April 17, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #122: Kid Eternity

The ghost of a boy who can summon dead heroes to help him fight evil.

There’s a certain wackiness to Golden Age superheroes.  While many are still with us in one form or another, there was a certain sense of throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck, no matter how screwy the idea.

And that brings us to Kid Eternity.

The most cheerful dead child you’ll ever see. Well, aside from Casper.

Kid Eternity didn’t originally have a name.  He was out fishing with his Grandpa, who apparently only called him “kid,” when a Nazi U-boat sunk the vessel, killing both grandfather and grandson.

I hate when that happens.

However, due to a clerical error, the Kid wasn’t supposed to stay dead, so he was sent back to Earth for a 75 year span alongside an angelic being called Mr. Keeper.  Mr. Keeper being the one who made the clerical error now had to be his new guardian.  At any rate, Kid Eternity could summon any dead historic, fictional, or mythological figure to aid him simply by saying the word “eternity”.  That’s no crazier, I suppose, than summoning power by saying any other magic word, but there ya have it.

So, anything like that sounds ultimately silly or harmless once you get past the whole child death thing.  And Kid Eternity did have some reoccurring bad guys, including the Master Man, who was basically the opposite of the Kid.  He could summon the dead too, but he had to go with evil ones.

Like Rasputin here.  And you know Master Man is bad news since he apparently smokes.

Now, like a lot of Golden Age heroes, someone as, shall we say goofy as Kid Eternity is bound to just disappear after a while, but following the character’s career path yields some interesting results.  See, Kid Eternity’s original adventures were published by Quality Comics, and when the publisher decided to try a more profitable line of publishing, the characters were outright sold to DC Comics.  DC kept a number of the Quality characters in circulation, though the superheroes stayed out of sight until the 70s when the Freedom Fighters under the leadership of Uncle Sam returned.  They all lived on Earth-X, AKA the Earth where the Nazis won World War II.  Such a place might be a wee bit…dark for a character like Kid Eternity.  As such, he was simply transferred to a different Earth, namely Earth-S, home to the characters DC purchased from Fawcett Comics.  That’d be Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family.

I am not calling that character Shazam.

And to create a deeper tie, Kid Eternity was given the name of Christopher “Kit” Freeman.  That also made him the brother of Freddie “Captain Marvel Junior” Freeman.  You’d think Freddie would have mentioned a dead brother before then, but there ya go.  At any rate, Kid Eternity was now a supporting character to the Marvel family, and let’s face it, if your whole thing is summoning power by saying a magic word, then being part of the Marvel Family made a lot of sense.

But then came the Crisis and the merging of the Earths, and that meant Kid Eternity was up for grabs again.  Say, he’s a fairly innocent character…where would the worst place for him to land?

That’s right!  He was now a Vertigo character!

Written by Grant Morrison, the idea seemed to be to strip anything sweet or innocent away from the Kid and make him, well, a Vertigo character.  Heck, he could be a parody of a Vertigo character from the sounds of things.  They started off by making his Grandpa less a grandparent and more of a child molester.  Mr. Keeper wasn’t an angel.  He was a demon.  The heroes he summoned weren’t heroes.  They were demons disguised as the people Kid Eternity thought he was summoning.

That’s some…really dark stuff right there.

Kid Eternity did get back to the mainstream DCU, only to be killed by Mordru inside of two pages, and then resurrected as a member of the Teen Titans with a limit of one resurrection at a time and for no more than a minute or so before the summoned spirit went back to wherever Eternity pulled them from.  This Kid Eternity would die again when he was killed by the Calculator, a villain decidedly less dangerous than Mordru.

Kid Eternity did get revived as part of the New 52.  Well, revived may not be the right word all things being equal.

Looks like he was shot this time.

He also got a brand new Mr. Keeper.

So, not a demon this time?

Hey, there’s no child molesters here, so his life has already improved.  Or his death has.

You decide!