The League of Regrettable Sidekicks continues author Jon Morris’s entertaining survey of some of the odder corners of several decades of comic book history.
Morris previously covered the good guys (The League of Regrettable Superheroes) and bad guys (The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains), combing through years of publications to find entertainingly odd, offbeat, misconceived or utterly confounding characters. With Sidekicks he turns his attention to the second bananas of the comic book world, scaring up some of the daffier junior partners, manservants, mascots, henchmen, background characters and other supporting players who are goofy, bizarre or just balls out crazy. He tours through any number of kids in costumes, talking animals, long-suffering domestics and the occasional senior citizen or two who have wandered in and out of comics over the years. Some are quite obscure (good luck if you’ve ever heard of Stampy or Kid Tyrant), while others will prove quite familiar, including the likes of the Lieutenant Marvels, Stripesy, Rick Jones, Woozy Winks, the Knights of Wundagore, D-Man and Moon Boy. And no collection of this sort could possibly overlook the absolutely lunatic Elf With A Gun from the drug-fueled ’70s run of The Defenders. Special sections explore the multitude of sidekicks for prominent characters Captain Marvel/Shazam, Superman, Captain America and Richie Rich, all of whom had a knack for picking up a coterie of assistants.
As with the prior volumes, Morris isn’t out to shame anyone. Rather, he pokes fun at some of the absurdities of the medium and celebrates some of the agreeably weird characters that could only be found in the pages of comics. It’s all done with a wink and a healthy sense of humor, a joke that the readers and creators can all be in on. It’s breezy and diverting and of especial appeal for anyone with an interest in comic book history.
Again, as with the prior volumes, some rather well known creators are behind many of these creations. Familiar names include Jerry Siegal, Otto Binder, C.C. Beck, Will Eisner, Wally Wood, Curt Swan, Gardner Fox, Don Heck, Jim Steranko, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Ross Andru, Rick Veitch, Keith Giffen, Steve Gerber, Joe Staton, Archie Goodwin, Denny O’Neill, Mike Grell, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Steve Engelhart and Marshall Rogers, among many others.
For fans of the genre, or anyone who just enjoys the offbeat corners of pop culture, The League of Regrettable Sidekicks is an enjoyable diversion.