THE UNADAPTED: Kid Eternity

Posted: July 24, 2014 in Captain Marvel, DC, Kid Eternity, The Unadapted
Tags: , , ,

**This is a new column where I (or other writers) take a look at comic book characters who either haven’t been adapted to other media or haven’t been adapted respectfully.**

The Kid and Mr. Keeper

I’ll start things off with an oft forgotten character who, to date, has been referenced a whopping ZERO times in any form of expanded media: Kid Eternity. The Kid was created by Quality Comics in 1942 for a series called Hit Comics and made frequent appearances before getting his own ongoing series. Originally, the character was not given a proper name. He was only ever referred to as Kid, most likely as a way of creating a cypher that young readers could identify with and more easily imagine themselves in his sneakers.

As his origin tells us, the Kid was a passenger on his Grandpa’s fishing boat that was torpedoed by a Nazi U-Boat during World War II. He was killed prematurely and to rectify the error, a supernatural being known as Mr. Keeper returned the boy to life with the promise that he’d fight evil. The Kid was given the ability to summon historical figures during his adventures by shouting the word “Eternity”. The character was popular upon his creation but eventually faded during Quality’s decline.

After purchasing the character from a house-cleaning Quality Comics, DC reintroduced him in the 1970’s as a member of the Marvel Family (themselves purchased from Fawcett Comics) since their word-based powers were similar. His new name was Kit Freeman and he was now the brother of Captain Marvel Jr., Freddy Freeman. Kid was only ever a supporting character during the Marvel Family years and didn’t receive much attention from fans.

In 1991, Grant Morrison was given the character to create a prestige format mini-series designed for mature readers. The surreal story focused on The Kid (who’s revised origin included Grandpa being a kidnapping pedophile and Mr. Keeper being a Lord of Chaos) could now summon demons in the form of historical figures at the utterance of “Eternity”. The mini-series successfully reinvigorated the character and lead to an ongoing series published by Vertigo and written by Ann Nocenti.

“Ouch! My relevance!”

After the conclusion of that series, the Kid showed up sporadically in the DC universe (most notable of which was his death that opened JSA #1). Resurrected inexplicably, he eventually gained a spot on the post-Infinite Crisis Teen Titans (before being killed off again). However, his latter-day appearances remain spotty at best.

One of the few New 52 relaunches I didn’t hate…

Throughout the years of comic book media, there have been many opportunities for Kid Eternity to make his mark. Sadly, none have given him a chance. He could have fit nicely into the expanded roster of the final season of Teen Titans, or as a pre-credit sidekick for Batman in Brave and the Bold. Alas, none of those have come to pass. At this point, I think the best course of action in adapting the character would be to draw from the New 52 version. In 2012, DC created a one-shot under their National Comics banner that re-imagined the Kid as an investigator who can bring people back from the dead briefly in order to solve their murder. Written by Jeff Lemire, it’s a radical departure from past incarnations, but it lends itself well to adaptation. It reads like a television pilot and would likely need very little in the way of changes to work on screen.

Everyone else was in it…

Since it’s doubtful that we’ll ever get a big-budget Kid Eternity film as a part of DC’s new slate of movies, television would be a good place for the character. And even though a pilot seems logical, it’s doubtful at best. At this point, my money would be on seeing the character make a guest appearance on NBC’s Constantine. Both the title character and Kid were popular Vertigo characters and the show is seeking to infuse more “mystical” DC characters into the cast. With Constantine having a built-in mythology that’s being ironed out, almost any version of the character could be made to fit into the narrative. Regardless, in some form or another, Kid Eternity needs to show up in the ever increasing universe of comics’ expanded media.

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