Sidekick Girl

Saving the City: Sans-Spandex





SH1010 Superhero Theory

-Backstories are an important part of any hero’s identity.  What is your backstory?  Is it tragic?  Would you be a better hero if you were an orphan?  Why or why not?

-Discuss the pros and cons of having a nemesis.  What would your ideal nemesis be like?  Is there someone in particular that you would like for a nemesis?  What must you do to ensure that your relationship with your nemesis is as dramatic as possible?

-The training montage is one of the most important hero education tools in a hero’s arsenal.  Pick a heroing task that you are not good at, and conduct a training montage to improve your skills.  Post a series of pictures of the beginning, middle, and end of your montage to demonstrate your achievement.  Don’t forget to tell us what music your montage was set to.  OR, if you have video capabilities, make a Youtube video of your montage and post us a link.


CV1210  Costuming

-Discuss the basics of hero costumes.  What does a hero’s costume say about him or her?  How does a costume impact how the hero is perceived?  What are some universal costume no-nos?

-create costume designs for at least two heroes, with a male and female version of each.  These can be basic sketches.

-Create a detailed costume design for your hero.


VT1030  Basic Villainy

-What is a villain?  Why do villains do what they do?  At what point does a person decide that they want a red card?  Discuss the truly villainous villain, their desires and their motivations.

-Where does one draw the line between heroism and villainy?  Discuss the sympathetic villain, the misunderstood villain, etc.  What keeps a hero from sliding into villainy?

-Come up with a world domination/destruction scheme.


EL1310  Shameless Self Promotion

-Establish Digital Presence:  If you have a facebook, Deviantart or Twitter account, follow the SG accounts.  Post links to the comic in at least three places.  Post links or screenshots to the sites where you posted.  Black out identifying information if you don’t want your name/username seen.

-Print and post fliers for SG in public places.  Make sure you have permission.  Post a picture of yourself with the flier hung.  (We will send you a pdf of the fliers when you register for this class.)  Good places for fliers are coffee shops, comic and game stores, college activity boards, etc.

-Hand out minicomics at a public event such as a convention, school club meeting, etc.  Be respectful, and don’t be afraid to explain to people that you’re working on your hero degree.  (We will send you a pdf of the mini comic, along with folding instructions, when you register for this class.)






SH2010  Henching and Hero Support

-Discuss the differences and similarities between sidekicks and henchmen.  What are their jobs and how do they do them?  What kind of loyalty is expected of them?  Also, consider the differences between henchmen, lackeys, and minions.  Are there different kinds of sidekicks?  What might they be called?

-Spend some time as sidekick or henchman.  Describe your shenanigans and post pictures.  You will need a partner for this exercise.  Any friend will do.

-Spend some time as a hero or villain with a sidekick or henchman.  Describe your shenanigans and post pictures.  Compare and contrast your experiences as a hero/villain with those as a sidekick/henchman.  You will need a partner for this exercise.  Any friend will do.


CV2220  Gadgets and Gizmos

-Discuss the pros and cons of being a gadget based hero vs a power based hero.  How can gadgets help or hinder heroes in their work?

-Design a toolkit for a specific type of crime fighting.  Describe what it would contain and why.

-Build a Gizmo.  Use whatever materials you want, making sure to take appropriate safety precautions to prevent accidents such as nuclear meltdown or head disintegration.  Post pictures.


SH2020  Crimefighting

-Imagine that Metro City is an 8×8 grid with an X asis of A-H and a Y axis of 1-8 (like a chess board.)  Assume that you are Sidekick Girl, having lunch with Illumina, Impact, and Haze at C2 when you hear that Sparkle is robbing a jewelry store at F7, Dr Wright has been spotted outside of a left-handed emporium at G1, Clockwork Joe is at a steampunk convention at A6 and there is a Giant Robot crushing everything at E4.  You also hear that there is a mysterious vortex at B8 and a raging inferno at D3.  You know that Maelstrom and Puzzle are currently patrolling at H5.  Come up with a strategy for handling all of the problems as quickly as possible, while keeping property damage and civilian injuries to a minimum.  Explain your reasoning.

-The Vigilante fights crime without a license.  Is s/he a good guy or a bad guy?  Is what s/he is doing wrong, within the context of the comic?  What are the pros and cons of her/him doing what s/he does?

-Discuss the real life superhero movement.  Are there heroes in your area?  Have you ever met a hero, or considered donning a mask yourself?  In what ways is it awesome?  In what ways is it a terrible idea?


SH2030  Introduction to Secret Identities

-Sometimes a hero needs a cover story to hide their identity.  Discuss how your job, lifestyle and relationships can help or hinder your identity.  Consider what kind of excuses you would need to explain away missing work, school or a family event, or account for an injury.  Describe an example scenario where such an excuse might be necessary, and how you would react to it.

-Maintaining your secret identity is paramount as a hero.  Practice hiding your identity from others with masks, disguises and sneakiness.  Post pictures.

-Heroes often encounter situations where they cannot speak freely to their loved ones or other heroes.  Come up with a list of situations where codes or passwords might be necessary, and examples of the kind of codes you could use.






ME3200  Tropes

-How do we define tropes?  How do we differentiate between tropes and sterotypes?  What are some examples of tropes that can be used successfully, and some examples of tropes that are harmful and should be avoided?

-SG and many other modern comics are considered ‘genre aware’ or ‘genre-savvy.’  That is, the characters are in a setting that is conscious in some way of the tropes typical for their genre.  The aim is generally to spoof the tropes by using them purposefully.  What makes these sorts of comics popular?  How must creators handle tropes in order to be successful?  What makes them fall flat?  What are some creative ways in which creators can purposefully subvert tropes?

-Give some examples of comics that contain tropes.  Include links and discuss if the trope was used successfully or not.  Use a variety of comics, such as those that utilize tropes purposefully and those that are doing so unconsciously (or seem to be,) as well as those in which the storytelling is strengthened or weakened by the tropes, in spite of the tropes, or in absence of the tropes.


SH3010  Powers

-Discuss different potential origins of super powers, such as inborn, mutation, scientific, accidental, magical, etc.  How does the way that powers are attained affect the tone of the story?  What about stories (such has SG) that allow for different power origins in the same story?

-What do powers represent in stories?  What trends do you see in terms the powers of heroes vs villains, or men vs women, etc.  Do powers reinforce stereotypes?  Consider how powers represent wish fulfillment, or are used to reward or punish characters for their behavior.

-Discuss the advantages and difficulties that powered characters present in story-telling.  What powers are good or bad from a creator’s point of view?


ME3210  History of Heroism

-Discuss the evolution of the superhero genre over time.  Which themes have remained the same, and which have changed, and how?  What sorts of behaviors were once acceptable for superheroes that are not now?

-In comics, the past, present and future can all be subject to change.  Discuss some of the difficulties that time travel present in a comic world.

-Nothing makes history more confusing than retconning, and yet without it, we would be trapped in an unchangingly linear world.  Retcon something about your life and describe the before and after.


CV3200 Create a Comic

-Do character designs for at least two characters.  Include sketches, descriptions, backstories, or whatever you need to flesh out your characters.

-Write a script or outline of your story.  Include if your comic is a strip or a page, how long you envision it running, what your intended schedule would be like, and if you imagine it as a webcomic, print book or newspaper strip.  This can all be hypothetical if you do not plan on actually doing a comic, or can be a summary of work you’ve already done if your comic is already launched.

-Draw at least one page or strip of your comic.  Color it if it’s going to be in color.  Include dialog, etc.  Post the comic, or link to your website if you have one.






SH4010  Heroing in the Community

–  Spread awareness:  Post information in a public place.  The information can be anything that offers help or services to people in need.  Examples include the number to a suicide prevention or domestic violence helpline, the location of a shelter or food bank, free tutoring services, mental health services, animal rescues, etc.  The posting can be putting up a flier, handing out information at an event, or even posting links on your facebook or a forum you frequent.  Post a picture of yourself sharing the information, or a screenshot of your posting.  Black out identifying information if you don’t want your name/username seen.

-Give of yourself:  Donate something.  Anything.  Money can be tight, but donations don’t have to be big.  It can mean putting some change into a collection box at a register.  Contribute to a food drive, or donate old clothes, toys or books.  You could also donate online to a charitable organization, support an artist whose work you enjoy, or contribute to a kickstarter.  Post a picture or screenshot.

Give of your time:  Volunteer, either through an organization or on your own.  Work at a food bank.  Give blood.  Do some chores for a neighbor.  Visit a nursing home.  Pick up litter.  Anything.  Post a picture.


SJ4110  Feminism in Comics

-Discuss the role of women in the comics industry.  Consider the differences between large publishers, small/indie publishers, and self publishers/webcomics.  What challenges do female creators face, and how has the industry changed over time in regards to women reading and creating comics.

-Discuss the portrayal of women as characters.  How are women drawn as opposed to men?  How do they factor into stories?  How are female characters used to advance male stories?  Consider issues such as sexual empowerment vs objectification, the male gaze, roles of protagonists vs side characters or love interests, and ‘fridging.’  What does the phrase ‘strong female character’ mean to you?

-Discuss the presence of women in fandom, from comic books to cosplay.  In particular, address the logical fallacy of the “Fake Geek Girl” and social gatekeeping.


SJ4120  Representation and Social Justice

-Discuss diversity in comics, such as people of different races, ethnicities, religious groups and/or people with disabilities.  How are these people represented?  What sorts of character roles do they fill?  How have trends changed over time, particularly in the portrayal of good and evil.

-Discuss the representation of LGBT people as characters.  How are they represented?  How are their relationships shown as opposed to straight relationships?

-Discuss how comics address social concerns.  How has the representation of good and evil changed over time?  What social mores are challenged or reinforced?  How are characters rewarded or punished by the plot for upholding or breaking social mores or traditions?  How have comics been used to address social concerns?


SJ4130  Superheroes and the Justice System

-What challenges would the justice system face in a world with super powers, heroes and villains?  How do officials maintain the balance between protecting the public and upholding individual rights and liberties?  How do heroes enter into the system by which crimes are investigated and criminals arrested, tried and sentenced?

– Discuss the challenges that the penal system faces in dealing with powered individuals.  What security measures are necessary?  How do you deal with individuals that may not have committed grievous crimes, but are working on devastating plots?  How do you address the differences between villains who are evil vs those who may be mentally ill?

-Super powers greatly increase the likelihood of fatalities in any given fight.  Discuss the use of lethal force by heroes.  What regulations need to be in place regarding its use?  Is it usurping the role of the justice system?  What circumstances dictate whether or not it is appropriate?  Consider how the portrayal of lethal force changes based on the genre and overall tone of the comic.

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