Spending Time With
Dan Darko and Tom Mason
Illustrator: Barry Gott
level: Ages 9-12 (or 9-35 if the 35 year old likes comics.)
like comics? Do you have children? Do you want your children
to like comics but are worried about the increasing amount
of sex and violence in modern comics? Do superhero names like
"Mr. Ironic" make you curious and fill you with a sense of
impending hilarity? If you answered yes to any of the above
then authors Dan Darko and Tom Mason have the newest form
of addictive comic goodness for you.
is the tale of a 13 year old boy named Guy "Speedy" Martin,
who is the fastest person alive. Before he can become a full-fledged
superhero however, he has to learn the ropes as sidekick to
Pumpkin Pete (who has the proportional strength of a pumpkin)
and spend time as the member of a sidekick super group alongside
of teen sidekicks Plastic Bubble Boy, Spelling Beatrice, Exact
Change Kid and Earlobe Lad, to name a few.
book is an easily digested, self-contained story that details
a day in the life of our hero both as a sidekick and in his
secret identity. The reading level indicates that it is appropriate
for ages 9-12 but even at the ripe age of 30, I loved both
of the books I read. They are packed with great dialogue,
humorous one-liners and action that is fast paced without
of the jokes from the first book are used again in the second
book but they are few and far between. Parents can use it
as an important lesson in recycling. The only negative things
I can say about the books are that I did at times feel silly
for really enjoying the toddler size book and the character
of Mr. Ironic was never used to the full potential I was hoping
for (uses your own powers against you).
that Fanboys would enjoy the series as much as I did and I
wanted co-author Tom Mason to give us some behind the scenes
details about the books. Here is a quick interview I assaulted
Why children's books?
Mason: A lot of stuff we write is aimed at children
-- certainly all of our animated work -- so the books
like Sidekicks are just a natural extension.
We have a lot of ideas for stuff, and we channel it
into different projects; books, movies, TV, videogames,
whatever. We had been writing children's books all along
-- something like 20 of them over the last three years
or so, mostly novelizations of TV series like Max
Steel, Malcolm in the Middle, Butt-Ugly Martians.
In fact, we just finished one of the novelizations for
We've made a lot of friends in publishing and they've
all asked us the same kind of thing - "if you have any
of your own stuff, we'd love to see it." Sidekicks
just popped into our heads - we are both comic book
fans and we've always wanted to poke some fun at super-heroes.
In fact, in every TV series we're in charge of, we try
to do at least one episode that has super-hero elements
FanboyP: How did you and Dan hook up?
Mason: Dan and I both used to work for Malibu Comics
back in the day -- he was the Senior Editor and I was
the Marketing Director. Once the company was sold to
Marvel Comics, we both wanted to try something new so
we started writing TV shows and ended up as head writers
and story editors on a bunch of animated series, both
syndicated and network. We also freelanced for TV shows
like Rugrats and Malcolm In The Middle.
What can you tell us about the next book in the series
(due out April 2004)?
Mason: "Sidekicks: Attack of the Mole Master!" The
Mole Master has emerged from the underworld to take
over the surface world. But more importantly, we're
starting to reveal some of the background mystery about
how the main character, Guy Martin, got his super powers
and the role his mysterious benefactor plays in the
FanboyP: What about the long term future of
Mason: Originally, Sidekicks was just going
to be one book. When our publisher suggested it be a
4-book series, we reworked the initial book to start
putting in a lot more background about Guy and his world.
While each book is a stand-alone story, there's a big
underlying mystery about Guy's powers and a super-hero
from the past. Now, based on the sales of the first
two books, we've signed an extension making it a six-book
Beyond that, we've gotten a lot of interest in Sidekicks
from movie and TV people - a lot of meetings and a lot
of talk and we're just seeing how all that plays out.
book costs about 5 dollars each, which is only a few bucks
more than the average comic, but with 100 pages of reading,
the price is worth it. They are a great read for a child or
an adult who refuses to stop acting like a child.
excuse me, I have to go punch my sister in the arm now.
2: Operation Squish!
of the Mole Master (Sidekicks, 3)