Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Comics fans’ second-favorite arachnid crimefighter is about to appear in his second season of superb superhero satire, premiering on Amazon Prime Video, Friday, April 5th.
While most recent generations fondly remember The Tick from watching the 1994-1997 animated Fox Kids show during their childhoods, The Tick is even older than that, with a comic book origin dating back to a 1986 appearance in New England Comics Newsletter #14.
Created by 18-year-old Ben Edlund, The Tick was a mental hospital escapee, whose child-like mind, super-strength, and invulnerability leads him to become a Big Blue Hero with a thirst for justice, fighting with his sidekick Arthur the Moth and hilariously themed allies against ludicrously funny criminals, most of them parodies of well-known comics characters.
The imaginative, colorful characters, and absurd, silly humor drew Fox’s interest to create an equally absurd, silly The Tick cartoon that appealed to kids and adults alike for three seasons.
The continuing popularity of The Tick animated show in syndication convinced Fox to create a live-action, much more adult-oriented version in 2001, written by Ben Edlund, starring Patrick Warburton of Seinfeld fame, with a pilot by the director of Men In Black, Barry Sonnenfeld.
Unfortunately, Fox didn’t promote the show very well, and despite decent costumes, casting, and writing, the network yanked it after only 8 episodes. We barely got to know The Tick, Arthur, and their new compadres Captain Liberty and Batmanuel before they were gone.
Nearly two decades would pass before another generation would be introduced to The Tick. In August 2016, Amazon Prime Video aired its last annual batch of original programming pilots, including one of The Tick, putting them to public vote. The pilot with the most votes would be made into a series. Twelve long months later, the winner was revealed, when a half-season (six episodes) of The Tick premiered in August 2017. Another half-season was released the following February.
Since the same creators were involved in this version of The Tick, the new show had a similar look and feel to the 2001 effort, but with higher production values, costumes, effects, and a retro cool theme song and opening credits. This time, the Big Blue Fist of Justice was portrayed in an equally goofy, childlike manner by Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy). However, now The Tick had no memory of who he was or where he came from. All that remained was his positive outlook and hunger for battle. The search for his origins would become a recurring subplot.
The Tick’s sidekick was still Arthur the Moth, played by Griffin Newman, and the main villain was still The Terror, brilliantly played by Jackie Earle Haley (Rorshach from Watchmen), who added nice continuity to the 2001 series by emulating the villain’s raspy voice.
Welcome differences were the emphasis on Arthur as the series’ focus, a cool subplot regarding the high-tech, tactical nature of his Moth suit, and his mental health struggles caused by a traumatic childhood event involving The Terror. There was more in-depth character development and familial relationships, especially between Arthur and The Tick, and Arthur and his concerned sister Dot…and even between The Terror and his henchperson, Ms. Lint, whose embarrassing but potent superpower is static electricity.
When we last saw them at the end of Season 1, The Terror was freeze-breathed, Lint was escaping in a lowercase T, Arthur had mastered his supersuit, and The Tick’s search for self was still ongoing.
The trailer for season 2 promises new heroes, new villains, and more of Overkill’s randy A.I. (voiced by Alan Tudyk). To quote The Tick, Season 2 will be a big “spree of evil…a SPREEVIL!” Tune in to Amazon Prime Video on April 5 to binge all 10 episodes.
First Comic Appearance: New England Comics Newsletter #14
Most Recent Comic Appearance: The Tick Series 8 (2011)