The Tick (1994 TV series)
The Tick is an American animated television series adaptation of the New England Comics satirical superhero The Tick. The series aired for three seasons from 1994 to 1996 on the Fox network's Fox Kids block, which introduced the character to a mainstream audience. The Tick has been syndicated by various networks, further increasing the show's cult following, and has been released on both VHS and DVD. A live-action series aired in 2001, with Amazon launching a second live-action series in 2016.
|Created by||Ben Edlund|
|Based on||The Tick|
by Ben Edlund
|Voices of||Micky Dolenz (1994–95)|
Rob Paulsen (1995–96)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||36|
|Executive producer(s)||Joe Bacall |
|Running time||30 minutes (including commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Sunbow Entertainment|
Fox Children's Productions
|Distributor||20th Television (formerly)|
Saban International (currently)
|Original network||Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox Kids)|
|Original release||September 10, 1994 –|
November 24, 1996
The Tick was also shown on Teletoon in Canada as part of its Toonaholics Anonymous block in 2001 and on Jetix in the United States. The show was aired in the UK on BBC2 at various time slots between 1995-1996.
The Tick is a superhero who underwent the tryouts at the National Super Institute in Reno, Nevada where superheroes who pass will be assigned to the best cities to protect from crime. Upon passing the tryouts, he is assigned to The City where he befriends a former accountant named Arthur whom he takes on as a sidekick.
With the aid of Die Fledermaus, American Maid, Sewer Urchin, and other superheroes, the Tick and Arthur protect The City from bad guys like Chairface Chippendale, Breadmaster, El Seed, The Terror, and others who would harm it.
Principal voice actorsEdit
- Cam Clarke – Die Fledermaus, Fishboy, Johnny Polite
- Townsend Coleman – The Tick, Lava Man, Man-Eating Cow, Eyebrows Mulligan
- Micky Dolenz – Arthur (Season 1), Captain Lemming
- Jess Harnell – Sewer Urchin, Breadmaster (2nd Time), Human Bullet, Mighty Agrippa: Roman God of the Aqueduct, Speak, Sub-Human, Watt
- Kay Lenz – American Maid
- Rob Paulsen – Arthur (Season 2 and Season 3), Brainchild (1st Time), Crusading Chameleon, Captain Mucilage, The Forehead, The Terror
Notable additional voice castEdit
- Phil Austin – Wally, Two-Eyed Jack
- Mary Kay Bergman – Ants, Ottoman, Secretary
- Hamilton Camp – Professor Chromedome, Benjamin Franklin
- Jim Cummings – Barry Hubris, Captain Decency, Mr. Mental, Multiple Santa, Stalingrad, Thrakkorzog, Leonardo da Vinci, Attila The Hun
- Ron Feinberg – Omnipotus, Mayor
- Pat Fraley – The Carpeted Man, The Crease (2nd Time), Mayor Blank, Dyna-Mole, Eastern-Bloc Robot Cowboy, Stalingrad, The Visual Eye, Whirling Scottish Devil, Zipperneck
- Brad Garrett – Jim Rage, Inquisitor
- Ed Gilbert – Bi-Polar Bear, El Seed, Idea Man, Indigestible Man, Johannes Gutenberg
- Dorian Harewood – Pineapple Pokopo, Taft, George Washington Carver
- Tony Jay – Chairface Chippendale
- Maurice LaMarche – Doorman, The Deadly Bulb/Pigleg, The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight, Fin, Hotel Manager, The Human Ton, Handy
- Roddy McDowall – The Breadmaster
- Pat Musick – The Bee Twins, Mad Nanny, Tuun-La
- Phil Proctor – Courderoy Cordoba, Fortissimo Brothers, Charles' Father
- Kimmy Robertson – Dot
- Roger Rose – Four-Legged Man, Skippy, Brian Pinhead
- Kevin Schon – The Red Herring, Baby Boomerangutan, Big Shot, The Crease (1st Time), Feral Boy, Jack Tuber: Man of a Thousand Faces, The Living Doll, Plunger Man, Proto Clown, Uncle Creamy II
- Susan Blu - Voice Director
- Art Vitello - Voice Director (Season 1; Episodes 7-13)
Development and productionEdit
While still in college, Tick creator Ben Edlund was producing his independent comic book series The Tick based on the character. He was eventually approached by Kiscom, a small, New Jersey-based toy licensing and design company. Kiscom wanted to merchandise The Tick, much in the way that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a rival independent comic series, had been merchandised the previous year. Major TV networks and studios were reluctant to take on an animated series based on the absurd character. Kiscom stayed in touch with Edlund and finally Sunbow Entertainment, the small, New York-based animation company that created The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and The Mask, paired him up with writer Richard Liebmann-Smith. Neither had any experience in animation or television, but for two months they worked vigorously on the first episode of The Tick. Neither man held high esteem for their final script, and their feelings were validated when FOX turned down the first pitch. They were given one more chance to refine it in five days. Over one weekend, they worked "instinctively" with little sleep and ended up satisfying FOX. Edlund later reflected, "We kind of defined in one weekend exactly where the show went for that first season, which was cool."
While some darker characters and sexual innuendo seen in the comic series would be removed for its animated counterpart, Sunbow's Tick series would hold to its satirical roots. Writing duties were also given to Christopher McCulloch who had met Edlund prior to their television work and wrote several issues of the Tick comic book series. They would much later work together on McCulloch's Adult Swim series, The Venture Bros.. Edlund, a co-producer of The Tick, remained very hands-on during production, causing delays. According to Edlund:
There was a period where I was extremely attentive to everything that had to be solved, and these efforts ultimately made the show a year late. I saw the storyboards that were being done and realized that if The Tick were animated off of those, it would fall apart. It would be a shadow of what it is now, which is something that isn't massively successful, but has this real staying power. So now instead of looking like bad '90s animation, it kind of looks like bad '70s superhero animation, which definitely has a unique style about it.
The Tick finally premiered on September 10, 1994 and was a success. Edlund later expressed his view that, because the series did not reach the commercial heights of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its merchandising success deteriorated by the end of its first season. However, he admitted "That's essentially good as far as I'm concerned; although, I would be much more wealthy at this point. That failure, to me, makes The Tick a much more sincere proposal."
Rather than being an asylum escapee, as portrayed in the Tick comic book series, the animated version of The Tick crashes a superhero convention to win the "protectorship" of The City. With its emphasis on superhero parody, The Tick became a Saturday morning staple during the Fox Kids block. Its title character was voiced by Townsend Coleman and his sidekick, Arthur, by Micky Dolenz for Season 1. Rob Paulsen took over the latter role for Seasons 2 and 3. The series also features exclusive allies to the Tick like Die Fledermaus, a shallow, self-absorbed Batman parody; Sewer Urchin, a sea urchin-themed Aquaman parody who resembles Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man; and American Maid, a more noble superheroine featuring aspects of Wonder Woman and Captain America.
The show's opening theme, written by Doug Katsaros, who also composed the scores for every episode, consists of big band music and campy scat singing. A typical episode plot would have The Tick battling a villain until Arthur devises a solution that saves the day. The Tick then declares an absurd moral regarding the previous conflict before the story comes to a close. Although the series was initially aimed primarily at children, it features an absurdist style that appeals to an older audience as well.
After three seasons, The Tick's final episode aired November 24, 1996. The following year, FOX began talks with Sunbow Entertainment about producing a prime time Tick special, but this never came to fruition. Comedy Central syndicated The Tick during this time and subsequently helped make it a cult hit with adults. In May 2000, the pilot episode for a live action series of The Tick was completed. FOX attempted to capitalize on the growing adult fan base by introducing this new incarnation in November 2001, but the series couldn't match the success of its animated predecessor.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||September 10, 1994||February 11, 1995|
|2||13||September 9, 1995||February 17, 1996|
|3||10||September 14, 1996||November 24, 1996|
Season 1 (1994–95)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"The Tick vs. The Idea Men"||Sue Peters, John Kafka and Russel Mooney||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 10, 1994||101|
The Tick moves to The City and meets Arthur, convincing him to become his partner in the battle against evil.Villain: The Idea Men
|2||"The Tick vs. Chairface Chippendale"||Sue Peters, John Kafka and Russel Mooney||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 17, 1994||102|
The Tick attempts to thwart Chairface Chippendale's plan to commit the "Crime of the Century": using a powerful heat ray to write his name across the face of the moon.Villain: Chairface Chippendale
|3||"The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil"||Sue Peters, John Kafka and Russel Mooney||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 24, 1994||103|
Dinosaur Neil, chief paleontologist at a dig known as "Dinosaur Grotto", is attempting to grow a fully functional dinosaur from tissues found in fossils. After accidentally ingesting some of the culture he mutates into a 70-foot-tall (21 m), 180-ton dinosaur and goes on a rampage across The City.Villain: Dinosaur Neil
|4||"The Tick vs. Mr. Mental"||Sue Peters, John Kafka and Russel Mooney||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 1, 1994||104|
The evil Mr. Mental takes control of The Tick's mind and forces him to steal the Thinking Cap, a device which will give Mr. Mental the "powers of the gods".Villain: Mr. Mental
|5||"The Tick vs. The Breadmaster"||Sue Peters, John Kafka and Russel Mooney||Ben Edlund, Richard Liebmann-Smith and Martin Pasko||October 8, 1994||105|
A villain known as The Breadmaster orders large quantities of baking supplies to build the sinister City-Smothering Lemon Soufflé.Villain: Breadmaster
|6||"The Tick vs. El Seed"||Sue Peters||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 15, 1994||106|
The insane El Seed uses his powers over plants to enact revenge on all animal life. To battle him, the Tick and Arthur join forces with The Civic-Minded Five: Captain Mucilage, The Carpeted Man, Feral Boy, 4-Legged Man and Jungle Janet.Villain: El Seed
|7||"The Tick vs. The Tick"||Art Vitello||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 22, 1994||107|
The Tick battles with Barry Hubris, a wannabe superhero who also calls himself "The Tick", over rights to the name. Meanwhile, The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight plans to blow up the Comet Club.Villains: Barry "The Tick" Hubris and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight
|8||"The Tick vs. The Uncommon Cold"||Art Vitello||Henry Gilroy||October 29, 1994||108|
The Tick has a cold, which affects his ability to overcome the alien invader Thrakkorzog, who plots to take over the Earth with an army of evil Tick clones.Villain: Thrakkorzog
|9||"The Tick vs. Brainchild"||Art Vitello||Art Vitello and Ben Edlund||November 5, 1994||109|
Brainchild (aka Charles) wants to use his Mega-Devastator Multi-Cannon to make his mark on the earth, with the moon.Villain: Brainchild
|10||"The Tick vs. Pineapple Pokopo"||Art Vitello||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||November 12, 1994||110|
The Tick, Arthur, and American Maid are sent to Pokoponesia to rescue Yank, a hyperintelligent astronaut monkey, from the evil dictator Pineapple Pokopo.Villain: Pineapple Pokopo
|11||"The Tick vs. The Mole-Men"||Art Vitello||Christopher McCulloch||November 19, 1994||111|
The Tick and Arthur play host to a group of Mole-Men and their King (not included on US DVD set "The Tick vs. Season One" for legal reasons).Villain: Lava Man
|12||"The Tick vs. The Proto-Clown"||Art Vitello||Henry Gilroy||February 4, 1995||112|
The Tick and Arthur return to The City from a trip to discover the genetically engineered Proto-Clown terrorizing the city. The Tick is knocked into his own mind, for a journey of discovery.Villain: Proto Clown
|13||"The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account"||Art Vitello||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||February 11, 1995||113|
The Terror meets The Tick for the first time, and tries to take over The City.
Villain: The TerrorNote This episode marks the official debut of The Tick's catchphrase "Spoon!"
Season 2 (1995–96)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|14||"The Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 9, 1995||214|
|Arthur ditches the Tick on Hobby Night to go on a date with Carmelita, so Tick builds himself a new wooden sidekick. Meanwhile Swiss Industrial Spies are after Dr. Vatos' notebook.|
|15||"Alone Together"||Hank Tucker||Chris McCulloch||September 16, 1995||215|
|The Tick is sent to the moon to revert Chairface Chippendale's attempt to write his name on it. He ends up blasting through space on Omnipotus (a parody of Galactus), while The City believes the blue hero is dead. (This episode was not included on the US DVD set "The Tick vs. Season 2," although it was included on the UK DVD set.)|
|16||"Armless but Not Harmless"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 23, 1995||216|
|Tick and Arthur's arms get removed and attached to crude look-a-likes to work for the evil Venus and Milo.|
|17||"Coach Fussell's Lament"||Hank Tucker||Pippin Parker and Andy Yerkes||September 30, 1995||219|
|Brainchild uses his baby-sitter, The Mad Nanny, to capture The Tick and turn him into a bird to match his brain.|
|18||"Leonardo da Vinci and His Fightin' Genius Time Commandos!"||Hank Tucker||Michael Rubiner||October 7, 1995||218|
|A villain called the Mother of Invention travels back in time to kidnap history's greatest inventors and plants a bomb in the Renaissance so the world will revert to the dark ages, allowing him to re-invent everything and claim credit.|
|19||"Bloomsday"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 21, 1995||220|
|The return of El Seed with his newest monster Rosebud.|
|20||"Evil Sits Down for a Moment"||Hank Tucker||Jed Spingarn||November 4, 1995||221|
|A villain known as the Ottoman tries to marry and corrupt Die Fledermaus to take over The City together.|
|21||"Heroes"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Randolph Heard||November 11, 1995||222|
|A camera crew follows The Tick and Arthur for a day of crime fighting.|
|22||"Ants in Pants!"||Hank Tucker||Ralph Soll||November 18, 1995||223|
|The Tick checks himself into Captain Sanity's Superhero Sanitorium, letting a large colony of ants capture the other superheroes and lock them into a giant people farm.|
|23||"The Tick Loves Santa!"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||November 25, 1995||217|
|A small-time bank robber, dressed as Santa, is chased into an electric billboard, giving him miraculous powers to multiply, becoming the evil Multiple Santa.|
|24||"Tick vs. The Big Nothing"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||February 3, 1996||224|
|The Whats, an alien race, kidnap The Tick and Arthur to thwart their enemies, the Heys, from destroying the universe.|
|25||"Tick vs. Reno, Nevada"||Hank Tucker||Pippin Parker and Andy Yerkes||February 10, 1996||225|
|While performing in Reno, former performing dolphin The Fin (AKA Mr. Smarty Pants) plans to bury Reno with his Fish Magnet. Arthur and Tick come to the rescue only to find that Tick has a gambling problem.|
|26||"Grandpa Wore Tights"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||February 17, 1996||226|
|An aging Terror sends his somewhat villainous son Terry to recover his Desire-O-Vac from the aging Decency Squad.|
Season 3 (1996)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|27||"That Mustache Feeling"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Christopher McCulloch||September 14, 1996||327|
|The Tick wakes up with a mustache, only to find out that it has a mind of its own. Not to mention Jim Rage is after it.|
|28||"Tick vs. Dot and Neil's Wedding"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||September 21, 1996||329|
|Dot and Dinosaur Neil are to get married, but Chairface's new henchman, The Indigestible Man, messes with Neil's medication, causing him to mutate into a dinosaur again.|
|29||"Sidekicks Don't Kiss"||Hank Tucker||Richard Liebmann-Smith and Christopher McCulloch||September 28, 1996||330|
|While on a date with Carmelita, Arthur is kidnapped by the Deertown Aztecs. The Tick teams up with Carmelita to find and rescue Arthur and, in the process, gets a pet capybara named Speak.|
|30||"Tick vs. Arthur"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 5, 1996||332|
|Arthur confiscates a belt capable of enlarging its wearer's muscles from a new super-villain known as Baron Violent, and, tired of being out of shape, decides to keep it. Along with his muscles, the belt increases the size of his ego, leading him to challenge The Tick.|
|31||"Devil in Diapers"||Hank Tucker||Randolph Heard and Christopher McCulloch||October 6, 1996||328|
Mr. Mental, disguised as a baby, hides in the Tick and Arthur's apartment while working on a super-weapon.Note: This episode premiered on Comedy Central.
|32||"Tick vs. Filth"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith||October 26, 1996||331|
|The Tick and Arthur gain a newfound respect for the Sewer Urchin, who shines beneath the streets of The City as SewerCzar unleashes an army of intelligent Filth.|
|33||"Tick vs. Europe"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith|
Story Concept by: Eric Stangel & Justin Stangel
|November 2, 1996||333|
|The Tick is sent to Antwerp, Belgium on a superhero exchange program with the sidekick Blitzen to battle Octo Paganini and the Eastern Bloc Robot Cowboy while his Belgian counterpart Eclair helps Arthur deal with the Breadmaster.|
|34||"Tick vs. Science"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund, Richard Liebmann-Smith and Christopher McCulloch||November 9, 1996||335|
|Professor Chromedome strikes at a Mad Science Fair, and chaos erupts when he uses a mind-swapping machine to cover his escape. Arthur finally manages to kiss Carmelita, only to find out that The Tick's mind is in Carmelita's body.|
|35||"Tick vs. Prehistory"||Hank Tucker||Randolph Heard||November 16, 1996||334|
|The Tick and Arthur travel back in time over three million years, join a tribe of Australopithecines and work in a restaurant for time travelers from the distant, distant future.|
|36||"Tick vs. Education"||Hank Tucker||Ben Edlund and Richard Liebmann-Smith|
Story Concept by: Eric Stangel & Justin Stangel
|November 24, 1996||336|
In the series finale, The Tick and Arthur become teacher and teacher's aid at an Extension Class for people who want to become superheroes. While on a field trip, they encounter Uncle Creamy, a disgruntled former employee of an ice cream company on a mission.Note: This episode premiered on Comedy Central.
On August 29, 2006, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the first season of The Tick on DVD as The Tick vs. Season One. This collection contains only 12 of the 13 episodes. On May 31, 2006, Disney released the following statement regarding the missing episode: "Due to licensing problems, episode #11 ("The Tick vs. The Mole Men") is not included. However, we hope to include it in future DVD releases of The Tick". The UK edition of the first season, released the following year, presented all 13 episodes.
The second season of The Tick, entitled The Tick vs. Season Two, was released on August 7, 2007. This DVD release is not the complete set, however, as it is missing the episode "Alone Together." This episode features Omnipotus, a parody of Galactus (though earlier episodes used similar comic book parodies, and are available on the DVD releases). In the August 6, 2006 entry of his blog, Christopher McCulloch, the writer for all of the omitted episodes, states that he does not know the reason for the exclusion of episode #11 from the Season 1 DVD. The UK edition contains all 13 season 2 episodes.
In the UK, Liberation Entertainment Ltd. released all three seasons, complete with no missing episodes and all presented uncut and unedited.
During its original run, The Tick was nominated for several Annie Awards as well as Emmys and, in 1995, won two of the former. In March 2008, Wizard magazine ranked The Tick #16 on its Top 100 Greatest Cartoons. In January 2009, IGN ranked The Tick #6 on its Top 100 Animated Series list. IGN went on to regard it "the first great lampooning of the superhero genre" and compared the series to Mel Brooks and Monty Python.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1995||Best Individual Achievement for Creative Supervision in the Field of Animation||Ben Edlund (co-producer)||Won|
|Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation||Ben Edlund, Richard Liebmann-Smith for "The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account"||Won|
|Best Animated Television Program||The Tick||Nominated|
|1997||Best Animated TV Program||The Tick||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting by a Male Performer in a TV Production||Townsend Coleman for playing The Tick||Nominated|
|1996||Outstanding in Animation||Andres Nieves, Claude Denis, Phillip Kim, David Manners, Richard Liebmann-Smith, Susan Blu, Larry Latham, Elaine Hultgren, Chuck Harvey, Christopher McCulloch, Hank Tucker and Ben Edlund||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Editing - Special Class||Marty Stein, David John West, Rick Hinson, Anthony Torretto, Chris Fradkin and Terry Reiff||Nominated|
|1997||Outstanding Sound Mixing - Special Class||Stuart Calderon, Deb Adair, John Boyd and David John West||Nominated|
While the Tick comic book series included some extras, such as trading cards, merchandising of The Tick increased dramatically with the launch of the animated series. Action figures, pogs, T-shirts, hats, party favors, costumes, and a board game were representative. In addition, many fast food restaurant chains such as Carl's Jr. and Taco Bell offered Tick-related give-aways.
Fox Interactive also published a beat 'em up video game based on the animated series and released it on the Super NES and Sega Genesis. The game was criticized for having very long stages with ridiculous hordes of generic enemies to combat and a nonsensical ending.
In 1997, the year following the series' end, Greg Hyland's The Tick: Mighty Blue Justice! was published as a tie-in with the series.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 848–849. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Reber, Deborah Tick Fever Endures: Ben Edlund Talks About the Evolution of Everyone's Favorite Blue Superhero Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.4 (July 1997). Retrieved on 5-16-09.
- "TVShowsOnDVD.com - Goodbye". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-31.
- "TVShowsOnDVD.com - Goodbye". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-11.
- Wizard Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Cartoons TheComicForums.com (March 25, 2008). Retrieved on 5-16-09.
- "Video Game News, Reviews, and Walkthroughs - IGN.com". Archived from the original on 2009-02-12.
- The Tick Official Website for The Tick cartoon
- The Tick: Circus Maximus, NEC Comics, 2004.
- The Tick: Mighty Blue Justice!, Hyland, Greg, Berkley Boulevard Books, New York, 1997
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