I was lucky enough to grow up outside of Boston. There was a tiny comic book store chain called New England Comics. They had a newsletter that had this little superhero character called The Tick as their mascot. That mascot turned into an independent comic book satire series. It was hilarious, and though back then it seemed like an eternity between issues, we had no idea that The Tick would live on for decades to come.
Years later, The Tick became a Saturday Morning Cartoon on FOX. By that time, I was well into my 20s, but my roommates and I never missed an issue. Yeah, it may have been a kids’ show, but there were lots of things there for adults. Off-handed comments like: “I wrestled his tongue!” And just odd phrases that still stick with me: “Cool! They got a blimp!” “Did you set the timer?” “Fire me, boy!” “Read a book!”
And then there’s his battlecry:
The Tick’s villain menagerie gave both Batman and Dick Tracy a run for their money. The Breadmaster and his evil dough. The terrifying Proto-Clown. El Seed. Multiple Santa. And who could forget Chairface Chippendale?
Oh yeah, he one time battled his own snot.
The cartoon had a great team of parody characters. Arthur is his reluctant flying side kick who’s been with him since day one of the comics. The Moth Man does his best to patiently deal with The Tick’s insanity. American Maid was the real brains of the group. And Die Fledermaus was scared of his own shadow. They had fun adventures together, the best of which was going to a bar for superheroes only (which sadly, sent sidekicks to another room).
Soon after FOX developed a live-action television series. I couldn’t think of anybody better to play the Tick than Patrick Warburton. And he nailed it! But there were two problems with the show. They were trying to make it what superheroes did when they weren’t fighting crime. It should have been a modern Adam West Batman. And for some reason, they didn’t have all the rights to the characters. Granted, we ended up with the brilliant Bat Manuel, but most of us wanted to see more of what made the cartoon great.
It only lasted 9 episodes. Maybe it needed more time to find it’s groove, but alas, it was still before the superhero explosion of this century. But hey, for an idea that started as a newsletter mascot, Ben Edlund got some great milage from The Tick. And from there, he went on to work with Joss Whedon on Angel, and he co-created Firefly. Now he runs a little show called Gotham.
But was there every any doubt that The Tick would be rebooted at some point? And it has! This time, Amazon is taking a pass at a new live action version. Though it would have been great to see Warburton given a second chance, I have faith that Peter Serafinowicz (I’m not even going to try to pronounce it) will be a great Tick! He’s one of those “I know him from somewhere” actors, but not so familiar that it would take you out of the character.
From what I’ve seen in the trailer, it looks like we’re back to full on crimefighting and comedy. Ben Edlund is producing and writing the entire series, so you know it’s in good hands.
So come August have your spoons by your side and get ready to binge the new Tick series. And remember, “You’re not going crazy. You’re going sane in a crazy world!”