The end of an era: Sidekicks no more?

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Batman and Robin (Alex Ross, DC Comics)

By Daniel Reichstein

As a person who grew up reading comics like Captain America and Batman, I was accustomed to the all-important role of hero support, aka the “sidekick.” The sidekick played a pivotal role in the hero’s quest to fight crime. The most known example that comes to mind is Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Robin’s popularity was based on how he was a kid and readers could relate to his point of view. Robin was often able to solve the crimes or help out in various ways throughout a story. I think that the having a sidekick made Batman more interesting because it allowed for clever banter that was absent when Batman fought crime alone. If anything, a sidekick like Robin was able to act as a sounding board for Batman so that he could have someone to talk to. Alfred was not present in the original Batman comics until a few years into the comic’s run.

Nowadays, sidekicks have virtually disappeared from modern comics. I’m not entirely sure why this is. I avidly collect Nightwing and Winter Soldier, both former sidekicks who have moved on from that role. Their series are great but there are few titles that use characters in the role of a sidekick. In the Batman books, it seems that Alfred has become the sidekick for Batman. Even the relaunch of Teen Titans, a team composed of sidekicks, downplays that aspect of their origins.

So the question I pose to fans is: Are sidekicks outdated? Or does there need to be a resurgence in the use of dynamic duos?

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