Even superheroes need help sometimes, and that’s where sidekicks come in. Comics publishers in the 40s and 50s introduced kid sidekicks for the most popular superheroes because comic books were predominantly geared towards children. So, it made sense to have characters that children could relate to. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Spider-Man was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee that the idea of having a kid be an actual superhero was considered. Before that, kids were just sidekicks.
After the huge success of Spider-Man, sidekicks didn’t have to be children. After that many sidekicks were the same age or even older than the superheroes they fought alongside. Some sidekicks, such as Jimmy Olsen and Rick Jones, aren’t even superheroes, while others are as powerful as the superhero they fight crime alongside. Who is your favorite superhero sidekick? Here’s a look at the 15 best sidekicks in comic book history.
15. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
Superman is always there to save his pal Jimmy Olsen, except of course in Batman v Superman where Jimmy Olsen was killed mere moments after being introduced. In the comics, Olsen has a deep respect and admiration for Superman.
He even has a special signal watch that allows him to contact Superman. Unfortunately, Jimmy Olsen isn’t much of a crime fighter at all. His role as sidekick to Superman is almost exclusively as errand boy for Clark Kent in The Daily Planet office.
She is violent, brutal and has a mouth like a sailor. She strikes fear in the hearts of criminals and she is only twelve years old. Hit-Girl is one of the most interesting and unique comic book characters from the last decade.
Chloe Grace Moretz became a breakout star by portraying this foul-mouthed killer in the film adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2. Fans are still hoping that Kick Ass 3 or a Hit-Girl spin-off film will hit the big screen, but if they do Hit-Girl may have to be recast as Moretz has outgrown the part.
13. Krypto the Superdog
Man’s best friend is also one of Superman’s greatest sidekicks. Krypto the Superdog is loyal and brave just like most dogs, but this pup has all the powers that Superman does. Krypto’s origin is similar to that of Superman’s.
The dog was Kal-El’s pet on Krypton, and Jor-El used Krypto as a test subject to send to earth before putting Kal-El on a trajectory to earth due to Krypton’s impending doom. Dogs can hear better than humans do, so naturally Krypto’s super hearing is even superior to that of Superman’s. Batman has a pet sidekick, too. However, Ace the Bathound is no match for Krypto.
12. Robin (Jason Todd)
Jason Todd was so disliked by comic book fans that fans voted to have him killed, and that’s exactly what happened in the famous comic book Death in the Family. Jason Todd was eventually brought back to life by being submerged in the Lazurus Pit by Ra’s al Ghul. He was then transformed to the anti-hero vigilante known as the Red Hood.
As Robin, Jason Todd was Batman’s faithful sidekick, but as the Red Hood he was a sometime adversary and uneasy ally. The Red Hood kills and uses guns, and Batman simply can’t allow that.
The original Superboy was Superman himself, and the comic series Legion of Superheroes saw a young Clark Kent travel far into the future and join a strange group of futuristic heroes. However, the current version of Superboy is completely different and very fascinating superhero.
In the TV show Young Justice, he was a secret clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. The DNA of Lex mixed with Supes’ DNA makes Superboy a real bada**. When he teams up with the Man of Steel the pairing offers an awesome contradiction to one another. One is a boy scout while the other is a bada**.
10. Robin (Tim Drake)
Tim Drake was the third ward of Bruce Wayne. He became the Boy Wonder after deducing that Bruce Wayne was Batman. In Batman: The Animated Series, The Dark Knight trained Tim Drake as Robin, but eventually Joker kidnapped Tim and brainwashed him into becoming Joker Jr.
The Caped Crusader saw that Tim had the potential to be a great crime fighter and as Robin, Tim Drake was one of Batman’s greatest sidekicks. In the comics, Tim eventually gave up being Robin and became a new hero called Red Robin.
9. War Machine
James Rhodes is Iron Man with tons of firepower. As a longtime friend and ally of Tony Stark, Stark gifted one of his Iron Man armors to Rhodes. This armor was the War Machine armor and a new hero was born. War Machine has even been a member of The Avengers.
This Iron Man sidekick was first portrayed by Terrence Howard in 2008’s Iron Man, but Rhodes was recast. Don Cheadle is now War Machine and has played the character in Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Rhodey became Iron Man in the comics during the 1980s when Tony Stark was famously battling alcoholism.
Aqualad is one of only a few comic book characters that was created in a medium other than print. Aqualad, aka Kaldur’ahm, first appeared in the cartoon series Young Justice. The popularity of the show and the character allowed Aqualad to be introduced into the DC comic book universe.
Kaldur’ahm is not only Aquaman’s sidekick, but he is also the son of Aquaman villain Black Manta. As an Atlantean, Aqualad has supervision and the ability to breathe underwater. He also has super strength and can control water with his mind. The DCEU Aquaman film could certainly benefit from having this cool Aquaman sidekick in the film.
With a name like Speedy you would expect this sidekick to work alongside The Flash, but Speedy is actually the sidekick of Green Arrow. Speedy has gone by many aliases including Red Arrow and Arsenal. The first Speedy was Roy Harper, and this Green Arrow sidekick famously dealt with issues much more serious than fighting supervillains. Legendary comic writer Denny O’Neil, along with superb artist Neal Adams, had Roy Harper deal with substance abuse.
The famous storyline Snowbirds Don’t Fly was published in issues 85 and 86 of Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Green Arrow and Green Lantern discover Speedy in a heroin den. At first it is believed that Harper was simply working undercover to bust a drug ring, but in reality this superhero sidekick was battling his demons of addiction.
6. Kid Flash
Eventually Wally West would take over the mantle of Flash from Barry Allen, but before that he was just a sidekick called Kid Flash. Also know as Impulse, Kid Flash is a welcome addition to the DC Comics universe. He has a wit that’s as quick as his super speed.
Kid flash was created all the way back in 1959 after Robin was introduced and sidekicks became more popular in comics. The sidekick to the Scarlet Speedster was also one of the original members of the supergroup known as the Teen Titans, which is a super team that consists of sidekicks and young heroes.
He may not be the original sidekick to Captain America, but the Falcon is one of the coolest. Played by Anthony Mackie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Falcon, aka Sam Wilson, is a former military paratrooper who has the ability of flight thanks to his weaponized flight suit. Falcon was one of the first African American heroes in Marvel Comics and he even has a sidekick of his own – Falcon has an actual falcon called Redwing.
In the movie Captain America: Civil War, Redwing is portrayed as a drone as opposed to a bird. The comic book version of the character also has the ability to control birds telepathically.
4. Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes
The Winter Soldier (aka Bucky Barnes) is a lifelong friend and ally of Captain America, but the two have had their rough patches. Bucky was the childhood friend of Steve Rogers and always protected him. However, when Steve was transformed into Captain America, Bucky became the one that was being saved by Steve more often than not.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Bucky is thought to have died, but he was actually captured by Hydra and turned into an evil weapon called The Winter Soldier. Eventually the brainwashed Bucky came to his senses and joined Captain America again. In the comics, the Winter Soldier became the new Captain America after Steve Rogers was killed.
Barbara Gordon has always been one of Batman’s most trusted allies, and the fact that she is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon makes her a natural born upholder of justice. However, she wasn’t able to be Batgirl forever. In the famous 1988 batman graphic novel The Killing Joke, the Joker shot and paralyzed Barbara Gordon in an effort to make Commissioner Gordon go insane.
It didn’t work, and Barbara Gordon still kept up her crime fighting career despite being confined to a wheelchair. She may not be Batgirl anymore, but as Oracle she is still capable of assisting Batman by gathering intelligence and data about Gotham’s criminals.
2. Robin (Damian Wayne)
This version of Robin is the only member of the Bat family that is actually related to Bruce Wayne by blood. He was born in a laboratory and created using Batman’s stolen DNA. Ra’s al Ghul, Talia, and the League of Shadows raised Damian until the age of 10, and that’s why he has a real mean streak.
He was ready to kill anyone that got in his way, and Damian even wanted to kill Tim Drake so he could usurp the title of Robin. Eventually his father, Batman, had to teach him to not be so vengeful. Since his entire life has been devoted to becoming a master in combat he is significantly stronger than any other Robin, and he might even be powerful enough to defeat his own father!
1. Robin (Dick Grayson)
Dick Grayson will always be known as Robin even though he eventually gave up the mantle and left Batman behind. As Nightwing, Grayson patrols the streets of Bludhaven. He has his own set of rogues to defat, such as the powerhouse called Blockbuster.
However, he is always ready to lend a hand if Batman is in need. When Batman vanished and was believed to have been killed, Dick even became the Batman himself so the villains of Gotham City wouldn’t take over the city. Every live action version of Robin so far has been Dick Grayson – from the 1960s version played by Burt Ward to the version in Batman Forever played by Chris O’Donnell.