The young changeling Garfield Logan has been a superhero since his school days back in 1965! Whether we’re talking the 1980s New Teen Titans comic book series and its subsequent follow-ups, the 2003 cartoon series, the live action Titans show or the long-running Teen Titans Go! animated series, Beast Boy is understood by generations to be a foundational member of the group, representing the team just as much as the litany of sidekicks who were the group’s first selling point.

But through all these appearances and for all these years, there’s always been a mystery surrounding Garfield Logan: Just how old is he meant to be anyway?

It’s a question worth addressing, as Gar was a part of one of one of DC’s earliest teams. Several Titans incarnations later and the original members have grown up, married off and entered adulthood. Yet Gar is still portrayed as being pretty young. Maybe not a teen anymore, but not as old as contemporaries Dick Grayson and Donna Troy. To try and figure this out, let’s go back to his first appearance in Doom Patrol #99

It seems so odd when you think about it today, but Gar’s first superteam wasn’t the Teen Titans, but the Doom Patrol! Gar sought to join the World’s Strangest Heroes in the hopes of putting his animal shapeshifting to use, while getting a respite from his abusive guardian Galtry and the abusive kids at school. While his age is not explicitly cited, Robotman and the others refer to Gar as a teenager. Later, we see an example of what Gar’s school life is like outside his high school. This would presumably mean Gar is fourteen years old at the youngest.

Not that it’s ever stated! Gar’s age remains unspecified during his time on the Doom Patrol, though his status as a teen is reiterated throughout. One notable storyline is when we learn that the inheritance money owed to him from his late parents is being embezzled by Galtry. Ultimately, billionaire superhero Steve Dayton and his wife Rita Farr (Elasti-Girl) take Galtry to court, intending to have him imprisoned for embezzlement and assume legal custody of Gar. Much of the story deals with Gar’s lack of agency due to being underage, with his teen status reiterated during an attempt to separate his identity from that of Beast Boy.

In the final issue of the original Doom Patrol series, the team sacrifices their lives to save a small village from an explosion. However, we luckily don’t see Gar in this issue, and won’t see him again until Teen Titans #50, nine years later in 1977!

This issue sees the start of Gar’s time with the Teen Titans, although it initially looked to be a short-lived stint. Joining the West Coast faction of the team, Beast Boy was set to fight among the likes of Bumblebee, Lilith, Hawk and Dove. Gar also looks several years older, which makes sense given that by this time, Robin, Speedy and Wonder Girl were all high school graduates as well. Unfortunately, the main team would disband three issues later, putting Gar’s entire continued existence in doubt. Without a hero to sidekick for or a group of young heroes to team up with, Beast Boy was once again in comic book limbo until the fateful creation of his most popular team.

In 1980’s The New Teen Titans #1, Gar is one of the earlier Titans members assembled by the mysterious Raven, who is determined to recreate the team in order to battle her evil demonic father Trigon. By this time, in addition to looking as grown up as his teammates, Gar was now going by the name Changeling, no longer wanting to be known as the juvenile “Beast Boy.”

Still, despite this assertion of maturity, Gar proves to be as sarcastic and fun-loving as ever, often flirting with the female members of the team and trading barbs with the irascible Cyborg, who soon becomes his best friend. It’s this youthful characterization that most defines Gar, here and most places going forward. While the other members of the team are said to be around 18 or 19, and are often depicted as more mature, Gar’s physique is at first comparable to that of Robin or Kid Flash’s, but this changes as the series closes out its first year of publication.

In New Teen Titans #13-#15, Gar is forced to reconcile with the post-traumatic effects of losing the Doom Patrol years ago. Facing the possibility of confronting their murderers Mamade Rouge and General Zahl, Gar shares his backstory with the team. He notes that his parents died when he was ten, and that he joined the Doom Patrol a year later, making him eleven in those stories. Of course, this contradicts the scenes of him at high school as well as the oft-made references to him being a teenager. Confusing things further, Garfield is now being drawn as younger than he’d been for the past decade. His height has shrunk, and his musculature is less defined compared to his teammates. It’s here where his reputation as the team’s youngest member is being carved into stone.

One could make an argument that there’s a reason for Gar’s physical de-aging. It’s often commented—especially in the Doom Patrol three-parter—that Gar puts on a laughing front to hide his very real emotional and psychological pain. Joining up with the Titans—which is largely made up of tall, athletic heroes—may’ve had a psychosomatic effect on Gar, who in turned presented himself bigger and hairier than he really was. Once he battles Madam Rouge and the feelings of guilt and regret are let go, we see a more consistently rendered Changeling—one who is smaller and younger than the rest of the heroes.

This compounds with the arrival of the Titans’ newest recruit (and most famous traitor) Tara Markov, a.k.a. Terra. At sixteen years old, Terra is said to be the same age as Gar, who unlike anyone else on the team, has a variety of tutors. While Donna Troy is engaged to her much older boyfriend Terry Long and Dick Grayson and Wally West are leaving for college, Gar is very much still a teenager and acts accordingly.

Despite the trials and tribulations of being a Titan, which includes fighting super-villains, suffering from devastating physical attacks and dealing with the fallout of Terra having been a traitor, Gar is consistently depicted as underage. In New Titans #14, Gar tells Cyborg that he’s set to turn seventeen in three months. While in New Titans #55, he’s grounded from the team by Steve Dayton for bad grades.

Yes, over the years, friends have come and gone, mantles have been passed down and people have lived and died, but Gar Logan remains in high school.

Over time, the guardianship of Gar by Steve Dayton grows murky, as Steve slips back into villainy. Gar, meanwhile, is captured by an evil Raven, forcefully seduced into becoming her minion until the final incarnation of the New Teen Titans (Arsenal, Kyle Rayner, Impulse and Mirage) assist in freeing him and restoring Raven’s pure self.

That was in 1996, not long before the Titans disbanded once again. By this time, Garfield is seemingly (and finally) an adult. Eventually, a new incarnation of the Titans is assembled. Gar isn’t directly asked to join and waits impatiently for his invite. When one is tepidly offered after the team has taken shape, Gar takes the opportunity to go out on his own instead, rejecting his old friends and hoping to start a new life in Hollywood.

The series of events that follow chronicle Beast Boy‘s (as he returns to being called) attempts to find his place in the world. Stricken with deep-seated issues of abandonment from witnessing his parents’ deaths at a young age, to losing his foster mother soon after, to drifting from incarnation to incarnation of Titans teams has left Gar with a sense of insecurity. Throughout the years, younger generations of heroes have turned to him for mentorship, which has given Gar purpose. Eventually rejoining the Titans in a leadership role, Beast Boy—alongside Raven, Cyborg and Starfire—helps to lead the third generation of Titans.

Beast Boy has come through a lot in his lifetime of trauma, helped in no small part by his longtime friends and especially Raven, for whom he’s recently attempted to start a romantic relationship with. Now, with the arrival of Titans: Beast World, all that seems to be changing as he inadvertently shakes up the DC Universe in profound ways.

We may not know exactly what age Beast Boy is, and who knows if we ever will, but one thing’s for sure. For a seemingly young hero, he’s demonstrated more than strength and courage than most people do over a lifetime.

Titans: Beast World #5 by Tom Taylor, Ivan Reis, Eduardo Pansica, Danny Miki, Julio Ferreira and Brad Anderson is in stores tomorrow!

Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero history for Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.