In the 1940s, the Golden Age of comics defined the modern superhero. Great men and women of unwavering morality and courage! Unfortunately, they were all accompanied by half-naked children, ethnic stereotypes, the morbidly obese and idiots who split their time between getting captured and slipping on banana peels. Here, I'll let flaming robot and sidekick expert The Human Torch explain: Wing Sidekick for: The Crimson Avenger Back in early Detective Comics, The Crimson Avenger had a Chinese chauffeur named Wing. You hardly ever saw him and he talked like a comedy skit about laundromats, but he carried a bit of dignity. The writers gave the impression that while we were watching Crimson Avenger stumble through a crime scene, Wing was outside kicking the criminal's ass. If they made a movie, he'd be played by Jet Li, not Jackie Chan. Then Crimson Avenger got retooled. Probably inspired by Batman, he went from being a gunfighter in a Zorro mask to something you'd draw if your Pictionary word was "Underwater McDonald's rapist." That meant that Wing was also retooled to something similar but more offensive. If they made a movie of this version, they'd fire Jet Li and replace him with Shawn Wayans with his eyes scotch-taped back. Wing's new outfit was yellow tights, a shark fin, baggy red shorts and an open-faced mask that accentuated his dentist's careful attention to racism. Strangely, when looking at superhero fashion, form-fitting panties over a body stocking is only borderline gay, but something about cargo shorts over tights is fully gay. It's like you're gay AND you couldn't be bothered to do laundry. Either that or Wing shit himself mid-mission and had to scrounge a pair of pants from a dead UPS man. The retooling affected more than Wing's wardrobe and preference for sex holes. He went from grown man to teen boy and lost his ability to say the letter "r." He now pronounced "Crimson Avenger" as "Mist' Climson." In a way, this helped keep the larger racism in check since you could never be certain what he was saying. "Lemembel, gills! No folget buy US Wal Bonds! And when get plegnant, thlow the gill ones away!" Roy the Super-Boy Sidekick for: The Wizard Obviously, the most common accessory for every crime fighter in the 1940s was a nude teen boy. And Roy the Super-Boy was the greatest of them all. He, like all young adventurers, had no super powers, combat training or pants. It was a grand time. Every attack a spastic leap into his opponent's ass or crotch! Every plan a front end of a donkey costume! And together with fellow sidekick Dusty the Amazing Boy Detective, Roy was one half of the ass-and-crotch-leaping Boy Buddies! Just think, when they drew this panel 70 years ago, it never would have occurred to them that I'd take it out of context and give it the caption, "Who would have thought detective work involved so much proctology?" Dear Jefferson Elementary theater department and janitorial staff: We're really, really sorry. - Roy and Dusty If you walk through the Boy Buddies turf wearing a purple suit and carrying a purse, that's 70 different kinds of implied yeses. It was the yearning in Hitler's handjob hands that became the dictator's downfall. Etta Candy Sidekick for: Wonder Woman Etta Candy was a fat, screaming woman from Texas that enjoyed candy. And in case any reader forgot, they were reminded about one or more of those things every time she opened her mouth. Whenever it came time to write a line for her, the writer thought, "What would a fat person say here?" And the answer was always the same: "Mention being fat then charge." The Wonder Woman research staff must have bought the good encyclopedias. Let's take a look at some of Etta's greatest hits. Let me add an addendum to this. Kids, if a fat person ever tries to fill you with candy while giving you clearly insane medical advice, they're probably trying to glaze you from the inside out before they push you into an oven. Like all overweight people in comic books, Etta's size was a special ability and not a health problem. If she met Nazis or mythological monsters, and she did a lot, she'd simply close her eyes and lean in their direction. This left gravity and momentum no choice but to kill them. Etta's idea of personality was shouting "Woo! Woo!" whenever she wasn't verbally masturbating about candy. She obviously wasn't clear on when "Woo! Woo!" was appropriate. It's possible that her forehead fat was putting too much pressure on the part of her brain that regulates cheering. I guess Wonder Woman's idea of maintaining a secret identity was being a total bitch. She was right, though. In a surprising lack of a twist, the fat girl's suitcase was entirely full of candy. It's what's known in the writing business as an Ending. Wonder Woman finds that nothing is more frustrating when you're trying to make a fat person cry than having them accept all your insults as scientific truths. Why won't you tell me I'm better than you, you diabetes whore!? Pinky the Whiz Kid Sidekick for: Mr. Scarlet Mr. Scarlet and Pinky were secret crime fighters that really thought they were outsmarting everyone. In their non-superhero disguises, they were district attorney Brian Butler and his unexplainable boy companion "Pinky." They didn't even spell it differently. It's like they were trying to get arrested for vigilantism. Maybe because they didn't know how to tell their parents, but probably for the jail sex. Mr. Scarlet never actually turned to the reader and said, "I make love to this teen lad!" But the two of them hid their alternative lifestyle in the same place they hid their secret identity: at the end of a trail of clumsy, unmistakable clues. First, if your superhero name is the same as your real name and you're wearing a mask, that's either a gay sex mask or a pointless gesture. It'd be like a bus driver wearing a dildo or a nice gay couple wearing a bus driver. Second, let's revisit that his name is "Pinky." That's almost as subtle as the catch phrase, "Strip for action!" Why not just name the kid Uncut Dickmilker? "Pinky" sounds like something your grandparents called gay people when they thought none of them were listening. If I'm taking a multiple choice quiz and it asks what a Pinky is, the only thing that could get me to not pick "Gay" would be if I saw the option "Sex position between a man and a fish." Third, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky dropped hints even during fist fights. Before every punch, they would turn their crotch towards camera and do luscious lunges into the full splits. They contorted into positions so unhelpful for punching that a more suspicious person might think they skipped karate class to focus entirely on acrobatic teabagging. Whitewash Jones Sidekick for: The Young Allies Whitewash Jones was racist at a level we simply can't recreate with today's technology. When mocking our cultural differences, the writers of Young Allies had all the tact of Michael Richards in a prison fight. Whitewash Jones was the sidekick on an entire team of sidekicks, but each of them had a special ability. One was great at punching, one was fat, one was an inventor and then there was Whitewash. He was good on a harmonica and (sigh) "de watermelon." He was also drawn in a labored, decidedly different way from the other characters as if the penciller was copying from photos of chimpanzees and his hand knew he was wrong for it. You know when you're watching a movie trailer about a dark and sinister enemy and a record scratch reveals that it was just a fun movie about a puppy the whole time? This is the exact reverse of that. This is like watching Santa laughing in his sleigh, then pulling out a high-powered rifle and shooting people near the Arizona border. Culturally it makes a kind of sense for a white loner to team-up with patriotism-inspired slayings, but it's a level of surprise racism you're never ready for. "Hmm, only mice. Wait a- then why are you talking like an offensive stereotype!?" See, this is indicative of the racist system my people perpetuated in the 1940s. The establishment worked to ensure that minorities were not educated on which animals could and could not talk. To this day, Eskimos still think Alvin & The Chipmunks is the news. If I had to pick a favorite racial stereotype, it'd probably be how white people see a ghost and they're like, "Is there ranch dressing on the other side, ghost?" but then how black people are all, "What am rattling? Tubby IS you IS or is you AINT?" When it came to following cultural guidelines on dealing with the supernatural, Whitewash Jones was a world record holder. He calls the Ghostbusters over unexplained erections. "Mistah Ghostbustas, do you's all covah s-spectralized handjobberings!?" In a civil rights coup, the Young Allies artist eventually began drawing Whitewash with a human bone structure, but as you can see, he never quite reached the level of a negative sixth grade education. You got the idea that the Nazis could outwit him with a game of Peek-a-Boo. "Your lack of object permanence is your weakness, Englander!" Maybe to make up for the celebration of racism that was Whitewash Jones, one issue included a page of Strange-But-True facts that carefully insulted the intelligence of all its readers. Is the Strange-But-True part the fact that some fucking lunatic wrote that down and gave it to children?
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.