another example of working through my backlog, I went and
found myself a copy of The Tick Omnibus that collects
the first six issues of the hilarious superhero send up written
and drawn by Ben Edlund.
are like me, the better part of your pre-adolescent (and,
being honest, plenty of my adolescent) Saturdays was spent
watching cartoons. My first introduction to The Tick was actually
the Saturday morning cartoon of the same name. My weekends
were filled with oxygen depriving belly-laughs, thanks mainly
to this show. I even got dear old dad, a man who has never
been a fan of cartoons, to laugh like a madman while watching
an overly muscular arachnid in a blue suit fight crime and
jump off buildings.
my surprise when I found out that The Tick was the star of
not only the small screen, but also the small press. Did I
buy it? Well, of course I did. You're reading a review on
it. Geeez. Let's move on .
has several distinct differences from the cartoon: one of
which being that The Tick of the comic books is an escaped
mental patient (who just happens to be nigh-invulnerable and
super strong, so how did they get that straight jacket on
him?). As one would guess, the padded rubber room is quite
boring, so Tick decides to go off and defend the world from
the scummy underbelly of crime.
five chapters involve The Tick getting embroiled in one comic
superhero parody after another, and it never disappoints.
The Tick stumbles across someone who he believes might help
him learn a thing or two about secret identities: Clark Oppenheimer,
mild-mannered reporter. Edlund does the best satire of the
Superman mythos I have ever read. The joke between the Perry
White and Jimmy Olsen clones is one that turned me purple
and almost made me reach for my medic alert pendant. Watch
as The Tick tries to ape Clark's style and watch further for
Clark go totally insane and murderous. An excerpt:
rendering Clark's car into basin-like shape: Clark! Hi! Look! I made you and ashtray!
Clark: I'm I'm going to kill you!
adventures include The Tick running into an Edlund-esque Elektra
clone, a samurai named Paul, and his future sidekick Arthur
(though the Arthur of the comics seems to favor the late night
drive through window at Wendy's a touch more than TV Arthur).
And oh my great aunt Macy, there's a "Billion Zillion
Ninjas" in this story.
may be something funnier than a group of ninjas standing around,
holding twigs, and telling passerby that they are, in fact
a hedge and not a group of ninja warriors, and that they should
"move along." I have yet to find such a thing.
superhero and comic book cliché Edlund satirizes he
makes funny as hell, but he also pokes fun at other mediums:
Japanese martial arts films, detective shows, and even classic
American artwork. Edlund is a fine writer and has almost accomplished
a voiding-of-my-bladder with his tight humor and damn excellent
visual comedy. Edlund has found several different jobs since
he stopped production on The Tick comics (most notably, Edlund
reworked The Tick as short-lived live
action TV show, as well as having written episodes for
Joss Whedon's Angel
and wonderful-but-cancelled Firefly).
comic is different from the cartoon is a benefit, as the comic
features entirely new stories, characters and situations for
Tick to THRASH MIGHTILY while still making it accessible for
those of us who met the Tick by way of the idiot box. I'm
not sure of the availability of this comic.
New England Comics Press is still up and running (and selling
a glut of Tick related comics and items) I don't see the first
omnibus listed on the site. This may be a bargain bin diver
or an e-bay treasure, but its list price is $13.95 for anyone
hoping to pay full price. (Who are these sick and twisted
this comic, if for no other reason to balance out all the
deconstructionist superhero material on your bookshelf. Nothing
evens the scales against angst and reconstituted comic book
origins than an old fashioned parody.