Now, the current era of global superhero-themed cultural dominance may have made megastars of the previously B-List likes of Iron Man and Captain America, but for the most part, it's done little to alter the basic underlying assumptions of the superhero industry. Marvel and DC remain the 'big two' on the big screen, and the likes of Spider-Man and Superman are still some of the biggest draws in town. Sure, it's reinforced the fact that everyone loves Batman - but, let's be honest, that wasn't ever really in doubt.
With that gloriously geeky cultural hegemony now firmly in place, though, it seems that a few more lightly-followed cult favorites are set to emerge from the woodwork - with the latest to arrive being a brand new TV show based on everyone's favorite blue-clad bug-man (sorry, Blue Beetle)... The Tick! What's more, with a pilot episode for the shiny new series hitting Amazon today...
...it seemed well past time to take a look at:
Everything You Need To Know About The Tick
Which, seeing as he first debuted in comic-book form back in 1988 (with his true origin beginning a few years earlier still) and this is his third TV show, is actually a whole lot at this point.
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First up, though?
The Tick Isn't Your Regular Superhero
Sure, he's a muscle-bound do-gooder with an overactive sense of his own self-importance, but unlike Superman he's also a complete idiot. More like an unusually large child than a conventional hero, The Tick has always been something of a natural blunderer - tending to solve crime through sheer force of will (and dumb luck) rather than through any natural aptitude. That, and the fact that he's essentially invulnerable, and has super-strength up the wazzoo. Despite his apparent dominance, though...
The Tick Was Always About More Than Its Eponymous Hero
Specifically, the heart and soul of the story has always been The Tick's sidekick, Arthur - an ex-accountant in a white moth outfit with the ability to fly, and be an ineffective voice of reason - and the other heroes that reside in The Tick's hometown of The City. With the leading likes of Die Fledermaus and American Maid (above) parodying Batman and Wonder Woman, and pretty much every supporting character bringing their own unique brand of insanity to the show (who doesn't remember the Aquaman-skewering Sewer Urchin fondly?), The Tick was always defined by the heroes that stood beside its hero. Which is funny, since...
The Tick Wasn't Originally A Comic-Book Hero
Instead, The Tick began his public life as the 'newsletter mascot' of New England Comics, a chain of comic-book stores based in, you guessed it, New England. Designed by then-18-year-old cartoonist Ben Edlund in 1986, the hero made his print debut in that year's New England Comics Newsletter #14–15, but didn't receive his own comic-book until June 1988, and the release of The Tick #1, a store-financed black and white series.
Despite his relatively humble - and magnificently indie - origins, though...
The Tick Broke Big Incredibly Quickly
Edlund, y'see, was soon approached by a toy-licensing company, Kiscom - and while a prospective deal to turn The Tick into the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't immediately come to anything, the relationship eventually led to interest from Sunbow Entertainment, the animation company behind Transformers, G.I. Joe and The Mask. That, in turn, soon led to the 1994 Fox animated series that was many fans' first introduction to the hero. The thing is, though...
The Tick Has Always Been A Parody Of The Superhero Culture Around It
Which is, of course, part of what made the 90's animated series so beloved by its fans. Much as the original comic-book dark edges and mild sexual content poked fun at the 80's embrace of darkness and moral ambiguity, the animated series acted as the ultimate parody of the (now iconic) shows of its time, including the fan-favorite X-Men and Spider-Man, as well as the ever-more-musclebound comic-book heroes of the era.
Despite its cult popularity, though...
The Animated Series Didn't Last Long
Having debuted in September 1994, the Tick's final episode - the culmination of three seasons, and thirty-six episodes - hit screens in November 1996... and seemed to be the end of the line for the hero. Years went by, with nary a word about a potential follow up, until, in 2001:
The Tick Got His Own Live Action Series
One with one hell of a pedigree, in fact. Starring Patrick Warburton (now best known for Rules of Engagement, but then a cult hero himself for his work on Seinfeld as David Puddy), executive produced by Seinfeld's Larry Charles and with the first episode directed by Hollywood legend Barry Sonnenfeld, the show had everything going for it. Heck, it even featured cameos from geek icons like Christopher Lloyd and Ron Perlman. And yet, struggling in a prime-time slot opposite Survivor: Africa and the then-dominant NBC comedy line-up (featuring Friends and Will & Grace) the show quickly lost the studio's attention, and was cancelled after just nine episodes. And then things went quiet again, until...
Amazon Commissioned A Pilot For A New Series
Which is, of course, what you can watch on Amazon as of today. And, in fact, if you're a fan of The Tick, it's well worth doing that, and persuading all of your friends to do the same. After all, the Peter Serafinowicz-starring take on the hero is only going to get a full-season order if it gets enough fan attention - and, crucially, viewers.
Directed by long-time Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister, and with a far more dark take on the hero than we've seen since his original comic-book run (a reflection of the darker tones of modern superhero-dom, perhaps) it's certainly got the ingredients for success - but will they come together to make a full-season-order-shaped souffle.
Y'know, one you can really dig your Spoooooooooon into...
What do you reckon, though? Are you excited to see The Tick return to our screens? Let us know below!