Comic book side­kicks get their due

The Delhi News-Record - - CLASSIFIEDS - Dan Brown [email protected]­ Twit­­press

Since he’s al­ready penned read­able, funny vol­umes on the su­pe­heroes of yore and their foes, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore Jon Mor­ris got around to chron­i­cling the his­tory of sec­ond ba­nanas.

His lat­est is The League of Re­gret­table Side­kicks, in which he gives sup­port­ing char­ac­ters the now-fa­mil­iar Mor­ris treat­ment.

The ge­nius of this se­ries is the blog­ger/ his­to­rian has never en­coun­tered a weird comic-book char­ac­ter he didn’t feel af­fec­tion for, and in this colour­ful, 254page book he in­tro­duces the likes of Freck­les, Pook and Midge to modern pop-cul­ture afi­ciona­dos.

As in his pre­vi­ous two his­to­ries, Mor­ris gives short, cheeky bi­ogra­phies for each B-lis­ter.

Did you know there was once a ju­nior hero named Fat­man?

No, Fat­man was not the part­ner Bat­man had be­fore Robin, but stood along­side Mr. Amer­ica, a DC crime-fighter from 1938. Don­ning a lamp­shade for a hel­met and a flow­ered green cur­tain for a cape, Bob (Fat­man) Da­ley be­comes “a fin­ger in the arm of the law.”

What I love about Mor­ris is his con­ta­gious en­thu­si­asm for he­roes who have not stood the test of time. For­get the likes of Kid Flash, who grew up to be­come a hero in his own right, Mor­ris is here to sing the praises of Bumper, Butch and Loco, do­good­ers you have prob­a­bly never heard of.

What fas­ci­nates Mor­ris are the he­roes and comic creators who didn’t have enough staying power to make any­thing but a su­per­fi­cial im­pres­sion on the col­lec­tive imag­i­na­tion.

In the process, Mor­ris has ac­cu­mu­lated a mass of in­ter­est­ing fac­toids. Did you know Al­gie, side­kick to Barry Kuda, pre­dates Aqualad by 20 years? Did you know Spi­der Widow is one of the few hero­ines to have a male side­kick — a la Won­der Woman and Steve Trevor?

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