In the Golden Age of Comics, which ran from roughly the late 1930s until the early 1950s, it was not unusual to see a superhero given either a kid sidekick or a bumbling adult friend, either so the hero had someone to talk to or as comic relief. While a few of these characters—Robin, Bucky, Speedy, Aqualad—have survived in comics readers' consciousness to the modern day, here are some characters whose names alone would make you feel sure you had accidentally hit the “random” button on Urban Dictionary.
Debuting in 1941 and created by Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen, Doiby Dickles was the sidekick of original Green Lantern Alan Scott. He was a cab driver for the Apex Broadcasting Company, where Scott worked, and was notable for his thick Brooklyn accent (with which he called the Green Lantern “Lan'trin”).
To perform this move, you need a man's bowler hat, clean towels (optional), and a three-quarters full jar of pickle brine still cold from the refrigerator. As with all of these moves, please obtain informed consent from your partner before giving him or her a Doiby Dickles.
Mister Tawky Tawny, introduced in 1947 by artist C. C. Beck and comics' greatest human Otto Binder, was a tiger who was given the ability to speak and walk upright via a magical serum in order to prove his innocence when he stood accused of killing a person. After making his way to America and accidentally terrifying people all over the place, he became the best friend of Captain Marvel and the whole Marvel family once they had cleared up the misunderstanding. He would go on to assuage people's fears of him by wearing a tweed jacket.
This move requires a black sock, a digital audio recorder, and electric hair clippers. It only works if your partner is a natural redhead.
The creation of master cartoonist Jack Cole, Woozy Winks debuted in 1942 as a small-time crook who was able to succeed in his criminal endeavors due to a magical spell that ensured he was always protected by Mother Nature, which was placed on him after he rescued a wizard from drowning. Eventually this spell was more or less forgotten about, and Woozy reformed, becoming Plastic Man's bumbling but whimsical assistant, readily identifiable by his polka dot shirt and straw boater.
To properly carry out a Woozy Winks, wait until your partner has fallen asleep after a particularly rousing session, and then sneak into the kitchen and eat all the food out of the refrigerator. High five, stud.
Hiram “Stretch” Skinner was an affable yokel with inhumanly long arms and legs who came to the big city to become, in his own words, a “dee-tec-a-tiff.” A creation of Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen in 1942, he went on to accompany Ted Grant, the Wildcat, on many of his Golden Age adventures, before more or less disappearing forever, except for one 2000s appearance in JSA Classified and like two relevant Google results.
This move is on some Hellraiser-style jazz, so it is not recommended for inexperienced practitioners. Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shots and that you have a sufficient supply of hydrogen peroxide on hand.
Etta Candy, the original woo-girl, was introduced by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter in 1942 and made fast friends with Wonder Woman. She quickly became known for her love of candy, her rubenesque figure, and her bold, brassy Texas attitude. She was the spirited leader of the Beeta Lambda sorority chapter at Holiday College, and together with the other Holiday Girls, she would cheer Wonder Woman on with their catchphrase of “Woo! Woo!” Etta has been used more than most of the other characters on this list, re-introduced post-Crisis, slimmed down, enlisted in the military, and married to Steve Trevor, but no other incarnation is quite as charismatic as the original energetic, sweet-toothed cowgirl.
To carry out an Etta Candy, you need a novelty-sized cowboy hat, a sorority paddle, and a one-pound bag of Blow Pop brand lollipop treats in assorted flavors. There is a more advanced version of this move named after Etta's Golden Age boyfriend, Oscar Sweetgulper.
Percival Popp, the Super-Cop
In 1941, Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey found that interest in their feature in More Fun Comics, the Spectre, was waning. To help boost the popularity of their alabaster avenger, they added a comedy relief character in the form of Percival Popp, aka “Nerdy Kramer from Seinfeld,” an amateur sleuth who modeled himself after fictional detectives. By the time of World War II, Percival had more or less taken over the strip, with the Spectre's human host Jim Corrigan finding his body resurrected so that he could fight in the war, and the Spectre himself reduced to nothing more than Popp's invisible guardian angel.
This move was popularized in 2007 by the song “Crank That,” due to hip-hop artist Soulja Boy encouraging his young male listeners to “super-cop that [young lady].”
Pinkerton “Pinky” Butler was created in 1940 in the pages of Wow Comics by France Herron and Jack Kirby, as the adopted son of district attorney Brian Butler, who moonlighted as the masked avenger Mister Scarlet. Presumably his MO was to murder criminals in the conservatory with a candlestick. The duo were so successful at fighting crime that they ended up putting Mister Scarlet's district attorney alter ego out of work, and so he had to support the family through a series of odd jobs.
To best prepare for this move, you should probably pull out those plastic tarps you got at that Gallagher show and scrub your hands thoroughly, especially under the nails.
Today, thanks to comics such as Sandman Mystery Theatre, we often think of Golden Age Sandman Wesley Dodds as a gas mask-wearing, sleeping gas-spewing, fedora-wearing pulp hero. The fact is, by 1941, Dodds was a more or less straight-ahead tights-wearing superhero with no sleep gun. To add to this image, Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris gave the Sandman a kid sidekick in the form of Sanderson “Sandy” Hawkins, the nephew of Dodds's girlfriend, Dian Belmont. Sandy has a few things in common with Pinky Butler: they both used their regular first names as their secret crime-fighting identities, their best adventures were drawn by Jack Kirby, they both fought crime in short pants, and they both sound like something that should be “number one” on this list, if you're picking up what I'm putting down.
Anway, my point is, maybe keep those Gallagher tarps out.
If a modern reader knows of the original Golden Age Shining Knight having a sidekick at all, they might think of Percival Sheldrake, the Squire, who would grow up to become the Batman-inspired Knight with his son Cyril as the new Squire, who would of course grow up to become the new Knight with Beryl Hutchinson as the new new Squire, who would of course grow up to become the new new Knight. But before that, Sir Justin had a squire back in ye olden days known as Sir Butch, who wore a pot on his head and carried a wooden sword, and who was often heard saying things such as “Chee, Sir J, dis place makes me t'ink o' da woods where we tangled wit' Archimago before King Art made me a knight!” He was created by Don Cameron and Chuck Winter in 1948.
In the 1970s, if you wished to indicate that you wanted to receive a Sir Butch the Squire, you would put a chainmail handkerchief in your right back pants pocket.
Stuff's alter ego, Jimmy Leong, was a kid from New York's Chinatown introduced by Morts Weisinger and Meskin in 1942, when he helped badass cowboy hero Vigilante track down a Japanese spy who was trying to frame Jimmy's grandfather and start a gang war in Chinatown. Stuff was... surprisingly not that racist for a 1940s Asian-American character -- i.e., he didn't speak in a weird dialect, his outfit was not stereotypical in any way, he wasn't colored with yellow skin, he was competent and brave, and he was treated like a more or less regular American kid—especially when compared to contemporary Chinese character Wing, the sidekick of the
Climson Crimson Avenger.
This move is actually illegal in forty-seven states and the entirety of the European Union. Please do not, even in the privacy of your own bedroom, stuff the Chinatown kid.