This time we’ve asked people about their favourite sidekicks – quite a short one today as well. A sidekick as described as a character that journey’s with and helps the main protagonist. So, here we go.
If you’re a wheeling and dealing magician about town, it of course helps to have a set of wheels. But Chas (a.k.a. Frank William Chandler) has more than just a set of wheels to his name: he’s long-time friend, odd-job man and muscle to John Constantine. We meet him in issue one of the Hellblazer comics, roped in to sorting out one of John’s acquaintances from New Castle. Told to get in three days’ worth of food, “fags” and some “dirty books”, Chas ends-up playing babysitter to John’s old friend.
And this is in issue one. But we don’t really learn about how Chas and John became friends until issue eighty four of the original Hellblazer comics, in some of the most disturbing exposition that happens in the entire 300 odd issues of the series. Chas isn’t a character that appears in every issue, as John tries his best not to misuse him as a sidekick, because he knows just how dangerous the things he does are. Still, Chas doesn’t spend too much time hating John (John has a habit of driving people away (read: killing them, mostly)) and is one of the few constants in the magician’s life.
This doesn’t stop Chas from trying to help out with the supernatural, though. In a five part mini-series Hellblazer Presents: Chas – The Knowledge, which combines a spin on how London cabbies are meant to know the city’s roads inside and out and Chas using The Knowledge to combat an evil entity while Constantine is stuck in Ibiza.
He’s clearly no superhero sidekick: he smokes, drinks, really likes women and isn’t above breaking the law.
When asked to think of my favourite side kick in comics, only one sprung instantly to mind. Dick Grayson, the original Robin. Yes there have been many characters, who have stepped up to take on the mantle of Robin. For me though the young ward, whose acrobat family was killed in front of him – by the mob will always be my favorite. This original team up, has always held a special place in my heart. One of the main things I loved about Dick was his eagerness to learn and then develop his own skills. He became more than a sidekick to Batman – becoming a crime fighter in his own right.
We’ve been able to see Dick grow to a man, making his own decisions. Becoming his own person, rather than staying in the background to the Bat. Finally taking on his own crime fighting persona, as Nightwing. Yet the original father, son bond that formed has stayed intact – although admittedly it has on occasion been strained to breaking point. If you want more evidence of this, then check out the amazing Robin: Year One. This origin story, retold with Alfred being the narrator – really gets to the heart of the character. Showing, why Dick Grayson will always be my number one side kick!
I know I’m kind of stretching the definition of side-kick a bit with this example, but it’s the last thing I read, and it kinda works.
The basic premise of Sex Criminals is that Suzie finds out she has a special power – that she can stop time when she orgasms. Later she finds a guy, Jon that has the same power. They hatch a plan to use this time-stopping ability to rob banks so that they can keep Suzie’s Library open.
While not conventionally a side-kick, it is Jon that hatches the plan and Jon takes the lead in robberies. Suzie comes across as a playful person, who is actually at the forefront of the story. The great thing about the character is that she isn’t one dimensional, and because the story starts out from her perspective while also giving her loads of personality, at no point does it feel like she’s just there to look pretty or hold sexual interest for the reader.