- Category: General Geekery
- Created on Friday, 04 November 2011 01:32
- Written by Bim
- Hits: 2935
According to the ultimate book of all human-based knowledge, also known as Google, a sidekick is another person’s assistant, who is normally inferior.
Dear Google, you disappoint me. I must strongly disagree. Sidekicks are not inferior; they are merely good at other things - things that the main characters normally suck at, like being a convenient plot device or hapless victim.
Now that we know what a sidekick is (well, kinda), let’s list down 10 AWESOME ones!
While, technically, Luigi was never designed to be Mario’s sidekick, he has evolved to be the greatest second stringer of all time. Luigi really is just a green Mario, except that the first ever solo game he’s ever had sucked hard. More often than not, Luigi is only playable when Mario is, too, and they need a different colored second player. Still, in the world of sidekicks, you can’t find one more recognizable than a dude who looks exactly like the guy he’s playing second fiddle to.
At first glance, you’d think he was some weirdo in a rabbit costume with a furry fetish but Arthur is a genuine superhero sidekick. Oh, and he’s dressed as a moth, not a rabbit as the ears would imply. Yes, a moth. Dude can fly and all that, too. The great thing about Arthur is that his character is in stark contrast to The Tick. Arthur’s a bit of a nerd, while The Tick’s a jock and about as dumb as a bag of rocks.
Thing is, without Arthur, The Tick would be nothing but a beefcake with good intentions. Being the moral compass and life coach of a superhero speaks volumes about a sidekick’s value.
Thumper is a weird type of sidekick because he was mainly responsible for Bambi’s emotional growth. Initially more of a guardian, really, than a sidekick. But I guess every now and again, there comes a sidekick more advanced than the main character. Why, then, is he not considered the main character, you ask? Well, first off, in stories like that, the main character doesn’t stay underdeveloped for too long and usually has a task other than to oversee the growth of another character. The sidekick has all of that to deal with.
Thumper is a particularly interesting case because he is sort of linked to the saying “If can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all,” which came to be known as the Thumperian Principle or Thumper’s Rule. What’s Bambi famous for? His androgyny.
Thumperian Principle - Betcha didn't know that, huh?
Michael Jordan’s Scotty Pippen
The Chicago Bulls line-up in ’91-93 and ’95-’98 was so magical that the seasons played out kind of like a sports movie. You know, you've got talented guys who everyone rooted for, and after many trials, they ultimately win the championship! Think Mighty Ducks, only in real life. I’m actually quite surprised this hasn’t been made into some kind of biopic yet.
A lot of that happened because of Michael Jordan, of course. Anyone who’ll tell you different is probably high and is trolling you. You can’t escape the fact, though, that His Airness had a great and loyal sidekick in Scottie Pippen. Scoring 18,960 points and being one of the greatest defenders of all time, Pippen was as indispensible as MJ himself. The two would combine their forces and devastate any who stand in their way. Then Rodman would color his hair purple.
Joker’s Harley Quinn
Devotion and obsession sometimes do make for a great combination, especially for criminally insane figures such as Harley Quinn and the Joker. What’s interesting about Quinn is that she was never intended to be Mr. J’s go-to gal for all of the Batman mythos. She was merely created for Batman: The Animated series. She got so popular that you can barely imagine how Joker ever functioned without her. Now, that’s how you get it done if you’re a sidekick! You make yourself so vital to the main character that you become as much of a part of the mythology as whoever you're backing up.
Wolverine is the ultimate hardcore killing machine. In a market where kids still make up a pretty big chunk, that has to be toned down to make it more palatable. So what do you do when you need to widen the appeal of one of your most popular characters EVER? You pair him up with a teeny bopper chick.
It worked out pretty well for Wolvie over the years; and Jubilee isn’t even his first girl sidekick! He started out with Kitty Pryde. He then eventually moved on to Jubilee. After Jubes, he found a new one in Armor and just recently, Idie (sort of). Thing is, though, Jubilee affected Wolverine more than anyone could’ve predicted. Not only did the character show a whole new dimension and depth, he also grew a bit of a reputation about needing teenage girl sidekicks. It’s actually a stigman that might never leave anymore, but writers don't seem to mind it so much.
Kick Ass’ Hit Girl
This is a case of not being sure of who really is the sidekick to whom. Is it the title character or is the one who the readers actually pay to read about? It kind of gets muddled in Kick Ass, where Kick Ass kinda sucks at what he does while Hit Girl essentially becomes a fan favorite. See, if you haven't read the comics or seen the movie, Hit Girl is the real vigilante and Kick Ass is a wanna-be hero who eventually finds his groove. Think of this relationship as Thumper and Bambi of the violent comic book world. Only Hit Girl doesn't give a shit about the Thumperian Principle.
A sidekick is someone who’ll stick by his companion through thick, thin and even the most retarded of ideas. That’s loyalty! And it is through Clank's loyalty that he still hasn't left Ratchet's side, even though Clank's popularity outweighs that of Ratchet's. Maybe because Clank is way cuter.
Clank has gotten so big that people are starting to refer to Ratchet as “the fuzzy dude who runs around with Clank.”
Not only does Clank have an arsenal of thrusterpacks, he can actually hulk out and physically harass lesser beings! Fuzzy dude’s just got some gun or something. Regardless of Clank’s skyrocketing popularity and stand alone games, he’s still a true pal to Ratchet. That’s what sidekicking is all about.
Captain America’s Bucky
Very few characters have ever had the distinction of being killed off and staying dead. Bucky was actually part of this elite group until the masterful hand of Ed Brubaker brought him back to life, after being dead for almost 40 years. A dead sidekick being brought back to life after four decades automatically earns him a spot in the list.
Bucky’s whole mythology was changed from cookie cutter teenage sidekick to one of the most complex and engaging characters to ever be created. Introduced in the 1940’s as Captain America’s spirited teenage friend, he was recently revealed to be the black ops specialist on Cap’s team. That whole brightly colored teenage sidekick thing? All propaganda. He was indeed there for the stuff Cap can’t pull because of his status. Bucky was the guy getting his hands dirty.
An entire 40 year history was created for him, giving his character tons of space to grow. He was reintroduced as the Winter Soldier, working against Cap and his ideals all this time under the control of the enemy. If that doesn’t make for an interesting sidekick, I don’t know what does. And recently, he took the shield and became the new Captain America for a while. He laid his life down in Fear Itself, and he's getting a new series.
Batman's Robin (ALL OF THEM)
Seriously, when you read the word “sidekick,” who pops in your head? If you say “Not Robin,” you’re a filthy liar.
If you recall, Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is stupidly handsome, built like a sleek linebacker, ridiculously loaded and has a knack for inventing practically anything. One could say that Bruce Wayne is the perfect human, if you can just get past his deep-seated mental illnesses and his penchant for dressing up as a bat and meting out brutal justice.
All of that that needed some tempering.
Sidekicks are meant to balance out the negatives of your main character, or in Batman's case, his perfection. That’s why Robin exists. (At least in my mind. Pretty sure his creation was to appeal to the much coveted kiddie demographic.) I guess, at the time, they didn’t think pairing up a teenage circus boy with a rich playboy millionaire was creepy.
It can be argued that Dick Grayson was the greatest of them all, but each Robin had their own claim to fame - Jason - the most ruthless, Tim - the most promising and Damian as the TRUE heir. Sure, each Robin has their own niche in the bat-family, but they all served a single purpose- plot devices and moving targets.