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Ask Tick Creator Ben Edlund 298

Posted by Roblimo
from the spread-your-own-creamy-justice dept.
The non-cartoon Tick debuted on Fox last night, so this is an ideal time to have Tick creator Ben Edlund as a Slashdot interview guest. Before you start typing, you may want to read this May 2000 interview with Ben to keep from duplicating questions and to see what kind of person he is. Then ask away. As usual, we'll send 10 of the highest-moderated questions to Ben, and publish his answers as soon as we get them back.
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Ask Tick Creator Ben Edlund

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  • copyright issues? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turbine216 (458014) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `612enibrut'> on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:19PM (#2544129)
    now that we're all aware of the still-pending copyright issues between Sony and Fox concerning certain Tick characters and trademarks ("Spoon!"), is there any hope in sight for a resolution that would allow the use of these copyrights? Or is this a totally dead issue?
    • being that there exists

      still-pending copyright issues between Sony and Fox concerning certain Tick characters and trademarks ("Spoon!")

      this begins to look like having a "Superman" television show where he doesn't have a cape on while "in action". That is to say, it's mostly but not - *there*.

      How do you cope with losing vital elements that made this such an amusing world, while the suits battle it out over copyright issues?
    • So we've had a few heroes renamed. Are we going to lose any villans?

      I have "I'm the evil midnight bomber what bombs at midnight! HAHAHA!" as my "You've got mail" sound. This causes talk. :^)
  • Drugs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:21PM (#2544151) Homepage Journal
    What type of drugs/alcohol were you high on when you created the character and premise of the tick? ;-)

    Also, is the tick more of a boxer, brief, or boxer-brief man?
    • Also, is the tick more of a boxer, brief, or boxer-brief man?

      Or perhaps he fits into the "none" category.
      • he's definatley a cod-piece kinda guy. (to use the english word, Im not sure what the american word is :)
        • Codpiece is perfectly understandable to me anyway. You could also say "cup", the piece of hard plastic or metal you slip into the pocket of an athletic supporter (jock-strap).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      boxers? briefs? For god's sake, man, that's not a blue suit he's wearing, that's how he really is!


      ---

      "I hate broccoli. And yet, in a certain sense, I am broccoli."

    • Re:Drugs? (Score:2, Insightful)


      I really hate this kind of thinking. Why do people always assume that really creative people use drugs to get their creativity?

      Clive Barker doesn't use any mind altering substances and he writes the freakest shit. David Cronenburg isn't exactly who you think of as a drug user, but his imagination is like no other.

      Even rampant drug users like Richard D. James (aphex twin) says that he doesn't create while high because it all comes out like garbage.

      Creativity is often best served by a clear head.

      however, the boxer's question is really important. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, enlighten us. Where did you even get
    the idea of 'the tick', and all the other wierd
    superheros and villains you have?
  • Available in Europe? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tdye (308813)
    As an American and a fan living overseas, will this show be available on any UK/Irish stations? Where might I see it if I'm living in Ireland?
  • Which RPG? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dane_Johnson (110296) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:23PM (#2544167)
    I read some time ago that, at a convention, you had admitted that The Tick started out as a character in a Superhero Role Playing Game. Of course, they failed to say (or perhaps you didn't tell them) which game! So which was it? Champions? V&V? Superworld? Marvel Super Heroes? Do any of the other "standard" Tick Universe characters come from the game? Do you still play?
    • I'd hazzard a guess, by way of explanation... I didn't play a lot of RPGs, (possibly because) I was one of those who took characters lightly. Actually so lightly, in an effort to liven up what seemed more dead-serious than a full scale financial audit, that I probably wasn't entirely welcome to play again, if ever. Tho, I must say, the idea of an Orc with a half dozen arrows protruding from his back and attempting to crawl through a mob of vigilantes, under cover of a overturned row boat, still seems rather humorous in some way. ("Hey, he's got a 5 Int, what do you expect, Zorro?")

      Possibly similar inspiration led to the creation of the Tick and other 'Heroes'

  • First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this soliloquay:

    "So the mustache was in love. Oh, that's cool. Love is cool. That mustache is cool. But it didn't make me cool. It made Sewer Urchin swing ten miles by his upper lip!"

    "And look at Jim Rave. He should have been cool. He had a cool eye patch, cool RV, cool gadgets, and he traveled the world with three vivacious, exciting, talented beauticians. That's cool! But he wasn't cool."

    "You know, Arthur, I may have lost my mustache, but I've gained... heh... I haven't gained a thing."

    As for the question... Comic book hero farce as a genre doesn't exactly have a huge tradition. Where did you draw most of your inspiration from?
  • Timeslot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ReadbackMonkey (92198) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:24PM (#2544184)
    What evil Fox executive stuck you in such a lethal timeslot? Why didn't they slot you behind the Simpson's then move you to the lethal Thursday timeslot?

    I had to fight with my girlfriend to watch the show last night since 'Will and Grace' was on.
  • Where is that rodent!
  • Why didn't we have a million zillion ninjas in the cartoon? That gag can't possibly be played out, yet.
  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmccay (70985) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:26PM (#2544197) Journal
    Why do a live version when the cartoon series didn't last that long?
    • Some of the best stuff is in the comic books, which are still around.

      The cartoon was great but the Comics are better.

      Sean D.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FatherOfONe (515801)
      great question. I have to add that my wife hates most cartoons and liked the cartoon of the tick. We use to laugh at most of the stuff. However, her quote last night after watching the show.
      "I didn't laugh", I sadly agreed. It just wasn't funny. I hope that they get better.

      My hope for future epsiodes...
      1. Be less edgey, the tick would have NEVER said "BITCH". Unfortunately, that comment alone probably killed a lot of familes from watching it.

      2. Don't cram the hispanic mouse guys love of women down our throats.

      And yes I realize that most of the episodes have allready been shot...

      Just my 2 cents...
      • > 1. Be less edgey, the tick would have NEVER said "BITCH". Unfortunately, that comment alone probably killed a lot of familes from watching it.

        Hmph. I spewed coffee all over myself when I heard that. Methinks they know the Tick's core audience (rabid cult fans such as those likely to post to /.) very well.

    • Why do a live version when the cartoon series, given the Live-Action Tick's timeslot, would of been a better choice? I mean, I enjoyed the cartoon series. No amount of live-action + special effects is going to be up to the same.

      Also, don't you think the Power Rangers series should of been animated for it's own sake, instead of live action?
  • Are you satisfied? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:26PM (#2544203) Homepage Journal
    Are you satisfied with the finished product of the live action Tick? I was a huge fan of both the comic and the cartoon series and am sure that if you can keep up the quality of dialog and acting you had in last night's episode that I'll be glued to it as well. But the differences between the three are immense...especially in the humour department (for example, my favorite joke from the comic was "We are hedge. Move along." which probably wouldn't work in either the cartoon or the live action). Do you, as the characters' creator and a comic artist, find yourself looking at the finished product and saying, "yes, that's what I see when the Tick jumps along the rooftops of my dreams?" Which of the three incarnations is your favorite?
  • Why the change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jaycatt (530986) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:27PM (#2544207) Journal
    I noticed that Deflator Mouse and American Maid had been changed to Batman-uel and "Captain Liberty". Why the change from the animated series? Those characters and their rivalry were a great side story, and to use similar characters but have them deeply in love with one another seems like a major switch.
    • If this gets submitted, please spare us all a lot of embarassment and spell Die Fliedermaus correctly...(and double check that I got the ie in Fliedermaus in the right order too)
    • Re:Why the change? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rick the Red (307103)
      have[ing] [Bat Manuel and Captain Liberty] deeply in love with one another seems like a major switch.

      Did you watch the same show I watched? They clearly are not deeply in love -- she broke his arm when he tried to reach "Third Base"! They are definately in lust, but she despises him and he only wants her for her body. He just wants all women for their bodies, which is probably why she despises him. I thought the two characters were good, although Bat Manuel's mask sucks. Was that painted on with mascara?

  • Was the Man-eating Cow changed to Apocalypse Cow? I was really hoping to see some Man-eating cow in future episodes...
  • Ok, I had a few beers and was attempting to make some kind of dinner without A) cutting my fingers off B) burning it, yet again and sat down to watch with a plate of curried rice with asparagus.

    Patrick Warburton was absolutely perfect as The Tick, Nestor Carbonell was great as Batmanuel, Liz Vassey as Captain Liberty and David Burke was a great fit as Arthur. Since these shows were originally filmed in 2000, will this cast be preserved? Is there any plan to do a 1 hour show or movie? It was fun to watch, and just because of the beer!

  • will we ever see the chainsaw vigilante, the man eating cow or paul the samurai
    show up in the live action series?
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:40PM (#2544308) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes they seemed remote control, sometimes they seemed computer generated.
    • Before you start typing, you may want to read this [newenglandcomics.com] May 2000 interview with Ben

      That's what you should have done. It says in there:

      At the beginning, I thought it would be good to have a kind of a CGI (computer-generated imagery) pair of eyes that more perfectly matched what was going on in the comic book design, the cartoon design. But first of all, the cost of that, for a series, you know maybe for a feature it would be fine, but for a series, is prohibitive.

      This may have lead you to believe that they wouldn't have done computer-generated antennae. However, if that doesn't convince you...

      We had to body cast Patrick Warburton, and build a giant rubber suit, and remote control antennae...
  • Origins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luminous (192747) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:42PM (#2544322) Journal
    Will we ever see the 'origins' of The Tick?
  • by kaladorn (514293) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:43PM (#2544336) Homepage Journal
    Tick, to my mind, is an ideal hero icon for the current generation. He has good intentions, but isn't too aware of the fine details (well, even some gross details) of the world around him. He tries hard, and things tend to work out after a fashion, but usually not as a result of any particular brilliance on his part. Tick fulfills the iconic image of style over substance, of good intentions versus understanding, of the brawn and machismo not directed by a terribly powerful cranium, and of accidental destruction as a consequence of his good intentions and bungling execution.

    His sidekick Arthur, of course, is more down to earth and aware. He's a bit of a geek (though I have yet so see him hack a kernel) with less-than-stellar social skills. He too seems to fill an iconic image in modern-day society - the nerdy brains-behind the brawn.

    When these characters evolved, were they merely an attempt to poke fun at Superhero archetypes, or were they consciously intended to be more "in touch" with and to more closely parallel today's society? Or do you consider such analysis to be far deeper than the subject matter merits? Is the Tick just good humored fun, or is it perceptive art?
    • "... isn't too aware of the fine details (well, even some gross details) of the world around him. He tries hard, and things tend to work out after a fashion, but usually not as a result of any particular brilliance on his part... style over substance, of good intentions versus understanding, of the brawn and machismo not directed by a terribly powerful cranium, and of accidental destruction as a consequence of his good intentions and bungling execution."

      Funny, I didn't realize that Dubya was a member of the 'current generation'. (What does that mean, anyway? Aren't there several generations currently living?)

      Sorry, just wasting time at work.
      • I am terribly offended at your characterization of the honorable President George W. Bush as a bumbling idiot with good intentions. I think the record clearly shows his total lack of good intentions.

        (Man, I was totally unimpressed by The Tick last night. Didn't laugh once, and would have changed the channel after a few minutes but I really hoped it would get better. Family Guy was great though!)
    • > Tick, to my mind, is an ideal hero icon for the current generation. He has good intentions, but isn't too aware of the fine details (well, even some gross details) of the world around him. He tries hard, and things tend to work out after a fashion, but usually not as a result of any particular brilliance on his part. Tick fulfills the iconic image of style over substance, of good intentions versus understanding, of the brawn and machismo not directed by a terribly powerful cranium, and of accidental destruction as a consequence of his good intentions and bungling execution.

      Tick, in other words, is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the infinitely fallible superhero.

      I think that's why I admire him so much. I agree with you -- he's defintely the ideal heroic type for today's confused times.

  • Don Quixote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePlague (30616) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:43PM (#2544337)
    It seems the relationship between The Tick and Arthur is similar to the one between Don Quixote and Sancho. Is this intentional, or merely reflecting the influence that book has had on "buddy" motifs in literature? Finally, have you considered a plot line involving invisible giants that only The Tick can see so that when Arthur is urged to join in battle against them, he can utter "What giants?"
  • Working with Fox (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wind_Walker (83965) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:45PM (#2544349) Homepage Journal
    Given Fox's track record of hyping up incredibly gimicky or out-of-place shows (Alien Autopsy and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire come to mind) while simultaneously burying shows that have real potential (Family Guy, for instance), how concerned are you that Fox will simply bury you after one unsuccessful (or successful) season?
  • I grew up in Europe, I am still living in Europe, so I think the Tick is one of those other things that are specific to the American culture.
    Well, I asked Google, and for the other non-us /.ers here are some links: I guess if it's not in my culture, then it's not that fun.
  • by YouAreFatMan (470882) on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:46PM (#2544352) Homepage
    Was Sewer Urchin the casualty of the intellectual-property fight, or was he removed because of political correctness? There are equivalent characters to American Maid and Die Fledermaus, but no bizarro Sewer Urchin. Was it just too much to have a autistic live-action hero on primetime?
  • First of all, I saw the premiere of the Tick, and I loved it, I've been telling people at work about it all morning.

    On to the question:

    Do you plan to get the actors any special training so that they can more readily play their super hero roles? I noticed that the Tick looked a bit stiff as he was jumping around rooftops. I'm guessing the big rubber suit doesn't help, but action heroes need to look lively don't they?
  • Egad! My melon! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Why were the costumes for the Tick and Arthur so different from the cartoon / comic (which I loved, BTW)? In particular, the Tick's eyes are not covered and Arthur's outfit doesn't look the same at all. Having a mask is a big part of being a super hero!

    Will we see:
    The evil midnight bomber?
    Pineapple Pocopo?
    The civic minded 5?
    Hang 10 for justice!
  • by babbage (61057) <cdevers.cis@usouthal@edu> on Friday November 09, 2001 @01:58PM (#2544429) Homepage Journal
    I've been reading the comic since the early 90s, when a high school friend lent me a copy of a comic that his sister's friend had written -- that would be you :). I loved "The Tick" from the start and have been a fan ever since, so I was delighted to find out yesterday -- just in time to watch it -- that there was now a live action tv show version. I remember many of the later comics saying this sort of thing was in the pipeline, but considering how long it has been in coming, I was a bit skeptical that anything would come of it. Glad to see that I was wrong on that one.

    So, now that you have your show, I'm curious:

    • How involved in it are you? Writing? Producing? Can we expect a cameo? How much creative control do you have over where the show goes, particularly considering some of the copyright issues that I've been hearing about?
    • Do you have the time or the interest to go back and do any more issues of the comic? It seemed like each issue took longer & longer to come out, until eventually they seemed to just peter out (not counting for the moment variants written by others). Is there any chance that there could be another original Ben Edlund penned Tick comic someday, or are your interests elsewhere now?
    • It's kind of outside the scope of the original contest, but will getting a question to you on Slashdot make anyone eligible for one of the Super Rare Uncut Copies Of Issue #2? I suppose by asking I've disqualified myself, but still I can't help but wonder :). How many of those were there, and are they all gone now?

    Congratulations on your success, from a fellow southeastern Mass person... :)

    • I have the cut version. A buddy of mine and I in HS bought comics through NEC (neither of us had a driver's license at the time to hit a local shop). Somehow or another (letter published?) he got one of the uncut number 2's. Saw him two or three weeks ago at HS reunion (10 yr). He's still got it.
      • The only time I ever got a letter published in a comic, it was me begging for a #2 in Latin. I'm pretty sure it's in the Omnibus I've got at home, but I'd have to check. They basically replied "this is getting ridiculous, cut it out, no more #2s will be given for creative letters to the editor -- you ruined it" and that was that.

        But I figured, hey, we're in WorldWideWebLand now, it's worth another shot... :)

  • I know that you folks are looking for writers and reading through scripts...

    Are you accepting scripts still?

    I have a couple of scripts that I was working on back in the days when the animated series was running, and I'd like to know if people can still submit them, and if so, submit them exactly where?

    (oh, and also, is there any chance that we might see Speak appear?)
  • Target Audience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rnb (471088) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:06PM (#2544508)
    Judging from the first episode alone, it seems like the live-action Tick is automatically shooting for an older audience than the cartoon was (for perhaps obvious reasons). Arthur getting drunk, The Tick using the word "bitch," some of Batmanuel's references to Captain Liberty, etc. I always got the feeling from the cartoon that it was aimed at both adults and kids, with some jokes perhaps flying over the kids' heads while the adults would get them (a snake accusing The Tick of not dating much during a wrestling match in The Tick vs. Proto-Clown comes to mind).

    Will the live-action series be aimed more at adults and less at younger viewers? I'm not really complaining if that is the case, it just seemed like there was definitely a shift in tone.
    • Re:Target Audience (Score:3, Insightful)

      by babbage (61057)
      It's worth noting that the original comic had the same adult/kid duality. The very first issue had Tick "saving" a homeless man, and the guy replying something to the effect of "Oh shit not again..." (it's been a while, but he definitely swore :).

      If the cartoon was more "kids only", I'd suggest that's because it was, well, a Saturday morning kid's cartoon, and had to work with the market it was put into. Granted, the audience of the average comic book is probably only slightly older than the Saturday morning cartoon audience, but still there's more variability there, with room for more edgy stuff like Tick. Now this show is aimed at prime time television, which will have an older demographic than the cartoon did, so they have the freedom to go back to the more mature humor.

      If it counts as a shift, it's a shift back to where the characters & stories started out, and that's a good thing in my eyes. A lot of the best storytelling does the same dual humor thing: from "the Simpsons" and "Theres Something About Mary", back to Shakespeare's comedies. It's an old trick -- include slapstick for the kids & immature adults, and more ironic, biting humor for the more mature portion of the audicene. Heigh ho, everyone goes home happy... :)

      • Even though the Tic cartoon was probably child-oriented, it still had some adult-parsed humor in it. I remember being ROFL with some of the social undertones to a couple of the episodes I watched.
        Don't watch enough TV to have gotten the whole series, or anything, but the ones I watched had a good bit to them... especially the earlier ones.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:07PM (#2544515)
    Lyme Disease ... your feelings about?
  • by toupsie (88295) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:08PM (#2544524) Homepage
    Do cartoonists get women like rock stars or are the sexist representation of women in comics a result of a lackluster love life and multiple failures in attracting the opposite sex?

    Do you feel guilty that the women portrayed in your cartoons are 1 dimensional pin-up girls while the male characters are given more depth? Can a woman be a super hero if she does not have big breasts that look good in spandex?

    • by babbage (61057) <cdevers.cis@usouthal@edu> on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:51PM (#2544819) Homepage Journal
      ...um, part of the joke with The Tick, the comic in particular (I didn't see enough of the cartoon to get a feel for it) is that more or less *all* of the characters are one dimensional. That's the *joke*. Surely you can't be saying that Tick has any real depth or substance to him, beyond being an endearingly bumbling oaf. If any of the characters in the original comic had depth, surely one of them would have been Oedipus, the [female] Ninja In Training.

      My take on the early issues of The Tick was that it was making fun of, among other things, exactly the representations you describe in your first paragraph. All the testosterone fueled heros & heroines, the latent homoeroticism, the predictable pinup figures of all female characters, etc. I don't think "Tick" was part of the problem you're describing, I think "Tick" was taking a swipe at it...

  • by jabbo (860) <jabbo@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:10PM (#2544535)
    I used to be an avid Tick and PTS fan. Collected them and Milk And Cheese, that about covers the comics I actually found amusing. The Tick was great because it wasn't so horribly cynical and angry as Dorkin's (Milk and Cheese) work, but was almost as funny. Then at some point the Tick stopped being funny. Man Eating Cow, Karma Tornado, all the spin-offs besides Paul The Samurai were terrible from the beginning. I never could figure out why this was.

    Did you break with NEC at some point, leaving the Tick and Paul the Samurai series to be written by somebody else? The first dozen or so Ticks were hysterical, as was the first Paul the Samurai, and then everything dissipated. (the original Tick cartoon show was pretty funny, but nowhere near as good as the comic book)

    I don't collect comics anymore (gave them all to my little brother) but I did enjoy the Tick and M&C. M&C lost a lot of its punch after a while, maybe everyone runs out of material, but it seemed like much more of an abrupt transition with the Tick, and I was wondering what happened. Also I hope you're back for good, some of my college friends had never heard of the Tick and really got hooked on it after I dug out some old issues of the comic. The comics were great stuff.

    "Unnecessary Rockets: On/Off"
    • Then at some point
      the Tick stopped being funny. Man Eating Cow, Karma Tornado, all the spin-offs besides Paul The Samurai were terrible from the beginning. I
      never could figure out why this was.

      Two words: Ben Edlund.

      He created the tick, along with the 12 brilliant original issues.

      Then, he started developping the cartoon series, and didn't have time. (His pace for the last few issues was agonizingly slow to begin with.)

      So New England Comics, to keep up with the demand, created two spin-offs and started a new Tick series, all with different writers. Some of it was okay, but none of it really measured up to the original, or even succeeded in capturing the tone of Edlund's writing.

      Edlund went on to do a lot of writing on the cartoon, and later created the new series. He has not done a Tick comic since issue 12 was released in May of 1993.

  • Fox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SilentChris (452960) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:13PM (#2544558) Homepage
    Do find being on Fox to be a potential downfall? It seems like a lot of semi-decent shows ("Family Guy") get killed and resurrected fairly often on the network.
  • by taco1991 (213491) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:19PM (#2544609)
    As you and others were developing The Tick into a live action series, (after watching the first live action episode) you seem to be trying to return to the style of the comic book rather than the animated series. To that end, some things probably weren't appropriate for TV, like having the Tick escape from an insane asylum in the pilot. Other things were created to make the show more appropriate for a tv audience - more character development and making them seem more like "real" people (jobs, cell phones, drinking at the bar, etc.).

    How much did you have to give and take between making the live action have content appropriate for tv (ie network censors), adding plot elements and characters to make it appropriate for a (potentially) long running tv series, fighting the cartoon copyright issues, and adapting it to suit your vision of the Tick on tv? Also, what would you like to do with the show that you can't on tv?

    thanks
    t.
  • by dbretton (242493) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:26PM (#2544668) Homepage
    Ever since I first heard the battle cry of The Tick, I always wondered, "How did these guys come up with the idea?"
    I tried to visualize the circumstances which brought forth the famous Tick line, and always end up picturing some semi-intoxicated discussion over battle cries during dinner, then someone started holding up utensils.

    So, how did it happen? What were the circumstances? What were the alternative/runner-up battle cries?

    (if you say, "chopstick & spork", you'll get me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.)

    -Dennis
    • by quiller (67784)
      You should read the original comic books (by Ben Edlund). He does come up with it sitting around the dinner table with Arthur. He just thinks it is a neat word and would make a great battle cry.

      The comic also contains the immortal line "Arthur, what this feast needs is Pez".
      • The cartoon there was another elemenet - Tick is looking at is face reflected in the back of a spoon. The distorted reflection looks all mean and fierce and Tick is clearly mesmerized by it.

  • The Tick's Language (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quiller (67784) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:28PM (#2544681)
    While I'm a big fan of the Tick and enjoyed the show last night, I found one thing discordant while watching it. The Tick using words like bitch, and gonads. He has always struck me as having very anachronistic language. Stuck back in the Father Knows Best days. Spreading his brand of creamy justice on the toast of the city, sure. Make Evil my Bitch, doesn't work for him. Borderline profanity might work for some of the other characters, particularly Bat Manuel, but it seems wrong for the well intentioned, but naive hero that is the Tick. Is this a direction they are trying to take the Tick for some reason, or just a matter of unfamiliarity with the characters that will be ironed out over time?
    • I'm not sure what the cartoon version of the character was like -- I only saw part of one episode -- but a mildly profane line wouldn't have been totally out of character for the comic book version. I'm guessing that had to be toned down for the Saturday morning cartoon, and maybe that's what you're used to, but I think a prime time version of the character can, like the indie comic book back in the beginning, get away with being a little more adult / edgy / profane / whatever.
  • Actually, 2.

    First, I thought Batmanuel was hilarious. I hope Captain Liberty becomes more clearly a right-wing reactionary, because I think that would make her character much more interesting. Yesterday she just seemed like a girl who couldn't say no and mean it -- which wasn't that interesting, IMO.

    Second, I first encountered The Tick at a wedding.

    It was the best wedding cake-top decoration I have ever seen, and featured The Tick and a Wonder Woman. They were in completely different scales, so The Tick was twice as tall as Wonder Woman, which worked fabulously as the couple getting married were a 6'6" man and a 4'11" woman. The Tick, of course, was in his regular uniform, but they managed to glue a tiny tulle veil onto Wonder Woman's head.

    Liza
  • The Beginning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prof_Dagoski (142697) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:49PM (#2544809) Homepage


    I wish I still had my first Tick comic. It was a freebie from New England Comics, announcing that they were going to try publishing their own comics. I thought it pretty decent, but had to make more strategic decisions in my collecting habits at the time. Sorry Ben, I just had to have Akira. Fast forward a few years and suddenly I see the tick everywhere. So my question is this: Where did you think this comic would end up way back at issue one? Were you jsut hoping to have some good stuff in your portfolio by the time you got out of college(or wherever)? Were you hoping for a moderately successful underground classic? Just when did you realize that the Tick was a big hit? What happened then in your life and how did it affect your creation(the comic as well as the character)?

  • by weatherbee (525519) on Friday November 09, 2001 @02:50PM (#2544817)
    Most people probably don't realize that the Tick is a direct adaptation of the "Roach" superhero parody character from Dave Sim's Cerebus. Do you still keep up with Cerebus despite the fact that the Roach (and his attendant humor) have been missing from the story for 100 or so issues now? What do you think of how Cerebus has unfolded? Has Dave Sim, a notorious hater of the television medium, given you any grief over the new series?
    • If there is any justice in this world-gone-mad, your question will be one of the ones that gets modded up and asked.

      Unfortunately, too many /. readers have no idea that a comic called "Cerebus" even existed, let alone that it was one of Edlund's early influences.

      I suspect that a lot of /.ers were still playing kickball when Cerebus was in its prime.

      • Way, way back in the bowels of time, I stood in a comic book shop looking at this brand new Cerebus thing, took the entire stock of issue No. 1 up in my hands, thought for a second, then said "Naah," and put them back.

        --Blair
        "Now I live in a van down by the river."
    • Other apparent influences/analogues/ripoffs/honest mistakes/coincidences, for various reasons:

      National Lampoon's Ver-man and the Flit
      Zippy the Pinhead
      The Badger
      Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (before they sold out)
      Mystery Men

      --Blair
      "The Bush White House..."
  • Why "SPOON!!!"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nick_burns (452798)
    Where did you come up with The Tick's world famous battle cry?
  • They really didn't do anything for the show. Maybe its because, at some level, I am comparing them to 2 certain other animated Tick heros.
    Since you have to change the heros anyway why not go for a good batman and wonder woman parody?
    It seems the potential for humor there is far greater then the 2 sex starved morons they seem to be.
  • Two questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Flounder (42112) on Friday November 09, 2001 @04:04PM (#2545268)
    Ben, been a huge avid fan of The Tick since issue 1. Still got all my issues (including my uncut #2) and still read them on occasion. Got every episode of the cartoon series, still watch them on occasion (and to introduce my 4 year old boys to The Tick).

    Here's my questions...

    As the creator / executive producer / high goddess of all that is Tick-y, what would be the one thing you wish to be done with the new live action show? Guest appearances? (BTW, nice shot of you and Barry on the couch) Better special effects? Hot dog cut into a little octopus?

    And second, since it appears that characters from the cartoon exclusively will not be appearing due to copyright issues, can you give us a brief list of those that might appear from the comic? Chairface Chippendale? Chainsaw Vigilante? Paul the Samurai? Man Eating Cow?

    Thanks for making Thurday night TV watchable again.

  • by MikeyNg (88437) <.mikeyng. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday November 09, 2001 @04:08PM (#2545303) Homepage

    To me, the Tick was always a satire of his genre. You made fun of Batman, Wonder Woman, Galactus, etc., etc. My question would be: With the series moving to live-action TV, would you be satiring other things? Making fun of Galactus would go over the heads of most your audience. However, targetting Friends or Survivor would surely hit the spot. (Survivor especially, given your current time slot.) Where is the comedy and the storyline going to come from?

  • Often, when a genre begins producing self-mocking works, it's a sign that there is little life left in it. Witness the effect Scream had on the horror genre, or, more relevantly, the effect of Watchmen on modern comics. Do you think there is still room left in the world for classic superhero stories?
  • by CleverNickName (129189) <wilNO@SPAMwilwheaton.net> on Friday November 09, 2001 @04:24PM (#2545445) Homepage Journal
    So can I be on your show, or what?

    :)
  • Creative Control (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CleverNickName (129189) <wilNO@SPAMwilwheaton.net> on Friday November 09, 2001 @04:30PM (#2545488) Homepage Journal
    How much creative control do you have, and how much will you maintain, if the show is a success?

    I have firsthand experience with the idiocy of networks, so I'd be very interested to hear how you pitched the idea.

    I'd also like you to know that I have been a fan from issue number 1, and used to curse your being in college, and not being able to put out new issues. Paul the Samurai is one of my favorite characters, in any medium, of all time.
  • I was thrilled when Titan AE came out and two of the three script writers were the creators of my absolute favorite TV shows. That's you, and Joss Whedon of Buffy fame.

    I was surprised when I eventually saw the movie and found very little of that creative genius making any imprint in the final product. Later I've seen Joss talk about how writers are treated as crap in Hollywood, as opposed to TV where they're pretty powerful. "[about Atlantis] The movie they made has nothing to do with that treatment, but I'm happier having my name on that movie than on Titan A.E."

    So to get to the question, do you have any commment on Hollywood writing as opposed to TV, the Titan AE experience, or working with Joss Whedon (if you did). If you can't really answer honestly for fear of insulting powerful showbiz moguls, signal it by using a lot of fish and poultry references in your answer.

    For reference: here is the full Whedon interview
    http://avclub.theonion.com/avclub3731/avfeature_37 31.html [theonion.com]
    http://avclub.theonion.com/avclub3731/avfeature_37 31b.html [theonion.com]
  • by sinster (518986)
    I know you get asked this with every Tick project that you do, but here it is again: are you guys open to the idea of redoing The Night of the Million Zillion Ninjas for the live action series? That story line was always the cornerstone of The Tick in my mind. I think it would work well in the live action. And since, in the previous interview, you mentioned that you might bring Paul the Samurai into the live action series, NofMZN seems like the perfect way to do it.

  • Last year, you said "the pilot is just kind of the beginning or like the tip of the iceberg in terms of how stupid and odd we could get, and that would be intriguing for a while, because prime time has a higher profile, wider range, kind of exposure."

    Now that the series is in full production, how much of that remains true? Is anybody (at Fox, or at Sonnenfeld's prduction co) putting on the brakes?

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