Creating a credible kid sidekick isn’t an easy task. The basic concept is always to give the younger readers a character they can personally identify with. The problems there are legion. For starters, readers want to be Batman, not Robin. Furthermore, the sidekick has to have the correct amount of competence. Too much and the character can outshine the hero and readers don’t like that. Not enough and the sidekick will need too much constant rescuing. And then there’s the issue of older writers trying to write “hip” dialogue for a character much younger than themselves, as was the disastrous case of Snapper Carr when he first arrived on the scene as the Justice League’s sidekick.
Good sidekicks and younger characters can be done. But for every successful Robin, there’s probably three or four (at least) Danny Chases.
A common theme to many a Misplaced Hero is that many times there’s only a single creator who’s really enamored with the character. Oh, other writers and artists may have a decent run with the character, but often once the original creator moves on, the character is quickly relegated to the background or written out of the book entirely. That is more or less what happened to Snapper Carr. Creators showing favorites is nothing new, such as how Geoff Johns dealt with Black Adam, or Brian Michael Bendis’ clear love for Luke Cage. But sometimes the creator love goes to a new character that doesn’t always stick around long.
Kid sidekicks are a thing for many heroes. Usually they’re supposed to be someone for the young reader to identify with. And while not every superhero has had a kid sidekick, on the DC most of the major ones did. In fact, the Justice League had one once for some reason.
His name was Snapper Carr. And oh man, was he painful to read about.