Issue 49 - Sidekicks


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By Capes on the Couch LLC and Capes on the Couch: Where Comics Get Counseling. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Our first thematic episode focuses on minor sidekicks to adult heroes! What would convince a teenager to endanger themselves to join an adult? Anthony & Doc break down several famous pairings and how they work (or don't)! Listen now!


  • Intro

  • Background (5:24)

    • First teenage sidekick was Robin, the Boy Wonder, introduced in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)

    • Numerous teen sidekicks followed: Bucky (Captain America), Toro (Human Torch), Speedy (Green Arrow)

    • 1954, Frederic Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, claiming comic books were corrupting America’s youth – pointed out potential homosexual subtexts, along with graphic imagery, in several comic books – the Comics Code Authority was created to let the industry self-regulate rather than have Congress do it for them

    • Later comics explore the role sidekicks have, and retcon the justification for the sidekick accompanying the hero (Bucky became an assassin, for example)

    • Many sidekicks become adult heroes in their own right, several even becoming legacy versions of the hero they helped

  • Discussion of several hero/sidekick pairings

    • Batman/Robin – Batman has series of Robins, all of whom have different personalities, and Bruce’s relationship with each is different

      • Various Robins kept at arm’s length at first to prevent Bruce from getting too close, especially after Dick left and Jason died

    • Cap/Bucky – Bucky started off as mere teen sidekick, then retconned to be dangerous assassin as part of Winter Soldier reveal (31:25)

    • Barry Allen/Wally West – Wally started off as Kid Flash, then became the third Flash after Barry’s death – becomes more powerful than even Barry (38:33)

    • Wolverine/Kitty Pryde/Jubilee/X-23 – we discussed this in the Wolverine episode – Wolverine takes young girls under his wing (44:55)

    • Big Daddy/Hit-Girl – Mindy raised by her father to be brutal assassin, doesn’t know anything outside of survival & killing (49:14)

    • Superman/Jimmy Olsen – never gets superpowers of his own (outside of wacky 50s/60s stories), but is a staunch ally of Man of Steel (53:04)

    • Rick Jones – sidekick to several heroes: Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hulk (58:24)

  • Real-life examples

    • Matt’s suggestion of John Allen Mohammed/Lee Boyd Malvo (62:45)

    • Joe Montana/Steve Young (69:00)

    • Doc's mentor

  • Treatment?

  • End


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85 episodes