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The TickThe Tick vs. Season Two on DVD

By Christopher Bray

The Tick is one of those comics/cartoons that most people either love or hate.  It's simultaneously retarded, and retarded-ly funny, one of those shows that aims to entertain at the expense of all else, and takes place in a warped parody of the usual Marvel-style superhero environment.

The Tick has quite the cult following amongst cartoon fans (like myself).  For those who aren't familiar with the franchise, the two main characters are the superhero “The Tick” and his sidekick Arthur.  The Tick is immensely strong, able to pick up cars and throw them with ease, and is, in his own words, “nigh invulnerable.”  He's a gigantic blue... well, it's never really discussed whether he's human or mutant or what not, with two antennae on his head, the requisite huge superhero chin, and he's dumb as a stump.  Somewhat of a parody on Stan Lee's The Hulk, but whereas the Hulk is an angry brute, the Tick is a kind, well-meaning child.

The Tick's sidekick, Arthur, was a pudgy accountant who found a “Moth Suit” that lets him fly around, and left his old hum-drum life behind to fight crime.  A wussy, chronic worrier with a belly, he's the smart but timid counterpoint to the Tick's brashness.  His catchphrase of “Not in the face!” pretty much sums him up.

These two are accompanied by other misfit superheroes (somewhat in the spirit of the movie Mystery Men) who patrol their town called only “The City.”  Together, they protect The City from equally misfit super-villains such as the geriatric “The Terror,” who is so old he's no longer a threat, to “The Human Ton,” who weighs a ton and has a sidekick, “Handy” who is a hand puppet he wears who happens to have all the brains in that operation.

There were three seasons, aired starting in 1994, two of which are now available on DVD: The Tick vs. Season One released in 2006, and now The Tick vs. Season Two released in 2007.  There are only 12 episodes on the DVD, but there is a note on the box that “This collection does not contain episode #15.”  IMDB lists 13 episodes for season two, so I'm not sure if this was meant as a joke, or if someone at the studio is really bad at math.  Audio choices are only English and French, and subtitle choices are English, French, or none.  There are no special features, though The Tick himself is pretty “special.”  Picture and audio quality are adequate; it's a television cartoon, so there's generally not enough picture detail to miss if the picture quality is low.

Season two includes such classic episodes as “Little Wooden Boy and The Belly of Love” where The Tick feels neglected by Arthur and builds himself a wooden friend out of a plank of wood, and then finds himself in the belly of a whale who is for some reason running across the country from one ocean to the other.  “Heroes,” where The Tick and Arthur are featured on a tv show based on “Cops,” “Leonardo Da Vinci and His Fightin' Genius Time Commandos!” in which The Tick gets help from historical figures to fight a villain who is out to change history, and one of my personal favorites, “The Tick vs. The Big Nothing,” where The Tick is abducted by aliens called the “Whats” who need him to save the universe from the “Heys” who look just like Arthur and want to destroy the whole universe. 

Sadly another of my favorite episodes, “Alone Together.” in which The Tick spends time floating in space with a huge planet-eating menace, is not included on this DVD.  I recall fondly when the menace said he was going to devour the Earth, The Tick said something like “Not the Earth!  That's where I keep all my stuff!”  I can only hope there will be another set of “what we left out of the other DVD's” later on.

I sure hope I don't have to wait another year for The Tick vs. Season Three!

Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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