Steve Ditko’s Blue Beetle: The Antithesis of “Fascism”

What many people, usually the uninformed or the mainstream media shills and propagandists who call themselves “journalists,” get wrong about comic book artist and legend Steve Ditko was that he was a recluse, a man much too obsessed with Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, alone in his office, creating works of art in the “realms of American barking madness” as Neil Gaiman puts it, never giving interviews about his career in comics, when in fact the exact opposite was true.

He had only given one interview in Harlan Ellison’s comic book documentary film called Masters of Comic Book Art, where he described one of his characters named Mr. A as the embodiment of Ayn Rand’s theory of justice, Aristotle’s law of identity, his definition of man, and his view of art, an uncompromised avenger of justice, much like the pulp heroes of the ‘30s and ‘40s such as The Shadow.

However, Steve Ditko never needed to make any interviews with anyone, including the mainstream media “journalists,” because his work spoke for itself. His stories were about his characters’ unbending will for truth and justice, fighting against corruption and evil, even if it cost them their reputation or their career. Whenever the public or law enforcement in Ditko’s comics turned against heroes like Spider-man, Hawk and Dove, and the Question, they never let their criticisms get them down, and the heroes always found a way to overcome the odds with logic, reasoning, and smarts, always thinking two steps ahead of everyone else, all without compromising their Objectivist philosophy and their crusade against crime.

Much like his characters, Ditko never compromised with the colleagues he worked with, such as Stan Lee, and Steve Skeates, when it came time for disagreements over how the characters and their stories in their comic book titles should be handled. If the odds were against Ditko, he knew it was a losing battle, and he didn’t want to compromise his vision with any of those who disagreed with him for philosophical and professional reasons, so he left and moved on to other projects where he could continue his work uncompromised. He never felt the need to go out and protest or badmouth his colleagues because doing so would go against his philosophy of Objectivism. He was more about creation instead of destruction, producing art on how men should act, which brings us to the elephant in the room with Warner Bros.’ cinematic adaption of the titular superhero known as Blue Beetle, starring Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, the third Blue Beetle in the comics.

Much like the recent comic book live-action or animated adaptions that have thrown legitimate faithfulness to the original material out the window, Jaime Reyes’ cinematic counterpart is somewhat different compared to his comic book version and the legacy of the Blue Beetle mantle besides his Latino ethnicity which some of the people in the entertainment industrial sphere working under companies like DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. seem to care about more than anything else. All we have to go by for now with the upcoming Blue Beetle film is the recent trailer that came out in early April. Nonetheless, it stirred a lot of controversy and indifference amongst moviegoers and comic book fans after Jaimes Reyes’ uncle, played by comedian George Lopez, calls Batman a “fascist” at the end of the trailer.

By the titular character’s uncle’s irrational definition, and by today’s illogical standards from radical leftists, simply being a wealthy millionaire and philanthropist is considered “fascist.” For this comparison, let’s take a look at one of Steve Ditko’s characters named Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle in the comics, since Ted Kord is also a billionaire who owns his own company and makes his own gadgets, and falls under the category of being a “fascist” simply for being rich based on Reyes’ uncle’s assumption.

Steve Ditko’s character Ted Kord was the second Blue Beetle who took over the mantle after the death of his friend Dan Garret, the first and original Blue Beetle, despite not having the powerful Blue Scarab in his possession. However, Ted Kord didn’t need the Scarab to carry out his crusade against criminals because not only was he a billionaire and CEO of his own company, but he was also a technologist, able to create his own arsenal of high-tech gadgetry and weapons, and an expert gymnast and fighter, all of which he required to fight bad guys. He depends on his skills and wits, not on a piece of alien technology, to carry out his crime-fighting duties. Throughout his crimefighting career, he has fought all sorts of criminals such as petty robbers, madmen who dress up in ridiculous costumes, criminal masterminds who steal other companies’ invention plans to sell them for profit, cat burglars with squid-like suits, mad scientists who built invincible robots to take over the world and obtain absolute power, treasure hunters, etc.

Basically, Steve Ditko’s Blue Beetle is the opposite of a “fascist” because rich entrepreneurs like Ted Kord wouldn’t make deals with the federal government to regulate the free market in order to lower the competition with other businesses, require the government’s assistance to use taxpayer dollars to help fund their projects, protect their monopolies, then fail to make a lot of profit due to their lack of foresight and crony capitalist methods before falling into bankruptcy and being bought by one of their competitors later down the line. If billionaires like Ted Kord were indeed “fascists” as Jaime Reyes’ uncle in the film proclaimed they were without any logical or factual evidence whatsoever, then they would be siding with the State instead of acting out of their own volition based on their moral principles rather than the will of the authoritarian government, fighting criminals in what the establishment deems a threat, not what their philosophy and morality define those as a threat to society and its civilians.

Ted Kord fought crime of his own accord because he knew the law could be easily corrupted by men who make and govern it, but justice is absolute, an eternal judgment inflicted upon criminals who seek to do ill to the innocent and destroy or corrupt all that is good. Also, if Ted Kord is considered a “fascist” according to Jaime Reyes’ uncle’s biased definition, then Ted Kord probably wouldn’t be fighting criminals hellbent on stealing or creating advanced technological weapons for profit or taking over the world throughout his comic series, the same type of villain that Jaime Reyes will be fighting in his own film adaption. If Ted Kord was a “fascist” he would be fighting for the government to oppress people who disagree with the State instead of saving people from villains such as robbers and killer robots designed by mad scientists who want to rule the world.

For someone as selfless as Ted Kord, a self-made millionaire who uses his inventions for good instead of evil, maybe he isn’t fascist as Reyes’ uncle proclaimed he is because Ted Kord doesn’t get along with authority figures, especially those within the government who act like fascists and wish to use fascists tactics to silence their enemies and their fellow countrymen for criticizing them on their immoral behavior and violating the constitution. Fascists are the type of people who hate people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those who want to control people’s lives and monopolize their wealth, yet Reyes’ uncle, or the writer in this case since he wrote this line, accuses billionaire-philanthropists like Ted Kord of doing the exact same thing.

What’s worse is that detractors on the internet who may or may not have watched the trailer simply dismissed this line of dialogue, written by the misinformed Blue Beetle screenplay writer, as a “joke” and criticized many moviegoers and comic book fans for taking it seriously, which is very paradoxically contradictory of them to say that it is just a joke, even if it is purposely misinformative, brought on by ignorant, self-loathing, screenplay writers who hate rich people simply for existing and not hate those who are statists and lobby with easily-corruptible politicians.

Not only is this an insult to genuine hard-working entrepreneurs who would later become millionaires, but it’s also a disingenuous mockery of Ted Kord and Steve Ditko’s legacy. Both the character Ted Kord and its creator, Steve Ditko, have done more to produce new and innovative creations to help inspire people rather than stoop to the establishment and radical left’s low and destroy an IP to the point where it has no measuring standard and can neither be identified nor judged. Art is meant to create an ideal model as a measuring standard for society, adults and children, to look up to and aspire to become, and if a film such as the upcoming Blue Beetle has no measuring standard, then it means nothing to the audience and the general public, similar to many of the recent superhero films released previously. If people will shrug off this disingenuous line of dialogue simply as a “joke” despite not understanding what the word fascist means, then they are as ignorant and dishonest as those on the side of destruction and centralization who cannot fathom rationality, as well as contradict the true meaning of authoritarian oppression known as fascism.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Anthony Joseph Buffa

Born and raised in Georgia, Anthony Joseph Buffa is a mostly self-taught writer and artist who has been practicing the two mediums since the 6th grade. He was a student at Georgia Perimeter College and Kennesaw State University until he left to pursue a career as a fiction writer. Inspired by the works of Steve Ditko, Flannery O’Connor, and Walter B. Gibson, as well as being a fan of classic films and novels, even the pulps, Anthony J. Buffa has written a number of short stories and essays, including many novels in the works.

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