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This SIDEKICK Is on His Own in New Graphic Novel

Posted on April 3, 2014 by Jennifer de Guzman

Straczynski-penned series focuses on a much-reviled superhero assistant

For three years, flying, nigh-invulnerable teenager Barry Chase was Flyboy, sidekick to the imagination-impaired but crime-fighting master The Red Cowl, and all was well, though Flyboy was the butt of a lot of jokes. Together, The Red Cowl and Flyboy brought peace to Sol City, fighting for truth, justice and some third goal that the Red Cowl could never quite put his finger on but was sure he’d figure out in time. But then the Red Cowl was defeated and killed — some say by the villain Terraform, others by one of the Moonglow sisters — and Flyboy was left on his own. It is at this point that the first volume of SIDEKICK, a new graphic novel written by J. Michael Straczynski, begins.

The second Joe’s Comics title to be published by Image Comics (the first was TEN GRAND), drawn by Tom Mandrake and Brian Mille, SIDEKICK tells the story of nineteen-year-old Barry, a.k.a, Flyboy, in the aftermath of his mentor’s death. Flyboy decides to continue his crime-fighting career, even though no one takes him seriously — not the good guys, not the bad guys, nobody. Any attempt Flyboy makes to improve his image backfires, and soon, unloved and unsupported, he descends into darkness.

Flyboy’s gradual disintegration into madness and crime is fueled by his desperate need for approval. His downward spiral slowly drives him to the dark side of the law, where he begins an affair with the villainous Moonglow Twins, who one night whisper something to him about the fate of his mentor that he could never have imagined possible. That secret may be the key to Flyboy’s redemption, or his damnation, giving him something to live for... and maybe, just maybe, something to kill for.

Sidekick is designed to turn the usual superhero tropes upside down,” said writer Straczynski. “Having worked extensively in the world of mainstream superhero comics for the last decade-plus, you are subtly informed that there are all these things that you can't do to your main character, all these accepted rules for guys in spandex. The fun in Sidekick is in doing every one of those things that you're never supposed to do. We're going to spend a lot of time just beating the crap out of Flyboy until he finally snaps...and then the fun really begins."

SIDEKICK will be in comic book stores on April 30 and in bookstores on May 13.

SIDEKICK VOLUME ONE by J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake

  • ISBN 978-1-60706-861-7
  • 160 pages, full color, paperback
  • $12.99

Praise for SIDEKICK:

“We see the humanity of this messed up situation, as a boy wonder with abilities attempts to deal with his own mistakes in the wake of five years of failure. It’s a hard balancing act for anyone, but when the author shines the spotlight on him he wastes no time letting the story go exactly where it needs to…. The art by Tom Mandrake is a consistent visual flare that’s sure to please anyone who dives into this fascinating piece of literature.”
– Harrison Rawdon, Unleash the Fanboy

“...anyone who is a frequent reader of JMS knows that he is a master storyteller, and that is certainly evident in Sidekick. From the opening pages of this narrative Straczynski begins to build not only the characters but the world in which this story unfolds; every detail is strategically revealed along the way, we meet supporting cast, we discover more about the inter-personal relationships through meticulous character development and interactions. This is just plain good storytelling and top-notch writing.”
Shawn Warner, Bag and Bored

“J. Michael Straczynski has scripted an amazing tale of a hero’s fall from grace…. The illustrations are fantastic throughout, with pencils/inks by Tom Mandrake and colors by HiFi.”
– Ed Garrett, TMStash

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