I’ll Have A Blue Christmas Without You, Jaime Reyes

November 14th, 2008 by |

Well, it’s official. The Blue Beetle comic is cancelled. Damn. As always, after a book I love is cancelled, survivor guilt kicks in. Why didn’t I recommend it more? Why didn’t I blog about it more? What could I have done? At this point the best I can do is eulogize a bit, and hold out hope for the future.

I am going to miss this book a great deal. It had a spirit that wasn’t like any other book out there. How many books out there are composed, nearly entirely, of decent characters? Not ‘decent’ as in multi-faceted characters that have a sense of coherency but can still surprise you, although the book was full of those, as well. ‘Decent’ as in genuinely good people using their skills to do the right thing as much as they could.

Even the most enduring *villain* in the Blue Beetle is a decent person with reasons for doing what she does. Not Lex Luthor reasons: he wants to take down Superman as a way to show humanity that they need to think for themselves and not put all their trust in heroes they know nothing about. Genuine reasons: It’s a hard world out there and she wants to make a good life for herself and her family, and she’s willing to use shady means to do it.

All the characters are like this. There are no neglectful, stupid, or cruel parents, no mindlessly nattering siblings, no manufactured high school cliques. Everyone in this series is simply trying to do their best, and that makes their failures more tragic, and their victories more inspiring.

It’s not just the characters. The first twenty-five issues are what I’d give to anyone if I wanted to show the perfect epic story. It works on the technical level. Each piece of the final puzzle is given to us separately, each with its own, interesting story. At the end, they all fit together into a coherent picture that makes sense, even though we didn’t see it coming. There is a recognizable arc for each main character. It follows the rules of an exciting adventure story – building up the odds until it looks like the hero can’t possibly win, and then showing us how yes, he can, we just didn’t notice how.

But comics books aren’t read because they’re a technical exercise. The amazing part of the story is frustratingly indescribable. All I can say is that most comics readers have come to accept that the best part of a story arc will come at the beginning. Most comics are built on a premise, not a conclusion. We are meant to enjoy the ride, and we do, but there is something fantastic that happens when a comic, or any story, can dazzle us with cute concepts along the way and then reach a conclusion that is more than the sum of its parts. I was amazed by the depth, the artistry, and the emotional payoff of the those issues.

The first four trades of The Blue Beetle, Shellshocked, Road Trip, Reach For The Stars, and End Game are for sale. I would recommend them to anyone. I recommend them to you.

But what’s next for Jaime Reyes and the Blue Beetle? Well, Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs tonight on Cartoon Network, and the first episode is called The Rise of the Blue Beetle. At San Diego this year, presenters said that Blue Beetle toys tested as well as Batman toys.

Perhaps we will soon see the Return of the Blue Beetle, as a show on Cartoon Network, or as a comic book aimed for younger audiences. I’m hoping for both, but I’ll have especially high expectations of the comic. DC’s comics aimed at kids have been almost universally excellent. And who knows, maybe a fresh start, free of the continuity hassles that came with Infinite Crisis and the shadow of Ted Kord (whom I also love), the Blue Beetle will thrive, hooking new readers and ensuring its long-term survival.

What can I say? I’m an optimist.

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20 comments to “I’ll Have A Blue Christmas Without You, Jaime Reyes”

  1. Every time I see some comics fan buying a bulk amount of truly TERRIBLE super-hero comics I bite my tongue and let them get their X-Force and Ultimates or whatever. Because my friend’s need to be able to make rent on their comics store. But I want to slap the books from these idiots hands, drag them back to the shelves and make them try again…

    Because people keep wasting money on hack writers like Millar or Loeb. And GREAT books like Blue Beetle or Manhunter or others get all the praise in the world but can’t seem to sell well enough for the Big Two…

    Still Sturges deserves some congratulations. I was worried when he was named as the new writer after Rogers left. But he stepped up and kept Blue Beetle as one of the best…

    I’ve also got to wonder. Rather than just kill titles that constantly hover on the edge, why don’t the Big Two just turn some of them into webcomics and then make the money off the collections. Worked out great for the Foglio’s with Girl Genius

  2. That’s a serious shame. Blue Beetle was a great series. At least they did get to fully tell the whole Reach storyline and get that done.

    It’s weird that Booster Gold’s series hyped what was supposed to be Jaime’s main nemesis, but in the end, they aren’t going to get around to introduce him.

  3. @LurkerWIthout:

    is Millar really the same level of hackyness as Loeb? I mean; he’s not exactly the classiest writer but really; Ultimates 1/2 are pretty much worlds ahead of 3

    Also the man wrote Red Son & that’s worth something

  4. As Chris Sims’ once said “Red Son” was TEN YEARS ago. The only reason Millar’s “plots” on Ultimates make more sense than Loeb’s is that he avoided having one, just scripting out giant summer action extravaganza movies on paper…

  5. hey, write into DC. Point out that they’re canccelling Beetle right when it’s about to get a big push with appearences in a cartoon and a toyline.

  6. I don’t want to rain on everybody’s funeral and wake, but better the title ends now than for folks like William Messer-Loebs and Todd DeZago extend the run for sixty-odd issues with mediocrity and worse. Yeah…I’m still bitter about how Impulse ran out.

    I have read the first two TPBs. Jamie’s a good character. Hopefully, he’ll pop up somewhere…maybe a team book with Manhunter and the All-New Atom? I’d pick it up for Ryan Choi, but at least I’d pick it up.

  7. Time Warner’s just doing what they do: using DC to create intellectual property that they can repackage as something consumed by a wider audience than 18-to-30-year-old comic book fans. It’s a good plan, overall, and I doubt Blue Beetle would suddenly start selling as soon as a new cartoon hit the air.

  8. @LurkerWIthout: A lot of times I feel the same way, gritting my teeth at the popularity of some series, but in the end it doesn’t do any good. I read a few trashy comics, myself, and you can’t really talk people into being interested in something.

    The webcomic idea would actually be great, though. It would open up a new area for DC and might really work for them.

    @Gavok: Yep. The Reach arc is one of the best stories I’ve ever seen.

    @Jason: Hm. I’m wondering how many kooks they get writing to them. Still, worth a shot.

    @Jason: Ah, yes. The agonizing slow-death due to poor quality. That one hurts, too, but at least you can have hope that it will get better.

  9. Oh and I meant to put this in the original reply, but BB DID have an abusive parent. But then La Dama killed him to protect Brenda…

  10. I saw this coming from a mile away, so it didn’t hurt that bad. It is a shame though, but at least he Jaime seems to be going out while his book is still pretty awesome, which isn’t something that can always be said….Hopefully his future appearences in Teen Titans won’t pour salt on the wound.

    LurkerWIthout: @ hey! X-Force isn’t that bad! But it definitely wasn’t as good as BB.

  11. I had seriously hoped the series would last longer due to the cartoon coming out. I’m sure he will be a successful character in the animated series. ANd yes, I too want a spin-off animated series that’s based on his comic book series. I think it would do very well. (He’s so adorkable in the cartoon…)

    To be honest, I got into Blue Beetle not only because of recomendations, but also because it reminded me of a popular cartoon called Danny Phantom. That show was about your average awkward teen boy who unwittingly gains “ghost” powers and has to save the world from evil ghosts. Like BB, it had a lot of hillarious witty dialogue (for being a cartoon aimed at kids) and a heart-felt lesson in each episode. Danny had two contradictory best friends/sidekicks much like Jaime has Paco and Brenda (except in the last episode, Sam, the female best friend, ends up becoming his girlfriend).

    Danny’s villain had two identities as well with the civilian identity being that of a respectable rich man who happens to be close to Danny’s loved ones. Danny and his villain are familiar with each other’s alter-egos but keep it a secret to protect the loved ones. (just like La Dama and Jaime kept the truth from Brenda…)

    Basically, I can see a Blue Beetle Jaime cartoon appealing to the fans of that cartoon. It worked for me!

  12. […] going on over at DC Comics? Their titles are dropping like flies. You can add Blue Beetle to the list of recent cancellations. Blue Beetle now joins Manhunter, Birds of Prey, Nightwing, […]

  13. To be honest, I haven’t cared for Blue Beetle since Ditko/Charleston days. He just hasn’t looked “insecty” enough for my taste. Call me an old fogey, the this recent incarnation just didn’t feel right. I miss Ted Cord!

  14. @Comic Book Scientist:
    …how is a guy in tights and a pair of googles more insecty looking than a guy with exoskeletal body armor, antennae coming out of his shoulders, the ability to sprout wings, and several retractable mandible/pincer-y portrusions?

  15. @jbramx2: Mourn with me, jbramx2. Mourn with me.

    They’ll catch on, someday.

  16. I stopped reading after Rogers left the title, did I actually miss anything written by that hack Sturges? Because, I mean, it’s not like he was any good when he caught the last gasp of another otherwise quality title in Shadowpact.

    Come to think of it, I’m far more put off by John Rogers dropping off the face of the Earth than I am about Beetle being canceled. Wasn’t he supposed to be moving on to other projects at DC? I miss him.

  17. The “market” just actively hates quality titles. Don’t know why, but show me a book with nuanced characters, great writing, beautiful art (I will follow Albuquerque to the ends of the earth) and I will show you a dead book walking.

    I think Rogers is tied up doing some sort of television writing at the mo?

    But yes, a Beetle/Ryan Choi book would rock like nobody’s business. Especially if they double date with Traci and Giganta.

    Sturges, IMO, kept the book ticking over nicely- which is no mean feat. He did say in an interview that in the last two-part story, someone dies- if it’s anyone other than Paco’s car, I will be *most* put out. ^_^

  18. Oh, also: Any BB fans wanting to stage an economic demonstration of their Blue Beetle love, there’s a suggestion on Scans_Daily (yeah I know) that folk buy the first TPB for Toys for Tots this Christmas, as they often have trouble finding suitable gifts for sassy adolescents.

  19. Call me an old fogey, the this recent incarnation just didn’t feel right. I miss Ted Cord!

    Kord. The previous Beetle was Ted Kord…

  20. This news really made me sad. Favorite moment: Jaime is on the Reach’s ship, with his scarab removed. He finds some Reach guy’s uniform and a pair of yellow bubble goggles then proceeds to kick some ass.