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 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 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 369 - Propaganda and agendas

Apr 9, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

This week's Quackcast was inspired by a newspost that Banes made about propaganda. We used that as a jumping off point to talk about political messages and social agendas in creative works- when it's deliberate and when it's not. Tantz Aerine made a great point that the world of the Federation in Star Trek is like showing us the world from the perspective of a fascist regime. It's certainly NOT intended that way but that IS an unintentional message. You'll have to listen to the Quackcast to hear her argument for that idea. A movie like Starship Troopers is brilliant at subverting the whole propaganda thing. :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Coga nito: Slide into some retro 1970s classic disco, with a modern twist! You’ll feel like your wearing shiny white polyester stretch flares with high white leather platform shoes, then rocket back into the present with the cool techno dance feel of the synthesised beats. Get onto the dance floor and strut your stuff!

Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

Aug 28, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

This week we interview the artist and creator of the comic Kings Club, AmeliaP! Her comic was featured and Gunwallace also gave it a theme tune that was featured in Quackcast 335. AmeliaP is a talented professional comic creator and game designer. We couldn't interview her directly because she's not confident enough in her spoken English, so what we've done instead is read out a written interview that I did with her especially for this Quackcast. Amelia has some surprising and valuable insights for comic creators. You can read the full text of her interview bellow. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Abejitas - This tune bounces in like a wild thing, spinning and buzzing crazily, full of black striped yellow techno sweet honey madness and rapid wingbeats of energy, this will sting you into full awareness!

Episode 308 - Hyena Hell

Jan 30, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

Today on the Quackcast we interview Hyena Hell! You might remember the bombastic, punkrocker HyenaHell for her comic The Hub She used to be very active on all of DD (forums, comics, everything), before life issues took her away from DD. But she was still a prolific poster on social media after that when she wasn't creating comics, posting interesting and thought provoking blog posts about art, life as an artist, and living in a changing New Orleans… She has a unique art style- highly detailed, carefully inked drawings, which are quite similar to her work as a printmaker. You can see a great example of that in The Hub. We have sad news and hap[y news… The wonderful Hippievan has retired from doing Friday newsposts on DD. The happy news is that HyenaHell is going to dive into the driving seat of this out of control juggernaut! HyenaHell has a long history with DD and an amazing personal perspective on art and life that I think would be good for the site. It's always good to listen to a new and interesting voice! In the mean time, listen to Banes, Pitface, TantzAriene and I interview HyenaHell, who tells lascivious stories and her and I going into, Lipstixxx a stripclub in New Orleans… Gunwallace's featured music for today was: Mechaniko - it's the sound of nodes on a neural network firing, connecting, and cascading with shared knowledge: Multilayered, technological robo-future rock!

Episode 302 - the agendacast

Dec 19, 2016

3 likes, 6 comments

Today we talk about works of pop-culture that have an obvious political agenda, so obvious that t not only gets in the way of the entertainment but also dictates to the audience without letting them have a chance to come to their own conclusions: forcing you to see things only one way. Even when we agree with the agenda being presented it can still strike a sour chord, often more-so since they're preaching to the choir and usually just throwing a badly simplified version of the philosophy at you, which can feel insulting. So that's what we chat about. Those views can come from ANY political persuasion, the right the left, communism, fascism, socialism, libertarianism whatever. No one has a monopoly on ideologues. We became overtly political towards the end… Sorry for that. HAHAHA. Do we practise what we preach? HELLS NO! I have to apologise again for the terrible sound quality of my voice recording. I thought I'd fixed the settings from last week, but I was wrong. I HAVE now though. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Grunk - cocktail bar samba played on a church organ. The music of heaven! Cheesy heaven. You can imagine fat angels in hawaiian shirts swanning about drunkenly and spilling their margaritas.

Episode 291 - The philosophy and politics of comics

Oct 3, 2016

5 likes, 3 comments

This week's Quackcast is brought to us by Tantz Ariene! Tantz is a very political creature, seeing as she comes from Athens which is pretty much the birthplace of politics AND philosophy, that's hardly surprising. Clever Tantz in her tantzglasses, dudeman Banes, and me,Ozoneocean all talk about this interesting subject: what are the politics and philosophy involved in YOUR webcomic? Even though we don't realise it, there's ALWAYS politics of some sort in a comic, as well as philosophy. If your writing is pretty clever you might have multiple political view points in your comic and a whole range of different philosophies! Consider something as basic as Peanuts. Those characters have all sorts of political viewpoints! Peppermint Pattie is very forthright in her feminist views, but she's also pretty left wing, Lucy is rather domineering and and right off centre in the way she thinks, Charlie Brown is a bit of a fatalist blank slate for the audience to project themselves onto, Linus is a quiet intellectual… etc, I don't know, it's been years since I've read Peanuts! Gimmee a break! In superhero comics it's the same; most of them are pretty right wing, libertarian, individualist sorts of characters- Batman for example, Iron man, etc. There's a good argument for Superman being somewhat more Socialist since he's an ordinary man with an ordinary job most of the time and works out in the open for the good of all humanity, while Batman is a super rich guy most of the time and when he's doing hero stuff it's usually smaller scale vigilante type stuff against people who threaten his city, or commerce in his city like thieves and the Mafia. Try it yourself! Examining the politics and philosophy of your OWN characters as well as classic ones is pretty interesting. Gunwallace's theme this week is for Krasnosvit, a subtle, careful, fairytale theme, inducing you into the dark forest strangeness of Krasnosvit.


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