About Us

My friend Mark got me started on this site. I should say “hooked” or “addicted.” Either of those terms might be more appropriate.

Mark owned & operated a martial arts studio called Performance Martial Arts when I met him officially by happenstance. Nestled in one of the corners of his martial arts studio was a small comic shop. This is how I officially met him, though I knew of him previously, and vice versa. I was likewise involved in the martial arts, teaching first Kukkiwon Taekwondo and then Chun Kuhn Taekwondo as Kansas Chun Kuhn Taekwondo.

When we officially met, I was looking for a copy of the first appearance of Weapon H, which had come out the day before. I had called all the shops in town. His shop – Sidekick Comics – had one copy left. He reserved it for me, and I stopped by to pick it up. I believe he suspected who I was at the time, but we didn’t speak about anything more than the purchase of the single book at that time. I began to visit his shop weekly, as I was returning to comic collecting after many years absent. After the third or fourth week, he asked me if I taught Taekwondo. I admitted that I did, and we formally acknowledged that we already knew of each other. Soon after that, he asked if I would teach Taekwondo at his studio. We’ve been friends ever since.

One of the many things I have been during my life is a graphic & web designer. At one point, we thought we might take his shop to the Internet, so I purchased SidekickComicGear.com and began to work on a design. Turns out, his shop had to close its doors before we got it to the Internet. But I renewed the domain name year-after-year. Thinking maybe. Maybe.

One day, it struck me that I really enjoyed homage covers, and soon I realized that there are thousands of covers which pay homage to other artists and/or covers which came before, and covers which parody those same artists/covers. I also discovered that whole series of comics homaged or parodied other comics or pop culture media, such as magazines and movies.

The average person can’t possibly collect every comic ever printed. It is honestly financially impossible, unless you are mega-mega-mega-rich. The holy grails – such as Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Amazing Fantasy #15, Fantastic Four #1 and so many other valuable first appearances – simply cost too damn much. Since the 1990s, publishers also began to print variants.

Printing variants has become commonplace in the last decade or so for regular titles. Some publishers – Zenescope and Dynamite come immediately to mind – issue multiple variants of multiple titles each and every month.

Some variants, known as “incentive” variants, require comic shops to purchase X-many copies of the standard cover to be eligible to purchase a single copy of an “incentive” variant. It is like “unlocking” an achievement in a modern video game! Of course, the modern generation grew up with video games and the idea of “unlocking” achievements. I suppose these incentive variants in fact incentivize them to seek these considerably rarer variants.

Some variants are published for special events, such as comic cons, and are only available in limited quantities. Some purposely homage famous first appearances or other memorable covers. Some homages steal a previous trope so thoroughly and alter it so masterfully and memorably that the homage becomes more popular among the masses than the original and soon the homage becomes the source of future homages, nearly forgetting/obscuring the original altogether! Such is the case of Batman #9 and X-Men #141; and Catman #31, Batman #156 and Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Some variants are limited edition by design, like incentive variants, and only available exclusively from a specific outlet/store. Some of these variants are often much sexier than the standard cover and standard variants, featuring risque or z-rated scantily clad characters (usually female).

I enjoy the discovery of homage covers. I enjoy the surprise. The fascination. The quality – some are good, some are great! And some are downright bad. Very bad. And some are naughty. Very naughty.

And so, though I can’t own every homage, inspired, parody or variant cover, I collect them here, on the Sidekick Comics web site, and share my discoveries with you. I also help you find and purchase the covers that you enjoy by linking to them on eBay, the world’s largest and most-affordable marketplace for back issue comics in the world. This site literally saves you hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours of time – depending on your collecting appetite – because I have done the research and fine-tuned the searches for you.

I enjoy a small commission from eBay for this work. This commision does not increase the cost of your purchase in any way. I hope, by providing the best resource that I can provide, that you believe I earn each and every commission, too.

I hope you enjoy homages & parodies, too, as much as I do.

As Tom Hanks’ character Forrest Gump once observed about life: “[Collecting] is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

May you find joy and happiness in your comic journey!

– Mike Swope