Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Tick - A Wonderful, Often Abused Character

Growing up watching the once-exceptional programming available through Fox Kids, I was gifted with the immense pleasure of viewing an animated adaptation of Ben Edlund's "The Tick." I found it to be an intensely hilarious cartoon, one which kept me coming back every time it was scheduled to air. Then suddenly one day, like so many animated beauties of my youth, it disappeared from my little cartoon-loving world, removed from the lineup by the big heads of the Fox Network.

Driven by fanboy grief at the loss and anxious to once again view the attention-capturing series, I began to actively seek out anything I could find tied to "The Tick." Though my search was often hindered by a child's lack of income and indifferent parents, I was eventually able to locate and purchase a two episode VHS from the series. That find eased my eager mind for a while as I found myself watching and rewatching it as often as I could.

As I grew, my appreciation for the character continued to live on until I eventually, luckily, chanced upon copies of the original comic book series (the native medium of "The Tick," for those who don't know). Those marvelous black and white stories of The City's brown-then-blue hero introduced me to a different side of the character and his world, entertaining me just as much if not more than the animated series. I bought up what I could when I could, but the seed that was planted when I first viewed the animated series as a child still drove me to cry for more.

Eventually an incredible and unforeseen event occurred which proved to be as wonderful to my Tick-craving nerd brain as the discovery of the comic series. Fox proved that they were not quite finished with the character, and in 2001 the studio made the move to spring a warmly welcomed live action series on The Tick's fanbase, starring the perfectly cast Patrick Warburton as "Big Blue." Unfortunately, after a mere nine spectacular episodes they took that away from us, as well. Considering this tragedy and other noteable cancellations, it began to seem like the executives at Fox had it out for my beloved interests.

They say that good things come to those who wait, though, and when Buena Vista Home Entertainment deigned to gift Tick fans with their beloved cartoon on DVD I found great validity in that saying. Naturally I rushed out to buy the first season when it hit store shelves. Taking it home I dove into the episodes as soon as I could, but a horrible discovery served to cheapen the blessing of my sudden access to a whole lot of animated Tick. An asterisk on the DVD's episode listing, which marked an omitted episode, began an irritation which was exacerbated by a similar notation in the episode listing of the soon-after released Season Two DVD. For some unknown reason Buena Vista released the first two seasons of the show with each collection sporting the scar of an omitted episode.

To this day I have not found a sufficient explanation for this omission. I've searched message boards and comment sections on various websites. I've read statements from individuals responsible for the production of the animated series. No one who has written of this terrible slight seems to know why the fans were cheated. To make matters worse the distributor does not currently have plans to release any episodes from the third season on DVD. Till the time of this writing the wait continues. Buena Vista or anyone with the power to affect the production of a complete series DVD release of The Tick, if you're reading this, please, please release a complete series collection, unedited if possible. Please?!

Regardless, it's been a wonderful ride these many years. I've been fortunate to discover such an inspiring and hilarious world with its plethora of bizarre characters during a time when my creative mind was fertile and needed exposure to such things. Ben Edlund's work on The Tick has been something I've happily followed, and I'll continue to follow it for the rest of my life. Here's hoping we get some new Tick soon!

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