The animated series The Tick, which ran on the Fox network from 1994 to 1997, gleefully captured the irreverence of the original comicbook. The non-sequiters, the tight parody of already nearly self-parodic superheroes, and the extremely well-timed jokes could all also be found in the twelve issues of The Tick, begun in 1986 by a teenage Ben Edlund, who would write all twelve issues as well as doing the lion’s share of the artwork. But going back over those twelve issues now (all of which are now available from NEC in one handsome paperback edition as The Tick: The Complete Edlund), there is one key element to Edlund’s original series that seems to be missing from all other incarnations of the Tick, whether those be animated, live-action TV shows, or indeed comics by other creators. That element is boredom.
The Tick is an insane idiot, locked safely away in a mental health clinic. But he is bored. So he breaks out. That simple. What could be more exciting, what could be a greater antidote for fighting boredom than fighting crime? That is all the Tick is really after. And he goes after it with gusto, acquiring a disguise (consisting of only a “hypnotic” tie over his garish blue unitard) and an alter-ego by working at the local newspaper office (which is, of course, the day job of choice for the urban superhero on the go).