KID ETERNITYMedium: Comic books
Published by: Quality Comics
First Appeared: 1942
Creators: Otto Binder (writer) and Sheldon Moldoff (artist)
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Hit Comics was one of several comic book anthologies published by Quality Comics (Plastic Man, Blackhawk) in the early 1940s. Despite the name, hits were notably lacking in its lineup during its first couple of years. It wasn't until the 25th issue (December, 1942), after trying Neon the Unknown, Hercules (no relation) (him either) (nor him) and a couple
of other superheroes in the cover and lead position, that it settled on a regular feature for the spotlight. That's when a rather ordinary hero called The Red Bee was dropped in favor of a much more interesting character, Kid Eternity.
The Kid's opening story was written by Otto Binder (Legion of Super Heroes, Supergirl) and drawn by Sheldon Moldoff (Hawkman, Moon Girl). Its protagonist was a boy whose name wasn't mentioned to the reader — in fact, having been addressed as "kid" all his life, he wasn't even sure he had one. He and his only known family member, Gran'pa, were at sea during the early days of World War II, and their ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine. The gatekeeper of the Afterlife passed Gran'pa straight through, but there seemed to have been a mistake about "Kid" — according to the records, he was supposed to live another 75 years. A supernatural entity named Mr. Keeper had committed the error (his first in 2,000,000 years), and so "Keep" (as Kid called him) became responsible for the boy.
Keep brought Kid back to Earth and gave him a unique super power. Using "Eternity" as a magic word, he was able to summon assistance from anyone who had lived in the past. With great fighters, wise counselors and even the occasional politician at his call, Kid Eternity, with Mr. Keeper (who had resigned his supernatural commission) at his side, handled menaces of all types, from world conquerors down to children having trouble with their neighbors.
Kid Eternity continued doing this in every issue of Hit Comics until #60 (September, 1949). He also had his own title for 18 issues, from Spring, 1946, to November, 1949.
In 1956, the assets of Quality Comics were acquired by DC, now one of the biggest comic book publishers in the world. DC didn't make use of most Quality properties for the next couple of decades. But when serious mining of the past began in the 1970s, he started showing up occasionally with Captain Marvel and related characters, who had come to DC via a separate acquisition, that of the superheroes of Fawcett Publications (Bulletman, Ibis the Invincible).
At DC, Kid Eternity was retconned into the brother of Freddy Freeman, aka Captain Marvel Jr. According to this scenario, he hadn't been called "Kid" all his life, but "Kit", short for Christopher Freeman. The two had been separated when very young, each going with one of the grandfathers. This back-story hasn't been used since DC rebooted its entire universe in the mid-1980s, and may, like many other elements of earlier continuity, no longer be considered canonical.
Kid Eternity came back again during the 1990s, this time under DC's Vertigo Comics imprint. Vertigo, whose typical titles include The Sandman and Swamp Thing, specializes in darker stories, aimed at older readers, so he had to go through a few changes before settling in there. He got hooked up with the Lords of Order and Chaos, who figure into the backgrounds of several characters, such as Doctor Fate and The Hawk & the Dove. The Vertigo version got high marks from some critics (tho not enough popular support to remain in publication for long), but it's a far cry from the way "Kid" looked back in Hit Comics.
They killed him off in 1999, but in comic books, that's not always a permanent disability — especially considering he wasn't precisely alive to begin with. Anyway, according to the origin story, he has until 2017.