With a little artistic liberty to a popular saying, let's say that behind every great superhero, there is a sidekick. (Or a henchman behind a supervillain.) Some of the best pop culture second-in-commands will be on display in the show "Sidekicks & Henchmen" at Bubble Pop Gallery, part of First Friday events downtown this month.

Gallery curator Ashleymarie Sey Lively said she was inspired by the theme after the success of the Superhero art show last June.

"It was a very popular one," she wrote in an email. "By the artist response this year, this theme was a great choice."

There are more than 30 works in the show in a variety of mediums including watercolor, coffee, acrylic, oil, ink and mixed media. 

"It’s exciting to see all the different and unique art styles and interpretations that we receive during the submission process," Lively wrote of the works.

While there are many great subjects for the show — which features Batman's pal Robin, Rajah from "Aladdin" and GIR, the robot servant on "Invader Zim" — one definitely went into hyperdrive to reach the front of the pack. Han Solo's wing-wookie Chewbacca is highlighted in two standout pieces, Lively said.

"My favorite sidekick has to be 'Chewie' by Brendan Sullivan and 'The Galaxy's Greatest Copilot' by Giki," she wrote.

The beloved characters won't only be on the walls. James Knowles of Havoc Props will dress as Barf the mawg — the half-man, half-dog ("I'm my own best friend.") — from the 1987 comedy "Spaceballs" for a meet and greet.

Friday's reception, which will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the gallery, 2007 H St., will also feature live art by Nate Parrish, Caroline McArthur, Cindy Stodola and Lance.

Also on Friday, the Bakersfield Art Association will open two new shows. 

At the BAA Art Center, artist Patti Doolittle will be featured in “Love the Car.” The show consists of some earlier work from Doolittle's period painting old cars as well as newer pieces inspired by car shows, including one with a convertible owned by Marilyn Monroe. Attending the shows, she took reference photos and met the dedicated owners who care for their vehicles. "It is a love they feel, a family member almost!" she said in the BAA newsletter.

The reception for the show will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the BAA center, 1607 19th St.

At Dagny's Coffee Co., Norma Neil will present her landscape work in "The Splendor of Nature," which highlights her abstract take on the natural world.

Most of my work is inspired by the natural world which I feel also has symbolic meaning beyond just the picture," she said in the BAA newsletter. "I strive to create art that gives a visual statement to a spiritual truth."

Neil focuses working in watercolor as it offers a "never-ending challenge." She said, "I love the way watercolor requires the artist to engage in the moment with a balance of serendipity and control."

The artist reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dagny's, 1600 20th St.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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