Trying to scratch that itch.

§ February 16th, 2022 § Filed under indies, publishing § 1 Comment

So I was processing a stack of Tick comics acquired from my previous place of employment — stack pictured here:

…and boy, there sure were a lot of Tick comics released in the 1999-2002 period. (Of course, the one on top of that stack is from a few years earlier, but I assure you, those are mostly 1999-2001 Tick books.)

I mean, there was Tick: Heroes of the City and Tick Color and Tick and Arthur and Tick & Artie (not to be confused with Tick and Arthur) and The Tick’s Big Cruise Vacation Special and multiple Big Yule Log Specials and The Tick: Circus Maximus and The Tick’s Golden Age Comic and The Tick: The Pseudo Edition (supposedly #13 of creator Ben Edlund’s original Tick series, but not by Edlund) and The Tick’s Incredible Internet Comic and a couple Big Halloween Specials, one of which is inexplicably pricey in the secondary market, and well you get the idea. Perhaps not a patch on the number of Batman books published during the same period, but certainly a lot for a black and white indie title being published during one of the comic industry’s leaner periods.

Now I suppose the popularity of the mid-1990s Tick cartoon spurred the release of all these Tick funnybooks, as well as the then-impending, and then almost immediately cancelled, 2011 live-action TV show. And yes, Tick comics were still relatively popular with readers during this period, so a market definitely existed for all these different publications.

Currently, there are no Tick comics currently being released. Aside from giveaways for Free Comic Book Day and Halloweenfest events, the most recent Tick comic is Tick 2017, released specifically to capitalize on then-new now-defunct Amazon Prime series. I mean, I went back and looked at the original order solicitations, and they specifically cite that TV show, so I’m reasonably sure that was the impetus for this iteration of the comic.

I was a big fan of Ben Edlund’s original 12 issue Tick series. A college buddy of mine had talked about the first issue and it sounded funny, and given I’d just started work at a comic book store, I was in the perfect position to check it out for myself. And I happily stuck with the series through its very erratically-published run.

As it turned out, while I really liked the Tick, I think I only really specifically liked Ben Edlund‘s Tick. I tried other Tick comics, especially after it became obvious Edlund wasn’t going to be producing very many on his own and I wanted more of the character. I sampled many of the spin-offs (I think that Karma Tornado was one of the first) and…they didn’t really do anything for me. They didn’t feel right…like the balance of jokes was off, or the tone wasn’t right, or something.

It’s like reading Plastic Man comics not by Jack Cole, or Peanuts comics not by Charles Schulz, or Howard the Duck stories not written by Steve Gerber. There’s an ineffable quality imparted upon these creations by their creators that other writers/artists can’t really duplicate, and the Tick, at least for me, is no exception. (At least in comic book form, as all the different TV shows are great.)

This is not me being down on all these comics. They have fans, people love ’em, that’s great. They just Weren’t For Me, and not every comic has to be. But I really would like a new, ongoing Tick series of some kind, even if Edlund isn’t around to do it. The Tick is still a popular character people have a lot of affection for, and its absence from the stands is felt. Something new, with a strong creative team, published on a regular basis — that’s what I’d like. Of course, in this weird marketplace we find ourselves in, even building it is no guarantee they’ll come, if I may paraphrase that one movie.

One Response to “Trying to scratch that itch.”

  • John Lancaster says:

    I’m of the same mind as you when it comes to The Tick. No Edlund – No Tick for me. I did break down an buy that Golden Age thing when it came out and it was enjoyable enough. I didn’t even bother with any others until that 2017 launch when I saw that Doug Paszkiewicz was writing it. I’m a big fan of Arsenic Lullaby and his other works. His Tick had a very close feel of Edlund to it (at least to me) and I was excited to be buying Tick again. Alas, Doug only did issue one and then Cullen Bunn took over for the remaining three issues until its cancellation. My local shop was only ordering a single copy of the book anyway…for me. Nobody else had expressed any interest.