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 197 - The sidekicks take over the QC

Dec 14, 2014

6 likes, 3 comments

Carrying on from last weeks Quackcast inspired by Kawaiidaigakusei's Thoughtful newspost article "An Ode to Sidekicks", this time the DD community weighs in on the subject and they give us their wise, educated and highly considered expert opinions on the subject of the sidekick in stories! Again Kawaii joins Banes and I, but this time she practices her amazing talent for amusing voices, so for the first time since Skoolmunkee there's someone other than Banes and I doing a voice. Rachel Maddow drops in and even Matt Foley to tell us about his VAN down by the RIVER! All in all what people have to say about the different aspects of sidekicks in fiction is really quite interesting, have a listen and see! Oh, and Gunwallace's epic theme for Harkovast is fantastic, I can't wait for a Peter Jackson Movie adaptation!

Episode 196 - The Sidekick-cast

Nov 30, 2014

4 likes, 4 comments

The topic of the Quackcast was inspired by Kawaiidaigakusei's Thoughtful newspost article "An Ode to Sidekicks" that examined the varied subject of The Sidekick. She was inspired by Geoff Peterson, the much loved animated skeleton on the Craig Ferguson show and she went on to examine some sidekick types using DD comics as examples. In our Sidekick-cast we cast the net a bit wider. We try and have a chat about all the different types of sidekicks we can think about (and there are a LOT); sidekicks in books, films, comics, talkshows... Heroic sidekicks, villain sidekicks, lackeys, lieutenants, backups, stand-ins, partners and all the various types in between and beyond! We mentions such obvious luminaries such as Dynomutt, Scoobydoo, Scrappy Doo, Dr Watson, Robin, a swathe of Dr Who Companions, and more! Banes is hilarious, Kawaii is insightful, Ozoneocean is opinionated ad boorish.


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