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
Become a subscriber on the $5 level and up to see our weekly Patreon video and get our advertising perks!
Even at $1 you get your name with a link on the front page and a mention in the weekend newsposts!
Customer Service - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/may/07/featured-comic-customer-service/
Operation Boom - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Operation_Boom/, by Recklesshero, rated E.
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/
Nov 19, 2018
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.
Feb 9, 2015
This week Banes and I were inspired to talk about body shape in the depiction of figures in comics, inspired by some famous images from photographer Howard Schatz's 2002 book, Athlete. In it there are photos of many athletes who're at the peak of their sports and yet their bodyshapes are vastly different, subverting the idea of an "ideal" bodyshape or what it means to be a top athlete or even fit. too often bodyshapes in comics follow a very narrow range, not getting much past what we think of as the current popculture ideal. We all know that idealised model shape is a problem and yet we all still perpetuate it, most of the time you can only tell most "realistic" characters apart by their hairstyle or costume, especially in superhero comics. And that invents a second problem: the myth of the "normal" shaped body as opposed to the ideal- there IS no such thing as normal, and even the ideal is always changing throughout the ages. There's even a lot more to body shape than the famous categories: Mesomorph, Ectomorph, and Endomorph, or Skinny, Pear, Athletic, Hourglass and Apple. We also have a beif mention of how stylised characters (Sponge Bob, Calvin and Hobbes etc) are exaggerations of these shapes and differences.
Apr 2, 2012
This is the 4th and last of Banes' screenwriting tutorials. We round up here with the final two story genres; "Superhero" and "Institutionalised", rounded out with some more useful time and tricks on writing in general! This series has been part of the Quackcast screenwriting month, beginning with Quackcast 68 and ending with Quackcast 71. Aaaaand we also have all the voice tryouts for the aspiring actors that want to be a part of the 2012 DD radio play! We'd love you to vote on your faves for each role- just write down the number you like for each and email your vote to email@example.com, or PQ them to http://www.drunkduck.com/quack/compose/?user=ayesinback or just write it here in the QC comments!
Feb 20, 2012
Banes and Ozoneocean round off the topic of superheroes, beating that wonderhorse to death well and truly. There's a lot of reminiscing here about ancient superhero pop-culture and along the way we discuss silver age and golden age comics, supervillains, second stringer superheros and why the remain that way, the gender and culture appeal of some characters, evolution of superheroes towards realism and grit, then webcomic superheroes, especially those on DD, and then finish up with why we like superheroes. Sidekick Captain-Ozone continues to echo disturbingly from the void while the real hero, Ultra-Banes, continues to bring the humour. We decide that it all comes back to Superman and Batman, who are the ultimate prototypes for the two main types of superheros: super, good, and perfect Vs normal, flawed, and human.
Feb 14, 2012
Superheros Banes and Ozoneocean have it out in a titanic, world-shaking battle complete with sparkly flying electricity vividly written sound FX and a laser light show to see who will be top-dog in the Gothic metropolis of Quackcast city. Ozoneocean attempts to lull the audience into a false sense of security by reciting everything he knows about superheroes and various gods and then comparing the two in his echoy, god-like voice. Meanwhile, banes counters with the rather unusual tactic of trying to entertain them with his hilarious wit and clever improvisations. We discus the origins of superheroes, superheroes movies and everything in between in the first of this two part Quackcast marathon. Re-issued episode 64! We discuss superheros