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 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.

Episode 339 - Communicate With Clothes

Sep 11, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

Tantz Aerine did a great newspost the other day about how the clothing of comic characters can be used to communicate information and emotions just as much as any other element in your comic making arsenal. And that's what we discuss in this Quackcast! Clothing can communicate state of mind, occupation, status, personality, era, class and a host of other things. Have a listen to our Quackcast to learn more! Gunwallace's theme this week was for RUNRUN - a symphony of urgent electronica. This track wants to get you moving in a linear fashion, faster and faster, rhythmic and regular like the pace of a runner. Run into a bright, white high tech future with RUNRUN!

Episode 315 - Creepy Pasta

Mar 20, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

This week we decided to all read out Creepypastas, just because! I's a popular thing on the net and people like that sort of thing… Well Banes and Pit do anyway. So what ARE Creepypastas? Well they're not the rotten spaghetti that had Banes blasting from both barrels just before the Quackcast, no, the name comes from “copy and paste”, simple as that. Creepypasta are just scary stories that writers have made up and copy and pasted to sites on the net, usually on things like Reddit. Often the writer pretends that it's a true story, but not many, if any at all, are based on real events. Today we're reading a few that we found at random. Hope you enjoy! The music of Gunwallace this week is My Pet Succubus. It’s party time down here! Bouncing, rolling piano notes, tapping drums and ebullient synth strings exemplify the happy go lucky personality of the irrepressible protagonist of this comic.

Episode 299 - Self Insertion of Characters

Nov 28, 2016

5 likes, 6 comments

In Quackcast 299 we expand on an idea from Tantz's Saturday newspost about inserting your personality into your characters when you write them. But not only that, we chat about how a work of fiction by a writer can be like a darkly faceted diamond with many aspects of themselves reflected in all their individual characters. And then we go even further and talk about how we insert ourselves into characters that we read about or see on the screen. What characters do you see yourself as in your favourite works? Gunwallace' music this week was the theme to Girlsquadx! It's a fun, techno, bouncing, pop action tune!

Episode 279 - Meet the Mutants!

Jul 11, 2016

4 likes, 4 comments

Our very own heavily mutated Pitface put up a guest post about her fellow mutants, filling in for HippieVan while Hippy is away fighting the mutants in Japan wearing a tie-dyed sailor suit and riding a Volkswagen battle mecha, as you do in Japan… anyway, as a member of the anti-mutant police force, I had to drag in Pit for questioning! And that's what we did for this Quackcast. Banes and I interrogate Pit on the subject of mutants! Mutants are a forgotten race at the moment: Mutants are the zombies of SciFi in a way; a mob of anonymous monstrous minions who exist to menace the heroes and be gunned down in their thousands. But they're also so much more… Unlike zombies, mutants have a lot more personality and humanity, they can also be far more demonic and revolting than any zombie, they can be any shape, size of configuration. Mutants are so much scarier and adaptable than mere zombies, because unlike zombies they're not always degrading and falling apart, no, mutants are evolving constantly, they can get larger, gorier and more terrifying, i.e. The Thing. For mutant pathos witness the Mars mutants in the original Total Recall: There's a man with a baby in his chest and we feel for him and respect him. We have superhero mutants too in the form of the X-men. Can't forget them! But remember also that “mutants” are also a very real thing in this world, unlike zombies, in fact we are ALL mutants in one way or another, not just those special people with a conjoined twin or extra nipples or genitals or whatever, all of us have our own exciting DNA variation! I have a big nose, crooked lower teeth and pasty white skin myself, I'm practically a Morlock. So what is YOUR “mutation”?


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