The very first sidekick in superhero comics was Robin the boy wonder, an acrobatic teenager who assisted Batman in his war against crime. Since then, sidekicks young and old have filled the pages of mainstream superhero comics. After Robin premiered, everyone started copying the superhero/sidekick formula, the first copycat being Bucky Barnes, sidekick to Captain America.
DC comics are known for having a lot of sidekick characters. Some of these were hits, earning enough popularity to take on their mentor’s superhero identity or even their own new moniker. However, others — usually the second or third iterations of a sidekick — did not quite make the cut. There are plenty of sidekicks who faded into obscurity, which is to sa,y they weren’t erased from the comics (though some were) but their whereabouts were definitely downplayed in favor of more popular characters. CBR decided to track down some of these DC sidekicks to show you where they are now.
Quite a few ladies have taken on the moniker of “Aquagirl,” including Lisa Morel, Selena, Lorena Marquez and alternate versions like Aqualad’s daughter in “Kingdom Come” and the future DCAU version who is Aquaman’s daughter, Mareena. Perhaps the most well known of the Aquagirls is the redheaded Tula, who made appearances in the “Young Justice” series as an Atlantean magic student of Queen Mera and part of a love triangle between Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm) and Garth.
Tula first appeared in “Aquaman” #33 in 1967, her origin story depicting her as an orphan adopted by one of the royal families of Atlantis. She was trained in the traditions of Atlantis and never left her palace until meeting Aqualad, who she went on to help in the Teen Titans under the name Aquagirl. Tula sadly died during “Crisis on Infinite Earths” but was brought back by both Brother Blood and the Black Lanterns. In the New 52 Continuity, when Aquaman becomes king of Atlantis, Tula is occasionally seen reporting to him.
14. BAT-GIRL (BETTE KANE)
Another character that made a brief “Young Justice” cameo was the very first Bat-Girl, Bette Kane, originally known as Betty Kane, the niece of Kate Kane, aka, Batwoman (though this version would be reworked in later appearances). After discovering that her aunt was Batwoman, Betty asked Kate to train her as a crimefighter. As it was with female superheroes at the time (especially ones that shared the same namesake), Betty and her aunt were meant to be love interested for their male counterparts.
This version of Bat-Girl was erased from existence in DC’s post-crisis universe, as was her aunt. This wouldn’t last long, though, as a version of Betty would reappear as Mary Elizabeth “Bette” Kane, a Teen Titan known as Flamebird. Bette taking up this moniker was a bit of an inside joke as the team up of “Nightwing and Flamebird” was a nod to the silver age heroes which inspired Nightwing’s name. This Bette became a vigilante to garner Nightwing’s attention and eventually took the name “Hawkfire” when gaining fire abilities. Like her previous interpretation, Hawkfire was reworked into the New 52 universe, though she only makes small appearances.
13. KID DEVIL
Many casual fans have barely heard of Blue Devil, let alone his sidekick, Kid Devil. Blue Devil was once Dan Cassidy, a stuntman who built a mechanical suit for portraying a blue demon in a film he was working on. When the demon Nebiros mistook Cassidy for a real demon, he attacked him, the evil magic causing the suit to fuse to Dan, making him a magnet for demonic and otherworldly activity. While trying to find ways to get the suit off of him, Dan became a reluctant hero, garnering the attention of young Eddie Bloomberg and eventually being turned into a real demon.
Eddie, a fan of Blue Devil, dreamed of being his sidekick and attempted to do so by inventing his own mechanical devil suit. Blue Devil, however, didn’t want a sidekick and after a few missions, Eddie struck out on his own, assisting other teen hero teams here and there. Eventually he gained real demonic powers much like his hero and continued to help people whenever he could, losing and regaining both his sanity and powers along the way. In modern comics, Eddie has been seen within the pages of the New 52 as Blue Devil’s godson.
No, not the raccoon. We’re talking about the Dwayne McDuffie character and sidekick to Icon. Icon and Rocket were both originally part of the Milestone Media universe, a series of comics created by Dwayne McDuffie that also included the likes of Static and Hardware. Though Icon was the titular character of the series, Rocket was actually the main protagonist, following her exploits as she meets Icon in his secret identity and convinces him to become a superhero, with her as a sidekick. Though she didn’t have any powers of her own, she used Icon’s alien technology to help protect the people of Dakota.
The Dakotaverse was eventually incorporated into the DC universe and Rocket and Icon’s adventures continued alongside other DC characters. Rocket made her first DCU appearance in “Justice League of America” #30 coming to the aid of Icon. Though she and Icon did not have their own series under DC comics, Gail Simone mentioned that she wanted to use Rocket in her Wonder Woman run, but was not allowed to. Since then, Rocket only made cameo appearances and hasn’t been seen in the New 52 or “Rebirth,” but both served prominent roles in the “Young Justice” series.
11. DONNA TROY
Perhaps one of the more convoluted sidekick stories, Donna Troy was originally created as a means of making Wonder Woman more family friendly, presented as a sidekick for the Amazon. The character was created by Mark Wolfman; since then, her first appearance has been retconned, revised and rebooted in almost every way imaginable. She’s been a computer simulation, another amazon and a golem duplicate, acting as a challenger to Wonder Woman in most modern iterations.
Donna has been depicted with a lot of different superpowers, but for the most part has all the same abilities as Wonder Woman herself. Regardless, Donna has faded in and out of obscurity, with the more contemporary Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, often taking center stage as Wonder Woman’s sidekick in the comics. Even in the New 52, when she was thought to be erased, Donna later returned as a clay golem meant to destroy Wonder Woman. This version was given a new life and purpose when given fake memories by the Amazons in DC’s “Rebirth.”
The sidekick to the original Star-Spangled Kid, Pat Dugan would yet again stand by the side of another Star-Spangled Kid, but this time it was his stepdaughter, Courtney Whitmore. Courtney originally put on the costume just to annoy her step-father, but decided to become a hero in the end, eventually gaining Jack Knight’s cosmic staff and taking on the name Stargirl. In order to protect Courtney on her exploits, Pat designed and built a mech suit he called S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactic Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer).
One of the rare cases of an adult sidekick — that is, a sidekick older than their hero — S.T.R.I.P.E. went along on most of Courtney’s adventures, helping Captain Marvel and Starfire to retrieve the spear of destiny and later going on to assist heroes like Steel and the JSA. While Stargirl was retooled slightly for the New 52, and Pat has been mentioned, the S.T.R.I.P.E. suit has not made appearance since the reboot.
9. MIA DEARDEN
The second teenager to take on the “Speedy” moniker, Mia Dearden, was created by Kevin Smith and Phil Hester and first appeared in “Green Arrow” in 2001. Mia was a teenage runaway who found herself in a child prostitution ring in exchange for food and shelter. Green Arrow managed to stop the ring and free Mia, taking her in as his newest ward. Oliver Queen and his son Connor Hawke trained Mia in martial arts and archery so that she could take on the “Speedy” name. Mia was known for being one of the few HIV-positive superheroes, a result of her former life.
Mia became a strong and capable Speedy going on to join the Teen Titans and helping to stop Superboy-Prime. She even managed to save Oliver Queen, who had been kidnapped by Granny Goodness and get him back to Black Canary so they could get married. Though she has yet to be featured in the New 52, there is a mysterious individual who is seeking Mia within the pages of the rebooted Green Arrow. This version of Speedy was also the inspiration for the Thea character on The CW’s “Arrow.”
8. SQUIRE (BERYL HUTCHINSON)
One of the lesser known Bat-Family members is the British vigilante Knight. As his name implies, Knight modeled himself after the Knights of the Round Table, wearing a suit of armor. Knight was also inspired by Batman, going so far as to have a teenage Sidekick named Squire. There have been two Knights, the first being Percival Sheldrake and the second being his son, Cyril, who served as the first Squire. The second Squire served under Shining Knight (a different hero entirely) and the third Squire was a young girl by the name of Beryl Hutchinson.
Beryl, created by Grant Morrison and named after the comic strop Beryl the Peril, was poor and moved around from school to school, shifting dialects and languages rapidly, giving her a unique ability to translate nearly any language. Beryl has appeared various Batman-related titles, including “Batman R.I.P.” and “Battle for the Cowl.” Her latest big adventure was in Morrison’s “Batman Inc.” — an event which uniquely occurred before, during and after the New 52 reboot. In it, her mentor Sheldrake died, after which she took up his mantle as the new Knight.
7. CASSANDRA CAIN
The second hero to take on the name Batgirl (excluding Bette Kane) was Cassandra Cain, the daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. Cassandra was the first Asian Bat-family member and was also the first Batgirl to star in her own solo ongoing series. She was introduced as saving Commissioner Gordon’s life during the “No Man’s Land” arch, which earned her a Batgirl costume from both Batman and Oracle. During this time, it was revealed that Cassandra is mute, and can only communicate through gestures and drawings.
When she got her own ongoing series, Cassandra’s brain was “rewired” by a telepath, allowing her to speak, but costing her the ability to read body language, stifling her ability to fight. As a fighter and a sidekick, Cassandra is held in high regard by Batman. Though Stephanie Brown eventually takes over as Batgirl, Cassandra eventually returns to take on her own identity as the Black Bat. Cassandra has made appearances as a member of Barbara Gordon’s “League of Batgirls” in a future timeline in the “New 52,” and in “Rebirth” has seen being trained by Batwoman as a lethal Gotham vigilante named Oprhan in “Detective Comics.”
6. AQUALAD (GARTH)
While Aquaman is considered a joke nowadays, he was popular enough in his own time to garner a sidekick, though the introduction of Aqualad may have been a ploy to raise Aquaman sales with the sidekick gimmick. Garth (who has no known last name) was an amphibious teenager who was left to die because of ancient Atlantean superstition. He would eventually survive and go on to save Aquaman, earning a place as his ward and sidekick. As Aqualad, Garth was known for his fish-related expressions such as “great guppies” and was a founding member of the Teen Titans.
Garth has had a long history in comics, not only as a sidekick, but also as a Teen Titan, the hero Tempest and, for a brief time, the king of Atlantis. When the “New 52” reboot came around, Garth was only mentioned in the background before finally making full appearances as a member of Queen Mera’s elite force. This Garth is eventually made director of communications at the land embassy of Atlantis and in the “Rebirth” storyline, he is reestablished in the DC history as a founding member of an older, disbanded version of the original Teen Titans.
5. SHAZAM’S SIDEKICKS
Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam, has had a long history of legal battles and name disputes with Marvel comics. Billy Batson himself is not a creation of DC, but rather Fawcett Comics, which was eventually merged into the DC universe. Regardless of all the confusion, Captain Marvel was not immune to the sidekick craze and in fact has multiple similarly-themed heroes within his “Marvel/Shazam Family.” Though not always part of the same team, some of Captain Marvel’s original sidekicks include Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and a talking tiger known as Mr. Tawky Tawny.
Some of these characters have gone through different interpretations throughout DC’s various reboots, the current continuity painting the Shazam family as members of Billy Batson’s foster family, who he has shared his magical powers with, allowing them to transform in powerful adult versions of themselves. As for Mr. Tawny, the tiger has gone through his own changes, being downgraded from sidekick to background supporting character to regular ol’ tiger in the current DC continuity.
4. WONDER GIRL (CASSIE SANDSMARK)
The more modern Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark made her first appearance in “Wonder Woman” #105 in 1996 and was created by John Byrne. This Wonder Girl was the daughter of an archeologist — who was working with Wonder Woman — and the Greek God Zeus. Cassie idolized Wonder Woman and asked Zeus to giver her superpowers so that she could be a superhero. Cassie is known for her romantic relationship with Superboy, even joining Young Justice as a means to get closer to him. Cassie Later joined the Teen Titans and has had a long and eventful superhero career within the New Earth continuity.
In the New 52 reboot, Cassie is the very first Wonder Girl, rewritten as the granddaughter of Zeus, making her related to Wonder Woman for the first time in Wonder Girl history. Cassie gets her powers from enchanted bracelets that she stole, which give her superhuman abilities as well as the power to summon full body armor. This version of Cassie is the current Wonder Girl within DC comics continuity, though she is not the only one, as Donna Troy would later be reintroduced.
How can you not love a dog with a cape? He earned that cape, too! Such a good boy, someone give him a belly rub. Ahem, where were we? Krypto, Superman’s dog and perhaps the first animal sidekick, has had several origins within the DC mythos, most of which paint him as one of the survivors of Krypton’s destruction. Though he was erased from continuity so as to further solidify Superman as a true “last son” of Krypton, he resurfaced multiple times, the most well-known version having all of Superman’s powers, but with regular dog intelligence. This would often be the center of conflict between Superman and Krypto as the dog would not hold his strength back in fights and everyday life.
Krypto was later re-worked into a family pet/guardian of the house of El, being present at the destruction of the planet in the New 52 universe. This version was sucked into the phantom zone just before the planet was destroyed and was later freed by Superman, gaining the same powers as him from Earth’s sun. This Krypto was kept in the “Rebirth” continuity, shown being friendly toward Superboy Jon Kent.
2. STEPHANIE BROWN
Stephanie Brown first appeared in “Detective Comics” #647 in 1992 and since went on to be known as Spoiler, the fourth Robin and the third Batgirl. Though she has become somewhat obscure, Stephanie Brown has obviously had a long run as multiple superheroes. The character was created by Chuck Dixon and Tony Lyle and is the daughter of one of Gotham’s criminals known as Cluemaster. When Cluemaster gets out of jail and attempts to return to his wicked ways, Brown creates a costume and goes by the name “Spoiler” in reference to spoiling her father’s plans.
After a lot of drama in her life, including giving birth to a daughter, who she put up for adoption, Stephanie temporarily took up the Robin mantle. This would not last long, though, as Batman saw her as unworthy after disobeying him and forces her to give up the Robin suit. Stephanie later “dies” after being tortured by Black Mask. Luckily, this death was faked, as she later returns as Batgirl under the guidance of Barbara Gordon. Stephanie’s History has appeared most recently in DC’s “Rebirth,” wherein she joined, and subsequently quit, Batman’s team in “Detective Comics.” Leaving on bad terms, she plans to hold the team accountable for the collateral damage they cause as superheroes.
1. WALLY WEST
Though we can’t exactly call the original Kid Flash “obscure,” the original, redheaded Wally West was erased from DC continuity following the New 52 reboot. The character was created by John Broome and was first introduced in 1959, though his signature costume wouldn’t appear until 10 years later. After the apparent death of Barry Allen, Wally took on the Flash mantle, serving as the scarlet speedster for years. This version of Wally West was “replaced” by another, younger version, who was later revealed to actually be the cousin of the originally Wally.
If all that wasn’t confusing enough, the pre-reboot Wally was later reintroduced in “Rebirth,” which revealed that he was trapped in the Speed Force for 10 years, with memories of him being erased from people’s minds by an as-yet unknown malevolent source. Barry Allen eventually remembered Wally when he came back and was reunited with him after dragging him out of the Speed Force. Memories of this Wally return to his friends and family when he touches them, reuniting him with his loved ones. Furthermore, this version of Wally remembers the DC universe before the “New 52” reboot, similar to the “Rebirth” version of Superman. What this means, however, remains unclear.
Who is your favorite classic DC sidekick, and where are they now? Give us an update in the comments!
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