May 11, 2018

Nick the Sidekick

Written and illustrated by Dave Whamond
Kids Can Press
48 pp.
Ages 6-9
April 2018

Celebrated cartoonist of the syndicated Reality Check and author-illustrator of the three Oddrey books (Oddrey, Oddrey and the New Kid, and Oddrey Joins the Team; Owlkids, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and My Think-a-Ma-Jink (Owlkids, 2009), Dave Whamond brilliantly applies his cartooning skills to a new genre, the graphic novel, and superbly masters it with the flair of a superhero and the diligence of a loyal sidekick.

Nick is a superhero assistant with incredible hearing courtesy of his incredibly-large ears.  Though his classmates may ridicule him, his best friend Tess always has his back.  That comes in handy when you're the superhero assistant to the egotistic Super Fantastic Guy who wants to use Nick's super hearing without giving him the credit for his cleverness or contributions.  Super Fantastic Guy can't even remember Nick's name, always calling him Rick, and even getting all his details wrong on his membership to the National Superhero Society. And Nick does not appreciate the lack of respect and his designation as a (sigh!) sidekick, especially considering he does all the crime-solving! But it's Nick who learns that he is the true superhero when he uses his super talent to save Super Fantastic Guy and let Tess help bring the egomaniac down a bit from the superhero pedestal he's always taken advantage to enjoy.
From Nick the Sidekick by Dave Whamond
As much as Nick is a superhero (he does have the card to prove it), he's really the anti-hero in that he accomplishes much good without the public recognition and even his partner's appreciation.  Nick is probably the antithesis of the highly-acclaimed superhero in that he doesn't parade himself in front of the public and demand accolades, though he would appreciate a little respect and for everyone to stop calling him a sidekick. 
From Nick the Sidekick by Dave Whamond
Dave Whamond's artwork is made for graphic novels. Okay, I know it's also great for his cartoons and his picture books but, by applying it to storytelling in the graphic novel format, he can tell more story by creating action-packed plot lines that move with the force of his illustrations.  There's movement and energy and kapow!  Nick the Sidekick delivers a punch in character and story and has just launched Dave Whamond's career into a different layer of the stratosphere, though we knew it was inevitable. As much as Nick can't fly and hates all the clichés related to superheroics, from the Spandex onesies and to the criminals' responses when caught, he's going to be joining Dave Whamond on that trajectory. Happy travels to our newest superheroes!
From Nick the Sidekick by Dave Whamond

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