Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Issue at Hand: The Tick New Series #1

The first issue of the new ongoing Tick series came out last Wednesday. Unfortunately for me i didn't pick up my comics until today. The really great news is that in addition to there being a copy in my box, there was also a copy on the shelf. This is in a store that doesn't tend to use a lot of shelf space for comics that aren't from the top four or five publishers, but it was there. Hopefully it will catch the eye of someone who has fond memories of the Tick from its various incarnations who didn't realize that a new series was starting.

Despite some very unnecessary self deprecation by the author, both on his blog, and on the Arachnida page at the back of the comic, This is an exceptional book. I understand the fear that there will be disappointment from people who are only familiar with the Tick from the very excellent Fox cartoon that ran in the 1990's. There are a lot of characters that were created exclusively for the show, and they will not be in the comic. There are a lot of characters from the cartoon that created very strong and lasting impressions on people. I don't see this as a negative.

In the case of the Tick, I think that the humor and the tone are most important. The cartoon recreated and perfected the tone and humor of the original comics. Subsequent comics in my opinion were created with an awareness of what had already been done.

This latest offering does the same thing. It draws upon the tone and the humor, it uses existing characters, and adds it's own new elements. Cereno perfectly creates situations and stories within the existing framework of the character, and does so at a level that keeps you from even wondering about the creative team as you are reading it. This is an extremely funny new book that feels familiar in the best possible way. Les McClaine's art is fantastic in the same way as the writing is. When you look at it, it looks like what you are expecting. The book will get a lot of people's money based on the fact that it elicits this sense of familiarity. The good news is that you get more than just the familiar in both the writing and the art. The expressions that McClaine brings out in the characters are what really tie the comic together.

Issue number 1 focuses on two separate Christmas parties. One is for heroes at the Comet Club, and the other is for sidekicks in the Sidekick Lounge at the same venue. In each party there is a gift exchange going on, and stories are being told by both the sidekicks and a group of super-villains gathered in a lounge at the institution in which they are housed. There is an underlying story relating to the gifts, but we also see a handful of times when the Tick ruined a number of villains Christmas-time exploits.

The Tick New Series #1 is good comics. It's funny, well written, and the art is spot on. The 4.95 price tag may seem a bit steep in relation to mainstream comics, but don't let that stop you. If you love the Tick, you will love this. If you are a fan of funny riffs on superheroes, you won't be disappointed.

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