My most recent Retro Review started me thinking about the nature of the “kid sidekick” as a superhero trope.  From the debut of Robin back in the Golden Age, people LOVED the concept, leading other companies to try to duplicate the Boy Wonder’s success with the likes of Bucky, Dusty, Tim and the other Tim.  (Both Captain Wonder and The Black Terror had sidekicks by that super-heroic sobriquet.)  In these postmodern days,  it’s become a cliché to mock the very IDEA of a child fighting crime, but that sort of cynical Negative Nancy nabob nattering doesn’t fly in MS-QOTD land.  Besides, if we’re being honest, the idea of a kid partner isn’t even the most ridiculous part of the Golden Age superhero combo pack, and some of those costumed kids are pretty cool in their own right.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) Which of the kid sidekicks (excluding Dick Grayson, who would break the curve) is the most awesome overall?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

19 Comments

  1. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt on

    Rick Jones and Snapper Carr. Top of the idiotic curve for risking innocent lives but also pretty significant contributors to more than one story line.

    I’m also partial to Sand. As a sidekick, he was part of the idiotic longjohns version of Sandman, but he really came into his own later.

    Finally, bonus points to Stripesy and the Star Spangled Kid for inverting the trope.

  2. After a fashion, almost all of the X-Men are or were Professor X’s kid sidekicks. Taken to a school at a young age and taught to use their powers.

  3. Gotta go with Bucky, pre-winter soldier and boy commando retcons. He was literally a fanboy war -orphan hanger-on in that incarnation, in the first Cap’s final mission, he’s the hero who diverts the New York bound buzz-bomb, not Cap. That Bucky dies the death of an unknown soldier, and with Steve’s revival by the Avengers, his loss is never far from Cap’s thoughts.

  4. Dick Grayson breaks the curve? But not Bucky, a guy who’s both the most dangerous assassin in the world and became a bionic Captain America? A guy who’s cheated death at least twice now?

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