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Sidekicks: A Graphic Novel

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Captain Amazing, hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets at home. He doesn't even notice when they develop superpowers of their own.

So when he announces that he needs a sidekick, his dog, hamster, and chameleon each decide to audition. But with each pet determined to win the sidekick position, the biggest battle in Metro City might just be at the Captain's house.

Then archvillain Dr. Havoc returns to town, and suddenly the Captain's in serious trouble. Can the warring pets put their squabbles aside? Or is it curtains for the Captain?

It's stay, sit, and save the world in this romp of a graphic novel!

218 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2011

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Dan Santat

121 books770 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 521 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
4,074 reviews31.3k followers
November 15, 2018
Superhero Pets!

An aging superhero neglects his pets. They all want to be his super sidekick and they work together as a team to prove their worth.

The art is vibrant and colorful. The characters are great fun. I like Fluffy and Shift. I think my nephew could handle this story. I'll see if I can read it to him. This is a wonderful comic story for a new and young reader or anyone who enjoys comics and superheros. Dan weaves a nice little story out of the genre.

I don't think there are any sequels which is sad. This was well done.
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,836 followers
April 21, 2011
When I was a kid I got to read comics that I had no business putting my grubby little hands on. You see my grandmother had carefully left all my dad’s old Superman, Superboy, Metal Men, X-Men, etc. comics intact so that when we went to visit I’d root through them and read ‘em until there was little left but a pile of yellowed pulp. The result of this research during my early childhood is that I’m one of the rare grown women you might meet with a working knowledge of late 50s/early 60s comic books characters culled directly from the source. So I know my superheroes. Oh yeah. And what’s more, I know my superhero pets. I know my Krypto the Super Dog from my Gleek. You bet. This is lucky since 2011 appears to be the year of the super pet. First off, you have the launch of the DC Super-Pets books, taking this old characters and giving them a visual update not too far off from what you might find on The Powerpuff Girls (Mojo Jo-Jo not included). In tandem with this release comes a new graphic novel from Dan Santat. Sidekicks (not to be confused with the Jack Ferraiolo title of the same name) follows the adventures of some supercharged pets as they set out to prove their worth to their similarly spandexed master. It's one of those books that you just feel good reading from start to finish. Gorgeous stuff.

Captain Amazing is the defender of Metro City. Nuff said. Yet in recent years, he’s been feeling the weight of his age. It’s time for the Captain to look for a new sidekick. He hasn’t had one, really, since his cat Manny ran away from home. As of now, that leaves Roscoe the dog, Fluffy the hamster, and Shifty the chameleon. Both Roscoe and Fluffy are determined to get the job, and Fluffy recruits old Manny to help him train. Yet even if he does manage to make an impression, that may have to take a backseat to an old villain who is back in town with sinister plans. And when Captain Amazing fails to be up to the job of defeating the baddie, it falls to his pets instead to save the day.

I like how tight the plotting of this book is. For example, at one point during the tale Fluffy is handed a peanut so that he’ll remember something important. Later, the plot demands that he use that same peanut to save the day. See that? Santat sets ‘em up and knocks ‘em down. There’s a really enjoyable order to the way this story falls out. One person I spoke to felt that the flashback scene to when Manny the cat was a member of the household should have gone at the beginning of the book, but I disagree. I like how Santat doles out his information piece by piece. The more the characters learn, the more you learn. I also like how one character’s surprising discovery that he has powers is telegraphed throughout the book (though, this being a comic, it's not something kids are necessarily going to spot).

Of course, it’s the art that’s amazing. It’s not difficult to see why this book took a whopping seven years to write when you note the care and attention Santat has lavished on each and every panel. Kids do love and prefer full-color GN offerings, and in this Santat does not disappoint. “Vibrant” is probably the best way to go about describing his style. Some folks have a basic familiarity with a pen that serves them well, but have a hard time transferring their illustration style to the graphic novel format. Panels alone can confound even the most accomplished artist. Santat’s advantage here may or may not be that he has worked in the world of animation, at least a little. Visual storytelling is a difficult art to master, but storyboarding your own plots can help. What it can’t do is teach someone how to shake up points of view, panel sizes, and more. Mr. Santat handles such visual games with aplomb. He even works in a couple little instances of mild manga-related techniques for spice. As a result, the book on a visual level leaves a lot of its competitors in the dirt.

The book is oddly lacking in one staple of the superhero genre, though: The origin story. Generally speaking, folks like to know why a person or critter has a power. The interesting thing about Sidekicks is that at no point do we hear where any of these powers came from. This causes the reader to wonder how common superpowers are in this world. Does everyone have them? Just a few folks? When Captain Amazing has auditions for a sidekick, does everyone who comes have powers? It’s probably due to the limitations of space in a graphic novel that we don’t have answers to these questions. So it is that we only know by the end of the book how two of the pets discovered their powers. The rest of the world is a mystery.

This title is being released at the same time as a different book with the same name, Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo. Of course, Ferraiolo’s story is a middle grade chapter book about a good sidekick and an apparently evil sidekick. It’s interesting, in that light, to wonder why Santat didn’t indulge in an evil sidekick or two of his own. Or at least ONE female character (though Shifty could easily be a . . . nah). That said, Sidekicks does stand apart from the usual superhero genre. Kids get tired of seeing the same old, same old all the time. The fact that super pets have never been turned into a CGI animated feature before is probably more a matter of time than anything else. A suggestion, Hollywood? Why not go with Sidekicks? Fun, a bit of visual splendor, with enough honestly funny moments and angry hamsters to satisfy even the toughest of fans. The sole regret? That when this book hits my library shelves I’ll have to find a way to answer all those kids who immediately demand of me “Where are the other comics by Dan Santat?” Patience, kids. Let’s take one good thing at a time. And this is, above and beyond anything else, a very good thing.

For ages 8-12.
Profile Image for Mary Ann.
1,485 reviews279 followers
July 10, 2011
Superheroes, pets, friends loyal to the end, and illustrations with enough POW to knock your socks off - it's a winning combination for the new graphic novel Sidekicks, by Dan Santat. I predict that young kids are going to beg their parents to read this aloud to them, and older ones are going to read it again and again, relishing in the action, the exciting story, and the multi-layered details. If you have a child who loves superheroes or comic books, definitely check this out.

Roscoe the Dog and Fluffy the Hamster might seem like ordinary pets, but don’t let appearances deceive you! They’re the loyal pets of Captain Amazing, protector of Metro City, hero far and wide. But Captain Amazing is having trouble these days, and needs to bring in a new sidekick. He’s determined not to have his own pets serve as a sidekick because of a painful experience years back, and now he just wants to spend time at home. He’s even bought a new pet, a chameleon he names Shifty. But these pets are just as determined to prove their own worth and become Captain Amazing’s new sidekick. So they set out to fight crime throughout the city and learn how to use their own superpowers.

With exciting writing and dramatic illustrations, Dan Santat has created a graphic novel that will have kids hooked from beginning to end, reading it again and again. This story will appeal to both girls and boys because it’s got just the right blend of action, adventure, friendship, humor - all with just the right level of fighting to make the story exciting but not too violent. One child told me it’s “an edge of the page sort of book,” with cliff-hangers that hook you in and make you want to keep reading.

This is graphic novel writing at its best, with interesting details in the illustrations, snappy dialog and compelling characters - a story kids will want to read many times, discovering new story elements each time they read the story. It will pull kids in with bold colors and humor, but it will immerse them in a well-developed superhero fantasy, with detailed setting, compelling plot, and characters that you care about. This will make a great read aloud for younger kids, or perfect independent read for middle grade readers.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,518 reviews619 followers
February 26, 2019
My favorite thing about Sidekicks is Fluffy in his USA superhero suit. So stinkin' cute! Then add in a cat, dog and chameleon who all want to be their owner's sidekick. Plus a side of archvillain disguised as a superhero. The color illustrations really pop. Would definitely recommend to kids 8 and up.
Profile Image for Sarri.
710 reviews8 followers
August 9, 2016
Aah, se tunne kun näkee ensimmäistä kertaa sarjakuvaromaanin hienon kannen ja kirjan luettuaan saa vastinetta suurille odotuksilleen. Hauska, jännittävä ja koskettava lasten/nuorten supersankarisarjakuva ilman lajityypillistä esiinpuskevaa vakavaa pönötystä (tosin kirjan ihmissupersankarit kovasti koittavat pönöttää), vaan sen sijaan koko rahan edestä hauskoja oivalluksia, täydellistä piirrosjälkeä ja koskettavia supersankarilemmikkejä. Tässä sarjakuvaromaanissa on varmaan täydellisimmät pimeäpiirrokset ikinä, esim s. 68 kun karhu menee Igloo-klubille ja kyltin sinivalo hehkuu kuvissa - katsokaa itse!

Juoni lyhyesti: supersankari Captain Amazing ei pärjää enää ilman sidekickiä, vaan päättää pitää työhaastattelut uudesta työparista. Kapteenin vähälle huomiolle jääneet lemmikit, koira, hamsteri ja postilähetyksenä saapunut tuliterä kameleontti päättävät myös harjoitella työhaastattelua varten. Harjoittelun lomassa Fluffy-hamsteri ja Shifty-kameleontti törmäävät kapteenin edelliseen työpariin, kotoa karanneeseen staattissähköiseen kissaan, Mannyyn, joka lupaa sparrata kaverukset työnhakukuntoon.

Aivan supersankarisarjakuvaparhautta!
Profile Image for Angelica Garcia.
20 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2015
I really like this book. I would share this book with many people and a specially the people who read sister and smile. I got scared because of the part when they thought that fluffy was died and the left the building, but then that fluffy was invincible and would not die. My favorite part is when they scared the elephant and the hippo. Hope whoever read this likes it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
1,038 reviews117 followers
January 14, 2018
A very fun and sweet book about a team of animal sidekicks to Captain Amazing, and how they work together to save the day. It makes me want to read more By this author!
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,030 reviews
June 22, 2016
I really liked this. A fun graphic novel with a good story, action-y, comic book-y, with a nice twist. The aging superhero who lives in a regular house was great fun (reminded me of Megamind?) and of course I enjoyed the animal aspect. Pets with an active home life and aspirations of being sidekicks.
Profile Image for J.C. Rice.
Author 3 books26 followers
September 15, 2014
This slowly sets the table for a series that apparently will never be written. Fun at times, but I'm never a big fan of the slow moving Super Hero backdrop stories.
Hope Santat ends up doing a sequel--the characters have some potential and he's a fine artist.
Profile Image for Ari.
35 reviews
April 15, 2015
I thought this comic book was exciting. This book is very imaginative.
Profile Image for Stacy Ford.
338 reviews
June 20, 2012
Sidekicks is a good graphic novel, superhero story. Captain Amazing is aging and frankly he needs a sidekick. In the past he has recruited one of his pets for this job, but now he refuses to do so.

However, his dog Roscoe, hamster Fluffy and newly arrived chameleon, Shifty are all vying for the job. Throw in the cat that ran away Manny and you have pet superhero comedic mayhem.

This graphic novel is a great addition to any collection. Reluctant readers will clamor to read it.

Literary Quality:
Plot - The plot has interesting twists and turns, keeping the reader interested. The distinct personalities of all the pets and their desire to be superheroes gives the plot added suspense. The way they come together to save the city when Captain Amazing is down and out due to a peanut allergy is smooth.

Chracters - The creation of four chracters seems to have in a way made it difficult to flesh out any one character. All of the characters do grow together to work as a team, which is somewhat dynamic. The two powerhouse chracters; Roscoe and Manny, have the most changing to do since they have a past together. Fluffy and Shifty provide lots of comedic fodder and are probably my two favorite characters in the story.

Tone - I love that this book is funny. I love that the characters are funny. I love that Santant has created a graphic novel that has funny superheroes that work together to do good.

This book puts an interesting spin on all the superhero graphic novels and comics of the past. The plot is predictable for the subject that it tackles.

Subject Matter Interest to Children - Children will love this graphic novel, especially boys. The good versus bad element that the superhero plot offers and the varying talents of the animals. The humor is great. This book will quickly climb to the top of the request list in libraries.

Summary - This book is good. I like this book a lot. However, the characters need more development and the plot is predictable for a book of this ilk.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews277 followers
June 28, 2011
This is a cool story in graphic novel format about friendship among pets and their human companion, who happens to be a superhero named Captain Amazing. But life has a way of taking a toll on all of us, and Captain Amazing (Harry, to his friends)is getting older, slowing down, and in need of a helpful sidekick to bear some of the superhero responsibilities. His ambitious pets decide to audition for the spot despite his reluctance to endanger their lives. Thus, a dog, a hamster, a chameleon, and a cat hone their skills and superpowers in some cases, to win the privilege of serving beside their friend. There are all sorts of subplots and the usual wily villain and that sort of thing, and it isn't clear exactly how a dog and a cat could acquire their own special powers. Without some of the necessary back story, readers will feel a bit disoriented. But the story works--primarily because of some of the wonderfully detailed panels that allow readers to see all those emotions across the faces of the humans and the animal friends. It will be interesting to see what these sidekicks will get up to next since at some points in the book, Captain Amazing was more of a sidekick to them than they were to him.
Profile Image for Joella.
938 reviews40 followers
February 6, 2012
There is a hero who works to save the day. No, he is not Superman. He is Captain Amazing. However, he works so hard saving the day that he isn't at home with his pets all that often. Also take into account his peanut allergy and the incident with a nut cart and he is home-bound for a little while. The incident with the peanuts causes Captain Amazing to wonder if he should hold tryouts for a new sidekick. All of his pets decide they would like to give the hero business a try. Of course there is also the mystery of the new hero Wonder Man and the mysterious villain...since where there are superheroes there are super villains. Put it all together and you have one great book that will keep super readers happy...not to mention reading. Even better!
Profile Image for Mari.
442 reviews27 followers
June 5, 2012
Captain Amazing (aka Harry) is taking some time off to recover from a peanut allergy induced illness. He's getting older, and realizes it is time to look for a new sidekick - and 3 of his pets want to audition for the job! But first, they need some training. Little do they know that their beloved master is in danger. The action focuses on the pets (dog, hamster, chameleon, and cat), but I loved Harry. Even though he has super powers, he's just a regular guy who gets wrapped up with work and misses his animal "family" at home. A fun comic adventure romp. My second grade daughters have read it at least 3 times each in the week I've had it at home.
Profile Image for Valeria Ambriz.
31 reviews
May 20, 2015
I liked the book and how the cat,hamster,dog,and the camileon rescued Captain Amazing at the end of the book and how the cat wanted to be a super hero so that Captain Under pants could take him to the auditions of the Side kicks and the Cat reached his goal and he then was proud of him self the hamster riscing his life to fight the other Man who was faking to be a Captain and he wasn't he just wanted to get revenge on Captain Amazing.
1 review3 followers
September 27, 2018
I think the book was awesome because it had pictures and really good scenes of action.
Profile Image for Carol.
471 reviews67 followers
December 23, 2011
This was really cute! It's about a superhero who is so busy fighting crime that he doesn't have time for his pets. They all go in disguise and apply to be his sidekick so they can spend more time with him. Love it!!! I hope there's going to be a sequel.
Profile Image for Diego Herrera.
29 reviews5 followers
April 28, 2016
this book was about a little mouse and he wanted to become a super hero like his owner and the mouse asks the cat if he can teach him and the cat used to be the side kick of a super hero but he ran away and a dog he used to train took his place i reccomend this book to alejandro
Profile Image for Lena.
Author 7 books242 followers
September 12, 2017
This book was so cute I can't even... :,(

It was sweet and fun and a bit sad. A great book about overcoming differences and working together...a superhero story for animal lovers of all ages.

I loved it.
Profile Image for Steph.
4,676 reviews51 followers
October 18, 2014
Kids will eat this graphic novel up! Such vivid colors and characters. :-)
Profile Image for Galilea Estrada.
37 reviews1 follower
March 25, 2015
I really like this book because its about superheros that want to saved persons life, and the city there living on there are animals superheros that was funny. And its a really good comic book.
21 reviews3 followers
May 30, 2015
This book IS funny and adventures like it says they are sidekicks. They some times fight but it is funny. I recommend this book to people that like funny books.
Profile Image for M Grant.
280 reviews2 followers
January 27, 2016
An endearing story about superheroes... Villains... Family... Pets... And more.
I enjoyed the art and the story.
Am going to be reading this one to the girls at bedtime this week,
Displaying 1 - 30 of 521 reviews

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