The Japanese Beetle is a webcomic created by Dave "The Knave" White. A parody of modern superhero comics, it features the adventures of Ken Watanabe, aka "The Japanese Beetle", who serves for justice in his own hilarious way. It debuted in 1996 and ran until 2004.
The original version of the Japanese Beetle was a much different affair, usually relying on parodies of other comics events like The Death of Superman and the movie Batman Forever. Eventually, White ended this series as he left Carnegie Mellon, but he kept the ideas with him.
One year after the Beetle's abrupt end, White revived the series and characters in a regular webcomic, with updates each weekday (eventually reduced to every Monday, Wednesday and Friday). This series is the one that introduced the basic framework for the series as well as practically all of the familiar characters. The series continued its familiar formula of parodying major comic book events and depicting its characters in bizarre situations until September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, White had been pursuing a storyline in which America was the villain, and subsequently had to drop the entire idea as he felt it would be inappropriate at the time. The series continued on for almost a year, finally concluding with a parody of Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, at which point White ended the series so that he could "live life to its fullest".
The Japanese Beetle returned in the middle of 2003, because White missed the character and because, in his own words, "(m)y idea of 'living life to its fullest' translates to 'sitting around on the couch, eating M&Ms and watching re-runs of Futurama.'" The new Beetle comics were hosted by Graphic Smash until late 2004, when they were moved to a self-titled domain hosted by 741.5 Comics.
The series reached a rather abrupt end in February 2005 when White stopped updating.
About the Creator
Dave White is a web designer and artist living in Pittsburgh. 
No links available.
- The Japanese Beetle! (host of the 2003 series)
- The archive of the 1994 and 1998 series.
- Dave White's site
- Dave White's Twitter