Cover of Fish Police Fishwrap issue 2, illustrated by Steve Moncuse
|Genre||Crime, comedy, funny animal|
|Publication date||June 1985 - 1991|
|Number of issues||26|
|Main character(s)||Inspector Gill, Angel Jones|
|Colorist(s)||Tom Vincent, Matt Webb (Comico only)|
Fish Police is a comic book series by the cartoonist Steve Moncuse. The plot centers on law and crime in a fictional underwater metropolis with the protagonist, Inspector Gill, trying to solve various, often Mafia-related, crimes while avoiding being seduced by the buxom Angel Jones. The comic featured several marine species as its characters, while the plots and dialogue were reminiscent of film noir.
The story centers on Inspector Gill, a fish detective who is hinted to have been a human. He is met by a female named Angel, who tells him that her uncle has developed a drug called Hairballs. The uncle, Calamari, meets Gill and tells him that he will trade Hairballs for his niece.
Fish Police started in 1985 as a self-published black-and-white title by Moncuse through his own Fishwrap Productions. After 11 issues, the title was picked up by Comico in 1987, which reprinted issues 1-4 in a trade titled Hairballs, followed by color reprints of the other Fishwrap issues. Comico also printed a special prequel issue, and continued the series at number 12.
After issue 17, Comico went bankrupt, but Fish Police was then acquired by Apple Press, which continued the numbering begun by Comico and reverted the comic to black-and-white. Apple published the title until early 1991, stopping at number 26, in addition to printing an Issue 0 which featured an early draft of the stories seen in issues 1-5. In 1992–1993, Marvel Comics reprinted the first six issues again, again in color.
Apple also printed a six-issue spin-off, Fish Shticks, between 1992 and 1993. Written by Moncuse and drawn by Steve Hauk, this series was more gag-based than the original. In 2010, Moncuse began work on a new Fish Police title, set 20 years after the end of the original. IDW Publishing re-printed the first four Fishwrap issues in a trade in February 2011. A new story written and drawn by Moncuse, titled "F. P. B. C.", appeared in Dark Horse Presents issue 22, March 2013.
- Fish Police (Fishwrap Productions) — 12 issues (June 1985 - November 1987)
- Fish Police Special (Comico) — 1 issue (July 1987)
- Fish Police: Hairballs (Comico) Introduction by Harlan Ellison (October 1987)
- Fish Police (Comico) — 14 issues (April 1988 – June 1989)
- Fish Police (Apple Press) — 9 issues (August 1989 - Spring 1991) plus Issue 0 (1991)
- Fish Police (Marvel Comics) — 6 issues (October 1992 – March 1993)
Slings and Arrows Comics Guide called the characters "pleasing" and the art a "clean, open style", but criticized the writing for being "like a glossy dramatisation of a blockbuster, specially designed not to be too upsetting or too taxing." The same publication called Fish Shticks "fresh, funny, and wonderfully human." Harlan Ellison describes it as a series that "turns to gibberish when one attempts to codify it", praising Moncuse's writing style. D. Aviva Rothschild, in Graphic Novels: A Bibiliographic Guide to Book-Length Comics, called it "all idea and little execution", saying that "there are too many characters and too many threads of plot", although she praised Moncuse's art.
Animated series version
Hanna-Barbera Productions adapted Fish Police into an animated television series that was first broadcast on CBS in 1992, lasting only six episodes over one season. The show was cancelled after only three episodes; the remaining three episodes have never been shown in the US. Fish Police had a decidedly more mature tone than most other animated Hanna-Barbera series, with episodes often filled with innuendo and cases of mild language. It also featured several stars' voices, including Ed Asner, John Ritter, Tim Curry, Hector Elizondo, Buddy Hackett, Megan Mullally, Robert Guillaume and JoBeth Williams.
- "Moncuse's "Fish Police" Are Back on Patrol". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Moncuse's "Fish Police" Are Back on Patrol". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Ellison, Harlan (1997). Edgeworks: The Harlan Ellison hornbook. White Wolf Publications. p. 354.
- Rothschild, D. Aviva. Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to Book-Length Comics. Libraries Unlimited. p. 109.
- Frank Plowright, ed. (2003). The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide. Slings & Arrows, Ltd. p. 243.
- "Three Former Comico Titles Find New Homes", The Comics Journal 129 (May 1989), pp. 13-14: about Fish Police, Trollords and The Trouble with Girls; and The Maze Agency, which had not yet found a new publisher.
- "Dark Horse Comics Solicitations for March, 2013". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Tucker, Ken (28 February 1992). "Fish Police review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 17 May 2012.