Jaime Reyes first appeared in the 2006 Infinite Crisis mini-series as the successor to the non-super-powered Ted Kord (who died violently at the hands of a former ally), and a month later, in his own series. While popular among comic book reviewers and some fans, the Blue Beetle didn't sell well enough to sustain an ongoing series. In general, Comic book fans dislike change, rarely accepting legacy characters (i.e., new characters taking on the roles of established superheroes). With the Blue Beetle, DC Comics made significant changes, not only going younger, but setting the series in a new city, El Paso, Texas, giving Reyes, a Latino teen, a strong supporting cast of characters, new villains, and a new origin: an alien scarab that, when activated, gives Reyes superpowers, including an armored suit, flight, and advanced weaponry.
Giffen and Rogers wrote Reyes as part Peter Parker (he talks smack during the inevitable confrontations with the supervillain of the month) and part Greatest American Hero (much was made of Reyes learning the ins and outs of the alien technology). Breaking away from the limitations of the secret identity premise, Reyes' close friends and family are aware of his identity as the Blue Beetle, even going as far as supporting him on his missions, an idea explored, however superficially, in Iron Man 2. More importantly, Giffen and Rogers gave Reyes personality, making the comic book series one of the better reads over its three-year year run as an ongoing series (the last issue appeared in February 2009). Seeing Blue Beetle's potential as a significant player in the DC Comics universe, then Executive Editor (now co-publisher) Dan DiDio has promoted the Blue Beetle in other comic book series, including the Teen Titans and as a back-up feature to the more popular Booster Gold series.
Reyes is also set to appear in the DC Universe Online MMORPG (set for a November release). And now with word of alive-action test, specifically of Reyes turning into the Blue Beetle, with another hint that San Diego Comic Con attendees will get to see the test footage, the Blue Beetle seems poised for success outside the comic book medium. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but if the live-action series succeeds, perhaps as the replacement for Smallville the season after next, then we might see Blue Beetle appear on the big screen, either individually (unlikely, unless he develops fans from across different demographics) or as a key player in a live-action Teen Titans or Justice League film (more likely).
Are you familiar with the Blue Beetle from the comic book series or on the small screen from his Batman: The Brave and the Bold appearances? Do you see the Blue Beetle as a breakout character capable of carrying his own live-action show? Would you like to see him in a live-action film, possibly interacting with other members of the DC Universe?
Update: We didn't have to wait long after all. Slashfilm has posted screen caps of Jaime Reyes transforming into the Blue Beetle. As Johns says, it's just test footage and, thus unrefined, but the screen caps give us a first glimpse of what the Blue Beetle in a redesigned suit would look like in live-action form.