t like what I say or do, but I’m famous, so I don’t care” attitude. Sure, at times Booster can be more self-centered and egotistical than Tony Stark, and it’s usually the reason you either love or hate the character. He’s a hero that does almost everything for personal gain or media approval (at least in Booster Gold vol 1 from 1986), busting out cereal commercials and a red sports car. However, this love/hate relationship with fans hasn’t stopped the character from finding a somewhat constant rate of appearances through Justice League, Superman, and Batman comics (along with self-titled series).
Then, there’s Ted Kord, who begun his hero career with Charlton Comics in 1966. After being created by Steve Ditko, the second iteration of a hero under the Blue Beetle name would be brought to DC comics after the purchasing of the rights to the character. It was around the same time that Booster Gold got his own series in 1986 that Kord would find himself in one of his own, being portrayed as a businessman and scientist at the self-owned Kord Omniversal. His comics were somewhat average, however, with his stories lacking anything worth high praise, but also absent of anything within them that made the comics particularly bad. Ted was simply a character fans either loved or felt impartial due to his somewhat goofy and playful attitude. Essentially, DC was playing it safe with the character, keeping Ted Kord likable while keeping his comics rather simple.
Where Ted Kord has found his niche has been in maintaining supporting roles in some of DC’s biggest events. He’s one of those characters that are always around, helping where he can while maintaining constant panel time regardless of how minor a role he plays. Sure, Kord might not be a heavy hitter such as Superman or Batman, but these minor roles are what gave room for a slow climb in popularity with readers that would turn Kord into a fan favorite. So, when comparing the two characters and how they started with DC, there are clear differences, but what connected the two is their goofy personalities. With jokes and one-liners that rival even Peter Parker’s, both Ted Kord and Michael Carter tend to have too much fun while on the job as superheroes, which is what helped the two gel. And gel they did in Justice League #3 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Al Gordon in an issue that introduced Booster as the newest member of the League (a roster that included Ted Kord).
The issue in which Booster and Blue Beetle initially met really focused on Booster proving himself to the rest of the team’s members and earning their respect, giving little room for the dynamic duo. However, there were still a few moments of the two joking and fighting together as they built the foundation for their friendship. Then, the rest is history as the two would save the world together and save each other’s lives countless times while giving rise to several, creepy ideas for fanfiction. Yet, no matter how minor the two seem (or how unorthodox), the two characters consisting of an egotistical celebrity and a cocky scientist have become one of the best friendships in all of comics, bringing us to the new Blue & Gold #1 (of 8) by Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook dropping on July 20th. It’s a comic I can’t wait for, one that means a lot to me due to Blue Beetle being one of the first superheroes I was introduced to as a kid, and seeing these two given another shot together gets me fired up beyond belief. Both characters had relatively rocky starts and had to earn their fans and popularity, with this newest addition to their friendship hopefully allowing the two to continue climbing in popularity (or we’ll just be reminded of how much of an ass Booster can be at times).
Cover for Blue & Gold #1 (of 8) by Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook dropping on July 20th