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 410 - Say My Name

Jan 20, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Coming up with character names can be a real challenge because once you settle on one they can define the character just as much as their personality and looks! Names also affect how you name other characters: are they too similar, like Betty and Barney? Will it be an unintentionally meaningful combo like George and Washington? There are so many things to consider, it can be daunting. In this Quackcast we talk about some of the methods that duckers have used to come up with character names. It's pretty novel and interesting, anything from using friend's names, names that have special meaning to them, names that have inerrant meaning, names that deliberately have NO meaning, place-holder names, names from the phonebook and more. Your options, methods, and reasons are endless! Tell us what's behind YOUR character names!

Episode 391 - personality mix group dynamics

Aug 19, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

This Quackcast was based on an idea from Banes. We chat about designing a group of characters with complementary temperaments. In Banes' own words: “I like the idea of the line between a logical, left brained person and a creative, right brained person, crossed with a spectrum of a more active, extroverted, action taking temperament and a more nurturing, introverted type.

Episode 385 - Drawing the line

Jul 23, 2018

3 likes, 8 comments

In this Quackcast we talk about where the line is for YOU in your work about what subjects and imagery are too far for you. What is too horrible, too controversial, too extreme for you to approach? Is it blood and gore, something controversial and political, swearing, religious, sexual? Maybe you have other borders… perhaps something is too cute, sickly sweet and saccharine?

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 373 - Stupid millennials, greedy baby-boomers and lazy Gen Xers!

May 7, 2018

4 likes, 5 comments

Millennials are so dumb, Gen Xers are SO lazy, and those Baby-boomers are just greedy as hell aren't they? But seriously, in THIS Quackcast we chat about the different generations of webcomicers and what's changed and what we have to learn from each other. The first generation of real webcomics came in with Sluggy Freelance, 8 bit theatre and a few others. Webcomics started out in the mid 90s as the web version of “Zines”: independent creator driven personal projects. The second generation came about in the 2000s. Sites like Drunk Duck and Keen Space were a huge part of that. It made it easier for creators to make the jump online. We'd seen what those first guys did and now it was OUR turn, there were a lot of copy-cats in this generation, but a lot of experimentation and creativity too, with sound, animation, interactivity and infinite canvas being a mainstay. Later there was an explosion in hosting sites like DD and comicers moved on to other formats like Tumbler and Twitter etc. The pro comic publishers saw how things were going and tried to get in on the act with online comics too. I think the 3rd generation saw a lot of commercial focussed projects. Comicers saw it as a way to make money so we had a lot of slick, pro work flooding in. In the 4th generation I think we have people doing comics for mobile devices or ON mobile devices. A lot of the comic hosting sites have far more limitations on work than they used to in terms of content and format, a lot of stuff has a bit of a pre-packaged feel, you see almost no experimentation with format now. On the upside though quality is a lot higher and comic sites will reliably work a lot better than they used to. Styles have changed over the generations: In the old days most comics were fully drawn and scanned. Tablets were rare and very expensive and so were graphics programs. If you saw a fully digital comic back then you knew the artist was either a pro or they were at university with access to high level equipment - or it was dodgy work done with a mouse and Windows Paint. Those tools have become far more accessible now and the barriers have come right down. Most work is digital. What generation are you? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to DreamcomicbookDOTcom! Journey into a claustrophobically narrow electronic service tunnel, filled with high voltage wires humming with unimaginable power and mysterious cables running off endlessly into the dim, dark shadows in the distance. The creepy patterings and low hum of this music will take you there!

Episode 359 - The Covershow

Jan 29, 2018

6 likes, 0 comments

Covers are a very important part of books and comics! They entice us to pick them up and read them, they encourage us to BUY them. But how much are they really needed for webcomics? You hardly ever look at the front cover and what you really want in a webcomic is the meat of it, not the packaging, they're not waiting on racks outside a shop… and yet we still make them anyway, not just for the front cover but also chapter covers as well! This was the idea behind a thread Pitface came up with in the DD forums and we thought it was an interesting topic. Personally I love drawing covers, they give me a chance to break out of the comic format and be all arty and play with title text. How about you? What's your position on webcomic covers? This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Kawaiidolia: A dreamy journey into a world of green shade, damp, fresh air, and dapple golden sunlight. This is a pretty track , full of beauty.

Episode 353 - Beautycast

Dec 18, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

This is the Beautycast. We decided to have a chat about beauty. What IS beauty? is it universal? I would contend that it's not and that's what we tended to agree in the Quackcast. Beauty is a highly relative concept dependent on many factors like symmetry, rarity, ethnicity, time, geographical area, economic conditions, exoticism, what you're used to, aspiration, age, clothes, hair, health, fashion etc. Add to the fact that it's not really just based on what a person looks like but what they look like in relation to others around them. There's also the much derided old aphorism that “beauty comes from the inside” or that it's based on personality. We discus the fact that this is surprisingly actually quite true! Personality, expression and the way a person conducts themselves hugely influences your perception of their beauty or lack of it. This was a very interesting and enlightening discussion. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Mercenary Bound: This one has a slightly disco, early 1980s feel to it. It pumps along with the nice easy pace of a trained fighter, with a hint of threat and a touch of danger, like the music to a level of a side scrolling beat-em-up videogame. —————————————————————————— Don't forget our campaign to give YOU comment and reply notifications so that you can see who has commented on your comic pages easily, you can respond to them right away, then they'll KNOW you replied and they can respond back and so on. But before we can do that we need to raise money via Indiegogo to pay for it. YOU will be helping to pay for a feature that you want. That's how the site works these days, it's our site: yours and mine.


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