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 401 - Stan Lee, a stupid comedian, and the new prudes

Nov 19, 2018

3 likes, 4 comments

This is Quackcast 401! Error, error! Pitface and Tantz were absent so Banes and myself were left to go quietly off the rails and expostulate all sorts of radical, half formed, badly articulated thoughts. This is an interesting one! We cover the death of the great Stan Lee, titan of the comics and superhero world. Then we sidestream into talking about comedians trying to be political commentators (re: Bill Maher)… I must apologise for my Ad Hominems. And lastly our focus is on a “new puritanism” in some aspects of pop-culture. It all ties together, if a little awkwardly.

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 362 - Triumph der Ente

Feb 19, 2018

7 likes, 7 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about all the different options for hosting your webcomic. At the moment it seems the fashionable new young kiddies on the block are Webtoons and Tapastic, but they're certainly NOT the only choices for webcomic hosts out there and certainly not the best choices. I think we make a good case here for why Drunk Duck is a better choice in many ways, but we also bring up other host sites like twitter, comic fury, comic Genesis (used to be Keenspace), Tumblr, Deviant Art, Smack Jeeves, Fur Affinity, self hosting on a Word Press site etc. In the early days of the millennium there were just two hosts for your comic: Drunk Duck and Keenspace. Drunk Duck was a better choice for most since it was a lot easier to customise and it had a friendlier, smaller community. Keenspace had a two tier system: the picked comics with all the best stuff were in their “keenspot” site while the rabble were stuck with the slower hosting and slower updates. The main thing they had going was a gigantic member base. But they even changed the site's name from “keenspace” to “comic genesis” to further separate KeenSpot from the rabble, which left a sour taste in the mouth. By contrast Drunk Duck was always dedicated to being fully egalitarian. One of our main strengths is that we accept all without stigma: manga, furry, adult comic, sprites, American style, superhero, slice of life comedy, photocomics, professional published comics or stick figure amateur work and we welcome them all the same with the same level of enthusiasm. The big young Webtoons and Tapastic have some of the same issues Keenspace used to have: a big community where you will be lost in the crowd. And no site has as solid and safe programming and hosting as Drunk Duck does. Plus we're community run so you're same from corporate oversight and interference in the content you're allowed to post. You can read more about comic hosting sites in Emma Clare's news posts linked bellow. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Odd Days. Sometimes you just have one of those days… or many of them in a row! Odd days. The sound here has a positive, optimistic theme overlayed with a harsh zigzag of electric guitar. This tune does well to illustrate the twisted euni, the off-balance and askew takes on everyday life and situations dealt with in this slice of life, humorous comic.

Episode 319 - Roll out the photocomics!

Apr 17, 2017

6 likes, 2 comments

Photocomics don't get nearly enough love. A while ago Banes did a great newspost on the subject where he did some great little promotional reviews of some prominent photocomics on DD. I thought that was a cool idea and I've been meaning to return to the subject for a while. In this Quackcast Pitface and I use funny voices to talk about photocomics. But what ARE photocomics? Well the artist sets up models, toys, artwork, or themselves, and shoots photos of them in certain scenes in order to create a narrative. Later on they'll edit those together in something like Photoshop, adding captions and word bubbles and basically turning them into a conventional comic. People like Bravo1102 go the extra mile to construct elaborate sets and shoot the entire comic as you would a film, taking photos out of sequence because sets have to be broken up and new ones constructed. He even does greenscreen! Gunwallace and and Kdog buy special sets of Playmobile or Space Lego in order to expand and continue their elaborate stories. Trevor Mueller used himself and his friends as models. VinoMas creates really cool artworks out of collage. Rawdale uses stock photos to create his political commentary comics. Sameth uses Superhero figurines… there are so many approaches to the concept. Bellow I've linked a few examples to check out! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Neander Chan, it's the primal beat of life! This is an utterly danceable sound, driving syncopated rhythm travels up your nerves and down deep into your bones, spiky, distorted electric guitar adds a touch of lyricism.

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.

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”?

Episode 230 - Getting the formula RIGHT

Aug 3, 2015

4 likes, 6 comments

We've talked about formulas before, but mostly in the context of escaping formulas and reinventing them. NOW however we're talking about using existing formulas to create a story, or creating new formulas and sticking to them to come up with your stories. Formulas can be a good tool to write with, along with their close sibling “the trope” they take elements that are proven to work and stick them on a solid framework for you to more easily create your story around. All you need to do is plug in your characters and situation and see how it all fits. Formulas are comfortable for people and make it easier for a writer to structure their story faster AND in a way they know should appeal to people. Enjoy Gunwallace's lovely theme for Rismo!


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