What’s Batman without Robin? What’s Captain America without Bucky Barnes? Superhero sidekicks don’t get all the fame, but they should get the credit for helping the hero be the hero. Without further ado, here’s the ultimate ranked list of the 20 best superhero sidekicks of all time.
20. Dum Dum Dugan
Dum Dum Dugan isn’t as well-known of a sidekick as some other characters on this list, but he’s well-deserving of a spot. He first appeared in Sargeant Fury And His Howling Commandos #1 in May 1963 and has stayed by Fury’s side ever since.
Dugan is a Boston, Massachusetts native who was perhaps not the brightest bulb in the room (at least education-wise) but was a very big fellow physically. He worked at a circus as a strong man due to his size, during which time he met Nick Fury in the first place.
He helped Fury escape a group of Nazis during World War II, eventually becoming Nick’s Second in Command. Timothy, as he was actually named, was later a robotic figure whose mind was still connected to his real body, which had been in suspended animation since the 60s. He was always loyal and a guy you don’t want to mess with, but not much above that.
19. Jimmy Olsen
Now, some might put Jimmy Olsen higher on this list since he’s one of the most well-known sidekicks in history, but honestly, I can’t make myself put him any higher because I genuinely dislike the character.
Olsen was a photographer and journalist in The Daily Planet that wasn’t introduced as a staff member at first. He first appeared in a radio show, The Adventures Of Superman, in 1940 and then appeared in Superman #13 in November 1941. Jimmy was later known as Superman’s Pal, but honestly, he was just a pest in my eyes.
Anywhere Lois Lane or Clark Kent would go, Jimmy would tag along. Sometimes he gets in trouble and calls Supes to help, but one can’t say he’s completely useless. While Olsen has no superpowers, he has some unconventional skills that can sometimes be useful, but I feel like he’s more a burden than a sidekick. Maybe that’s just my opinion.
18. Pepper Potts
Now, Pepper Potts from the MCU is not really a faithful depiction of Pepper Potts from the comics, but what they both have in common is that they started as Iron Man’s employee-turned-sidekick. Pepper first appeared in Tales of Suspens #45 in September 1963.
Now, in the MCU, we know that Pepper Potts ends up as Tony Stark’s wife. In the comics, she was his love interest but eventually opted for Happy Hogan, who Potts married and had kids with. Eventually, that fell apart, and sparks sparked with Stark, but eventually, Happy was the happy winner who remarried Pepper. A twisted game, am I right?
Nevertheless, Pepper Potts worked for Tony and was his sidekick business-wise for a long time before Iron Man gave her an Iron suit of her own. Potts became Rescue, Iron Man’s sidekick, just like the MCU Pepper got her Iron suit, too.
Moving a bit further from conventional Marvel and DC universes, Hit-Girl is one of the youngest, funniest, and most brutal superhero sidekicks of all time. She first appeared in Kick-Ass #3 in 2008, published by Marvel’s imprint Icon Comics (later Image Comics). Her real name was Mindy McCready, a ten-year-old girl with dreams – and guts- of taking down criminals.
Eventually, she joined Kick-Ass in the world of crime-fighting, but one could argue that Kick-Ass should’ve been her sidekick instead. Hit-Girl trained with her father, Big Daddy since she was a toddler. She has this… violent side, to say the least, which he likes to pour out on poor thugs that never know what hit them.
Despite being a kid, Hit-Girl teaches Kick-Ass how to be a better hero, while he teaches her how to control herself and just try to be a real ten-year-old child. It’s a fantastic dynamic between the two and easily one of my favorite characters from the list.
16. Rick Jones
When you look up the word sidekick in the dictionary, the image of Marvel’s Rick Jones stands next to it. Well, not really, but I make the case that it should. Rick first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 in May 1962 as Bruce Banner’s sidekick, who tried saving him when the gamma explosion accident happened.
However, the Hulk was only the first in a long like of superheroes Rick Jones had assisted over the years, despite rarely having superpowers of his own. He was the right-hand man to Captain America, two versions of Captain Marvel, and even the entire Avengers team.
Rick Jones got superpowers once similar to the Hulk, and he was named the A-Bomb. However, the gamma-induced powers were taken away from Rick after Bruce Banner turned to Doc Green and decided that Jones was better off without them.
Batgirl was – and is – one of my favorite comic book characters to date. She first appeared in Detective Comics #359 in January 1967. Although she has no particular superpowers, she has such a strong will and heart that one might consider that to be her superpower. Obviously, she was Batman’s sidekick as Batgirl for years before becoming the Oracle.
You see, her real name is Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter. She was an outstanding martial artist and helped Batman for a long time before the Joker shot her in the back in an attempt to drive her father crazy.
She could never move again, but she still wanted to continue living the superhero life, so Batgirl became the Oracle. She couldn’t leave the wheelchair but used her skills to gather valuable intel for Batman long after her life-changing accident. Instead of giving up, she rose to the challenge, and that’s what being a hero is all about.
There have been a couple of Aqualads throughout DC Comics history, but Garth was the original and the sidekick of Aquaman, aka Arthur Curry. Aqualad first appeared in Adventure Comics #269 in February 1960 and presented awesome powers that pretty much matched Aquaman in almost every aspect.
Aqualad had superhuman strength and speed, could breathe underwater, and even had the ability to communicate with every form of marine life, from crabs to sharks. Garth eventually lost the communication ability but gained other powers, such as projecting highly-powerful energy blasts, etc.
The most recent Aqualad is called Kaldur’ahm and was popularized with the Teen Titans animated series. Aqualad is a member of the Teen Titans as well, along with a few other characters on this list, most notably Speedy.
Yup. Bob. Deadpool’s faithful sidekick that was tortured into becoming his sidekick. Like everything else related to Wade Wilson, Bob’s story is dark, wild, and hilarious. He first appeared in Cable & Deadpool $48 in May 2007 as a secret agent of Hydra. Bob met Wade when Deadpool infiltrated a Hydra compound.
He fought Bob and then tortured him severely until Bob, the agent of Hydra, had a change of heart and agreed to join Deadpool as his sidekick. The abuse never really stopped, but Bob was as loyal of a companion as they get.
He even ran into almost-certain death, screaming, “stop trying to chop my friend’s head off.” Deadpool’s head was chopped off eventually, and Bob took it under his arm and carried it to safety.
I mean, if I were a superhero, I’d like a sidekick who I can smack every time I want to blow off some steam, and he still carries my head around when it gets chopped off. Kudos to Bob.
12. Wonder Girl
There were several characters that wore the mantle of Wonder Girl. Even Wonder Woman, Princess Diana was the Wonder Girl once. However, Wonder Girl, the Wonder Woman’s sidekick, was best known as Donna Troy. She first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #60 in June 1965 but rose in mainstream popularity later.
She was simultaneously Diana’s sidekick and her own hero as a member of the Teen Titans. While she wasn’t as powerful as Wonder Woman, Donna was also a prolific Amazonian warrior with great superpowers – some even greater than Wonder Woman herself. Wonder girl could fly, manipulate energy, talk to animals, etc.
Wonder Woman was her mentor, and Donna Troy is as close to Wonder Woman #2 as possible. Perhaps one day, Diana will give her the mantle – Wonder Girl certainly deserves it.
I absolutely love all animal or pet superheroes out there, especially when they are as awesome as Lockheed. The awesome, purple little fellow first appeared in the Uncanny X-Men #166 in February 1983. Lockheed appears as a tiny dragon, but he’s actually an alien species that was, on his planet, very respected and renowned as a warrior.
Lockheed quickly became an integral part of the X-Men after he developed almost an instant bond with Kitty Pryde, also known as Shadowcat. They were both imprisoned on an alien planet by the Brood, a parasitic alien life form that infests other life forms with their eggs to reproduce until they are all that’s left.
Lockheed and Shadowcat are almost inseparable and are often seen together, although the little dragon helped other characters over the years, too. Heck, he was also a member of the Pet Avengers.
Shadowcat is the only character on this list that appears as a sidekick and also has a sidekick of her own. Kitty Pryde first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #129 in 1980. As you can see, her comics existence is only three years older than her faithful sidekick’s, meaning they’ve been together practically forever.
Still, Shadowcat often appeared as Wolverine’s sidekick over the years, as the two had a very special connection between one another. As for her powers, Kitty Pryde is actually insanely powerful. The most epic power she possesses is being able to walk through solid objects, like doors, walls, etc.
Over the years, Kitty has been associated with many heroes and teams, including the Guardians of the Galaxy. Shadowcat is an awesome character that I hope gets some more screen time in the MCU or other Marvel projects.
Now, we all know Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson from the MCU, but what if I told you that the comic version of the Falcon was way cooler than him? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the MCU Falcon, but the real guy was better. He first appeared in Captain America #117 in September 1969 and was one of the first African American superheroes in Marvel’s history.
The Falcon was Captain America’s sidekick in the comics and eventually became Captain America himself, just like in the MCU. He was in the military before he got the awesome winged suit, allowing the Falcon to fly and soar through the skies.
He also had Redwing – but, in the comics, he was a real falcon, not a drone. Not only was Redwing the Falcon’s pet sidekick, but this version of Falcon could actually telepathically communicate with birds. Who needs drones when you can have millions of them that are a million times cooler?
Krypto is easily my favorite Superman sidekick of all time and one of the best characters on this list, and it is not even close. He first appeared in Adventure Comics #210 in 1955 and was supposed to be a one-off character. However, the readers went crazy and wanted more Krypto, so the writers developed this whole new backstory for him to be Superman’s loyal companion.
Krypto was actually Superman’s pet dog on Krypton that was sent to Earth by Kal-El’s parents in a test shuttle before they sent baby Supes here as well. Just like Clark, Krypto gained superpowers on Earth, including flight, superhuman strength, speed, durability, ocular powers, etc.
He is Clark Kent’s loyal companion in many adventures, while in the meantime, he acts as your good old farm doggy on the Kent property. It’s an awesome story, and I’m so happy DC chose to keep Krypto in the mix.
Of course, Wong was going to make the list! You can choose which version you want, the MCU Wong or the comics Wong. Both share the same awesome characteristics, and both are heavily under-appreciated if you ask me. Wong first appeared in Strange Tales #110 in 1963 as Doctor Strange’s sidekick, as you might’ve guessed.
Despite having such prolific knowledge of the mystic arts, and skills not many sorcerers in the universe, let alone the world have, Wong still does all the dirty work and helps Strange with day-to-day stuff so that he can focus on the Sorcerer Supreme matters uninterrupted.
I love Wong because the guy is actually super powerful, yet his ego is so little that he has no issues cleaning up the Sanctum when it’s needed, carrying the bags, and stuff like that. Wong is my hero, MCU or comics.
6. War Machine
Iron Man has had several sidekicks and was a member of a few teams – most notable, the Avengers, of course – however, nobody was as close to him as War Machine, aka James Rhodes. Rhodie first appeared in Iron Man #118 in January 1979 and has been a loyal companion to Tony Stark ever since – despite their bickering and disputes over the years.
What makes War Machine so special is that, when you look at it, he is practically as powerful as the main hero, Iron Man, despite being his sidekick. Their suits use the same technology, can do most of the same stuff, and they usually fight side by side.
If anything, the difference is that War Machine’s suits are jam-packed with even more weaponry than Tony’s. I love the dynamic between the two in the comics a bit more than I enjoyed it in the MCU, but they are still an awesome team, and Rhodie, for what it’s worth, certainly deserves such a high spot on the list.
Speedy might be one of the most well-known sidekicks of all time, which is why he was an easy choice to break the top five on this list. Roy Harper first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 all the way back in 1941 and is still active, making him one of the longest-tenured DC superheroes of all time.
He’s sometimes known as the Red Arrow and is the faithful sidekick of Green Arrow, one of DC’s trademark household heroes. The two are like two peas in a pod, having almost the same skillset, with Green Arrow always being either slightly better at some things, or simply being more of a leader, while Speedy is more of a follower.
Still, their dynamic is epic, and I love Speedy because he went through a lot of adversity – even sometimes being portrayed as a villain, or an antihero, at least. The first Speedy, Roy Harper, tackled serious issues such as substance abuse, where Roy is a heroin addict, and his friends save him, helping him battle through.
4. Kid Flash
If there’s any character on this list that surpassed their former mentors (at least in some aspects), then it has to be Kid Flash, aka Wally West. He first appeared in The Flash #110 in December 1959 and was instantly recognized as one of the best speedsters in DC Comics.
Over the years, Kid Flash was the sidekick of the initial Flash, Barry Allen, who was Wally’s mentor for years. Eventually, Kid Flash grew up, and Barry felt like he was ready, so he gave him the Flash mantle, and West picked up right where his master left off.
I’m not sure if I liked Wally more as Kid Flash or the Flash himself, but if anything is certain, it’s that he deserves such a high spot on this list. Not many sidekicks eventually become household superheroes themselves, but Wally West did it, and I love it.
3. Bucky Barnes
Call me biased because I love Sebastian Stan, but I really loved Bucky Barnes as a character long before the MCU. The storylines are quite similar for Bucky, actually. He first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 in March 1941 as a soldier and best friend to Steve Rogers, who later became Captain America.
Barnes was captured and turned into the Winter Soldier, brainwashed and tasked to eliminate countless high-value threats. When everyone gave up on him, Steve was there, never giving up on his friend.
Eventually, it paid off, as Bucky was able to break free from the mind control the Russians had over him as the Winter Soldier, and he reunited with his old friend, once again becoming Captain America’s most loyal companion and sidekick ever.
2. Harley Quinn
I know, I know. Technically, Harley Quinn isn’t a superhero sidekick, per se, but she is a sidekick nonetheless and such an epic character that she had to be on the list. Plus, she did help Batman several times – they even kissed and went romantic, but that’s a topic for another day.
Anyway, Harley Quinn first appeared non-canonically in The Batman Adventures #12 in September 1993 and canonically in Batman: Harley Quinn #1 in October 1999). She was a psychologist in the Arkham Asylum that fell in love with the Joker, eventually becoming his squeeze and sidekick, helping him escape the Asylum.
The abusive relationship lasted for years before Harley finally broke free, but not before she went completely bonkers. And, although I love Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley that made the character mega-popular in mainstream pop culture, you have to read some Harley Quinn comics to get the gist. She’s just epic, and her relationship with the Joker is even better.
Tada! As if anyone could ever take the number one sidekick spot away from Robin. I mean, when you say “sidekick,” the first thing that comes to mind is Batman and Robin. There have been numerous Robins to Bruce Wayne’s Batman over the years, but the first one was Dick Grayson, first appearing in Detective Comics #38 in April 1940.
Batman and Robin sometimes have a mentor-apprentice relationship more than a hero-sidekick one, but the truth is, Robin saved Batman’s butt numerous times – almost as many as it were the other way around.
There’s no way around it – perhaps Robin doesn’t have all these awesome superpowers, nor is he the toughest or the smartest hero in history, but he’s the best superhero sidekick of all time and will remain just that forever.