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 425 - Pay-off or rip-off?

May 6, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about set-ups. pay-offs, and rip-offs. To make your climaxes and endings more satisfying you have pay-offs for audience expectations: set them up in the story and pay them off at the end. If you fail to pay-off then you get a rip-off, it's pretty simple. Your audience will be really disappointed. That's not to say disappointing and unsatisfying ends to stories are wrong, not at all! Often those are fully intended. We're just talking about satisfying audiences, not “good” endings.

Episode 424 - Selling your creative dish

Apr 29, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

On one side we have creators of content and on the other we have the consumers. The consumers number in their billions and they're voraciously hungry for constant stimulation! Pretty much all creators are consumers too… So why don't they want the beautifully made, clever, spicy, artisanal dish you're selling? Why do they prefer the nice, bland, familiar mass-market high in fat, sugar and salt fast-food of the mainstream instead?

Episode 423 - Fave weapons in fiction?

Apr 22, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.

Episode 422 - Positive promotion and controversial characters

Apr 15, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

The entire gang comes together today for two topics that were taken from recent newsposts: Emma Clare's Positive self promotion, and Tantz Aerine's Handling Controversial Characters. First up we chat about why it's always a great idea to sell yourself positively, NOT be arrogant or douchey, but rather by talking enthusiastically about what you genuinely love about your work and using that REAL and SINCERE enthusiasm to infect others with your love of what you do. Emma was mainly talking about the way you introduce your comics to friends and family but it definitely applies more broadly to self promotion in general: Don't try and get sympathy through self depreciation (oh, it's not very good…), and don't be an arrogant ass (My stuff is AWESOME!), rather you should just be honest about what you love about it (This story was so FUN to write!).

Episode 421 - Dreamcast

Apr 8, 2019

2 likes, 8 comments

Today we're talking about all the ways nightmares can be used in stories. This is based on a newspost by our very own dreamboat Tantz Aerine. Nightmares are great for foreshadowing through premonitions, forcing characters to confront things and change their minds, ratcheting up tension in a story and all sorts of other useful things that you'd never consider.

Episode 420 - Substance abuse and use

Apr 1, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

The entire gang is here this time again. This marks number 420 of the Quackcasts we've done. 420 is code among some for smoking dope, so going with that theme we're talking about the influence of substances on creative endeavours. People try and use substances to facilitate their creativity, we chat about why they do it, how it works, why it fails, the benefits and the issues. We DO NOT advocate taking illegal things in any way at all. This includes ANY substance, from dope, to coffee, to redbull, tea, wine, beer, cold and flu medication, headache pills, opium, adderall, ANYTHING at all, as long as it produces some mental or physiological change, it counts!

Episode 419 - The Rating Game

Mar 25, 2019

3 likes, 4 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.


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