Take it from me, I myself was once a legendary sidekick – but for the sake of my loved ones, my alter ego shall remain anonymous for the remainder of this pamphlet. You got this pamphlet because I stuck it to your windshield. But you are reading it right now because you want to become a sidekick right? Perhaps, like me, you’ll get to live in the days when you can become a sidekick and even become your own hero without the reliance of an adult? Well, to get some things started, most of us youngsters fell into the line of sidekick business based on these typical reasons:
A) We were a relative of some sort to the hero that we became a side kick for. (Double bonus if you gained similar powers through a blessed accident.)
B) We were orphaned or a hero saw something in us that they decided to take us under their wing and teach us everything they knew. (This was me, the last surviving member from a family of lion tamers who got a big break when a hero offered me a different set of rhinestone covered tights.)
C) We were a friend to the hero and it was only a matter of time before their secret identity came out so we decided to combine our friendship into a crime fighting partnership.
D) Finally, probably the rarest of situations of all, we were a die hard fan of the hero and knew everything about them. Some of us sidekicks were such fans we were even able to deduce the hero’s secret identity. But all of our immense fan boy like qualities helped to secure our spot as a typical bantering buffoon of comedy relief.
BUT don’t let these little obstacles get in your way now. Just because you do not have super powers, a heroic lineage, knowledge of magical prowess, or the by product of an experiment gone wrong – they shouldn’t stop you from becoming the sidekick that YOU want to be. Follow along with me now as I take you step by step through the world of sidekickdom.
Your Origin Story
There was a time where the sidekick was heavily respected. The sidekick wasn’t just there to get abducted in the case of a hostage situation or the young kid that didn’t get invited to the adult super hero parties. Oh no super fans, the sidekick was primarily used to back up the hero, chime in with some witty banter or watch over the villains” getaway car while the hero saved the day. I myself was one of the greatest getaway vehicle drivers watchers and could always come up with a unique diversion to stall ’em.
But no, those brave and bold days are long gone. Many of the world’s finest sidekicks that I grew up with hardly made it into the big leagues. We even tried to bond together and make a collection of sidekicks to save the day. We were laughed at and were never taken as seriously as our older counterparts. As we got older, some of us couldn’t handle the abuse we received (both physical and mental). Some of us got tired of getting the hand me down assignments or finding out that the media doesn’t care about “just the sidekick.” Some of my fellow brethren even resorted to drug abuse during the 70’s to run away from their problems and some tried outlandish theatrics and parlor tricks in order to make it on their own. Some of us even died, only somehow becoming resurrected to strike vengeance on our former partners. Now, all of those days are behind us, and only YOU can help society view sidekicks in a different light.
You say you do NOT have any super powers huh? SO what! In my day, all you needed was a good left hook, knowledge of knots so that you could slip out of escapes, and bravery. Some of us looked at it like it was a game as innocent as cowboys and Indians – they were the first ones to go, in one way or another. But if having powers is really your shtick, you might want to search for magic relics that grant you unlimited phenomenal powers or expose yourself to some Gamma radiation – but don’t quote me on that.
I might also add that good old wholesome values will also see you on your way to sidekick stardom. Very similar to the values that I myself grew up with in various boys clubs about honor, morals, honesty, obey the laws and to help other people. These too will guide you on your first steps.
You say you possess many or perhaps even all of these qualities huh? Then let us focus on what abilities that you do have. We both know that you were born with some sort of unique gift – mine was bird calls. Maybe you are a photographer, great at sewing, excellent computer skills, medical background, or you can solve a puzzle behind your back with your eyes closed. Whatever your natural gift might be, hone in on it and become the very best at it. Turn a hobby into a gimmick that you can market yourself with later.
By studying some of the comic books or read the local papers, you will know which gimmicks are in, and which are worthless. In fact, I have always felt that the comic book was an excellent communication device to know about the super hero world. Why, I even knew a hero who worshipped a comic book hero as a kid, and would in turn become that hero in his own world as homage to his childhood.
I think your mind is fairly trained now. As you start to develop the basics of your character, (both your sidekick alter ego and your own moral compass) you will also need to develop your body. Sports are a plus, in fact, some might say a necessity in our world – not only do they teach you teamwork skills, but you need to be physically strong and have a decent amount of endurance. I would also recommend you get some basics in combat training or no hero will want you at their side – boxing, wrestling, why even fencing might help you.
Next up in your training exercises are “how well can you banter?” Do you like to watch over the top action films where the hero kills the bad guy and then says some cheesy one-liner? Well my sidekick to be, get to memorize these and try to come up with your own witty puns. Let’s try one out shall we?
“You hold the villain in your arms, there is a jagged exhaust pipe sticking out from the wall that lets off blasts of hot air. There is a struggle, and the villain impales himself on the pipe. As to which you reply:______________________”
Play little games like this on long road trips. Try taking a class on adlibbing or improvisation. Study some of the old stand up comedians (comedic duos are some of the best examples) or keep renting terribly bad action films – whatever floats your cape. The point is that you want to be a perfect distraction on the villain so that your hero can sock him one right in the eye and you’ll save the day. Trust me, most villains can’t deal with it when you call them out with a cheap pun (or distract them with an imitation of an Ariel Toucan.)
Your Try Out process
How do you find an appropriate hero perhaps? You aren’t going to find them in the phonebook or a website; they keep their identities and lairs a secret for a reason. You are going to have to use some great detective skills and find out your hero’s stomping ground. Also, before you can even start hunting down heroes, you need to find out “which hero is best suited for you?”
Your hero can’t be a big meat head type of guy and you being some sort of a young magician boy – I can almost guarantee your services won’t be needed as fists and magic just don’t go hand-in-hand. Also, be sure to not fall in love with your hero – we rarely mix business and pleasure. Find a hero so that you two will make a balanced pair, a dynamic duo if you will. I like to think about being a sidekick as a marriage, something that my third wife taught me: “marriage is a partnership, where you balance, compliment one another and can create one whole great person together.” So you need to find a hero that you will balance with and not contradict one another.
Still having a hard time finding that special someone huh? You can try putting up want ads around the hero’s known stomping ground – or try to independently take down a criminal so that you can get your name out there. But be careful of this strategy, one time I really angered the White Hood because I actually inadvertently got in the way and let the bad guy win that day. Don’t be that guy. And if at first you don’t succeed – keep hounding them down. I gave you the top four reasons why sidekicks get brought in to begin with – prove to that hero that your assistance will be worth it and well appreciated.
Okay, so you think you got someone now, so let us think how you and your hero will mesh well together. If your hero has a bright costume dominated with primary colors, don’t wear something like those dark loner types who stalks his victims in the shadow of the night. Also, how is your gimmick going to tie into the design of your costume? I’m not going to delve too much into costume design, as it is going to be the hero’s overall final call. In fact, my first hero used to love it when I wore these skimpy briefs and my bare legs. I ended up getting a lot of rug burns in those days, so all I can recommend is that you should wear something not too restrictive, not too revealing and be mindful of capes – they might look neat-o, but can easily snag on things.
The final process of making sure you can mesh with your hero correctly is your name. I myself have gone through a variety of sidekick alter ego names, each were decided by my hero and were related to their super slogan or calling card in some fashion. Again, just like your costume, your name needs to watch the identity of what you are coming across as. If you have some sort of super speed, don’t call yourself Snail Trail – unless you wanna be cute about it. Your name should look like if it was up on a neon marquee, it would explode with the electricity of excitement and the worriment of all criminals of the under world. Your name should be quick, easy to remember, and don’t make it easy for the villains to make rhymes, puns or innuendoes about it. I hear Lady Mulva is still undergoing therapy from her harassment.
Your career as a professional sidekick
Well kid you made it right? All of that hard work and determination has paid off – but sidekicking doesn’t end after your first busted caper. There is a LOT of hard work that goes along besides just taking care of the bad guys. You pay your dues in hope of some day becoming a solo hero. I myself have spent many nights cleaning crime stopping gadgets and the required maintenance of our official vehicles (ever had to wax the rotors of a helicopter? It ain’t easy!)
But what about the outside world huh? The world that is not full of imaginary fairy tale like demons, sorcerers and/or damsels in distress. You might be lucky to work with a very rich, sophisticated playboy like a few of my buddy sidekicks were and have everything practically handed to you. But there were others of us who would have to go to school, hold a small part time job to pay for the dry cleaning of our costume and keeping our utility belts full of smoke bombs AND spend the nights patrolling the streets from the roof tops and shadows of alleys.
But if you can abide by the code of ethics of sidekickdom that I have laid out for you in this pamphlet – you will do JUST fine and hopefully become a bigger success than even the hero that you trained with. In some of my final closing comments, do not back down to your hero if he is harassing you – remember, you wouldn’t stick around for an abusive relationship would you? If the hero heavily recommends you to stay out of the way and wait with the car – they are looking out for you. Or you just might end up with a final date with a crow bar. Finally, your secret identity is your lively hood in this business. You let that out, and you’ll end up like Mickey Rooney.