Here’s the deal. Many thanks to Heather, who has been an active reader of this blog from day one, and who suggested this topic – the second in my 176 week series, Makya McBee vs. Reader’s Suggestions.
To be a true superhero sidekick you must possess no discernible skills (or, at the minimum, no skills that the superhero you follow around does not already possess) and you must be resigned to the second fiddle position throughout your many adventures. But, more importantly, your first and last name must begin with the same letter. Wally West, Bucky Barnes, Doiby Dickles and Woozy Winks are just a few actual comic book superhero sidekicks.
There are two types of superhero sidekicks. First, there are the carbon copies. These are younger (or, occasionally, animal) versions of the superhero. The Flash had Kid Flash. Wonder Woman had a younger sister named Wonder Girl. And Aquaman had Aqualad.
(I’m not entirely sure why Aquaman needed a sidekick, last time I checked approximately zero percent of all major crimes are committed underwater. The only more useless superhero was Volcanoman, who diligently patrolled magma pools everywhere. “Don’t you dare come into this volcano and commit a crime,” he would warn from the crater, “I am Volcanoman!” But I suppose, to their credit, they did keep the ocean depths and the earth’s core relatively crime free.)
Actually, I’m not sure why having a smaller, identical version of yourself is particularly helpful to any superhero. “As the Flash, I can run really, really fast…and my sidekick, Kid Flash, can also run really fast…only he’s shorter, less experienced, weaker…” Great. Way to compliment your skill set with the very same skill set.
The second type of sidekick is the rest of the sidekicks. Captain America had Bucky Barnes (pictured to the right), whose only abilities were the fact that he was a skilled acrobat and had the power to wear an excessive number of buttons.
The Green Lantern had Doiby Dickles. Doiby had no powers, he was a cab driver with a wrench. So, you know, if the Green Lantern ever needed an over-priced ride across town – he was all set.
Of course, the most famous superhero sidekick of all is Robin, Boy Wonder (as in, boy, I wonder why Batman is hanging out with Robin). He’s the only sidekick that get’s to share the comic book title at times – Batman and Robin. Not too shabby. Then again, he has the same problem as the others, he’s essentially a much less effective version of Batman. And there’s not a lot of job security. Comic book Batman has already gone through five Robins. (Wanted: teenage acrobat to follow me around as I battle crime. Must have strong fighting skills, bring your own brightly-colored tights and be MS Office and PowerPoint proficient.)
Why would someone want to be a sidekick? Many have abandonment issues and are looking for a father figure. Some aspire to be a hero themselves and look at the sidekick position as a super internship. A few are simply content being the comic relief.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I rid the world of puny superhero sidekicks? I’m glad you asked. Because I am proud to announce the opening of the Makya McBee School for Superhero Sidekicks. This will be the first and only institution dedicated to producing the world’s finest crime-battling partners. Our classes will include fashion-forward cape design, creation and upkeep of a believable secret identity and catch phrase development. No more goofy sidekick names. No more repetitive powers. No longer will sidekicks be wayward teens who see their apprenticeship as a handout. With a diploma from the McBee Institute for Sidekickery, they’ll know they’ve earned their position. And then, at long last, our city streets will be safe. (Until then, I suggest hanging out at sea or in a volcano).