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An Ode to Sidekicks

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Nov. 17, 2014

I have been slowly lamenting over the end of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson ever since he announced that he was stepping down from hosting late night television in April. Needless to say, the jokes from his show have been a welcome distraction from the daily grind and that humor is really the best medicine and it will be missed. During the last few months of this transition period, the rising star to emerge has been Josh Robert Thompson, who is the voice actor behind Geoff Peterson, the robot sidekick on the show. Thompson's unscripted and improvised back-and-forth with Ferguson is one of the highlights of the Late Late Show and one of the strongest Host and sidekick pairings across all networks.

The other night while I was listening to Episode 55 of his podcast, Driving Myself Crazy, he brought up the topic of being a sidekick on a late night show. His role as a sidekick is a great part of his show identity and is a badge of pride.

This really made me start thinking about the traits of sidekicks and what it takes to be a really good professional sidekick in a webcomic.

Here are some examples of sidekicks on The Duck:

Best Friend with Wing Man Abilities

T.K. from Typical Strange by Banes
In Typical Strange, I think that TK could make a good sidekick to Oscar. The two work in a video store as coworkers, Oscar is sometimes caught in the middle of a love triangle between TK's sister, Penelope, and other random combinations of females in the story.

Cute and Small with some Attitude

Kaira from Restaurante MaCoatl by Flinto
Restaurante MaCoatl is without its shortages of sidekicks in the comic. I picked Kaira as a model sidekick because she is an adorable companion who helps many of the characters. Don't let her size fool you, though, she can also have a temper.

Fun-loving, Carefree Banter

Steve from Perry Penguin by Vindibudd
The dynamic between Perry Penguin and Steve the Sea Lion is one of my favorite combinations. Steve is a bit larger than Perry, he is mostly seen with a large smile and sunglasses. Perry, on the other hand, is often seen with angry eyebrows and a scowled expression. In this case, the larger sidekick is the nice guy and offsets the sometimes agitated disposition of the other character.

Unconditional Companionship

Quail from Duck and Quail by VegaX
As part of the history of the Drunk Duck site, the Quail was the original sidekick to the Duck mascot. Though the quail was probably more sober and said fewer words, he was a flagship sidekick on the site.

Are you a fan of sidekicks? It can be a full-time job!

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Do you have any original art to contribute to our stock image database, announcements, community projects, ideas, news, or milestones to report? Please leave general comments below or send a PQ to kawaiidaigakusei. Email me at kawaiidaigakusei(at)gmail(dot)com.



Ozoneocean at 6:41PM, Nov. 25, 2014

Banes is my fave sidekick character ^_^

Flinto at 11:38AM, Nov. 18, 2014

I guess everyone at Macoatl besides Checomal its a sidekick.

Banes at 3:44PM, Nov. 17, 2014

p.s...I'm gonna miss Craig Ferguson and Geoff too. For a fan of Craig, and a lifelong fan of Letterman in particular, these are sad days.

Banes at 3:43PM, Nov. 17, 2014

Very cool topic once again, kawaii. Sidekicks are handy; they give the protagonist someone to talk to! They're often the contrast to the protagonist. The tough lead has a softer sidekick and vice versa; the "normal" lead's buddy is often wild or wacky (like the Disney critters people mentioned), while if the lead character is unusual or strange, the sidekick will be more normal, like your Dr. Watsons and such. Some of my favorites are Randal and the other Kevin Smith "buddy" characters, Huckleberry Finn, Harley Quinn, and Cloe from 24. Of course, a special shout out has to go to Jughead, who's my favorite sidekick and favorite character of all time.

Banes at 3:27PM, Nov. 17, 2014

@Gunwallace - I was thinking the exact same thing about TK!

Abt_Nihil at 1:29PM, Nov. 17, 2014

Great article! Maybe I'm in the minority, but I often find sidekicks annoying. From Batman's Robin to talking animals in Disney movies, they're often played as dumb (revealing that the writers didn't trust the audience to figure things out, but had to insert a character whom everything can be explained to), upbeat, slapstick-y and blabbering, ruining the mood and stealing any gravitas the story might have had without them... Of course, sidekicks don't need to be like that, maybe I just heard/read/saw too many annoying sidekicks in my life.

Gunwallace at 10:40AM, Nov. 17, 2014

I'm pretty TK sees Oscar as his sidekick, but maybe that's why it works.

bravo1102 at 6:09AM, Nov. 17, 2014

Silent Bob and Randall from Clerks. Kevin Smith has created some great sidekicks.

KimLuster at 4:38AM, Nov. 17, 2014

'Sidekicks' are so very important. They provide contrast and interaction with the main character. Sometimes they steal the show (see 'About Last Night' with James Belushi sidekicking to Rob Lowe, or 'True Lies' with Tom Arnold to Arnold Schwarzenegger). Most Disney animations would be snooze-fests without the Sidekicks (the mains tend to be pretty lame). One of my favorite Sidekicks is Skywize (to Cutter) from the Elfquest Comics. Wow - what a great topic!

tupapayon at 4:24AM, Nov. 17, 2014

Agreed... theprettyschoolgirl comes out with very interesting and engaging articles... sidekicks... it is a very important part on stories... they allow for a protagonist to grow, and develop... they also bring a different perspective in situations... being a good sidekick can be challenging and sometimes they don't receive enough appreciation... I know, cause I'm my own sidekick...

Genejoke at 3:33AM, Nov. 17, 2014

It's articles like this, the news posts and quackcast that separate DD from other hosting sites.

Ozoneocean at 12:47AM, Nov. 17, 2014

What a great idea for a news post :D You're a pretty talented columnist Kawaii!

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