Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arthopod-inspired Super Heroes - Part One

by Josh Adkins, UK Entomology Graduate Student

While most people think immediately of Spider-Man when considering arthropod inspired costumed vigilantes, there are others who have taken up the mantle of Arthropoda in order to uphold the law/defend the defenseless/mete out justice/generally wreak havoc.

For my first entry in this (potentially never-ending) series exploring arthropods in comic books, I will feature The Tick.

In the original comic books, The Tick is apparently legally insane, having escaped from a mental institution located not too far from The City. Perhaps best known for the damage he causes leaping from rooftop to rooftop, and his nonsensical battle cry "SPOON!", The Tick's powers include nigh-invulnerability, super strength, and "drama power", which heightens his super powers as the scene becomes more dramatic. While he is often responsible for extensive collateral damage in his battle against evil, and although his speeches never really make much sense, The Tick always means well.

The Tick has come into conflict with a number of ne'er-do-wells during his tenure as champion of The City. Some of them include:

The Man Eating Cow. Born a normal cow, she was trained to eat people. Once conspired with The Terror's League of Evil to kidnap the Mayor of The City in a plot to eventually rule the world.

Multiple Santa. A bank robber who steals a Santa suit to elude the police. An unfortunate incident involving a mass electrical charge from a neon sign somehow gives him the ability to produce clones of himself, fueling a City-wide rampage!

Chairface Chippendale. A debonair, educated, and powerful crime boss, who has a chair for a head. The Tick once foiled his plan to write his name on the moon with a giant laser!

There was a short lived live-action television series that aired on Fox in 2001, starring Patrick Warburton as The Tick (fellow Seinfeld fans might know him best as Elaine's on-again-off-again boyfriend David Puddy). His take on the character:

"His past is a mystery. So everything that he looks at or perceives can be brand new, and he can get really, really excited and intrigued by something that’s just a commonality for everybody else, that’s humorous. He’s like a child; everything’s new. So you just bring that attitude to him, a childlike attitude of discovering things."

A general description of the series from Wikipedia: "The Tick was tricked into moving to (and protecting) The City after irritating the employees of a remote bus station he had sworn to protect." Only nine episodes were produced, because as always execs at Fox rarely know when they have a good thing going (see Firefly for further proof). I think this show is hilarious! Fortunately, the entire series has been released on DVD, and is available to watch on YouTube. You can watch the pilot by clicking here. Really great stuff.

Until next time, true believers!



  1. I had no idea that The Tick was ever a live-action show. Partick Warburton seems perfect for the role!

  2. If this is inappropriate for the blog, let me know. I really just wanted to make sure I could make an entry and stuff. I think this is a really good idea, Blake.

  3. By the way, that live-action version of The Tick is hilarious!

  4. This is exactly what we want for the blog. Keep it up!