Budget Press, The Villain’s Sidekick

Stephen T Brophy at the LA Zine Fest

Johnny B Baker at the LA Zine Fest

Welcome back folks, this week I’d like to talk about another title that I picked up from the LA Zine Fest. It was a most enjoyable read, but not flawless. I want to speak to you today about a short novella called, “The Villain’s SideKick” by Stephen T Brophy.

In Budget Press’s own words: “When professional henchman Duke “HandCannon” LaRue runs afoul of the city’s protector, Nightguard, and his spritely sidekick Twiliter during a routine smash and grab job, everything he thinks he knows about villainy, heroism, and making a fast buck is about to get turned on his steel-plated head. The job goes south in a hurry, and his supervillainous employer, Dr. Eye, is none-too-thrilled about it. But those complications are nothing compared to an unexpected custody visit from his six-year-old daughter, the kind of kid who thinks her deadbeat dad hung the moon, not tried to blow it up.”

The narrative is fast paced, and the tone was dark and fun. Less is more sometimes and for the most part this text able to say a lot, and allow for a character to come to life without long verses about who they are what things mean to them, and so on. So Stephen was great in this regards.

But one thing that was long winded was some of his descriptions he gave for items used by both heroes and villains. I understand that this is a comic genre even though there is no art involved in it. But we didn’t need the long versus about the way things look, just a few sentences would have been enough, we have an imagination and sometimes it’s best to let us use them. Luckily for us these paragraphs were not many.

The premise is something that drew me to the title. It is a story from the point of view of a super villain’s henchman Hand Cannon. It takes you into the world of villains, with Hand Cannon having to deal with getting beat up by the good guys, and having to inform his employer about his loss, as well as his dealings with the scorn of the world for him not being a good guy.

After reading the text I felt it was a little misleading. It was a story about a villain’s henchman who was really a hero, and a hero that was more of a murderous villain. Nonetheless, I actually fell for the main character so I ended up overlooking that fact. Sorry folks this is a bad guy goes good story, but not only that. It is also a coming of age for a super sidekick who becomes aware of a power hungry super hero that was ounce her mentor.

As I said the main character, Hand Cannon, has so much personality that you don’t care and you truly start rooting for him. A dad who’s down on his luck, has a child with the women of his dreams but things just didn’t work out, he has close to no friends except for one human who has an addiction problem, Teddy, and a cat who uses him for food, Mrs. Lady.

Ounce he teams up with the super sidekick we find ourselves with a great duo. Twiliter is a young female that we see team up with Hand Cannon to stop her former mentor that has gone rogue. Her mentor, Nightguard, trying to become more powerful in hopes of being a contribution to a Justice League like team, has killed in the process, and lastly kidnapped Hand Cannon’s daughter. The young Twiliter is naïve in many aspects and very delicate as her world has just been shattered by the realization that her hero is truly a villain, and Hand Cannon pushes her notions even further by his brutality his rage, and his noble crusade to save his daughter from this hero turned villain. She tries teaching him the ways of the super heroes and he teaches her the cunning and craftiness of villain’s.

The text is rather short, 78 pages, but it is not a graphic novel and so you get a lot of content in those pages. Stephen has followed up this title with two prequels about Hand Cannon before these events, but in all honesty I am more interested to see Hand Canon being Twilitier’s sidekick (***spoilers*** that’s how the story ends). The idea that he has to learn from her, and she from him would make for a great follow up story. I look forward to getting my hands on the other two titles, and if your interested in following this title here is a link:

Budget Press

So as always keep your ear to the ground, support local indie art, and drink to your hearts content. This is Rich with Black Ship sailing off for now.

Richard Larios
About Richard Larios (43 Articles)
Richard Larios is an anarchist organizer working out of Los Angeles. He is the owner of Feral Publication, which publishes zines. He also contributes regularly, under his pen name “Until Victory or Death”, for the Black Flag Newsletter, which is put out by the Free Association of Anarchists.

3 Comments on Budget Press, The Villain’s Sidekick

  1. Thanks for the awesome review, Richard! I am edging ever closer to completing the full-length sequel to Villain’s. Called Citizen Skin, it’ll give you plenty of Duke and Trista, though your comments on their relationship are giving me some food for thought and making me think I may need to inject a bit more of that “mentor/mentee” dynamic into the story. I’ll happily provide you a copy for review when I get closer to the publication date.

  2. Richard Larios Richard Larios // April 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm // Reply

    No problem Stephen the work is solid, I can’t wait for the follow up.

  3. I think my publisher, Johnnie B. Baker, might’ve contacted you to let you know that’s not actually a picture of me, but of him up top there.

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