Hey everyone, welcome to Super Nostalgia! This is the series where one of our writers picks a comic book character or theme that they grew up with and geeks out on. Explaining what makes them awesome and why it strikes a special chord with them. This is only the 5th one in the series, here’s the archive:
The Tick began as a spoof of superheroes, but became a superhero full of raspberry blue justice. Created by Ben Edlund in 1986, he was originally used in newsletters and promotions for comic shops in the Boston area. Two years later The Tick had it’s own comic book. In 1994, Fox made The Tick into a Saturday morning cartoon. This is where I was first introduced to the character, and all the absurd joys in his world.
The big blue guy is such a lovable dim-witted avenger, he is so simple that you wonder how he is still alive. The Tick’s sidekick Arthur is the yin to his yang. Arthur was an accountant living a pretty boring life, and needed some excitement when he was laid off from his work. Arthur got a costume to go out crime fighting. It is a moth costume, and he can fly when the wings pop out of his backpack. He also has big ears resembling rabbit ears, which leads to a lot of confusion and jokes at his expense. The Tick and Arthur teamed up, and The Tick moved in and sleeps on his couch.
So many great side characters exist in The Tick universe. From fellow crime fighters to villains, they really have the most crazy creative characters. Die Fledermous is a egocentric Batman rip-off. American Maid is a mash-up of Captain America and Wonder Woman. Sewer Urchin is a parody of Aquaman with the power of odor. The good guys would often hang out at a diner together, and wait for crime. The villains are hilarious, there are so many good ones. Chairface Chippendale is a master criminal with a chair for a head. Brainchild is a 9 year old who has a see-through dome on his head to show off his evil genius. El Seed is an ambassador for the plant kingdom and has a sunflower for a head. There are so many ridiculous ones, it is pretty great.
The animated series lasted for 3 seasons, later re-runs were aired on Comedy Central, then after that Toon Disney and ABC Family had the rights. Reading the comic book, you couldn’t avoid hearing the voices from the cartoon, they were one and the same. That’s the difference when the creator is involved with their own adaption, it becomes a labor of love and the quality in the project shines through. Ben Edlund was writer and co-producer of the animated series.
Merchandise was of course produced. The Tick had action figures, trading cards, a board game, and even Carl’s Jr and Taco Bell had The Tick toys in their kid meals! Being smack dab in the 90’s you know The Tick pogs were a thing. He even had a video game for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo!
A short lived live action The Tick was made by Fox in 2001. It was cancelled before it could air all 9 episodes that was made, they all are currently on Netflix instant. Actor Patrick Warburton plays the Tick and does a pretty good job. I didn’t really care for the live action show, good effort, but it fell pretty flat for me. They also changed the names to a bunch of the characters. Like Die Fledermous became Batmanuel? Which is funny, but you already have this characters set, there’s no need to screw around with the names! Anyway, I would highly recommend the cartoon over the live action show.
Ultimately The Tick might have started out as a parody of other superheroes, but he rises to the top 10 of my all time favorite comic heroes. He is so child like and good-natured that he makes you want to always root for the good guys. I feel like putting on a unitard and going out to fight evil-doers. “Don’t ever try to swim against the mighty tide of justice”- The Tick.
I asked Gnarsh if he would do a quick write-up about The Tick since I know he’s a fan:
Hello Gnarsh here, now I never read The Tick comics but I was into the cartoon. Thank you Fox for airing this show, it made my dorky awkward teenage years epic. I love The Tick he’s such a bumbling fool but that is what makes him so great. And don’t get me started on his friends and enemies they are so creative. Let me name a few I love, Arthur, Sewer Urchin, Chairface Chippendale, El Seed and the most awesome Man-Eating Cow! The Tick made me appreciate the weird and I thank his creator for that. Gnarsh out! P.S. SPOON!