Episode 426 - Sidekicking

May 13, 2019

Inspired by Emma Clare's Friday newspost about supporting characters, today we're discussing sidekicks! Sidekicks are a useful character type that are used in so many different ways. They can be a specialised type of supporting character that are also a main character or they can be the main protagonist in some cases. In comics sidekicks came in during the early days as a way of giving juvenile readers their own insert character who they could identify with… Bucky Barnes, Jimmy Olsen, Robin etc. They had other functions like giving the hero someone to save, providing commentary, reaction and exposition. Later when that kind of sidekick fell out of favour they became superheroes in their own right.

Topics and Show Notes

But sidekicks are a lot older than comics. People in social situations will often naturally fall into that sort of role because humans work well in hierarchies. One person takes the lead and the other follows: the person with the most forceful personality, The most experienced person, the higher ranked person, the socially superior person leads, and the other follows and that's reflected in literature.

Class was often used to put people in their “natural” roles: Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings; AJ Raffles and Bunny Manders; Sherlock Holes and Dr Watson: the posher person with the higher social rank is automatically the leader. This is very much a part of the British class system, officers and senior management came from the higher social classes etc, it's a large subject.
But that's also inverted occasionally; Jeeves is Bertie Wooster's Valet and social inferior and yet Jeeves is the leader in that relationship.

The sidekick is often the main character when used as the point of view character to tell us how marvellous their leader is. We get this with Doctor Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories, Bunny in the Raffles the gentleman thief stories, Bertie in the Jeeves stories, and Archie in the Nero Wolfe stories. Archie is interesting; he does everything, he's the main active character, and yet he's still no more than a sidekick to the great Nero Wolfe.

Sometimes the sidekick is the smart character who's there to try and rein in the excesses of their leader, like Arthur with the Tick, Sancho Panza with Don Quixote, Doctor Girlfriend and the Monarch, Agent 99 and Maxwell Smart, Kif and Zap Brannigan, Banes and Ozoneocean… They can also be used to compliment the leader by replacing something they lack, not just intelligence as in the former example. Kato in the Pink Panther provides Inspector Clouseau with muscle, Brock Samson provides EVERYTHING for Doctor Venture, Doctor Watson has skill the ladies, tact, charm, and humanity that Sherlock lacks, Archie has the confidence and mobility that Nero hasn't.

There are so many clever an interesting ways to use sidekicks, far in advance of the Batman and Robin method! I think we should continue to use them. What are your fave sidekicks and why? Do you have a sidekick in your story?



This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Operation Boom - Booooooooooom! This one thunders in, all action and furious energy, rolling in like a 50 tonne bulldozer at high speed while on FIRE and sparking with insane electrical discharges. This is danger music. Bright yellow with black diagonal lines. Listen for the deep, bass booms.

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
Customer Service - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/may/07/featured-comic-customer-service/

Featured music:
Operation Boom - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Operation_Boom/, by Recklesshero, rated E.

LINKS
The importance of supporting characters, newspost by Emma Clare - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/may/09/supporting-characters-and-why-they-are-important/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

Episode 408 - The imitation game

Jan 6, 2019

2 likes, 2 comments

Happy new year! This is the first Quackcast recorded in 2019! Pitface is back too, can you believe it? In this Quackcast we chat about Imitation, based on Amelius's newspost from last Sunday. How do you know if someone has copied your work, just been influenced by it or influenced from the same sources as you, or has actually stolen your work wholesale? And what do you DO about it? Is imitation or someone doing the same thing as your “original” idea, always a bad thing?

Episode 406 - Amateur Vs Pros Merry Christmas DD!

Dec 23, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

Merry Christmas one and all! And all that stuff. This year our release date falls exactly on the 25th! It was a busy year for us, lots happened. But in this Quackcast what we chat about is something rather different: the difference between pros and amateurs, specifically when it comes to comics. There's this common misconception that an amateur is a novice that will produce work of a lower quality, while a professional is an experienced person who knows what they're doing and will always produce things of the highest quality… The REAL story is more complex than that.

Episode 384 - Brandcast, PR

Jul 23, 2018

4 likes, 2 comments

You may have read about how a conspiracy theorist dug up some 10 year old tweeted jokes by director James Gunn and got him fired from Disney… Well that incident inspired this Quackcast, which is a re-take on the whole personal brand idea that we discussed in Quackcast 289.

Episode 382 - Suspension of disbelief

Jul 9, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

This week we talk about maintaining suspension of disbelief: the way you have to convince people of the world your story is set in and keep them there. Everything you do is done for that, to convince them your characters make sense and the world works. There's a very mistaken idea that this ONLY applies to fantasy or SciFi. No, it applies to ALL fiction and even non-fiction in the case of stories and jokes from your friends, biographies and autobiographies. You have to maintain a suspension of disbelief in all these things in order to fully enjoy and be a part of the story.

Episode 377 - Your Best Work?

Jun 4, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we're talking about your best work… Our best work in this case. What are YOU most proud off? Please share it with us so that we can promote it. We all talk about some of the projects that we think came out the best for us. For me it was Pinky TA 6 which came out 12 years ago now! But I'm really quite proud of the art on each new page. For Banes it was the “Pop goes the World” chapter of Typical Strange. For Pitface it was ALL of Putrid Meat. And for Tantz it's the movie that she was a writer on, 731. What is yours? Please tell us and give us a link. Describe the work you're most proud off and why you're most proud of it. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Captain Galactose. Fast, frenetic side scroller beat-em-up action! This tune slams into you, rolling with a flurry of quick punches and kicks, overwhelming you in seconds and moving onto the next levelboss!

Episode 362 - Triumph der Ente

Feb 19, 2018

7 likes, 7 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about all the different options for hosting your webcomic. At the moment it seems the fashionable new young kiddies on the block are Webtoons and Tapastic, but they're certainly NOT the only choices for webcomic hosts out there and certainly not the best choices. I think we make a good case here for why Drunk Duck is a better choice in many ways, but we also bring up other host sites like twitter, comic fury, comic Genesis (used to be Keenspace), Tumblr, Deviant Art, Smack Jeeves, Fur Affinity, self hosting on a Word Press site etc. In the early days of the millennium there were just two hosts for your comic: Drunk Duck and Keenspace. Drunk Duck was a better choice for most since it was a lot easier to customise and it had a friendlier, smaller community. Keenspace had a two tier system: the picked comics with all the best stuff were in their “keenspot” site while the rabble were stuck with the slower hosting and slower updates. The main thing they had going was a gigantic member base. But they even changed the site's name from “keenspace” to “comic genesis” to further separate KeenSpot from the rabble, which left a sour taste in the mouth. By contrast Drunk Duck was always dedicated to being fully egalitarian. One of our main strengths is that we accept all without stigma: manga, furry, adult comic, sprites, American style, superhero, slice of life comedy, photocomics, professional published comics or stick figure amateur work and we welcome them all the same with the same level of enthusiasm. The big young Webtoons and Tapastic have some of the same issues Keenspace used to have: a big community where you will be lost in the crowd. And no site has as solid and safe programming and hosting as Drunk Duck does. Plus we're community run so you're same from corporate oversight and interference in the content you're allowed to post. You can read more about comic hosting sites in Emma Clare's news posts linked bellow. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Odd Days. Sometimes you just have one of those days… or many of them in a row! Odd days. The sound here has a positive, optimistic theme overlayed with a harsh zigzag of electric guitar. This tune does well to illustrate the twisted euni, the off-balance and askew takes on everyday life and situations dealt with in this slice of life, humorous comic.

Episode 358 - Damaged Characters

Jan 22, 2018

4 likes, 2 comments

This week we mine Banes's ideas about damaged protagonists. Does having physiologically damaged protagonists (as opposed to merely flawed), make them more realistic or relatable? I think we came to the conclusion that this isn't necessarily the case at all, in fact it can mean the opposite sometimes. Where that sort of “damage” can come in useful it making your character more interesting, in that they can make unusual choices that serve the story nicely and stop it being too predictable. Where “damaged” characters were used badly was in popular mainstream comics where the idea became something of a fad and therefore a cliche, and so uninteresting and trite. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Doc2DWho. It has the apprehensive feel of oldschool Doctor Who, entering the darkness and unknown, this music is spatial and atmospheric. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL WHO DONATED TO OUR INDIEGOGO!


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