When the team kicked off ‘Embrace Your Sidekick’, my instant thought was, yeah ok I’ve got this one covered. It was a pretty obvious choice for me, that one person that has been there for longer than I can remember, that knows me better than I know myself some days. My Rhodey, my Bucky, my Wong, my Ned, marvel fans you get the idea.
Then came a truly horrific day at work, a day that left me hurting and raw as I fell apart on the steps outside at lunch. A hug from a passing colleague, whose relationship to me can at best be defined as “yeah he’s a decent guy, I know him from work”, his arms holding me together for the few moments I couldn’t hold myself. Hmm maybe this sidekick business isn’t as simple as I thought it would be.
Hours later, waiting for the bus home, defeated and wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and hope for a better day tomorrow, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Next to me was an older guy I recognised only in passing. Sometimes we’ll moan about the weather, mostly we just acknowledge each other’s continued existence with a nod and smile. Today the smile was laced with concern, there was a soft, “you ok kid? Wanna talk about it?” And yeah I did, to someone who didn’t know me enough to judge me against myself. That guy missed his usual get off stop by a fair way that night, happy to lend an ear to a stranger even if it meant a long walk back home.
A lot of us have spoken about that magic one person, that true inseparable sidekick that we wonder how we’d survive without some days. I get that, I wouldn’t trade my “one true sidekick”, my best friend, for anyone. He has been there at every 4am when I couldn’t reach out to anyone else and I appreciate every second of it. But that one crappy day and the kindness of two men, made me stop and think, maybe one person doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting on the days when I can’t. Maybe in some way, anyone can be my sidekick, at any time, in any place, if I give them the opportunity to be.
It seems like in the course of thinking about this whole sidekick thing I’ve defected. While I’m out there being my superhero self, I don’t think in terms of Iron Man or Cap’ anymore, there is no one sidekick until the end of the line for me. Let me be Batman, let me stand with Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing and Bluebird.
So if you’ll stand at my side, I’ll stand at yours.
The first truth of Batman…
The saving grace.
I was never alone.
I had help.
– The Return of Bruce Wayne #6
by Grant Morrison, Lee Garbett, and Pere Perez