Ticks are usually parasitic little arachnids that burrow into your skin and can only be removed by elaborate home remedies. But if you're the Tick, you're in an entirely different class, a class of kooky, lovable superheroes.
Ben Edlund’s The Tick began as a spoofy send-up of the superhero genre, until it ironically became a hugely successful addition to the genre in its own right. The "insect" in question was actually an unlikely, 400-pound superhero, clad in a blue skintight suit and looking for something to defend. After crashing a Superhero Convention in Reno, NV, the bumbling crime fighter took a bus to the City and never looked back. In a town full of superheroes, The Tick was the best man for the job, or so he told himself. High on energy but low on logic, he teamed up with Arthur, a former accountant dressed in a white moth costume (complete with requisite eye mask), and together they somehow managed (barely) to clean up crime.
On the half-hour series, The Tick, standing 7-feet tall (including antennae), was blessed with a condition self-described as “nigh invulnerability.” This condition rendered our superhero impervious to most traditional weapons, like punches, kicks, bullets, swords, hammers, tomahawks, gardening tools, and even the most biting of insults.
Obsessed with becoming a true superhero, there were times when The Tick seems more interested in the perks of being one, like cool gadgets and secret hideouts, than actually saving people-though he never shirked his do-gooder duties. He even acquired a small arsenal of pointless gadgets, like the Mighty Dinner Straw, the Pez Dispenser of Graveness, and his Hypnotic Secret Identity Tie, not that any of these came in handy in his fight against evil.
The Tick and Arthur weren’t the only superheroes in the City, and they had their work cut out for them when it came to competition. Die Fledermaus, American Maid, the Caped Chameleon, Plunger Man, Fishboy, and the Sewer Urchin were just a few of the colorful characters The Tick and Arthur had to share the City with. There were also teams of crusaders, like The Decency Squad (Captain Decency, Johnny Polite, Living Doll, SuffraJet, and Visual Eye) and the Civic-Minded Five (the 4-Legged Man, Captain Mucilage, The Carpeted Man, Feral Boy, and Jungle Janet). Occasionally our two stars would join forces with the others to eradicate crime in the City, although American Maid was the only real superhero among them with any talent.
The more super heroes the better, since there was no shortage of amoral villains plotting to destroy the City. Some of the recurring ones were such evildoers as Thrakkorzog, Professor Chromedome, Sub-Human, the Mother of Invention, Proto Clown, Brainchild, the Breadmaster, and the dreaded clones of the Tick and Arthur.
The Tick garnered a massive following, both in print and on television, and made the world realize that even parasitic creatures deserve a chance at superhero-dom.