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Batman And Robin - Superhero Sidekicks
From the early days of comic books it was almost a tradition to give a superhero a sidekick, as superheroes were adult characters it probably made sense to introduce a young sidekick nearer to the age of the comic book readership to enable them to relate to the story. Although the early years of Superman had been told in the Superboy comics it was not until 1962 and the introduction of Spider-man that comic books got a full blown teenage superhero with all the awkwardness and angst that go with the teenage years, lets have a look at some of the better known sidekicks that have appeared with some of the major superhero characters.
Charles Doiby ( Derby ) Dickles was the sidekick and friend of the Golden Age ( 1938 - 1955 ) Green Lantern Alan Scott. A taxi driver from New York, Doiby was known for his thick Brooklyn accent and his skilled use of a wrench as his weapon of choice. Doiby enjoyed many adventures fighting alongside Green Lantern including taking on the Nazis, eventually though like so many other New York taxi drivers before him he ventured into outer space to marry an alien Princess!
Thomas Kalmaku was a friend to the Silver Age ( 1956 - 1969 ) Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Thomas received the unfortunate name of Pieface due to the American slang name for anyone with a large round face and blank expression. Pieface was a young Inuit mechanic at Ferris Aircraft the employer of pilot and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Although given an unfortunate nickname, Pieface was always depicted very respectfully as a capable and intelligent mechanic who rises through the ranks of the company to become an executive. Pieface featured in the recent poorly received Green Lantern movie played by Maori actor Taika Waititi.
Created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as a sidekick to Captain America, Bucky Barnes is a character who is still going strong today and appears in Marvel comics as the Winter Soldier after taking on the mantel of Captain America himself for a while in Steve Rogers absence. During the Golden Age Captain America and Bucky were two of the most popular characters in comic books, Bucky also starred in another comic Young Allies that featured a team made up of young superhero sidekicks. Towards the end of World War Two Bucky is killed and although seen in comic books retrospectively and in flashbacks Bucky was the one character who seemed to stay dead, comic book fans even had a saying " nobody stays dead in comic books except Bucky "! Now seen in Marvel comics as an adult, Bucky is the Winter Soldier a Soviet trained assassin with a bionic arm, a master of unarmed combat and fluent in many languages which help in his life as an assassin and spy.
Batman And Robin 1960s TV
Probably the best known sidekick in comic books, what is perhaps not so well known is that there has been five characters who have been Batman's sidekick, six if you include Carrie Kelly in Frank Millers graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. The character of Robin is first seen in Detective Comics # 38 from April 1938. Originally Robins costume was based on the character of Robin Hood and the character was introduced as the Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger felt that Robin would appeal to a younger readership. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was the son of circus acrobats " The Flying Graysons " after the death of his parents at the hands of gangsters, Dick was adopted as ward by Batman's alter ego millionaire Bruce Wayne. Robin proved to be a popular addition with the readers and Dick Grayson still features in DC comics today as the independent superhero Nightwing. Similar to Dick Grayson, Jason Todd the second Robin was the son of circus acrobats whose parents were killed by gangsters, never popular with the readership DC took the unusual decision to poll the readership on whether to kill off the character or not, the readers voted marginally to get rid of Todd, although supposedly killed by the Joker, Todd would return to the DC universe as the new Red Hood the original alias of the Joker. Tim Drake was the third Robin and now appears as the superhero Red Robin. The fourth Robin was the first female version of the character Stephanie Brown. Eventually Brown was dismissed as Batman's assistant due to disobeying Batman's orders on more than one occasion, formerly the costumed adventurer The Spoiler, Brown is now Barbara Gordons replacement as Batgirl. The most recent version of Robin is Damian Wayne the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. Damian was Robin to Dick Graysons Batman until the return of his father as Batman and Dick Grayson to the mantle of Nightwing. Recently Damian was killed by an aged clone of himself.
Jubilation Lee is a young Chinese / American mutant with the power to generate explosive plasma. In the early 1990s Jubilee was the youngest of the X-Men and would often play sidekick to Wolverine. Today Jubilee has lost her mutant abilities and has been turned into a vampire. Cynical comic book fans never really took to Jubilee with many feeling that the character was just an attempt my Marvel to cash in on the success they had had with another young mutant Kitty Pride.
First appearing in Daredevil # 1 1964, Foggy Nelson is a long standing friend and business partner to Daredevil, Matt Murdock. Foggy and Matt meet at university where initially Matt protects Foggy from bullies, enabling him to study. Foggy is always portrayed as a slightly podgy character but one who is very well grounded which always contrasts well with the more tortured soul of Matt Murdock.
Although originally a sickly malnourished girl in her first appearance, Etta is normally shown as a spirited rather rotund girl who has a great love of candy. In the early golden age Wonder Woman comics, Etta becomes the leader of the Beeta Lambda sorority at Holiday College and Etta and the rest of the " Holiday Girls " share many adventures alongside Wonder Woman.
Several characters have held the mantle of Kid Flash, initially conceived due to the success of Robin the most well known character to appear as Kid Flash is Wally West, who fought alongside probably the best known version of the Flash Barry Allen, after serving with many other junior heroes in the Teen Titans, Wally himself would go on to become the Flash in later years.
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