The Tick vs. Season One

Perhaps a more suitable title for the first season of creator Ben Edlund’s cult cartoon classic The Tick, which is finally seeing the light of day on DVD after far, far too long, would be The Tick vs. Buena Vista. After originally scheduling a Belated Tenth Anniversary Edition set then delaying it, plans to release the complete series in one go seem to have been abandoned (at least, for now) in favour of chopping it up into single season releases. While this isn’t in itself that big a deal (we dwell in a consumer-oriented society, after all, so gouge away), the complete and utter lack of any extras or, well, anything that indicates a love (or even a like) for the material whatsoever in the first edition is appalling and troubling for the forthcoming second and third seasons. If you’re going to release a cult classic cartoon that fans have been waiting years for, you don’t short change them. However, short-changed the geeks have been — the apathy in putting this set together is startling and permeates the entire collection, right down to little things like "scene selections,” which aren’t included (not exactly a "unique” feature by any means for today’s DVDs). But, luckily, The Tick vs. Season One does contain almost the entire first season (strangely, episode 11, The Tick vs. The Mole Men, is not included, but its absence is advertised on the DVD’s box art!?) of one of the most widely inventive, humorous and action-packed super(spoofer?)hero cartoons ever conceived. Even a decade-plus later, with cartoon series becoming increasingly absurd and A.D.D.-driven, to the point of abandoning plots entirely for the surreal and/or rapid-fire gags, The Tick holds up superbly, in terms of delivering a combination of absurdist humour, brilliant writing/storylines and superhero/villain-spoofing while maintaining episodic continuity and heart. True to its title, The Tick recounts the numerous "versus” of the giant, blue costumed, super-strong, nigh-invulnerable hero dubbed the Tick as he defends "the City” from the likes of criminal mastermind Chairface Chippendale (who has, obviously, a chair for a head), Dinosaur Neil (a dino researcher accidentally transformed into a towering, rampaging, moustached, Godzilla-like monster) and even, the Tick(!?!), with the help of his loyal but anxious side-kick, Arthur (who dresses as a moth, not a bunny), and a motley crew of other costumed crime fighters: the cowardly Die Fledermaus, patriotic American Maid and noxious Sewer Urchin. The Tick was, is and remains a classic cartoon, one that time hasn’t managed to subdue, even if the animation seems a little simple, at times, when compared to today’s computer-enhanced fare. To quote the mighty Tick, hopefully the lack of care in the presentation of the first season won’t become an "unsettling trend” for the remainder of the sets. "Spoon!!!” (Disney/Buena Vista)