Blue Beetle: You can call me Ted.
Marty: Thanks, but, I’m a little star-struck and nervous. I’ll get through it better if we stick to formalities to-start.
Blue Beetle: Sure, just relax. Do you think you could at least call me Mr. Kord?
Marty: Sure thing, Mr. Beetle. I guess first we should get to the big announcement.
Blue Beetle: Oh, right. Hey kids, I’m not dead.
Marty: Which is a little shocking, considering we watched you get shot in the head in Countdown to Crisis.
Blue Beetle: It’s called special effects, and – pardon while I rip of John Luvitz—Acting!
Marty: So, you’re not a zombie, newly risen to seek brains and vengeance?
Blue Beetle: Not at all. I’m alive, fat, and happy living in upstate New York.
Marty: Great, then I won’t need this.
Blue Beetle: What’s—is that a shovel?
Marty: My decapitating shovel, yeah. I keep it under my bed. Just in case.
Blue Beetle: Just in case of what?
Marty: Zombie attack. Next to my nunchaku, y’know, in case of--
Blue Beetle: Ninja attack?
Marty: Yeah. Yeah, right.
Blue Beetle: Right. Good, keep it up, I’m sure the world is a safer place for it.
Marty: So, here you are, not dead.
Blue Beetle: Not dead. I’d just like the word to get out there. A contingent of loyal – but misguided – fans have taken things a little too far. Dan Didio has received death threats in my name for chris’sakes, and it has to stop. I appreciate the support, but you’re not helping anyone.
Marty: I didn’t sign it.
Blue Beetle: Sign what?
Marty: Oh you weren’t talking about—nevermind, nothing. Pfft, fanboys, huh?
Blue Beetle: Yeah, I mean, fans are great. I’d like to think I have the greatest fans in the world, but there are lines you can’t cross, and, as you can see, there are no holes in my head that I wasn’t born with.
Marty: Your death came as quite a shock, though, and right on the coattails of the rape and murder of Sue Dibny. There seemed to be an air of contempt around the Giffen Justice League.
Blue Beetle: You’re—everyone—is reading way too much into that. I’ll grant you the timing was a little weird, since I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League (ICBINTJL) was coming out at the same time, and both Sue and I were in there. That led to a lot of speculation about sales, popularity and the Giffen League being a joke, etc., but the one has nothing to do with the other.
Marty: Completely baseless?
Blue Beetle: Absolutely.
Marty: So why the high death toll from your League days?
Blue Beetle: You need to separate the fantasy from the business. I wanted out, so I offered myself up for--
Marty: Wait, what?
Blue Beetle: I wanted out. DC wanted a kickoff to their big Crisis, so I put my name in for it. Sue had just done the Identity Crisis thing and we got to talking. It pushed me off the proverbial fence, and provoked a lot of soul searching on our parts. I got the job right as we were wrapping up ICBINTJL.
Marty: So Sue is okay too?
Blue Beetle: Sue is the portrait of health. The baby is fine.
Marty: The baby?
Blue Beetle: Yeah, that wasn’t a joke, or a twist of the knife in Identity Crisis, it had everything to do with why Sue was quitting. I understand Metzer got a lot of flak for that, but Sue was really pregnant and he threw it in there as a nod to her new life.
Marty: That’s great news. What’s the baby’s name?
Blue Beetle: That’s really the Dibny’s announcement. I will tell you that despite Ralph’s whining, Sherlock is only the middle name.
Marty: Nice. So, Sue quit too?
Blue Beetle: Quit might be too strong a word, but she knew she wanted a long break, yeah. And Sue quit first. I’d been thinking about it for years, but she was the one who put it out there. Finally, I closed my eyes and jumped.
Marty: Why would you want to quit comics?
Blue Beetle: You really are a fanboy aren’t you?
Marty: Guilty as charged.
Blue Beetle: I’ve had a good, long career that occasionally flirted with disaster. With my heart giving out like it has--
Marty: You really have a heart condition?
Blue Beetle: Yes!! Why won’t anyone believe me?!
Marty: S-sorry. Sorry. I just--
Blue Beetle: No, I’m sorry. That was directed at Keith and Booster, not you. Sorry.
Marty: No problem. Let it out, man.
Blue Beetle: I love those guys, but they won’t just let me be as old as I feel.
Marty: You’re referring to Keith Giffen and Booster Gold?
Blue Beetle: Yeah—yeah, who else? Who’s benefit are you saying that for?
Marty: My… um, audience? Maybe they don’t know.
Blue Beetle: Who’s reading an interview with Blue Beetle who doesn’t know, at least, one of them? I’m not exactly a household name.
Marty: You’re mentioned around my house.
Blue Beetle: Fanboy households notwithstanding.
Marty: Maybe people are reading for the witty banter?
Blue Beetle: I am pretty witty.
Marty: There you go. So, you just grew up, or what?
Blue Beetle: That’s one way to put it. But it’s not even growing up, really. Keith is older than either Booster or I, and he makes 5 year olds feel mature, but I’m not about to stop inviting them over for Poker and Looney Tunes. I just can’t do comics anymore. Maybe a one-shot, or a flashback, but I just wanted out of the game.
Marty: The timing seems a little odd, if only b/c you were working.
Blue Beetle: What was working? The Super Buddies? That’s not work, that’s play.
Marty: What about Birds of Prey?
Blue Beetle: Bah, they made it clear I wasn’t going to get the girl.
Marty: Oh. Sure. Still, you got to make out with Barbara Gordon. That’s something, right?
Blue Beetle: Yeah. I liked that. Barb’s great. I liked that whole book, really. But Mr. Tall-Dark-Hansome-Say-Baby-Did-I-Mention-I-W
Marty: He always is. So, no girl, but if the Super Buddies wasn’t work, why the need to quit?
Blue Beetle: Look at it the other way around. If it was just play, why stick around? You know the scene in Formerly Known As The Justice League, where Booster has to talk me into joining?
Blue Beetle: That was verbatim, except replace references to Max Lord with Keith Giffen.
Marty: I’ll have to reread that.
Blue Beetle: Make no mistake, it was a hoot to be back together with everybody, but it had a way of really driving home that I wanted out.
Blue Beetle: After Sue’s big news and new job, I went and talked to the brass, and shortly after that I got the call to do the Countdown to Crisis, with the stipulation that I die at the end of it.
Marty: What was their reaction?
Blue Beetle: It was great from their perspective. Didio loves team players, so he was happy that he didn’t have to serve someone their walking papers unwillingly, or worry about me wanting back in after a few months. For me, I got to be in an oversized event title that really let me find closure in the business.
Marty: So, both you and Sue agreed to your grizzly deaths. That’s wild.
Blue Beetle: Of course we did. In all the misguided fan clamor, it got lost that its some of our best work too. It’s a little insulting.
Marty: That’s true, it was a great story for you.
Blue Beetle: Well, it had a great crew going into it, and I all-but forced them to write a love letter to me. Then there was all this splash-back about how the company must’ve hated me. Talk about weird.
Marty: Now, you mentioned Maxwell Lord, the man who shot you in the face. From what you’re telling us, I presume there’s no bad blood?
Blue Beetle: God, no. Max wanted to move on too, and he always liked the idea of playing the badguy. It worked out all around, he got to beat up Superman and Wonder Woman, you don’t get to be a badder guy than that.
Marty: So what’s Max doing these days?
Blue Beetle: With Max you just follow the money. Promoting superheroes was losing him cash in liability. So now he’s promoting Nascar, and he’s thinking about buying a baseball team.
Marty: So, all these dead heroes are alive and well?
Blue Beetle: Sure. How do you think they come back all the time? Do you think it’s more realistic that somebody’s dead best friend becomes the Hand of God and resurrects them, or that Green Arrow wanted to work with the Hollywood Director? Achem’s Razor.
Marty: That makes a lot of sense.
Blue Beetle: Of course it does. Is Denzel Washington really dead b/c they killed him at the end of Training Day? Of course not, he goes on to win the Oscar.
Marty: I… I haven’t seen Training Day
Blue Beetle: Oh… well… um, he dies in the end.
Marty: Yeah. Thanks.
Blue Beetle: Sorry.
Blue Beetle: Yeah.
Blue Beetle: Well, my point is you have to have a discerning eye between the fantasy and the reality of this business. Look outside, is the world being threatened by aliens everyday? It’s all made up. You just can’t believe everything you read.
Marty: I guess not.
Blue Beetle: You can’t buy into all the superscience and nonsense of comics. Just focus on the humanity and metaphor of it.
Marty: So then, how is Barry Allen doing these days?
Blue Beetle: Barry? Barry merged with the Speed Force, man.
Marty: B-but… isn’t that superscience and nonsense?
Blue Beetle: No. It’s the Speed Force.
Marty: Okay, it just got harder to have a discerning eye.
Blue Beetle: It probably helps to work in the business.
Marty: Probably. So what about Dmitri and Booster?
Blue Beetle: Dmitri wanted to spend more time with his kids, and I'm in a NDA about Booster.
Marty: Ooo, interesting. Is there anyone who’s really dead?
Blue Beetle: Sure. What’s their name—Hawk and Dove? The original Hawk and Dove.
Marty: Both Hall brothers?
Blue Beetle: Yeah. It’s a shame. Congenital liver failure took them both.
Marty: Wow. Rough draw.
Blue Beetle: Yeah. I didn’t really know either of them, but it is a shame. You know that whole Monarch/Extant storyline where Hawk goes nuts and tries to rewrite time?
Marty: Yeah-yeah, Zero Hour.
Blue Beetle: Right. That’s not Hank Hall.
Marty: No way! I had heard that Monarch was supposed to be Captain Atom, but they changed it at the last minute b/c it had gotten leaked.
Blue Beetle: Close, but no, they were writing around Hawk’s sudden death.
Blue Beetle: It’s all true. That’s actually Ernie Hall --their cousin-- as Monarch and Extant. Same build as Hank.
Marty: Wasn't Hank in some issues of JSA later?
Blue Beetle: Between Ernie and The Crow technology they made it happen. It's all special effects.
Marty: Wow, this is great stuff. I expected we’d be funnier, though.
Blue Beetle: I’m funny too, but I really wanted to get the record straight.
Marty: Well, you’ve certainly done that. Tell you what, let me end this part of the interview with that established, and we’ll pick this back up where we left off. If you have time?
Blue Beetle: Yeah, sure.
Marty: Well, for today, let me thank the not-dead Blue Beetle for coming out and clearing up the rumors surrounding his death.
Blue Beetle: My pleasure.
Marty: Oh, just in time, I think I’m almost out of ta—(squelch).