No, I’m not talking about the Amazon Prime show. No, I’m not talking about the live-action show that came before it. I’m talking about the real Tick. The original cartoon series from 1994.
Which were based on the comics by Ben Edlund. All of which I still need to read.
The Tick is, if you ask me, one of the most underrated superhero cartoons of all time. It is incredibly charming, even all these years later. I’d honestly put it down as one of the best, right next to Batman the Animated Series, X-Men the Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man.
And no one in the world seems to remember it. Much like many of the things I hold so dear to my heart.
Story: A Man and His City
The Tick was just like many cartoons of the nineties: entirely episodic, with little to no overarching story aside from a few references to prior events here and there. Each story is self-contained. As well as hilarious.
The series stars the titular Tick, as well as his partner-in-justice: Arthur. The Tick is a nigh-invulnerable, super strong man with the mind of a child and a heart of gold. Arthur, on the other hand, is mostly a normal man with a normal job and normal bills. Together, the two defend The City (yes, that’s what the city is called) from villains of all kinds of flavors, such as ‘The Terror’, ‘Chairface Chippendale’ and more, all of which are parodies of classic comic book villains.
The episodic plots are very simple, and often bat-shit crazy. For example, there is an episode where ant-human hybrid people appear, trap our heroes in a giant ant farm, and try to fry The City with a giant magnifying glass. Oh, not weird enough for you? How about the episode where Chairface, the most dangerous mob boss around (who’s face is literally a chair, yes), tries to carve his name into the moon.
Which permanently scars the moon throughout the rest of the series with ‘CHA’. No, I am not kidding. This show is completely insane and I love every bit of it.
Comedy like that is sprinkled all throughout The Tick. It parodies dozens of classic comic book characters and makes jokes of countless tropes, both those in cartoons and comics. The comedy is simple enough for the targeted children to appreciate it, while just deep enough for the older viewers to get a kick out of them.
So yes. It is still justifiable for me, an adult white man, and anyone else of a similar age range, to enjoy this cartoon for children. Feel free to disagree so I can ignore you and continue to blog about shows meant for small humans.
Art and Animation: Magic School Bus Meets X-Men
Yup. That about sums it up.
The art style of this show is timeless. It is steeped in the classic style of superhero shows of old, as well as most other classic cartoons. Each character design is unique, charming, and most importantly: they tell the character’s story without a word. You can take one look at any of these characters, and you’d have a general idea of what their deal is. Don’t believe me?
However, the animation is undeniably up and down. At it’s peak, it is downright incredible. At worst… well, it’s about on par with X-Men: The Animated Series at worst. At best, it is incredibly smooth, frenetic, and fun. At worst, it is very stiff and slow moving.
Still, at no point did I ever want to claw my eyes out while watching it. Both as a kid and an adult (I currently sit somewhere on both sides of the spectrum) I feel that it is more often better than it is poor. Watching it is a treat, both in the writing and the visuals.
The Tick has evolved a great deal over the years in a lot of odd ways. I do enjoy the modern iterations well enough, don’t get me wrong. But to me, the best version of The Tick will always be the cartoon series.
Unless the original comics are as divine as God himself. Again, I still need to read them.
It’s a damn shame that getting a hold of the third season is so damn hard. Otherwise, I’d recommend the series in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, the first two seasons are still easily obtainable and very fun to watch. But it drives me crazy to not have the complete series, and I wouldn’t want to curse anyone else with that same issue.
Or maybe I’m the only one who gets bothered by that kind of thing. If that’s the case (hooray, I’m special), then go ahead and check it out. It’s fun, it’s charming, and it is still hilarious to this day. It is easily one of my favorite cartoons of all time.
So please go watch it so that I have someone to talk to about it. Please. I am so lonely.