Q&A 42 Who is your favorite sidekick in comic books?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Who is your favorite sidekick in comic books?



Anika

Well. Okay, fine. Caroline called me a Tim Drake Groupie and she’s right, I admit it. I am a Tim Drake Groupie.

I think everyone knows how I feel about Batman. And Teen Titans. And Young Justice. And, well, Tim Drake. Basically, Robin is the archetypal sidekick, and Tim’s my favorite Robin, so even if Dick is maybe the archetypal Robin, Tim wins. I could go into it…he’s a smart and clever problem-solver, he’s quietly heroic, he has that air of hope within sadness I’m always drawn to, etc. etc. But instead I’ll share this funny little panel from a holiday themed Teen Titans story:

And let Cassie say it for me:



Caroline

One of many things I love about Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’s Ex Machina is that a comic devoted to exploring and questioning the tropes of superhero stories isn’t afraid to use them. So Mitchell Hundred, the engineer turned not exactly reluctant superhero turned New York City Mayor, has a loyal sidekick in Rick Bradbury. When Hundred decides to use his newfound machine-control powers (and an awesome jetpack! and a stupid flight suit!) to become America’s first real superhero, ex-cop Bradbury is there to hold his gear and watch his back. When Hundred makes the leap to politics, Bradbury follows along as chief of security. You might wonder why a superhero needs a regular guy to run security for him, but seeing the characters interact it’s plain enough. Hundred is a formidable combination of brilliant dreamer and pragmatic schemer, and the eternally blunt and down-to-earth Bradbury provides a much-needed counterpoint. Above all, it’s clear how much he loves his mayor and hero. And even if it takes a life or death situation to get Hizzoner to say it, the feeling is pretty clearly mutual:



Jennifer

Wolverine.

No, seriously. Have you ever read a solo Wolverine story? I’ll sum it up for you: brood brood snikt snikt stab stab bub. It’s all action and angst, and it tends to be… well, boring. A Wolverine on his own is a Wolverine who takes himself too seriously, and it gets old pretty fast.

But a Wolverine playing off of someone else? That’s gold. Whether he’s having adventures with one of his girls (Kitty, Jubilee, Hisako, Pixie, or countless others) who is clearly more competent than he is, teaming up with Spider-Man or Daredevil or Power Pack for a crossover, or bickering with Cyclops on some crazy mission, Wolverine is the best there is at what he does. And what he does is serve as an excellent sidekick.



Sigrid


Yep. She started as a joke, became a supporting character, spent some time as a sidekick, and matured into a central member of the cast. As I’ve posted previously, Casey Bullocks is my favorite sidekick.


So what about you? Who is your favorite sidekick in comic books?

  • Caroline

    Love these answers. Wolverine, Free Range Sidekick is the best idea ever. (Does that mean he’s Clint’s sidekick in Old Man Logan?)

    Anika, I love those Tim & Cassie panels — I wish they got more stuff like that to do.

  • Ed Sizemore

    Can I nominate Arthur from The Tick? I mean, has any sidekick suffered as greatly for the heroic idea as poor Arthur? He pays the bills and offers the only voice of sanity. Plus, he’s got the everyman figure that inspires me to do good.

  • Dick Grayson. I know, huge surprise.

    But he is the first and best of the Robins and of the teen sidekicks, and he was also the best at it. He’s the one that everyone tried to emulate, and he’s one of the ones who managed to make the role his own and then grow out of it and become his own kind of hero.

    (If I had to answer for Marvel, my answer is Jubilee. SHOCKING.)

    (Also, I really love sidekicks. A lot.)

  • Anika

    I love us. The Wolverine answer is too adorable.

    @Caroline Aw, me too! I love the little moments. Also, random aside, the more I look at it the more I want Cassie’s jacket. :)

  • Caroline

    @Ed Oh, that’s a really good answer. Arthur is the greatest. (I’m pretty sure there are Tick comics though I haven’t read any –)

    @Anika For a second, I misread your comment as wanting Wolverine’s jacket. Which (a) didn’t really seem like your style and (b) is just the same as Cyke’s jacket so I was confused. I do have a softspot for the turtleneck & jacket ensembles from that era. If they offered them for sale, I’d probably covet one. What?

  • You know what my favorite part of this post is? The images we chose. Cassie loves Tim, and hugs him! Hundred loves Bradbury! The very cover of SiP proclaims love for Casey! And what do I choose? Cyclops telling Wolverine he hates him.

    I’m sure there’s something meaningful in that juxtaposition.

    Anyway, much love to everyone’s answers — and I agree that those jackets in he first image are awesome.

  • Sam

    Can I say Gabrielle? I mean, they did have some Xena comics. I know that doesn’t really count, but she’s a great sidekick that comes into her own and becomes a hero. And is a woman. There aren’t a lot of female sidekicks in mainstream comics (and most of what I’ve read are mainstream comics) that I can think of. Of course, it’s probably telling that my favorite Robin is Carrie Kelly, right?

    When I was little I loved Aqua Lad, but more for the cartoon than the comics. I love Garth as Tempest now, though.

    If Wally West was Barry’s sidekick as Kid Flash, was Bart Wally’s sidekick? Is he now? I don’t see Bart as a sidekick (or Kon, really) which may be part of the reason I dislike the Kid Flash thing for him.

    I’m not sure what my point was.

    A side kick always has to be second fiddle, right? Yeah, maybe I don’t like sidekicks.

    Or if it’s just a team up… I like Dan Dreiberg and Rorschach. I think you can make an argument for Dan being Rorschach sidekick. Or…. I could, I guess. :)

  • I think my favorite side kicks (and I’m a HUGE fan of legacy in comics) has to be Mary Marvel and Capt. Marvel Jr.

    It seemed to me that no matter how wise, strong, or powerful Captain Marvel would be, having the extra Marvels meant he had a responsibility to pass all of that down to his sibling and friend. I especially liked when their powers were linked to the point where they were essentially sharing 1 greater set of powers.

    Aside from that I think James Rhodes makes a great side kick and I like him more as a supporting character for Iron Man that as War Machine. As a supporting character he was great at showing us why Stark needed to be well grounded. As War Machine, all of that is lost.

  • Caroline

    @Jennifer Nothing wrong with the image you picked…though you could have used the one from the same storyline where Scott is all, “I didn’t come here with you, you got me blind drunk and carried me here on your shoulder!” As all good sidekicks would do. As Bradbury would do for Hundred if he thought he needed it.

    @Sam — Yeah, I totally agree with you that the whole sidekick idea has its problems. I tend to prefer relationships that are closer to equal partnership. But there are situations where the hero/sidekick archetype does fit a situation and makes for an interesting dynamic.

  • handyhunter

    Cable! Sidekick to Deadpool, obviously.

    @Jennifer: “Cyclops telling Wolverine he hates him.”

    He says it out of love. <3

  • as Jennifer mentioned Wolverine being a cool sidekick, let me make an ever bolder statement saying that Spider-Man is the perfect sidekick who totally gets over-rated when he flies solo. Just read him in modern-day Avengers (The Clint Barton-led one), he’s pretty darn funny and comes in at just the right moments, never overstaying his welcome.

    But as for real favorites, it’s a toss-up between Captain Haddock and Snowy from Tintin. Now those we’re REAL sidekicks, yo!

  • Menshevik

    Billions of blue blistering barnacles, I thought I’d be the first to mention Captain Haddock!

    Other favourites of mine would HAVE to include
    Obelix

    Ron Stoppable (there is a Kim Possible comic-book, at least here in Germany)

    Marcy (welll, there used to be a Peanuts comic book – and if I included animal sidekicks, I’d also list Woodstock (and of course Snowy))

    In superhero comics I’m not really that big on “classic” sidekicks, though I do have a bit of a soft spot for Jack Monroe aka Nomad during the DeMatteis/Zeck run on Captain America. An interesting pairing of two men out of time, Cap from the 1940s and Bucky/Nomad from the somewhat different 1950s.

    Great answers all around and much love for Tim Drake (although I liked him best in Young Justice, where he acted as leader), Wolverine (my personal favourite such story: UXM #172-173, where Rogue imposed herself as his unwanted sidekick) and of course Casey.

  • Dan

    For someone who hates kids…this is a hard question for me.

    I guess the easiest answer is Tim Drake. Love Tim. Why? Because, he put on the cape because he wanted to…because he thought it would be fun. No angst (that came later…poor kid). Plus, y’know, he was able to deduce Batman’s identity. That kid has chops.

    I also love Bart, Cassie, and Kon…but were they ever technically “sidekicks”?

  • Anika

    @Dan “he put on the cape because he wanted to…because he thought it would be fun” — Exactly! That’s a huge reason I love Cassie, too.

    I don’t think Bart or Kon were ever “sidekicks”. An argument could be made for Cassie, however.

  • @Dan I second Anika. Bart and Kon were never really sidekicks. Cassie could count as Diana’s sidekick though.

    That was the thing about YJ – most of them weren’t sidekicks. They were just teen heroes. And awesome at it.

  • Continuing the theme of Marvel heroes people don’t realize are freelance sidekicks: Black Widow.

  • Selena

    Re: Wolverine – that’s why I really enjoy the character in ensemble stories and am bored by the two solos I tried as well.

    My favourite sidekick in comics, without a question, is Matthew the Raven (and late Matt from Swamp Thing, but that’s another issue) from Sandman. Not only does he fulfill the usual sidekick function of asking the questions the readers want to and offers in his regular guy turned Raven-ness a counterpoint to the larger than life Dream, but he’s basically us in the last issue, The Wake, working through the grief and acceptance of the ending. He gets his occasional solo adventures and team-ups (the Corinthian and Matthew tracking down baby Daniel comes to mind), and my favourite Matthew-Dream exchange comes when he’s on a journey with his Boss and Delirium, and Dream asks him whether he knows about driving a car. (Since Delirium wants to try that.) Matthew: “Do I? Man, I died in a car crash. The first time, anyway.” Dream: “I’m not sure that is a recommendation.”