A sidekick is a slang expression for a close companion or colleague who is, or regarded as, subordinate to the one he or she accompanies. Some well-known fictional sidekicks are Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes' Doctor Watson, The Lone Ranger's Tonto, The Green Hornet's Kato, Shrek's Donkey, Mickey Mouse's Donald Duck, Mario's Luigi, Sonic's Tails, Donkey Kong's Diddy Kong, Daffy Duck's Porky Pig and Batman's Robin; the term originated in pickpocket slang of the late early 20th century. The "kick" was the front side pocket of a pair of trousers, it was known as the pocket safest from theft. Thus, by analogy, a "side-kick" was a person's closest companion. A humorous folk etymology refers to the sidekick's accomplishments being "kicked to the side" or otherwise ignored in favor of the more charismatic lead hero. One of the earliest recorded sidekicks may be Enkidu, who adopted a sidekick role to Gilgamesh after they became allies in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Other early examples are Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad, Moses and Aaron in the Old Testament.
Sidekicks can fulfill one or multiple functions, such as a counterpoint to the hero, an alternate point of view, or knowledge, skills, or anything else the hero does not have. They function as comic relief, and/or the straight man to the hero's comedic actions. A sidekick can be a character to whom the audience can more relate than the hero, or whom the audience can imagine themselves as being, and by asking questions of the hero, or giving the hero someone to talk to, the sidekick provides an opportunity for the author to provide exposition, thereby filling the same role as a Greek chorus. Sidekicks serve as an emotional connection when the hero is depicted as detached and distant, traits which might make it difficult to like the hero; the sidekick is the confidant who knows the main character better than anyone else, gives a convincing reason to like the hero. Although Sherlock Holmes was portrayed as a difficult man to know, his friendship with Dr. Watson convinces the reader that Holmes is a good person.
The Left Hand of Vampire Hunter D, being mentally linked to the reticent protagonist reveals thoughts and the physical condition of his host, as well as background elements of the story. The apparent stupidity of some comedy sidekicks is used to make a non-intellectual hero look intelligent. A flamboyant or effeminate sidekick may make an otherwise unimposing hero look more masculine, and a strong and modest hero may have his fighting qualities revealed to the other characters and the audience by a talkative sidekick. While many sidekicks are used for comic relief, there are other sidekicks who are less outrageous than the heroes they pledge themselves to, comedy derived from the hero can be amplified by the presence or reaction of the sidekick. Examples include Porky Pig, more sensible and calmer than Daffy Duck in short films, it is typical for the character and sidekick to be of the same gender — otherwise the term "sidekick" is replaced with "partner" or "companion". Whenever there is a team of more than two characters, the term sidekick is reserved for another team member of the same sex.
It is rare for the relationship between a character and an opposite-sex sidekick to lack romantic or sexual overtones of any kind — though there are examples, like Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin, Batman and Robin. The original Doctor Who series intentionally avoided any explicit onscreen indications of romantic or sexual attraction between The Doctor and his female companions. While unusual, it is not unheard of for a sidekick to be more attractive, charismatic, or physically capable than the supposed hero; this is most encountered when the hero's appeal is more intellectual rather than sexual. Such heroes are middle-aged or older and tend towards eccentricity; such protagonists may, due to either age or physical unsuitability, be limited to cerebral conflicts, while leaving the physical action to a younger or more physically capable sidekick. This type of sidekick is encountered in fiction, because the hero runs the risk of being upstaged by them. However, examples of successful such pairings include Inspector Morse and his sidekick Detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis, Nero Wolfe and his sidekick Archie Goodwin, Hiro Nakamura and his sidekick Ando Masahashi, Miles Vorkosigan and his sidekick cousin Ivan Vorpatril.
In other media, The Green Hornet's sidekick, has been depicted as a capable man of action, for instance in martial arts. The earliest Doctor Who serials during the First Doctor era, had young male companions who were capable of the physical action that the elderly William Hartnell was not; this became more important. This was not an issue with the following Doctors as they were cast with younger actors. In certain cases a sidekick can grow out of their role of second fiddle to the hero, become a hero in their own right. Dick Grayson is one such example, having outgrown the mantle of Robin when he was under Batman and taken up the new identity of Nightwing. Grayson has more succeeded his mentor and taken on the costumed identity of Batman himself. Another example is the popular comic-strip soldier of fortune Captain Easy, who started as the two-fisted sidekick of the scrawny eponymous her
A British comic is a periodical published in the United Kingdom that contains comic strips. It is referred to as a comic or a comic magazine, as a comic paper. British comics are comics anthologies which are aimed at children, are published weekly, although some are published on a fortnightly or monthly schedule; the two most popular British comics, The Beano and The Dandy, were released by DC Thomson in the 1930s. By 1950 the weekly circulation of both reached two million. Explaining the enormous popularity of comics in British popular culture during this period, Anita O’Brien, director curator at London’s Cartoon Museum, states: “When comics like the Beano and Dandy were invented back in the 1930s – and through to the 1950s and 60s – these comics were the only entertainment available to children."In 1954, Tiger comics introduced Roy of the Rovers, the hugely popular football based strip recounting the life of Roy Race and the team he played for, Melchester Rovers. The stock media phrase "real'Roy of the Rovers' stuff" is used by football writers and fans when describing displays of great skill, or surprising results that go against the odds, in reference to the dramatic storylines that were the strip's trademark.
Other comics such as Eagle, Warrior, Viz and 2000 AD flourished. Some comics, such as Judge Dredd and other 2000 AD titles, have been published in a tabloid form. Underground comics and "small press" titles have appeared in the UK, notably Oz and Escape Magazine. While the best selling comics in the UK have been British, American comic books and Japanese manga are popular in the UK; the description comics derived from the names of popular titles such as Comic Cuts, from the fact that in the beginning all the titles presented only comic content. British comics differ from the American comic book. Although they shared the same format size, based on a sheet of imperial paper folded in half, British comics have moved away from this size, adopting a standard magazine size; until that point, the British comic was usually printed on newsprint, with black or a dark red used as the dark colour and the four colour process used on the cover. The Beano and The Dandy both switched to an all-colour format in 1993.
Aimed at the semi-literate working class, the comic came to be seen as childish, hence was marketed towards children. Strips were of one or two pages in length, with a single issue of a comic containing upwards of a dozen separate strips, featuring different characters, although strips now last longer and tend to continue over a number of issues and period of time. Whilst some comics contained only strips, other publications such as Jackie have had a different focus, providing readers with articles about, photographs of, pop stars and television/film actors, plus more general articles about teenage life, whilst throwing in a few comic strips for good measure. In British comics history, there are some long-running publications such as The Beano and The Dandy published by D. C. Thomson & Co. a newspaper company based in Dundee, Scotland. The Dandy began in 1937 and The Beano in 1938; the Beano is still going today while The Dandy ceased print publication in 2012. The Boys' Own Paper lasted from 1879 to 1967.
There has been a continuous tradition of black and white comics, published in a smaller page size format, many of them war titles like Air Ace inspiring youngsters with tales of the exploits of the army and Royal Air Force in the two world wars some romance titles and some westerns in this format. On March 19, 2012, the British postal service, the Royal Mail, released a set of stamps depicting characters and series from British comics; the collection featured The Beano, The Dandy, The Topper, Roy of the Rovers, Buster, Twinkle and 2000 AD. In the 19th century, story papers, known as "penny dreadfuls" from their cover price, served as entertainment for British children. Full of close-printed text with few illustrations, they were no different from a book, except that they were somewhat shorter and that the story was serialised over many weekly issues in order to maintain sales; these serial stories could run to hundreds of instalments. And to pad out a successful series, writers would insert quite extraneous material such as the geography of the country in which the action was occurring, so that the story would extend into more issues.
Plagiarism was rife, with magazines profiting from competitors' successes under a few cosmetic name changes. Apart from action and historical stories, there was a fashion for horror and the supernatural, with epics like Varney the Vampire running for years. Horror, in particular, contributed to the epithet "penny dreadful". Stories featuring criminals such as'Spring-Heeled Jack', pirates and detectives dominated decades of the Victorian and early 20th-century weeklies. Comic strips—stories told in strip cartoon form, rather than as a written narrative with illustrations—emerged only slowly. Ally Sloper's Half Holiday is regarded to be the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character; this strip was designed for adults. Ally, the recurring character, was a working class fellow who got up to various forms of mischief and suffered for it. In 1890 two more comic magazines debuted before the British public, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips, both published by Amalgamated Press; these magazines notoriously reprinted British and American material published in newspapers and
Eagle (British comics)
Eagle was a British children's comics periodical, first published from 1950 to 1969, in a relaunched format from 1982 to 1994. It was founded by an Anglican vicar from Lancashire. Morris edited a Southport parish magazine called The Anvil, but felt that the church was not communicating its message effectively. Disillusioned with contemporary children's literature, he and Anvil artist Frank Hampson created a dummy comic based on Christian values. Morris proposed the idea to several Fleet Street publishers, with little success, until Hulton Press took it on. Following a huge publicity campaign, the first issue of Eagle was released in April 1950. Revolutionary in its presentation and content, it was enormously successful. Featured in colour on the front cover was its most recognisable story, Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, created by Hampson with meticulous attention to detail. Other popular stories included Riders of the Range and P. C. 49. Eagle contained news and sport sections, educational cutaway diagrams of sophisticated machinery.
A members club was created, a range of related merchandise was licensed for sale. Amidst a takeover of the periodical's publisher and a series of acrimonious disputes, Morris left in 1959. Although Eagle continued in various forms, a perceived lowering of editorial standards preceded plummeting sales, it was subsumed by its rival, Lion, in 1969. Eagle was relaunched in 1982 and ran for over 500 issues before being dropped by its publisher in 1994. Eagle was founded by John Marcus Harston Morris. Morris was born in the Lancashire town of Preston, in 1918 moved to Southport, he graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford with a second-class degree in Literae Humaniores, at Wycliffe Hall gained a second in theology in 1939. He became a priest the following year, served as a chaplain in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve from 1941 to 1943. In 1945 he became vicar of St. James' Church in Birkdale. Morris had long felt that the Anglican church was not publicising its message enough. Morris felt that the church was out of touch with the people whom it was supposed to represent.
He expanded the parish magazine—printed on four pages of cheap paper— into The Anvil, a circulated Christian magazine based on the humour and arts magazine Lilliput. Morris managed to employ several notable contributors on Anvil, such as C. S. Lewis and Harold Macmillan. In 1948 he employed young artist Frank Hampson, a war veteran who had enrolled at the Southport School of Arts and Crafts, where he was described by his tutor as an "outstanding draughtsman'prepared to go to endless trouble to get a thing right'", he worked as the illustrator on Anvil, became the full-time artist for Interim, a Christian publicity society formed during a conference of diocesan editors, with ambitions to produce a strip cartoon magazine aimed at children. Children's comics such as The Rover, The Hotspur, Schoolgirls' Own, The Magnet and Adventure contained a mixture of adventure stories, presented as text rather than strip cartoons, some British boys were buying American horror comics produced for G. I.s. Morris was impressed by the high standard of artwork in the US magazines, but disgusted by their content, which he described as "deplorable, nastily over-violent and obscene with undue emphasis on the supernatural and magical as a way of solving problems".
He realised that a market existed for a children's comics periodical which featured action stories in cartoon form, but which would convey to children the standards and morals he advocated. Morris was instrumental in launching the short-lived Society for Christian Publicity, formed to take control of The Anvil and to produce further Christian publications, in January 1949 the Daily Mirror published an optimistic piece about the rumoured publication by the Society of a "new children's comic"; this intrigued local journalist Norman Price, the following month he met Morris, helped him express his desire to see such a magazine by co-writing with him "Comics that bring horror to the nursery", published in the Sunday Dispatch. Morris's article provoked a strong reaction from its readers. Morris envisioned a character called Lex Christian, "a tough, fighting parson in the slums of the East End of London", whose adventures would be told in strip cartoon form, illustrated by Hampson; the idea gained the support of Terence Horsley, editor of the Sunday Empire News, but Horsley was killed in a gliding accident shortly thereafter.
Morris suggested to Hampson that they instead create an new children's publication. Hampson was enthusiastic about the idea, in May that year the two began work on a dummy of it. Lex Christian became Chaplain Dan Dare of the Inter-Planet Patrol, featured on the cover. On the inside, two pages of Secret City featured a character named Jimmy Swift, on the back page was a religious story about Saint Paul. Short strips included Joe from Ernie, Always Unlucky. Other features included a range of news articles. Three photocopies of the dummy were made, each hand-coloured by Hampson. By deeply in debt from the publication of The Anvil and the production costs of the dummy, Morris formed Anvil Productions Ltd, its prospectus declared: "The Company proposes to publish a new children's coloured'comic' paper, which will be of a much high
John Ryan (cartoonist)
John Gerald Christopher Ryan was a British animator and cartoonist, best known for his character Captain Pugwash. Ryan was born in Edinburgh, he expressed his love of writing and drawing early in life, creating his first book, Adventures of Tommy Brown, at the age of 7. Ryan attended a Catholic boarding school. After serving as an officer with the Lincolnshire Regiment in Burma during the Second World War, Ryan studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Whilst teaching art at Harrow, Ryan first created Captain Pugwash as a comic strip for The Eagle in 1950, although the strip was dropped after three months as it was felt to be too young for the target audience. Unperturbed, Ryan created Harris Tweed, Special Agent. However, when The Radio Times commissioned him to provide a strip he resurrected the Captain Pugwash strip, in 1957 he was commissioned by the BBC to produce a series of animation shorts featuring the character running from 1957 to 1958; the animation of these films was done in real time using an ingenious system of cut-out characters and boats, moved by hidden cardboard levers.
Further episodes were commissioned twenty years in 1974, in all 126 episodes were made with the last airing in 1975. Ryan wrote and illustrated a number of children's books featuring the character. Through his animation studio, John Ryan Studios, he created The Adventures of Sir Prancelot and Mary Mungo & Midge for the BBC, the latter for the Watch With Mother slot. In 1981 Ryan presented The Ark Stories for the series being produced by Anne Wood; each episode saw Ryan present and illustrate a story about Noah's Ark, either prior to or during the Great Flood. He created Lettice Leefe, the Greenest Girl in School, a comic strip for Girl magazine. Ryan, a Catholic, provided illustrations and cartoons for Catholic newspapers, notably The Catholic Herald, several collections of these cartoons were published as books. Towards the end of his life, he was resident in Rye. There are a number of Ryan's original book illustrations on permanent loan at the Centre for the Study of Cartoons, University of Kent.
In addition to the 24 books in the Captain Pugwash series and the 11 in his Noah's Ark series, he produced a further 24 books. Ryan died in hospital in East Sussex, he is survived by his three children. His daughter Isabel Ryan provided Mary's voice in Mary and Midge, his brother was philosopher Columba Ryan. His father was diplomat Andrew Ryan. Jedis Children's TV Captain Pugwash page, contains a 1974 interview with Ryan on the animation of Captain Pugwash