The Tick (1994 TV series)
|Created by||Ben Edlund|
|Voices of||Micky Dolenz (1994–1995)
Rob Paulsen (1995–1996)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||36 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Joe Bacall
|Running time||30 minutes (including commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Sunbow Entertainment
Fox Children's Productions
|Original network||FOX (Fox Kids)
TCC and Fox Kids (UK)
|Original release||September 10, 1994 – November 24, 1996|
The Tick: The Animated Series is an American animated television series adaptation of the New England Comics satirical superhero, The Tick. The series aired for three seasons from 1994 to 1996 on the Fox network's Fox Kids block, which introduced the character to a mainstream audience. The Tick has been syndicated by various networks, further increasing the show's cult following, and has been released on both VHS and DVD. A live-action series aired in 2001.
While still in college, Tick creator Ben Edlund was producing his independent comic book series based on the character. He was eventually approached by Kiscom, a small, New Jersey-based toy licensing and design company. Kiscom wanted to merchandise The Tick, much in the way that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a rival independent comic series, had been merchandised the previous year. Major TV networks and studios were reluctant to take on an animated series based on the absurd character. Kiscom stayed in touch with Edlund and finally Sunbow Entertainment, the small, New York-based animation company that created The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Mask, paired him up with writer Richard Liebmann-Smith. Neither had any experience in animation or television, but for two months they worked vigorously on the first episode of The Tick. Neither man held high esteem for their final script, and their feelings were validated when FOX turned down the first pitch. They were given one more chance to refine it in five days. Over one weekend, they worked "instinctively" with little sleep and ended up satisfying FOX. Edlund later reflected, "We kind of defined in one weekend exactly where the show went for that first season, which was cool."
While some darker characters and sexual innuendo seen in the comic series would be removed for its animated counterpart, Sunbow's Tick series would hold to its satirical roots. Writing duties were also given to Christopher McCulloch who had met Edlund prior to their television work and wrote several issues of the Tick comic book series. They would much later work together on McCulloch's Adult Swim series, The Venture Bros.. Edlund, a co-producer of The Tick, remained very hands-on during production, causing delays. According to Edlund:
|“||There was a period where I was extremely attentive to everything that had to be solved, and these efforts ultimately made the show a year late. I saw the storyboards that were being done and realized that if The Tick were animated off of those, it would fall apart. It would be a shadow of what it is now, which is something that isn't massively successful, but has this real staying power. So now instead of looking like bad '90s animation, it kind of looks like bad '70s superhero animation, which definitely has a unique style about it.||”|
The Tick finally premiered on September 10, 1994 and was a success. Edlund later expressed his view that, because the series did not reach the commercial heights of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its merchandising success deteriorated by the end of its first season. However, he admitted "That's essentially good as far as I'm concerned; although, I would be much more wealthy at this point. That failure, to me, makes The Tick a much more sincere proposal."
Rather than being an asylum escapee, as portrayed in the Tick comic book series, the animated version of The Tick crashes a superhero convention to win the "protectorship" of The City. With its emphasis on superhero parody, The Tick became a Saturday morning staple during the Fox Kids block. Its title character was voiced by Townsend Coleman and his sidekick, Arthur, by Micky Dolenz for Season 1. Rob Paulsen took over the role for Seasons 2 and 3. The series also features Die Fledermaus as a shallow, self-absorbed Batman parody; Sewer Urchin, an Aquaman parody who resembles Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man; and American Maid, a more noble superheroine featuring aspects of Wonder Woman and Captain America.
The show's opening theme, written by Doug Katsaros, who also composed the scores for every episode, consists of big band music and campy scat singing. A typical episode plot would have The Tick battling a villain until Arthur devises a solution that saves the day. The Tick then declares an absurd moral regarding the previous conflict before the story comes to a close. Although the series was initially aimed primarily at children, it features an absurdist style that appeals to an older audience as well.
After three seasons, The Tick's final episode aired November 24, 1996. The following year, FOX began talks with Sunbow Entertainment about producing a prime time Tick special, but this never came to fruition. Comedy Central syndicated The Tick during this time and subsequently helped make it a cult hit with adults. In May 2000, the pilot episode for a live action series of The Tick was completed. FOX attempted to capitalize on the growing adult fan base by introducing this new incarnation in November 2001, but the series couldn't match the success of its animated predecessor.
Principal voice actors
- Cam Clarke – Die Fledermaus, Fishboy, Johnny Polite
- Townsend Coleman – The Tick, Lava Man, Man-Eating Cow, Eyebrows Mulligan
- Micky Dolenz – Arthur (Season 1), Captain Lemming
- Jess Harnell – Sewer Urchin, Breadmaster (2nd Time), Human Bullet, Mighty Agrippa: Roman God of the Aqueduct, Speak, Sub-Human, Watt
- Kay Lenz – American Maid
- Rob Paulsen – Arthur (Season 2 and Season 3), Brainchild (1st Time), Crusading Chameleon, Captain Mucilage, The Forehead, The Terror
- Charlie Adler – Sarcastro
- Yareli Arizmendi – Kitty
- Phil Austin – Wally, Two-Eyed Jack
- James Belushi – Mr. Ezra Fleener
- Jeff Bennett – Thomas Edison
- Mary Kay Bergman – The Ottoman
- Peter Bergman – Terry
- Xander Berkeley – Octo Paganini
- Susan Blu – SuffraJet
- Hamilton Camp – Professor Chromedome, Benjamin Franklin
- Dan Castellaneta – Mole King
- Jim Cummings – Barry Hubris, Captain Decency, Mr. Mental, Multiple Santa, Joseph Stalin, Thrakkorzog, Leonardo da Vinci, Attila The Hun
- Jennifer Darling – Mynda
- Debi Derryberry – Amelia (Charles' sister)
- Paul Eiding – Gesundheitan, Socket
- Ron Feinberg – Omnipotus
- Miriam Flynn – Charles's Mother
- Pat Fraley – The Carpeted Man, The Crease (2nd Time), Mayor Blank, Dyna-mole, Eastern-Bloc Robot Cowboy, Stalingrad, The Visual Eye, Whirling Scottish Devil, Zipperneck
- Brad Garrett – Jim Rave, Inquisitor
- Linda Gary – Venus
- Ed Gilbert – Bi-Polar Bear, El Seed, Idea Man, Indigestible Man, Johannes Gutenberg
- Dan Gilvezan – Belbot Manager
- Bobcat Goldthwait – Uncle Creamy
- Jackie Gonneau – Crystal
- Gerrit Graham – Milo
- Jennifer Hale – Carmelita Vatos
- Mark Hamill – Dr. Julius Pendecker
- Dorian Harewood – Pineapple Pokopo, Taft, George Washington Carver
- Estelle Harris – Ruth (Arthur's mom)
- Martin Jarvis – The Breadmaster (3rd Time)
- Tony Jay – Chairface Chippendale
- Maurice LaMarche – Doorman, The Deadly Bulb/Pigleg, The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight, Fin, Hotel Manager, The Human Ton and Handy
- David Lander – Filth
- Tress MacNeille – Regina Hume
- Danny Mann – Dinosaur Neil, Mr. Exciting, Dr. Mung Mung, Tongue Tongue
- Terrance Mann – Alien Interpreter
- John Mariano – Lou Salazar, the SewerCzar
- Gail Matthius – Mindy Moleford
- Chuck McCann – Filth
- Roddy McDowall – Breadmaster (1st Time)
- Candi Milo – Blitzen
- Huanani Minn – Professor Akiko Ichibana
- Cathy Moriarty – Betty: Queen of the Ants
- Iona Morris – Holly
- Pat Musick – The Bee Twins, Mad Nanny, Tuun-La
- Laraine Newman – Flying Squirrel
- David Ossman – Coach
- Valerie Pappas – Additional Voices
- Brian Peck – Baron Violent
- Philip Proctor – Courderoy Cordoba, Fortissimo Brothers, Charles' Father
- Lisa Raggio – Éclair
- Kevin Michael Richardson – Chuck
- Kimmy Robertson – Dot
- Roger Rose – Four-Legged Man, Skippy, Brian Pinhead
- John Rubinow – Additional Voices
- Hank Saroyan – The Heys
- Kevin Schon – The Red Herring, Baby Boomerangutan, Big Shot, The Crease (first appearance), Feral Boy, Jack Tuber: Man of a Thousand Faces, The Living Doll, Plunger Man, Proto Clown, Uncle Creamy II
- Susan Silo – Jet Valkyrie, Jungle Janet
- Cynthia Songé – Grace, Wheel
- Lynne Marie Stewart – Mona Lisa
- Stuart Stone – Brainchild (2nd Time)
- Steve Susskind – J.J. Eureka Vhatos, Thw Heys
- Paul Williams – The Mother of Invention
On August 29, 2006, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the first season of The Tick on DVD as The Tick vs. Season One. This collection contains only 12 of the 13 episodes. On May 31, 2006, Disney released the following statement regarding the missing episode: "Due to licensing problems, episode #11 ("The Tick vs. The Mole Men") is not included. However, we hope to include it in future DVD releases of The Tick". The UK edition of the first season, released the following year by Liberation Entertainment Ltd., presented all 13 episodes.
The second season of The Tick, entitled The Tick vs. Season Two, was released on August 7, 2007. This DVD release is not the complete set, however, as it is missing the episode "Alone Together." This episode features Omnipotus, a parody of Galactus (though earlier episodes used similar comic book parodies, and are available on the DVD releases). In the August 6, 2006 entry of his blog, Christopher McCulloch, the writer for all of the omitted episodes, states that he does not know the reason for the exclusion of episode #11 from the Season 1 DVD.
In the UK the complete Seasons 1–3 have been released as a box set. The UK versions of seasons 1–3 are uncut unlike the US versions of seasons 1 and 2, which are syndicated edits and not the original broadcast versions.
Reception and legacy
During its original run, The Tick was nominated for several Annie Awards as well as Emmys and, in 1995, won two of the former. In March 2008, Wizard magazine ranked The Tick #16 on its Top 100 Greatest Cartoons. In January 2009, IGN ranked The Tick #6 on its Top 100 Animated Series list. IGN went on to regard it "the first great lampooning of the superhero genre" and compared the series to Mel Brooks and Monty Python.
The character Sentinel Prime from Transformers Animated was voiced by Townsend Coleman and, thus, intentionally designed to look like The Tick with his heavy jaw and enormous chest. This was confirmed by Transformers: Animated writers at BotCon '08.
Awards and nominations
|1995||Best Individual Achievement for Creative Supervision in the Field of Animation||Ben Edlund (co-producer)||Won|
|Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation||Ben Edlund, Richard Liebmann-Smith for "The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account"||Won|
|Best Animated Television Program||The Tick||Nominated|
|1997||Best Animated TV Program||The Tick||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting by a Male Performer in a TV Production||Townsend Coleman for playing The Tick||Nominated|
|1996||Outstanding in Animation||Andres Nieves, Claude Denis, Phillip Kim, David Manners, Richard Liebmann-Smith, Susan Blu, Larry Latham, Elaine Hultgren, Chuck Harvey, Christopher McCulloch, Hank Tucker and Ben Edlund||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Editing - Special Class||Marty Stein, David John West, Rick Hinson, Anthony Torretto, Chris Fradkin and Terry Reiff||Nominated|
|1997||Outstanding Sound Mixing - Special Class||Stuart Calderon, Deb Adair, John Boyd and David John West||Nominated|
While the Tick comic book series included some extras, such as trading cards, merchandising of The Tick increased dramatically with the launch of the animated series. Action figures, pogs, T-shirts, hats, party favors, costumes, and a board game were representative. In addition, many fast food restaurant chains such as Carl's Jr. and Taco Bell offered Tick-related give-aways.
Fox Interactive also published a beat 'em up video game based on the animated series and released it on the Super NES and Sega Genesis. The game was criticized for having very long stages with ridiculous hordes of generic enemies to combat and a nonsensical game ending.
In 1997, the year following the series' end, Greg Hyland's The Tick: Mighty Blue Justice! was published as a tie-in with the series.
- Reber, Deborah Tick Fever Endures: Ben Edlund Talks About the Evolution of Everyone's Favorite Blue Superhero Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.4 (July 1997). Retrieved on 5-16-09.
- TVShowsOnDVD.com item
- TVShowsOnDVD.com item
- Wizard Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Cartoons TheComicForums.com (March 25, 2008). Retrieved on 5-16-09.
- The Tick Official Website for The Tick cartoon
- The Tick: Circus Maximus, NEC Comics, 2004.
- The Tick: Mighty Blue Justice!, Hyland, Greg, Berkley Boulevard Books, New York, 1997
- The Tick (1994 – 1997) at the Internet Movie Database
- The Tick at TV.com
- The Tick (1994 – 1997) at TV.com
- The Tick at TheTVDB.com