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 276 - Time management, Deadlines and Organisation

Jun 20, 2016

4 likes, 4 comments

For Quackcast 276 we had a discussion about the topics of time management, organisation and deadlines- all things essential to the practitioners of webcomics, and even more-so to people involved in webcomic collaborations! This is tricky stuff to handle, you have to balance your webcomicing with your other life activities as well as audience expectation for updates! And as you go on it gets harder and harder to stick with self imposed deadlines, so how do you combat that? Well one way is to make a Patreon account so people will put money towards you updating, That can make an excellent incentive to stick to a deadline, when there's money involved! Collaborations can be easy or hard to keep alive, as long as everyone is equally eager to take part and everyone wants it to succeed then you're good, if not then your group project needs a good leader: not someone who WANTS to be a leader, rather someone who's dedicated to getting the project DONE and needs to be the leader to make that happened, sort of like my role at Drunk Duck. They need to be willing and able to coordinate people and tell them what to do, handle their strengths and weaknesses right to get the work done. The last part to remember is contingencies for when things go wrong! What are your safeguards? i.e. buffers, finishing early so you've got extra time to work on the project if it needs it, have backup people lined up to do work for you, filler art at the ready, guest strips, maybe even simplified techniques or just posting line art instead. How do YOU stick to deadlines (if you do), how do you handle time management and organisation with your comics and collaborators? Gunwallace's theme music this week was Z74's Star Knights. It's An operatic swarm of hornets on a massed bombing run over enemy territory.

Episode 264 - How to improve your online presence

Mar 27, 2016

4 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast we interview Marie Tary, AKA ShadowsMyst. We haven't talked to her since Quackcast 32 and 33 way back in 2011 when Skoolmunkee and I interviewed her about The art of analytics and how to market your webcomics properly. Now Banes and I talk to her about the changed landscape of website marketing, brand management, SEO and how it applies to comics and most particularly Drunk Duck itself. Brand management and marketing is Marie's job, as a senior graphic designer for a major university. She gives us some invaluable information about how we can put Drunk Duck back on top and return it to its former glory- very useful information that applies just the same to any online property, especially webcomics! So this will give you a clue what's in store for Drunk Ducks future and the sort of thing the future 3rd wave of fixes and features will entail. We also have the presentation of a lovely track by Gunwallace, the theme to Tangled river!

Episode 45 - A Not-Very-Organized Hour on 24 Hour Comics Day

Oct 4, 2011

4 likes, 0 comments

This week, Zac of The New Luciefer joins skoolmunkee and ozoneocean to talk about the featured comics and 24 Hour Comics Day. skool and oz have never done it, but Zac (as of recording) is just about to!


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