Writer: Cory Harris
Artist: Ziggy Blumenthal
Publisher: Fake McCoy
When you traipse around the fringes of the big comic conventions, as I always do first thing, you’re likely to find just about any form of comic book. From mini-comics to graphic novels, you’ll see new or rehashed twists on super-hero tales, horror stories, slice-of-life diatribes, and almost anything between. For a fan like me, what’s great is when you find an unknown gem among the many mediocre efforts from the fringes (even though you’ve gotta admire the enthusiasm that these creators have for their work!). At the recent Baltimore Comic Convention, one book I admired for its wit was Sidekicked, an independent comic by the team of Cory Harris and Ziggy Blumenthal. It’s a very funny and satirical look at super-hero sidekicks and the roles they typically play. But, what makes this first issue unique (and why I’m looking forward to reading the next issue) is the question that explains the title: What if the sidekicks became the main heroes, while the main heroes are demoted to sidekicks? While this question won’t be fully addressed until the second issue, the setup in this issue is a funny commentary on the post-9/11/Civil War-era of modern super-hero comics, where suspicion of costumed heroes’ motives causes dissension among the masses. And, considering some of the seriousness inherent in Civil War, we could all use a laugh...
Harris’ script has some great jokes and funny situations that had me giggling out loud in appreciation. The group of heroes and their sidekicks are great caricatures of the same super-heroes we see week in and week out from the Big Two. Brigadier is a hero composed of pure energy whose sidekick, Kinetixx, is still working his way up to full-energy status. One of the funniest lines in the issue occurs when Kinetixx confronts Brigadier during a press conference at City Hall: “You’re always limiting me, saying ‘not until you’re pure energy, not until you’re pure energy.’ You don’t know how we sidekicks live, and you don’t care, either. I’d rather be half energy than a total jerk!” You see, in the world of Sidekicked, heroes and sidekicks are levels of rank in the super-hero community, regulated by a government agency. So, there’s a definite class difference (as well as an ability difference) between the supers, which comes to a head when the charitable works of the sidekicks are more favored by the powers-that-be than the world-saving the heroes are handling. In realistic political fashion, the Mayor promotes the media darling sidekicks and demotes the conspicuously absent heroes (possible Infinite Crisis/52 commentary?). After the Mayor reiterates the rules governing "lawful vigilantes," Brigadier replies, “That rule is almost as inane as the one about emissions testing for the energy wielders. Or spaying and neutering superpets. Bureaucratic nonsense.” Ha Ha! Little funny quips such as this are found throughout this first issue, making this an especially good read for fans of super-hero satire.
On the negative side, Blumenthal’s artwork is a little wooden feeling throughout the issue, coordinating little with the scripted lunacy. I think a more cartoon-ish style would have worked better with the story and the dialogue. Also, some of the faces are distorted severely, which brought me back down to earth and the realization that this is an amateur production. But when deciding on my rating for this issue, the overall impression in my head was, “This is a darn funny little comic book.” Need more examples? A sidekick named Cub-Scout who is a furry, long-haired gentleman; a super-speedster sidekick who wins a charity relay, “even though it’s not really a race;” a headline that reads, "Sidekicks the Shizzle." This is a hilarious comic that you should seek out, especially if Civil War’s got you down or frustrated.
What did you think of this book?
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