Like a mighty blue salmon of justice, The Tick swims onto DVD to remind us all of the fun we've been missing. Die-hard fans will already know exactly what's on offer here, as will anybody who had nothing better to do on a Saturday morning between 94-96. For those of you who weren't lucky enough to catch it all those years ago, here's all you need to know. The animated series was the second incarnation of The Tick (the first being the comics). He's a superhero sworn to protect The City (yes, it's called The City) & nigh invulnerable (he has a little trouble with knocks to the head & his antenna are a little sensitive, aside from that). He's also a little slow on the up & fond of morals that don't really make an awful lot of sense. One prime example: "So may Evil beware & may Good dress warmly & eat plenty of fresh vegetables". This makes him one of the most quotable characters in history. Plus the sheer fact that he's a superhero who has to catch a taxi to stop crime is hysterical.
Townsend Coleman (better known for his voice work as Michaelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) was an inspired choice to breathe life into The Tick. He brilliantly sells every line with a juxtaposition of righteous gravitas and downright silliness. The Tick was a perfect & loving mock of superheroism (faced with the current flood of superhero movie fare, there was never a better time to relive this classic gem) & his cast of supporting players are no exception. The Tick's trusty sidekick Arthur (no powers of which to speak, his battle cry is "Not in the face, not in the face" but he's definitely the brains of the operation) & his fellow supers, Die Fledermaus (literally translates as 'The Bat', again, his battle cry is "I think I'm gonna sit this one out"), American Maid (definitely the most useful aside from The Tick), The Human Bullet ("Fire me, boy!"), Bi-polar Bear (my personal favourite) & of course Sewer Urchin (protecting parts of The City most dare not tread sounding suspiciously like Rain Man) to name but a few.
But nothing can top the villains of The City, Chairface Chippendale (his head's a chair, that's pretty much it), Mr. Mental, The Brainchild, The Deadly Bulb (aka Pig-leg), El Seed & probably the greatest evil that ever lived, The Terror (the only thing being that he's somewhat passed his prime). Episode highlights (& it's not an easy choice let me tell ya with hardly a weak moment to be found over its 3 short seasons) include The Tick vs. The Uncommon Cold, The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account, Alone Together, Grandpa Wore Tights, The Tick vs. Filth (in which we see what Sewer Urchin can really do) & what turned out to be the final episode The Tick vs. Education.
Like most great shows, The Tick never got a chance to outlive its welcome. There were many (mouth watering) plans for a fourth season before word came that Fox had cancelled it. This was definitely a show made with kids in mind, hence why The Tick's origin between comic and cartoon changed somewhat. In the comic he escaped from a mental institution because he was bored. Personally I think it's funnier & would explain a lot, but it's not as kiddie friendly as the pop-idol cartoon version. Also the humour of the show is a lot more innocent & a lot less edgy compared to the current cartoon standard set by the likes of 'Family Guy', 'American Dad', 'South Park' or anything connected with 'Adult Swim', but that only stands to further set The Tick apart from anything else. However, The Tick does contains countless high-art & literary references. That said, the only really important thing to take from all this is that The Tick was, in its day, a cult phenomena, one that's lost none of its childish delight. A must have.