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 419 - The Rating Game

Mar 25, 2019

4 likes, 5 comments

It's the rating game! Yeah! This Quackcast was inspired by Emma Clare's newspost on Friday about rating levels. On Drunk Duck we have 4 rating levels so they're nice and simple: “E” for everyone, “T+” for teens, “M” for mature, and “A” for Adult! We talk about why ratings exist and how to use them.

Episode 417 - Can we be better?

Mar 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

What is Social Marketing? Basically its word-of-mouth and viral marketing smashed together and weaponised: Marketing companies hijack hot-button social issues and hitch their client's brand to them in clever campaigns (“We can be better”, etc). The purpose isn't really to make a brand seem progressive, modern or new, rather it's another way of getting it trending on social media that's guaranteed to work, unlike the legion of hit or miss but mostly failed “Viral” campaigns. Whether people say negative or positive things about this issue is irrelevant to the marketer, as long as people are talking about the brand is all that matters. Free advertising is the goal, but it has a social cost.

Episode 403 - Eat yer serial!

Dec 2, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

This Quackcast was inspired by a newspost by Tantz. There seems to be this prevailing idea at the moment that serialised storytelling is better than episodic style stories. Tantz informs me that it's one of the many Twitterverse controversies! So let me explain what I mean here: Episodic story telling is when most of the story you're telling can be parcelled into the course of an episode: you can have a strong beginning, middle and satisfying conclusion in the course of your episode, whether that takes the form of a comic chapter, a page, a strip, or a half hour TV show. The Serial style has things stretching over multiple chapters or TV episodes. What we talk about in this Quackcast is that it's an utterly false dichotomy: You do not have to have either or, in fact most projects have elements of BOTH at the same time and it's a little foolish to think that one style could possibly be inherently superior to the other since they're just tools for telling a story. It is up to the creator to pick which one is right for their own work and the context in which it's going to be shown.

Episode 392 - Outside hobbies

Aug 19, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about what interests we have outside of webcomics and we want to know what YOU do as well. What are your hobbies and interests? Our interests and hobbies really inform what we do as comic creators in all sorts of ways, it can be fascinating to learn about what drives a person and what led them to be where they are now. For Banes it was music, keyboards, drums, magic and ventriloquism. For Tantz it's writing and a fascination with surgery. For Pit it's archaeology, heavy metal, and art. For me it's making, art, costume and sewing. What about you?

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 344 - Active/Reactive characters

Oct 16, 2017

5 likes, 1 comment

Some characters are active and others are reactive. Reactive characters mostly only react to things rather than make them happen so they can be very boring if not done right! Active characters are the ones that drive events by doing things and making stuff happen, these characters grab your interest. This idea was based on Tantz's fantastic newspost, we talk it out, coming up with some good examples of each character type. Our epiphany for this Quackcast was that if you want a “strong” female character what you REALLY want is an “active” female character. The mistake people made with the trope was that they thought the female character had to be either a main character or a kick-arse masculine style character, when in reality neither is required. Make your character “active”; making decisions, causing things to happen, having an impact, causing OTHER characters to react etc and they will be a “strong” character. She could be a minor character who never lifts a sword or fires a gun but still be the strongest character in the story if she's the most active. ;) This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Boys Land - This one surprises you, sneaking up with a gentle beginning, then it hits like a bomb bursts of rainbows and warm breezes! Beautifully, the same tune is repeated in many different forms, there’s even a bit of Primus type bass in there. It finishes as it begins, with a gentle acoustic guitar.

Episode 328 - How to get people to read your comic!

Jun 19, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Today we're going to chat about how you go about getting more readers on Drunk Duck for your webcomic! Hyena hell did an amazing newspost about it for us, outlining all the ways you can increase your audience here on DD in her fantastic, colourful vernacular! Along with many great analogues from the real world. But I'll cover the basics again in quick point form here: -- 1. Make sure you have a signature image banner so that when you contribute to the forums people can see that you have a comic. -- 2. Comment on other people's regularly, recently updating comics, especially the top ten, and others will click on your name to have a look at your comic- make sure you never post “hey check out my work” as a comment though, that will have the opposite effect. Just be complimentary and people will come. -- 2. Commenting on Newsposts can work as well. -- 3. Make sure your profile page has enough interesting info about you that someone would want to see your work. -- 4. frequent updates will put your comic icon on the front page more often so more people will check it out. -- 5. Increasing popularity through outside sources is done by getting a link to your comic on a popular blog, buying advertising through Project Wonderful on other comics or on The Duck Webcomics is a sure fire way. -- 6. If you get enough views you comic will go into the top 10 listing and then more people will see it on the front page. -- Our music theme by Gunwallace this week was for Sword of Kings. It's urgent, regal chase music, Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk meets Ivanhoe. This is an exciting track that conjures scenes of high adventure and epic battle.


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