Vote Tick for President!
So obviously superheroes are kind of my jam, but there wasn't always room in my life for the bloody, gritty, dourless heroes we are currently being inundated with in cineplexes worldwide.
No, there was a simpler, more innocent time, known as "childhood," when superheroes could actually do no wrong, were bright and colorful, smiled more than occasionally, and could even be known to - say it ain't so - make us laugh.
So it was with The Tick, a comic-book-turned-television smash that was turning the superhero genre on its head at the same time Watchmen was coming out, and long before Kick-Ass, Super, and others attempted to do the same. For instance: in the series, The Tick gets assigned to protect The City after he crashes the national superhero convention in Reno, Nevada. That kind of knowing wink to the genre and fan culture surrounding it is emblematic of The Tick's humor.
I loved The Tick, in all his big blue bumblingness, and his neurotic sidekick, Arthur. I did a book review of a Tick short story collection in fourth grade. I read his weekly advice column in Nickelodeon Magazine. I'm sure I didn't get all of the references to established Marvel and DC heroes, but I sure got the overall joke: The Tick was a well-meaning, over-zealous crusader for justice in The City, but Arthur was often the real brains behind the operation.
After a highly successful (at least to me, what did I know about what makes a TV show successful in those days?!) animated series that ran from 1994-1997, and a highly unsuccessful live-action adaptation starring Patrick Warburton that lasted only nine episodes both aired on Fox, Amazon has now thrown its hat into the ring by bringing us another live-action adaptation.
Only the pilot is available right now, but in just 30 minutes, I can already tell that Amazon is trying, like all superhero retreads these days, to make this version a little more grounded in reality. The tone is a bit more serious and darker, as the pilot focuses almost solely on Arthur (Griffin Newman), obsessively searching for the supervillain that he believes still lurks behind The City's government. Arthur had a traumatic event he witnessed in his childhood, and he's undeniably more unbalanced than I remember him being. But maybe that's what it takes for a person to dress up in an elaborate costume and think they can take justice into their own hands. His sister Dot (Valorie Curry) worries that he is really losing his grip as he hears voices and sees things that aren't there. In his searching, Arthur comes across The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), the one person who might believe him, and the pair form an unlikely bond.
The pilot, executive produced by Ben Edlund, who created The Tick, and directed by Wally Pfister of The Dark Night Trilogy and Inception fame (he has been Nolan's cinematographer for decades), is uneven and oddly constructed to say the least. But it looks beautiful, and it still maintains the same oddball humor that made The Tick endearing when I was a kid. They are clearly going for a season arc, which is exciting, and I definitely think it's high time this character deserves his live-action adaptation beyond nine episodes. And I think you should help me make it happen.