Thursday, April 11, 2013

365 Comics...101: The Tick's Big Father's Day Special (2000)

The first time I ever saw The Tick, he was storming through a handful of ninjas half his size in a New England Comics ad on the back of a Predator comic circa 1990.  I had no idea what this character was or was about but remained intrigued for a very, very long time. I bought the first issue of Chroma-Tick (the full-colour reprint of of Ben Edlund's original stories) in 1992 and I didn't get it.  That it was a comedy kind of came as a surprise.  I had planned to continue buying Chroma-Tick just to get a better sense of what the book and the character were, but at the time $3.95 ($4.95+ Canadian) was too much. I remember seeing the Tick cartoon once or twice when it first aired, but, again, I  Also, I thought the animation was...kind of bad.  I didn't get it.

I let the Tick rest, for years, up and until the live action series, which, to me, was incredible.  I understand why it didn't last, I understand why it was cancelled early, I understand why the general public didn't take to it.  They just didn't get it.  I could have done with two or three more seasons of Patrick Warburton and company (friends who were Tick "purists" -- and by purists they were generally only fans of the cartoons since the comics were still kind of obscure --  didn't like the changes in the series... Die Fliedermaus became Batmanuel, American Maid became Miss Liberty, the Tick's face more exposed...superficial changes, sexual innuendo was probably the biggest addition to the show).

After the live-action, I quickly learned what I could about The Tick and his background, about New England Comics and about Ben Edlund.  I wanted to get into Tick comics, but I was so far behind, and I wanted to start at the beginning.  For the longest time I just never got around to catching up.  Luckily for me, my wife came to me with original trades on her bookshelf and a few additional floppies that certainly satiated my interest and curiosity about the character.  I didn't delve much deeper than Karma Tornado, as Edlund went on to other better-paying things than comics (writing, directing, producing -- Firefly, Supernatural).  I dunno, I have it in my head that it's a creator-driven character (even though the non-Edlund Tick stuff outnumbers the Edlund-created stuff like 20 to 1 at this point) and that it's not as worthwhile without Edlund, kind of like Community just isn't the same without Dan Harmon at the helm, like a faded image of itself.

Anyway, when the Tick cartoon came out on DVD, I bought them, I watched them, and it was only in concentrated viewing that I started to appreciate it.  Via my stepson's keen interest in the show, I've watched them even more, and I like them even more.  A few month's back my daughter (not yet 4) caught an episode and has become kind of obsessed (not as obsessed as she is with Samurai Jack and DC Super Pets and Octonauts, more on a second-tier Monsters Inc, Hulk and Muppets level obsessed).  So when the wife and I took the kids to the most recent Toronto Comic-Con, I told the kids they could each get a comic (since I was getting, I dunno, 20 or so).  My daughter's pick was a $2 Tick comic, and after a lot of "no that one. No, that one" we settled on this one, the "Big Father's Day Special" (by no influence of my own, I was kind of touched).

So we finally get around to reading it.  The art is decent but not inspired (why isn't the Tick always in color... he really needs to be in color), thankfully the story is kind of fun.  Kid-Tick is introduced and, because he's neglected by his e-trading dad and career-focused mother, he wants to become the Tick's ward.  Of course he sees Arthur as an obstacle and begins sabotaging the sidekick.  It has it's fun moments but they're overshadowed by a couple derivative points which remind me why I don't read the new Tick stories with any regularity (or at all really).  A story like this actually would have played better longer-term, as a mini-series (or as a part of a regular series), really playing out the antagonism between Arthur and Kid-Tick, delving deeper into the dark comedy of his homestead and more of the cliched parenting moments from the Tick.

No comments: