The Tick

The Tick has made an awfully long journey from being a
page-filling gag strip in the back of comics store
newsletter. Showing marked similarity to the Roach
character from Cerebus was a deluded man as superhero.
He is not deluded about being a superhero — he is a
superstrong (in a tensile sense, rather than a lifting sense) superheavyweight in a funky blue suit.
He is not deluded about whether danger lurks. And yet,
despite living in a world of supervillain chairs and
unlikely ninjas, he still manages to picture this
abstract world as odder than it is.

The new Tick TV series (the second attempt at one;
the animated series of a few years back became a cult
favorite) is quite true to the source comic books.
This comes as little surprise, as Tick creator Ben
Edlund is very much involved in the new version, writing
the pilot and filling an executive producer chair to
boot. And yet, the mundane scenes in the larger-than-life
world of The Tick are difficult to capture in a live
action show.

The TV show is an earnest attempt. They’ve spent the
money to get Patrick Warburton, one of only two
actors I can think of us being suited to the title roll
(the other being Bruce Campbell.) The pilot episode
was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who has directed
two comics-based Addams Family films and two
comics-based Men In Black films.

I can’t review this fairly. I liked Edlund’s original
comic book so much that I’m judging this off of how well
it recreates that work, rather than judging it on its
own merits. As a recreation, it’s a good attempt,but
somehow off. I think it misses the big silences that
filled the air when I read the comic. It’s odd how
pacing can seem so real in a comic, when the passages
of time are all in the mind of the reader. This had real
style, a clear worldview, and lots of moments, but I
still missed the timing of the comics.

But I’ll still keep watching it, see if I can invest
myself in this version of The Tick. There is certainly
a lot to recommend this show… but the real star of
it is Arthur, Tick’s sidekick. An accountant who felt
that he needed to let loose his inner superhero,
Arthur is finding that its easy to elevate himself
to the level of hero, but disappointed because he
discovers that “superhero” is a lower rank of humanity
than he had imagined. Good casting, funny moments
as The Tick narrates his own life (not as a voiceover,
he’s narrating in real time), and Arthur add up to
a fair amount of worthwhile material here.

Besides, Fox has scheduled this at 8:30 Thursday,
filling the dead zone on NBC’s Thursday schedule.
It’ll give me something to watch.

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Published in: on November 8, 2001 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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