CITIZENS! Our beloved Hero the TICK is in trouble, though he is Nigh Invulnerable, he needs our help. Yes, he has faced the Terror, Chairface Chippendale and even Apocalypse Cow, but now he once again faces the dreaded Corporate Suits. These purveyors of mindless television have twice before defeated the Tick. First on November 24, 1996 when Fox canceled his animated television show after 3 seasons, then on January 21, 2002 when Fox canceled his live action show after 9 episodes. (These same dastards killed Firefly after 9 episodes as well.)
Now, Amazon has commissioned a pilot for a new Tick live action series. But, unless we, the Tick’s loyal fans get the word out, the Tick may succumb to his third, and final defeat from which he may never recover. Share this post, twit this post, call your friends, snapchat your friends, go to their houses and pound on their doors to get them to take the Amazon poll so that the Tick will once again be free to patrol The City to Smite Evildoers! (Link to the Amazon Pilot Preview Page)
For those benighted souls who don’t know who the Tick is, let me explain. Like many, I first encountered the Tick during his 1994 to 1996 run on Fox Kids. Tip of the hat to my daughter, Sara, the Planetary Scientist at the University of Arkansas, (“Go Razorbacks!”), and my son, Sam, the Army Officer at Fort Riley, (“Go Ordinance”), for introducing the show to me. Watching Saturday morning cartoons with the kids was a tradition back then, and when we discovered the Tick, our world changed.
I later learned that the Tick was originally a black and white comic created by Ben Edlund at New England Comics. Edlund created the Tick in 1986 for NECs as their mascot when he was an 18 year old comic book fan. One thing led to another and NEC bankrolled a full length comic. This led to other series and spin offs with such characters as Paul the Samurai, Man Eating Cow, and the Chain Saw Vigilante.
The Tick was conceived as a spoof of the superhero genre, but Edlund’s brilliant writing and sense of the absurd propelled this character beyond a single joke. Make no mistake, the Tick is insane; in the first issue he broke out of a lunatic asylum. But, he is a superhero. His world is populated with villains so off beat and bizarre as to give Adam West pause.
Fighting for justice with him is his long suffering side kick, Arthur. Stuck as an accountant, Arthur knew he was destined for greatness and when he discovered the Moth costume, he knew that his time had come. Arthur is an ordinary everyman, who just wants to be a hero. Unfortunately, he’s the Tick’s sidekick.
The Tick is oblivious and simplistic and as he put it in Karma Tornado #6: “”Say what you will about me! I comprehend very little of it anyway!” But, he has a great heart and lives to do justice. “Destiny’s powerful hand has made the bed of my future, and it’s up to me to lie in it. I am destined to be a superhero. To right wrongs, and to pound two-fisted justice into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. And you don’t fight destiny! No sir! And, you don’t eat crackers in the bed of your future, or you get all… scratchy.”
Edlund has been involved in all three Tick incarnations. Not merely a creator of the Tick, in 2002 he was hired by Joss Whedon to work on Firefly, which as mentioned above Fox also canceled after 9 episodes. He later worked on Angel , Point Pleasant, Star Wars: The Clone Saga, Supernatural, Revolution and Gotham. He wrote the movie Titan, A.E. with Joss Whedon and John August. And of course, he worked on Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, creating Bad Horse and Moist.
Somehow, he convinced Amazon to give the Tick another go. He wrote the pilot episode, and Patrick Warburton, who played the Tick in the first live series is listed as the producer. In the original cartoon, the Tick and Arthur were seen having adventures and fighting the bad guys. The first live action series focused on what they did in their off-time. This new series, with the increased budget, looks to focus on the crime-fighting aspect.
Where the first two series hewed very closely to the comics, Edlund has now given us a different version. Originally in the comics and the first two series, Arthur tried and often failed as the voice of sanity to the Tick’s over the top mania. Arthur was smart, but ordinary. He attempted to ground the Tick in reality.
In this new series, Arthur, played by Griffin Newman is messed up. Having seen his father killed in a battle between superheroes and the dread Terror, he has become obsessive and himself a little deranged.
Where the Tick was crazy in a campy Adam West-Batman way, Peter Serafinowic plays the Tick as truly insane. The mood in this new series is somewhat darker. Yes, there is humor, just not the inspired lunacy of the comics or the original series.
To be honest, the pilot does drag in spots. The episode revolves on an obsessive Arthur trying to prove that the evil Terror is still alive, despite evidence of being killed by a superhero. His bedroom has a wall devoted to clippings, notes and pieces of string connecting them together. At night he sneaks around spying on people he believes works for the Terror. And one night he runs into that blue clad maniac.
We have yet to see any supporting cast. In the cartoon we had American Maid, a cross-between Captain America and Wonder Woman. She was smart, together and with little patience for the dimwitted Tick. There was also the Batman parody, Die Fledermaus, who was a coward, and probably only dressed up as a hero to hit on women. Due to the licensing agreement, Edlund re-wrote these characters for the live action series as Captain Liberty and BatManuel. Captain Liberty was a hot mess as a person, while BatManuel, was a real hero but was also looking to score with the ladies. Hopefully, these two will make a re-appearance.
Since Edlund and Warburton are at the helm of the project, I am hopeful that if green-lighted more of the lighthearted wackiness will prevail. But, this won’t happen if Amazon doesn’t pick up the series. So, mobilize your friends, get over to Amazon and Save Our Tick!