The League of Regrettable Sidekicks
Jon Morris is back with his third book on the forgotten corners of superhero comics. After The League of Regrettable Superheroes and The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains comes The League of Regrettable Sidekicks.
As with the first book, the material is handsomely presented, with each little-known character getting a page or two of text accompanied by a page of comic art. The book is divided into three sections, one each for the Golden Age, Silver Age, and Modern Age. The first section, about the oldest characters, is unsurprisingly the longest, with twice the page count of the others.
The ones you may have heard of include Woozy Winks, Comet the Super-Horse, Pepper (Josie’s friend from Archie Comics), Rick Jones, Volstagg, and the Elf with a Gun. Plus, there are short sections on the many sidekicks of Captain Marvel, Captain America, Superman, and Richie Rich.
Most are deeply obscure characters, until you get to the modern section. There, I was familiar with more of them, particularly since I pay attention to independent and small-press comics. I’m not sure Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, Marvel’s D-Man, Harvey’s Jackie Jokers, or Marvel’s Moon-Boy are all that regrettable, though I agree that Green Lantern’s alien friend Itty was a bad idea. I was surprised to see Morris not make note on that page of how it was part of a trend, to give most of the DC superheroes little alien/weird pals, particularly since Zook and Quisp have their own entries.
It’s a shame, given the content, that this book isn’t more fun to read. Most of the pages are simple event recaps and art descriptions, telling us what the character looked like. Morris’ writing style is flat, and I had hoped for more entertaining text. It’s a tough thing to do, to capture the flavor of old-school comics in just a page, and with so many in one book, a book whose concept is that these characters weren’t great, it’s easy to have one’s eyes glaze over and the reader start flipping pages. Save the book for short dips to avoid becoming tired of these sidekicks too quickly.
All three of the books are on huge discount as ebooks right now. You can get The League of Regrettable Superheroes, The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains, and The League of Regrettable Sidekicks digitally for $3 each for a limited time. (The publisher provided a review copy.)