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Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Jul 10, 2019

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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