While we might not read comics for the civilian sidekicks, friends or counterparts, they are an important part of the comic world, especially for superhero comics. In these they can ground the heroes, support them, provide an unwitting foil or a different sort of antagonism. They fill all sorts of roles from adversary to girlfriend to background filler. Often it seems that they’re the ones in a crisis or needing to be rescued. But sometimes they hold their own amidst the capes and the powered folk, and it’s those that we all remember.
Moira stood out to me when I started reading X-Men. A non-mutant she was close to the team, running the Muir Island labs and base. She was one of the world’s experts on genetic mutation, making her smart. She was independent, as shown by her running of the lab and her refusal to leave it for an easier life elsewhere. She was also one of the few women I ever saw stand up to Xavier — and he listened to her when she did. All in all, a fairly good role model, and the sacrifices she made for others never failed to impress me.
I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the character of Jim Gordon. An honest cop in a corrupt town — a town filled with villains most would never imagine and the capes that war with them. It would be a tough job and it always was for Gordon. Trusting Batman was an issue for a very long time, and yet Gordon didn’t have much of a choice. His own daughter joining the batfamily, and later becoming Oracle (after being crippled by one of Gordon’s own enemies) wasn’t an easy adjustment either. But the man has always tried to do the right thing by Gotham. He’s stood up to everyone – Batman included – when it was needed. He guided Gotham PD through some dark and low times. He dealt with a city without a Bat, and then with a new one. All in all, he’s more a Gotham icon than the man in the cape.
I don’t know how anyone can read about Lian Harper and not immediately love her. Roy Harper’s daughter with the rather insane and villainous Cheshire, he’s the one who eventually takes over caring for her. She’s sweet, she’s precocious, and she sees so much more than anyone thinks a lot of the time. She’s the kid growing up among the superheroes and capes, and yet she stays pretty darn normal – well, as normal as she could be. She also grounds Roy and provides joy in the lives of those who know and are involved with her. We don’t talkj about what happened next. We just don’t. :(
As always, I do honourable mentions. Today my only one is Amanda ‘the wall’ Waller who you cannot help but think is totally kick ass!