SuperFriends Comic Book Character
Chronos, the Time Thief
Chronos 5 (Worlds Finest 321).jpg
Information
Real name: David Clinton
AKA: Chronos, the Time Thief
Species: Human
Hair: black
Eyes: blue
Apprentice: Chronos' Henchmen
Base: Chronos' Headquarters
Affiliations: Crime Champions
Injustice Gang
Anti-Justice League
Rogue of: Atom
Weaponry: Temporal Displacement Devices

David Clinton
Image from Atom, #3 (October/November 1962).

Chronos, the Time Thief
Image from World's Finest Comics, #321 (November 1985)

Chronos started his career as a costumed criminal in a confrontation with the Atom, soon becoming his archenemy. Using a variety of gadgets, his main power is time travel and he uses this power to trap his opponents in either past of future. He developed his time trave power in prison. Chronos had a brief stint with both the Crime Champions (a trio of Earth-One villains and a trio of Earth-Two villains) [1] and the Injustice Gang.

Background Information

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, as a young boy, David Clinton was obsessed with time. He would patiently watch the movement of clocks hands and believed that the secrets of celestial mechanics would be revealed upon prying open his father’s watch. As he became older, he became a petty thief who had a penchant for time pieces. After he was arrested, and sent to prison, he found the clockwork precision that would become the key to his success. While in prison he read of a super criminal known as Doctor Fox[2] -- the greatest mind since Einstein. Upon his release after years in prison, his underground contacts led him to an estate in New Jersey. Gaining his trust, he worked with him on project after project, unlocking the mysteries time held. On one occasion, Clinton arrived at the home ready to go to work and Dr. Fox and his daughter had mysteriously disappeared.[3]

Undeterred, he moved to Ivy Town and opened up a clock. It would not be long however, before he decided to become a costumed criminal calling himself Chronos (inspired by the Greek word for time). He started his crime spree using clock related weapons to steal exotic clocks. Over the next few months the great cities of the Atlantic Coast are plagued with a series of robberies. After a visit from Ray Palmer to his clock shop regarding a birthday gift, David learns that Ivy University has an atomic clock[4] in the University lab and of course he decides to steal it that night. Using a ship he calls ‘Flying Sundial’ (stolen ideas and tech from the U.S. Army) he stealthily pulls up to a deserted section of the campus. Chronos makes a not so subtle entrance to the lab disturbing Ray, who jumps to investigate. He sees that it’s Chronos the Time Thief. Ray, in his civilian guise tries to stop him. Chronos' weapons prove to be too much for Ray who must change into the Atom. Even with the change Ray is unable to stop Chronos who manages to escape with his prize. Unfortunately for Ray, Chronos begins to suspect the Atom's true identity. He also figures that the Atom may have deduced his as well, so he devises a trap in anticipation of the Atom's appearance at his clock shop. Sure enough, after Ray Palmer notices an exaggerated bruise on Clinton's face the next day, he decides to pay him a visit that night as the Atom. He falls for Chronos' trap and is knocked out with gas and stored in a watch on Chronos' wrist. Chronos takes the Atom with him on his robbery to a local Jewelry Store, the Ivy Jewel House. However, the Atom takes advantage of the fact that Chronos has no idea the full extent of his powers, and shrinks small enough to escape the watch, get away and confront Chronos as Ray Palmer. Knocking out Chronos and calling the police, Ray then shrinks back down-to-size as the Atom preserving his identity when the police arrive.[5]

Just over a year later, David Clinton has somehow escaped prison and shows up as a member of a team of super-villains calling themselves the Crime Champions. They have tipped off the Justice League and are boasting of their prowess. Meanwhile at the Secret Sanctuary of the JLA, Batman is presenting the facts as he knows them. Chronos, Doctor Alchemy and Felix Faust have banded together to commit three crimes. The League splits into three teams to take down each of the super-villains. Meanwhile, on the parallel world of Earth-Two, the Justice Society of America have received a similar challenge from three of their most well-known adversaries: the Fiddler, the Icicle and the Wizard. Eager to begin adventuring as a team once again, the JSA officially come out of retirement. After what appears to be the successful defeat of the Crime Champions, both teams pledge to help each other in stopping the any future return of this villainous gang.[6] It turns out however, that the Flash from both Earths are missing. Soon, both members of the JLA and JSA also become captured – imprisoned into inter-dimesional cages. Their imprisonment is short-lived when, at the suggestions of the two Atoms, the two Green Lanterns are able to shrink themselves down to sub-atomic size to get out of their prison. They use their combined power rings and the super speed / vibratory powers of both Flashes to free the others. The Crime Champions realize what has happened, and the Fiddler thinks there must be an Earth-Three. Before they can manage to create a portal to Earth-three, the heroes are upon them and an epic battle ensues. The Crime Champions are defeated. The Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America agree to maintain contact with one another, should the need to join forces ever arise again. Both groups then part company for their own worlds, taking their respective criminals back with them.[7]

The following summer, we are introduced to Hungarian clock maker, Anton Teljas sends his daughter Eva a gift -– it’s specially crafted clocks with jewels hidden inside to help her fund getting refugees out of Hungary. However, the clocks never reach their intended destination. The train car the clocks are traveling in gets in a wreck and the destination of the crate is lost. The clocks end up under auction, one of which is purchased by Ray Palmer. Meanwhile, David Clinton manages to escape from his prison cell and resume his role as the costumed criminal Chronos; who learns of the auction of the rare clocks (totally unaware of the jewels hidden therein) and seeks to steal them. The Atom of course, captures Chronos and retrieves the stolen clocks with the hidden jewels. Meanwhile, lawyer Jean Loring (Ray’s girlfriend at the time) meets with Eva to let the young woman know that everyone who purchase the specially crafted clocks has agreed to turn over the jewels as long as they can keep the clocks to help her cause.[8]

Just over two years later, Chronos turns up in Ivy Town again. He is behind the mysterious disappearances of expensive ‘time-pieces’. It appears that he is able to freeze team long enough to make the theft. This time it’s the Tiny Titan who is captured. Chronos ties him to the hour hand of a watch, hoping that when the minute hand passes over the hour, the Atom will be crushed to death. Chronos takes his time-freezing device, and heads out to steal a shipment of rare clocks found in an archeological dig -- leaving the Atom to his fate. Meanwhile, fellow clock enthusiast and victim of Chronos’ theft, Anton Teljas has also deduced Chronos' involvement in the thefts and has built a device that allows him to track the location of the crooks lair. As he arrives outside, the Atom escapes the trap just in time to hop aboard the sundial craft Chronos has summoned. Witnessing the ship taking off, Anton follows it to the ship where Chronos is currently pilfering the antique clocks. With the element of surprise, the Atom manages to smash the Chronos’ time freeze device and deliver a good ole knock-out punch. Anton contacts the authorities and Chronos is arrested once again and sent to prison.[9]

About 9 months later Chronos is back in Ivy Town to pulling off another clock caper. His target this time was a collection of priceless jeweled watches owned by retired industrialist Norman Blefary. Having received word of the impending crime, the Atom sets out immediately to stop Chronos. Getting cocky, the Atom ended up getting knocked out and captured. He woke up in Chronos' lab being attached to a grandfather clock. This clock is wired to explode at noon the following day. He then doses the Atom with enough knock-out gas to render him unconscious till at least 11am tomorrow and secretly delivers the clock to the shop of the meddling clock-maker who had him arrested nine months earlier, Anton Teljas. As fate would have it, fellow JLA member Ralph Dibny (aka the Elongated Man) is vacationing with his wife Sue. While shopping for antique time-pieces, when he stumbles across the Atom and dismantles the bomb. Anton revealed to the heroes that all his clocks are embedded with tiny tracking devices. Sure enough, a quick inventory of his clocks proves that a theft did in fact occur. Together the trio vows to bring Chronos to justice. The Atom and the Elongated man head out to catch the criminal. Chronos is back in jail again.[10]

Six years later David Clinton escapes from jail, but the Atom is once again able to defeat Chronos and send him to the state pen.[11]

Not quite a year later, Chronos turns up as a member of the Injustice Gang along with Mirror Master, Poison Ivy, the Scarecrow, Shadow Thief, Tattooed Man and Libra, their mysterious leader. They devise a plan to attack the JLA one member at time and bring them up to their secret Satellite so that Libra may steal their powers. Satisfied with these results, he then turned his device upon the universe itself, hoping to become a god. Instead, Libra was absorbed into the universe itself, effectively disintegrating him and spreading his essence across the cosmos. This allowed the imprisoned JLA members to be set free. The remaining Injustice Gang members fled, becoming fugitives.[12]

About 6 months later, in early 75’ Chronos turns up as a member of a short-lived team of supervillains led by Zazzala the Queen Bee, dubbed the “Anti-Justice League”. Superman throws them a curve by using a Kandorian machine which leads to their defeat by the JLA.[13]

By the end of that year, Chronos has set his site on Manhattan and this time it’s Wonder Woman who saved the day. The Atom is made aware of the Chronos plans to freeze time in the big city, and contacts U.N. Official Diana Prince who springs into action as Wonder Woman, leaving the Atom far behind. Chronos has activated his ‘Time-Perception Banisher’ so no one could perceive time-telling instruments. He has even encased the entire Island in a semi-opaque force-field which resembles a giant watch crystal to blot out the movement of the Sun. It appears that the amazing Amazon is immune to Chronos’ time-altering affects because she is able to control her heart-beat. Wonder Woman tracks down the devices and puts an end to the grand scheme.[14]

About a year and a half later, Chronos is back at trying to draw a comet with unique temporal powers from the future into 1977, but he loses control and it keeps going into the past. The comet's intense gravity drags a spacecraft from the year 2056 back with it to the age of the Dinosaurs. The ship contains Cologne Tommy Tomorrow, Captain Brent Wood and Doctor Schmidt, who were en route from Earth to the planet Vega-IV to treat a space-fever outbreak. Captain Comet, who was on patrol at the Justice League Satellite observes Chronos and the portal he has opened allowing dinosaurs to invade present-day Earth, and heads out to intercept. In the end, the heroes join forces and defeat Chronos.[15]

A few months later, Chronos is back with his dastardly cohorts, the Injustice Gang. In reality, they are being controlled by the Construct (sentient lifeform that can inhabit androids), now reborn after his defeat by the Atom.[16] The battle takes our heroes to the satellite HQ that Libra used. During the battle the Construct inadvertently destroys the satellite headquarters of the Injustice Gang causing the Injustice Gang to be freed from the mental dominance of the Construct. The Injustice Gang awakens, as if from a trance, with no memory as to how they came together. They are then easily defeated. Though the case is closed, none of the JLA members that helped out are aware that the Construct II was the mastermind controlling the 'Injustice Gang Of The World'.[17]

Not quite a year later, Chronos is back with the Injustice Gang (Poison Ivy, Mirror Master, Chronos, Tattooed Man, and the Scarecrow), this time with a mysterious stranger as their new leader. This new leader is using the Injustice Gang to find alien artifacts in order to gain control of Earth's energy resources. With the combined efforts of Aquaman, the Atom, Batman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, the Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Superman, Wonder Woman and Ultraa, a fellow hero from an alternate earth, they defeat the villains, and their leader is unmasked as Flash's future-dwelling foe, Abra Kadabra.[18]

During the summer of 79’ (in the parallel universe of Earth-1A), Chronos is in Gotham City with a team of henchmen pulling another time caper. He is blackmailing the Gotham City mayor by disrupting time in the entire town using a Good Time Blimp. This time, it’s JLA hero’s Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman Superman and SuperFriends trainees, Zan and Jayna who save the day and escort the criminals off to jail.[19]

Fours years have passed and Chronos turns up with his old pals from the Crime Champions, Doctor Alchemy, Felix Faust, the Fiddler, the Icicle, and the Wizard to attack various locales on Earth-One (Chronos and the Fiddler are up to no good in Mexico. Doctor Alchemy and the Icicle are conducting nefarious schemes in Egypt. Felix Faust, and the Wizard, have teamed up, at Stonehenge). After an encounter with Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt at the annual JLA / JSA reunion, the entire JLA is rendered unconscious Zatanna, Elongated Man, Firestorm and the Green Lantern), including those JLA heroes not present. As the JSA is attending to their unconscious allies, they are made aware of the Crime Champions evil schemes. The Earth-Two Flash, Hourman, the Huntress, Power Girl, and the Red Tornado, head out to meet these threats. The Black Canary and Starman journey into the Thunderbolt dimension. While in the Thunderbolt dimension, our heroes learn that the Earth-One version of Johnny Thunder has assumed control over the T-Bolt. He directs their attention to a glass coffin which contains the bodies of Larry Lance and Black Canary.[20] Meanwhile, as our JSA heroes battle the Crime Champions, they are joined by Sargon the Sorcerer (who was born in the Earth-Two universe, but later migrated to Earth-One). Back in the Thunderbolt dimension, the Thunderbolt recounts for Starman and Black Canary the secret of Dinah’s true origin. She is not in fact, Dinah Drake Lance, but rather the daughter of Larry and Dinah, Dinah Laurel Lance. As Johnny recounts the story, the Earth-Two Johnny escapes and delivers a knock-out punch to the Johnny from Earth-One. Dinah and Starman are freed. Johnny from Earth-Two then orders the T-Bolt to restore to consciousness the JLA and aid the JSA in defeating the Crime Champions. The Spectre from Earth-Two and the Earth-One Superman arrive in the Thunderbolt dimension to retrieve their comrades. Dinah has made peace with her origins, bids a fond farewell to her parent' gravesite, before asing Superman to take her home – back on Earth-One. As Superman carries Dinah through the dimensional barrier, Superman tells her that her mother would be proud. Dinah, through tears, thanks him and asks that he be the one to tell Ollie.[21]

After Chronos’ time-stealing adventure with his cohorts in crime, the Crime Champions, he decides to go into hiding. After a few years, he is found by the scheming dream merchant, ‘Rem’. Rem has successfully given Superman demoralizing nightmares, and wants Chronos to help. Superman desperately seeks the help of Batman, who manages to locate the villain in Metropolis and deduces the master plan to poison the water supply and transform everyone in the city into mindless slaves using their dreams.[22] Batman successfully stops the chemical from spreading. The Dark Knight then heads to the Fortress of Solitude, where Rem takes control of Superman by turning him into a sleepwalker under his command. Unable to fight Superman, Batman uses the Phantom Zone Projector to send Superman into the Phantom Zone and release him from Rem's control. The plan worked and Superman joins Batman in defeating Rem. Meanwhile, Chronos starts planning his attack on the world's mightiest heroes.[23] Chronos has created a time-machine that allows the traveler in it to alter time. He uses it to send Superman and Batman back in time to pivotal points in history. After sucessfully not altering history, they head back to the present, where they confront Chronos, who in a desperate escape attempt, goes into his own time machine and becomes one with the Timestream.[24] This would prove to be Chronos’ last attempt to destroy the JLA before the Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred.

During the summer of 85’, in the middle of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Chronos shows up briefly as one of Luthor's cadre of villains who have spread themselves across the realities, sowing chaos and discord at every turn.[25]

His fate during the Crisis is unknown. He turns up after the Crisis with only minor changes to his character in the post-crisis, New Earth.


Powers and Abilities

Powers

None

Abilities


Weakness

Those of an ordinary mortal.

Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Time Gadgetry: He has a variety of clock-related gadgets, as well as gadgets that have to do with time travel, such as time machines.
    • Exploding Hourglasses: Clinton carried a miniature hourglass filled with "compressed particles of time".
    • A Wrist-Watch that projects razor-sharp hands.
    • An Unnamed Device that can slow time in localized areas.


Transportation


Appearances

Chronos, the Time Thief
Image from Super Friends, #22 (July 1, 1979)

Chronos did not appear in any episode of the Superfriends TV Show.

Earth-One Appearances:

  • Justice League of America, #111 (May-June 1974)
  • Justice League of America, #143 (June 1977)
  • Justice League of America, #158 (September 1978)

Earth-1A Appearance:


Notes

  • Chronos first appeared in Atom, #3 (October/November 1962).
  • He was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.


Trivia

  • When introduced in the 60’s, Gil Kane based David Clinton’s face on former vice president Richard Nixon.


External Links


References

  1. The Crime Champions consist of six super-villains – a trio of Earth-One villains (Felix Faust, Chronos and Doctor Alchemy) and a trio of Earth-Two villains (the Fiddler, the Icicle and the Wizard).
  2. Perhaps named after Gardner Fox.
  3. As revealed in World's Finest Comics #321 (1985).
  4. An atomic clock is a clock device that uses an electron transition frequency in the microwave, optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a frequency standard for its timekeeping element. Atomic clocks are the most accurate time and frequency standards known, and are used as primary standards for international time distribution services, to control the wave frequency of television broadcasts, and in global navigation satellite systems such as GPS.
  5. As revealed in Atom, #3 (October/November 1962).
  6. As revealed in Justice League of America, #21 (August 1963).
  7. As revealed in Justice League of America, #22 (September 1963).
  8. As revealed in Atom, #13 (June/July 1964).
  9. As revealed in Atom, #28 (December 1966/January 1967).
  10. As revealed in Detective Comics, #368/2 (October 1967).
  11. As revealed in Action Comics, #427/2 (September 1973).
  12. As revealed in Justice League of America, #111 (May/June 1974).
  13. As revealed in Action Comics, #443 (January 1975).
  14. As revealed in Wonder Woman, #220 (October/November 1975).
  15. As revealed in DC Special #27 (April/May 1977).
  16. See Justice League of America, #142 (May, 1977) for more on the Atom's defeat of the Construct.
  17. As revealed in Justice League of America, #143 (June 1977).
  18. As revealed in Justice League of America, #158 (September 1978).
  19. As revealed in the Super Friends, #22 (July 1, 1979).
  20. As revealed in Justice League of America, #219 (October 1983).
  21. The conclusion to our JLA / JSA crossover battle against the Crime Champions is revealed in Justice League of America #220 (November 1983).
  22. As revealed in World's Finest Comics, #319 (September 1985).
  23. As revealed in World's Finest Comics, #320 (October 1985).
  24. As revealed in World's Finest Comics, #321 (November 1985).
  25. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #9 (December 1985).
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