DC Histories: Kid Eternity

Here at DC Histories, we try to make sense of the continuity that perplexes, befuddles, and intimidates. We discuss what worked and what didn’t. This week, we’re talking about the enigmatic Kid Eternity.

Hit Comics #25 (1942) Cover

Created by Otto Binder and Sheldon Moldoff for Quality Comics in 1942, Kid Eternity was a success right from the start. The story went that the Kid, who was never given a real name during this time period, was killed when a World War II German submarine sunk the boat in which he and his grandfather were riding. In the afterlife, the Kid learned that, apparently, he had been killed before his time. He wasn’t scheduled to die for another 75 years or so. To make up for this problem, the Kid had the ability to return to Earth. However, he didn’t return alone. Now, he was hooked up to a supernatural figure called Mr. Keeper. Whenever Mr. Keeper was around, the Kid was able to summon dead figures from history or mythology to help combat whatever foe the Kid found himself up against. He and Mr. Keeper could also become invisible at a moment’s notice and even seemed to have the ability to fly. To use his powers, Kid Eternity simply had to speak the word “Eternity.”

The character was such a success that he was given his own title in 1946. Titled Kid Eternity, the series lasted 18 issues and was cancelled when superheroes went out of style in 1949.

Kid Eternity (Vol. 1) #1 (1946) Cover

In 1956, Quality Comics went bust. Their stable of characters went to the highest bidder, DC Comics. But even after acquiring Kid Eternity and his supporting characters, DC didn’t use the Kid for decades. It was only after DC purchased the rights to the Fawcett Comics characters, specifically Captain Marvel, that the Kid reappeared in comic book pages.

Kid Eternity reappeared for the first time in 25 years during a story in Shazam!. There, the similarities between the Kid’s powers and Billy Batson’s were explored. Just like Kid Eternity, Billy Batson gained his powers by speaking a magic word. The two also got their abilities from mystical, all-powerful figures. It just made sense that the two of them would know each other.

From Shazam! (Vol. 1) #27 (1977)

In the pages of Shazam!, DC managed to give the Kid a real name. It was shown that he was Christopher Freeman, brother of Freddie Freeman, otherwise known as Captain Marvel Jr. This meant that two characters created by two different publishers were actually related, and this revelation appeared in the pages of a third, unrelated publisher. Continuity can lead to some strange places.

After Captain Marvel’s series ended, Kid Eternity didn’t show up very often. In fact, as far as I can tell, he didn’t show up again until Grant Morrison and Duncan Fegredo resurrected him in a three issue Vertigo miniseries. Now devoid of his relationship to the Captain Marvel Family, Kid Eternity was an agent of the afterlife. His goal was to help usher in the next stage of humanity. His first appearance is an image to remember.

From Kid Eternity (Vol. 2) #1 (1991)

This series was pretty obtuse. It was hard to tell what exactly was happening on a moment-to-moment basis. Nevertheless, the art was gorgeous and the Kid’s new look of pure white skin, white clothes, and sunglasses made him a recognizable figure. In the end, the Kid was able to get two seemingly ordinary humans safely out of the clutches of evil. When this pair eventually had a child, they learned that their offspring would be the start of a new race of humans on Earth.

From Kid Eternity (Vol. 2) #3 (1991)

This miniseries was popular enough for Vertigo to commission an ongoing series for the Kid. Two years after the Morrison miniseries ended, Kid Eternity was relaunched. Now the writer was Ann Nocenti and the artist was Sean Phillips. Here, the Kid’s goal of helping change the world was sidetracked by pages and pages of navel-gazing. One of the first times that the Kid used his resurrection abilities in the series was when he brought back Jung and Freud to diagnose his mental state.

From Kid Eternity (Vol. 3) #2 (1993)

Phillips’ art was solid, though not as great as his later work, but it was clear that Nocenti’s focus wasn’t the plot. She had the Kid bounce around from location to location, occasionally using his resurrection powers but, more often than not, just having strange conversations with people he met. He gained a new, unexplained power which allowed him to enter people’s minds and see life through their eyes. The character got high, had his mind broken, and entered computers. In a 2007 interview, Nocenti admitted that the series was “overly dense with ideas.” Those ideas came at the expense of any sort of forward momentum for the series. It was a slog to get through all 16 issues, which is all the series lasted.

After his ongoing series ended, Vertigo gave up their claim to Kid Eternity. When he next appeared, it was in the pages of a regular DCU book. In JSA #1, during the very first scene of the series, Kid Eternity was killed by the villain Mordru, who was attempting to collect all of the power from the various Agents of Chaos. Apparently, Kid Eternity fit the bill. No matter how many heroes the Kid brought back to life, he was no match for the wizard.

From JSA #1 (1999)

That could have been the end of it. After all, Kid Eternity wasn’t that popular of a hero. He could have just stayed dead. But, he returned years later in the pages of Geoff Johns’ run on Teen Titans. When the Titans battled the new Brother Blood, they found that the villain had managed to lodge Kid Eternity’s spirit at the gates of the afterlife. Kid Eternity was unwillingly allowing the dead to come back to life. When he was free, the Kid turned on his former captor and brought back all of Blood’s angry, dead relatives.

From Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #31 (2006)

The Kid left the Titans at the end of the issue, saying that he needed to go back out into the universe on his own.

He returned a few years later when Kid Devil, former sidekick of Blue Devil, needed some help. While attempting to give Kid Devil some assistance in Hell, Kid Eternity discussed his current predicament. It seemed that Mr. Keeper, the being who had given the Kid his powers, was an Agent of Chaos. Kid Eternity had chaffed under Mr. Keeper’s rules and had broken away from his former master. During the ensuing tussle, the Kid nearly lost his powers. Only the intervention of a Lord of Order allowed the Kid to keep his powers.

From Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #68 (2009)

However, after breaking from Chaos, the Kid found his powers changed. Now, instead of summoning dead spirits to help him fight, the Kid could summon spirits to inhabit his body. Before, these spirits could stick around for as long as Kid Eternity wanted them to, but now there seemed to be a one minute time limit on their return to our plane of existence. The more the Kid used his powers, the shorter of a time they stayed in the real world.

When Kid Eternity was done helping Kid Devil with his problem, he signed on to be a part of the Teen Titans. He got to stand in line with everyone on the cover of an issue and everything.

Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #69 (2009) Cover

He was accepted into the group but, frankly, he didn’t do much. Wonder Girl did sit down with him to try to quantify his powers, which he found to be greatly reduced.

From Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #71 (2009)

During the middle of the next storyline, Kid Eternity just sort of disappeared. It was revealed that the Calculator, a villain who was an information broker for criminals, had kidnapped the Kid. You see, the Calculator’s son, Marvin, was a member of the Titans for a very short time. Unfortunately, Marvin died while with the group. Blaming the Titans for his son’s death, the Calculator forced Kid Eternity to keep on summoning Marvin so that father and son could be reunited. During these summoning sessions, the Kid was overtaxed and died for a third time.

From Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #92 (2011)

That’s where Kid Eternity was left before the New 52 reboot: Dead yet again. However, he is returning to comics with National Comics: Eternity, a one-shot which will bring him into the current continuity. Will Mr. Keeper return with the Kid? Will the Kid even be able to resurrect dead spirits again? We’ll just have to find out together.

Jeff Reid wishes that some of Kid Eternity’s Golden Age comics would be reprinted. Watch him reveal more random wishes on Twitter.


  1. I’ve only ever read the Grant Morrison Kid Eternity, so I am glad I checked out this article before picking up that book today.

  2. That 1942 Cover is awesome!. What’s the deal with the finger signs?

    And do you know who did the cover?

  3. I’ve pretty recently started reading the Robinson/Goyer/Johns era of JSA, and that death was in fact one of the first things you see. It was a shame too, since his powers seem to be really cool.

    BUT GODDAMN, was this character dragged through the mud in modern times, complete with a miserable death.

  4. The one-shot wasn’t too bad. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but it was definitely more readable than the Nocenti series or the Teen Titan appearances.

  5. Thanks for this history, Jeff! I was a big fan of the Teen Titans, and was all for the new team of Wonder Girl, Red Devil, Blue Beetle, Miss Martian, Aquagirl, Static, Bombshell, and, of course, Kid Eternity. His powers seemed so cool and it was a chance to bring back some dead DC heroes to fight the good fight. Some old characters could have come back without upsetting their original deaths. It could have explored some great places…but then he was on the team for all 6 issues before he was captured and the Titans didn’t really seem to ask “Hey, where’s Eternity?” That upset me. He seemed interesting and before I could get attached, he was killed off. Hopefully he’ll be great in the New 52!

    Keep up the amazing work, Jeff! 🙂