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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Customer Service - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/may/07/featured-comic-customer-service/
Operation Boom - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Operation_Boom/, by Recklesshero, rated E.
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/
Mar 18, 2019
There are many kinds love. Love is a great thing to include in your story for all sorts of reasons: it's an easy way to develop characters, give a character something to strive for, it's universally relatable, You can use it for tension, all sorts of things! There are different kinds of relationships you can use as well, not just heterosexual or homosexual relationships and the common trope of showing the beginning of a relationship, you can show crushes, established relationships, platonic relationships, relationships collapsing and exes coming together. For this topic we were loosely inspired by Tantz and Emma's great newsposts about romance and platonic love. We chat about luuuurv and tricks like lurv triangles!
Feb 25, 2019
This Quackcast expands on my newspost from Friday about forgotten abilities causing plot holes, but now bunny Banes and Lady Tantz wade in to lend their genius to my silly ideas and we chat about what the real issues are: bad writing and laziness! This is when a character gains the ability to walk through walls or become bullet proof or go back in time and then forgets it for the rest of the story or in the sequel When basically 80% of the problems they encounter could be solved by it… And you're mentally screaming at them “Use your damn power that you got 20 pages ago… Remember that thing that would help you avoid all this trouble!?” Using easy solutions to get out of problems causes plot-holes! And your audience will hate you for it.
Dec 12, 2016
Banes and Pitface live in a parallel world to me where this time of year involves water falling from the sky in the form of fluffy white crystals. When it hits the ground it piles up on top of itself into huge white piles! Freaky, I know, but they tell me this actually happens. For me December is a time for heatwaves and the beach. So Banes and Pit enlighten me and all you out there on the beauty of snow. The idea for this Quackcast was based on a newspost by Banes. He talked about the use of snow in comic stories as a plot device. We talk a bit about that here, along with all the different visual aspects of it and how you can use it in imagery. I apologise for the sound quality here, something strange happened with my microphone settings. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Man Bun: Heavy, bass driven funk rock, with dark chocolatey, bluesy lyrics. Classic, cool, and hot!
Sep 5, 2016
Evoking emotion in your readers/having emotion evoked from comics: How do you do it? what are some mistakes/ineffective methods? As a comic creator you use a whole bunch of different ways to evoke emotion than say a novelist or a film-maker- you don't have the text space of a novelist and you don't have the control, soundtrack and all the tools of a film maker. Comic creators have a different set of arrows in their quiver and in this Quackcast we try and talk about those. What do YOU use to evoke emotion from your characters and readers? Gunwallace's theme this week is for The Desperately Departed. It's atmospheric, heavy, threatening, revealing. Reminds me of the heat shimmer on a wide desert landscape vista.
Jul 31, 2016
The topic of THIS particular Quackcast is MOOD! And for no particular reason I dressed as the Mad Hatter, as typified by Tom Petty in the film clip to Don't Come Around here No More... So that was the mood of this Quackast... We based it on Bane's Newspost about creating Mood in comics from the book “Framed Ink” by Marcos Mateu-Mestre. The idea of creating mood with imagery is key to my own art practise in Pinky TA, I use lighting, angles, eye-levels, perspective, colour and many other combinations of effects to manipulate the viewer to feel the correct emotions for the scene... and that's exactly what we're talking about here! The music by Gunwallace this week is for Mindmistress, it's sexy, atmospheric, light, sparkly music from a futuristic nightclub in Saturn’s rings.
Sep 14, 2015
Pitface, Banes, Tantz Aerine and Ozoneocean reunited for a repeat of the legendary Drunkcast of Quackcast 137! Almost exactly 100 Quackcasts later we hit the booze again, but this time we had a goal to pursue with our drunken ramblings: music. We decided to talk about what themes inspire our comics, inspire us and represent our comic characters… and we came up with a LOT, too bloody much for me to link to dammit! We've also included all the links to the Quackcasts where themes for our comics appeared, AND Gunwallace has done the theme to Putrid Meat so it means ALL our comics have themes now!!! So enjoy our silly drunken chatting, this is who Drunk Duck Quackcasts are SUPPOSED to be!
Jul 19, 2015
This time we're talking about conflict in webcomic writing, and any writing in general really. Conflict is one of the main drivers of a story, so you pretty much have to have it in there somewhere! But how do you approach it? Do you set it up really carefully or just put a bunch of volatile characters together and see what happens? I think for a lot of us we don't think too much about the science of our conflicts, rather we approach it artistically and develop things by feel and instinct because conflict is such an intrinsic trait. But understanding how you use it can be very useful when you're writing satisfying resolutions and climaxes. A good understanding of the types of conflict in your story is also pretty essential when you're writing a good comedy (it's a great source of humour!), and also when you're explaining or selling your work to the public: It's all very well to chat about your clever setting and your funky characters, but conflict is the reason they're IN a story to begin with and that's really what will get people wanting to read out it. I hope you enjoy Gunwallace's great porn style music type theme for Tales of Two Tiny Titty bars!