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 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 418 - Many kinds of love

Mar 18, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

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!

Episode 396 - Amelius and Patreon

Oct 15, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

Amelius of the magnificent and eternal Charby The Vampirate returns to the Quackcast today! Amelius was the first person we every interviewed and Charby the Vampirate has been on Drunk Duck exactly as long as Pinky TA: since January 2004! Tantz and I chat to her about the new Patreon she has going for Charby and all the amazing bonus perks you can get on it. If you're a Charby fan you should definitely get in on that. Amelius has also agreed to join us on DD to do newsposts every week! So you will be seeing some cool content from her regularly. She has a LOT of comic making experience to impart.

Episode 336 - Side romance

Aug 21, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Romances don't always have to be the main focus of a story, infact you can have richer, more interesting romances if they occur in support of a bigger plot issue. It can lend them and the story more weight if they're in a secondary position. Characters can form natural, less forced relationships with each other, and this can give the wider plot of the story more urgency or meaning because it has a direct bearing on the health of their union. You can reward fans with a wished for or unexpected blossoming of love between two favourite characters without having the same inevitability that a straight out romance has. Really, there are so many things you can do! This was inspired by Tantz's Saturday newspost. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Mindfold: A tune that fits very well with its title! You can feel your mind folding with this gorgeous, echoing, evocative multicultural influenced sound, featuring all manner of crystalline ringing synths, soaring violins, drums and so much more. This would fit well with a high concept cyberpunk anime.

Episode 331 - Retconning your work

Jul 10, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

Starwars, Ender's game, Captain America… All these are great examples (or bad ones) of “retcons”. But what IS a “retcon”? What it means is that you go back and change an established work by adding new information that has the effect of changing it in a small or significant way. You might do it in your comic, or a director might do it to a movie series, like George Lucas did famously with Star Wars: introducing concepts like “midi-chlorians” as an explanation for the force, having Han shooting Greedo second, sticking Hayden Christiensen in Return of the Jedi, among other things. A lot of the time this has the effect of pissing off audiences who've consumed the story and enjoyed it because it alters or even destroys the understanding they've built up based on it and the relationship they have wit the work. Retcons happen frequently in the comic world because publishers have to keep their franchises interesting and saleable to audiences, so origin stories get updated all the time for example. A huge recent retcon was Captain America revealing he'd been a long time sleeper agent for Hydra, which has the effect of messing up stories going back over 50 years… The writer Orson Scott Card had a great deal of success with his novel “Ender's Game”, but for some reason he can't stop retconning it, going back and adding and editing new bits and re-publishing it every few years, and most egregiously penning prequels from another character's perspective that retcon the original story entirely. As web comic creators we have the role of god-author so we all have the temptation to retcon at one stage or another. Can it ever be a good thing? Is it worth pissing off readers who have an emotional investment? Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Optimum: the future is here and it’s in space! This tune is so upbeat, positive, fun and futuristic, it really exemplifies the cute colourful graphics of Skreem’s comic.

Episode 294 - Costume cast: Addams family

Oct 11, 2016

6 likes, 0 comments

For Quackcast 294 we all dressed up as members of the Addams Family! Me as Gomez, Banes as Cousin It, Tantz as Morticia, and Pit Joan D'eath. We had a great time and you'll be able to see us all on video! The theme of this Quackcast was based on a newspost by Banes: Comedy and Horror and the relationship between those two things. It's very close. Both try hard to evoke strong emotions and emotional pay-offs. It can be very easy for most horror to devolve into comedy if things go wrong. Many horror tropes are actually pretty silly (i.e. slow walking zombies), which is why there are so many shows that make fun of them like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Munsters, The Cyptkeeper, and the amazing Addams Family! Horror comedy is a tried and true genre. If you're interested read more about that in Bane's newspost. Gunwallace's music for the week is the same as the feature: Miracles. The sound is dramatic,urgent, exciting, classical, action music- SOMETHING is going to happen if we don’t stop it in time!

Episode 295 - Sexcast, sex in non adult comics

Oct 10, 2016

5 likes, 0 comments

This is the Awkardcast! Another take on the sexcast idea but this time we're looking at sex and sexual situations in strictly NON-adult comics. Sex performs a very different role in non-adult comics… You have a much wider audience with comics at the rating, but there are things you can not show, so of course you use sex for other reasons than the way you do in an adult rated comic. In an adult comic you can show all details of the entire act, all the genitalia in all their glistening, gory, gooey, hairy splendour, going in and out and around here and there and all over the place! Oh my! In Mature comics and bellow though, you simply can't, though you CAN have some non-sexual full frontal nudity in Mature comics and you can show bottoms in Teen rated comics. The ratings are similar to what you have with film ratings. In adult comics, like adult film, sex acts are more of the focus, they can still have a story but the sex acts are supposed to be enjoyed in their own right. In non-adult comics the sex has other purposes- subtle titillation is a part of it, comedy, teasing the viewer, furthering the plot, a culmination of a relationship or the establishment of one, etc- there's generally always another purpose to it, unlike adult comics where there sometimes is but doesn't need to be. And unlike adult film there's not much purpose to softcore non-adult rated porn in comics. That type of censored porn is done in film in order to get a wider audience on media that will otherwise not show porn, but on the net porn it's super easy to come by so there's not much reason to do softcore. There are a lot of challenges entailed in depicting non-adult rated porn! Certain positions don't work in well with the limits on nudity (we talk about this in the cast), but there are tricks you can use; symbolism (popping champagne corks, trains going into tunnels etc), strategic positioning of sheets, clever camera angles, fading out before the act and fading in again after, characters with mussed hair and uneven clothing, using dialogue to refer to what they just did, “off-screen” shenanigans, or shenanigans in the dark etc, it can be a lot of fun! Have a listen to how Tantz, I and Banes tackle the idea. The music by Gunwallace for his week was Firefly cross! A very mystical sound, with traditional, middle eastern style music mixed with dark techno fuzz, this one is intriguing!


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