Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Faithful Sidekick

Here’s a rule, every Superhero needs a good sidekick. We have seen this work often enough. In the show Lois and Clark, Lois played Superman’s sidekick. Watson was sidekick to Sherlock Holmes. Jane Marple in many of Agatha Christie’s books had various sidekicks from a police officer who just wasn’t as smart as her to one of her friends to some young man who could do some running for her. But why is the sidekick so important?

The superhero has trouble connecting with the world. The superhero is better than the lowly people around him and though they men wish they were as strong and the women want to have his baby, they want him to stay aloof. They don’t want to think of him as living somewhere as a common man with his own problems. They want him to always wear the cape and always be on guard. The sidekick sees things that most people don’t wan to see. The sidekick sees the superhero with his hair down.

The superhero can talk to the sidekick. This is an important aspect of all sidekicks, even if the hero isn’t a superhero. The hero doesn’t have to impress the sidekick. In writing, this provides a convenient way for the writer to tell the reader about the hero without revealing his flaws to the majority of the people in the novel. The sidekick is a good friend and makes good fodder for the B Plot. The sidekick encourages the hero to keep going and may help the hero if he gets in trouble.