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 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 372 - Marvel heroes and an infinity war against greyness

Apr 30, 2018

5 likes, 6 comments

In this Quackcast we use the movie Avengers: Infinity War as an excuse to chat about grey characters and how that applies in the Marvel universe. In truth we don't touch much on that movie but we do chat about a few of the other marvel superhero movies and “grey” characters in general, Tantz is of the opinion that “grey” characters are rarely truly grey.. My favourite quote from Tantz was “It's hard to punch the bad-guy while you're punching yourself”. Do the Marvel movies follow the comics or do the comics follow the movies? We'd love to know! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Alienated: This is as if Joni Mitchell wrote a classical adventure anthem. This tune urges you on into the vastness and glory of nature. You are Caspar David Friedrich, A Wanderer Over A sea Of Fog, with the world in all its awesomeness spread out far below you.

Episode 350 - Scripting

Nov 27, 2017

3 likes, 4 comments

In this Quackcast we're talking about writing scripts! But not just scripts in general, this Quackcast is about turning your webcomic into a script. As the creator of a webcomic, a story, what is your ultimate goal, your dream? Wouldn't it be marvellous if your characters and story came to life, played by real actors? Emmet, aka Surgeryhead came along to give us some pointers. He's written many scripts himself so he has a bit of experience. Ultimately we want to do performances on the Quackcast of short scripts written by DDers who've adapted parts of their comics, go to this newspost for details: http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/nov/16/turn-your-comics-into-movie-scripts/ Contact me directs for my email for where to send your finished script. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Stuffed Nature - Groove to the cool, solid bass line, with a bright lightning squiggle of keys, and the even pacing of a quiet guitar riff, this’ll get you in the mood for action!

Episode 338 - Shared DNA of ideas

Sep 4, 2017

3 likes, 6 comments

The saying goes that “Good artists copy, great artists steal”, it's attributed to various luminaries such as TS Elliot, Picasso, Tantz Aerine etc, but the important thing is the true meaning: there are very few original ideas, culture is built up out of inherited inspiration that is built on and developed by successive generations, many artists will just repeat ideas though (“copy”), without adding much of their own flavour to them, while clever artists take the ideas as influence and inspiration and reinvent them in their own individual style. It's best when an artist brings ideas together, like the shared DNA of two parents, to produce something new and marvellous! This goes for artists, musicians, webcomics, everyone! We reference Penny Arcade, Ctrl Alt Delete and PVP which were the super popular me-too gamer webcomics, we bring up music and cover versions, and my favourite example: the AT-ST from Return of the Jedi and all the other similar two legged mecha like the Zentradi battlepods from Macross/Robotech, the mecha from Mechwarrior, Ed 209 from Robocop and of course my very own Trompers from Pinky TA ^_^ Super Impact High was the theme for this week by Gunwallace. This track really calls to mind the modern, frenetic style of the artwork on Super Impact High. It’s wild, high energy, off balance, and aggressive! This should really get you in the mood for the story.

Episode 317 - Hannagrid Wright Interview!

Apr 3, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

Today we interview Hannagrid Wright aka 5thezombie! She's the creator of the great Sci-Fi webcomic To The Galaxy And BACK! -featured by Kawaii last year. To the Galaxy and back features Kat and Zoey, two girls that have been drawn together by fate, across the universe, to have all sorts of adventures in outerspace. All Zoey really wants is to get back to her dad, but having a dashing adventurer alien companion is going to make the ride a little more fun. Hanna is a cool person, she's just starting out on webcomics and already she has a nicely pro art style. She's mastered an efficient method of storytelling that's compelling, perfectly balanced for frequent updates, and makes her comic very easy to consume! Pit and Banes did a marvellous job in interviewing Hanna with me! I hope you read her comic (To The Galaxy And BACK!) and then listen to the interview! The music of Gunwallace this week is Sedna: A warm, deep blue, liquid, viscous, underwater outerspace world of wonder, joy, and luminescent glowing alien creatures…

Episode 292 - Separating the art from the artists

Oct 5, 2016

4 likes, 2 comments

Separating the art from the artist, the message from the messenger… Can you do this? You know, when you find out an actor, musician, comic artist or whatever is an arsehole or says things you disagree with or is a criminal, can you separate that from their work and STILL manage to enjoy it? Or does it taint everything they've ever made? I've thought about this a lot. I think I can usually separate the art from the artist and I DON'T think that consuming the work of that artist in any way legitimises what I disagree with about them personally or endorses their criminal behaviour unless the art is specifically about that. But it can really depend on how personally you're affected by whatever it was about the artist that offended you; A Jewish person could have a far more negative reaction, understandably, to the watercolours of Adolph Hitler than most other people, to use an extreme example. What about you? Can you separate the message from the messenger, the art from the artist? The comic chosen for a marvellous theme THIS week was Cybertech. You'll hear the sounds of apocalyptic destruction and burning plasma in a dark future, epic world.

Episode 223 - Collaborating with the Aliens

Jun 15, 2015

4 likes, 6 comments

On today's Quackcast I, the marvellous Ozoneocean am speaking to the equally marvellous Trevor Mueller of Albert the Alien! This fine chap is returning to the Quackcast (was on Quackcast 184), to chat with me about the process of collaborating from the point of view of a writer who's working with an artist. Trevor also he another Kickstarter for the second volume of Albert the Alien out now so please consider contributing to that. Trevor is a highly acclaimed writer of a fantastic and funny all ages comic and his artist on Albert the Alien, Gabriel Bautista, is an award winning successful comic creator in his own right. Trevor brings a LOT of experience to the topic of collaboration. Catch the great theme for The Ink by our very own Gunwallace!


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