Western Animation: The Tick
"Yes, evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Josef Stalin, but you can't let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspaper of goodness! Bad dog! Bad dog!"
1994 Animated Series
, a casual but incisive send-up of Super Hero
shows (based on an independent comic
by Ben Edlund written in the early '90s), featuring as its title character a super-strong, "Nigh Invulnerable
" (or so he says), and (probably) insane moron with a hypertrophied sense of justice and melodrama
, given to bold, thoughtless action and near-incomprehensible Aesop
pronouncements. Assisting the Tick
in his daily struggle against the forces of Evil is Arthur
, a former accountant, now moth-themed hero/sidekick
. Frequently joining their adventures are Die Fledermaus
and American Maid
, two fellow crimefighters who bear a funhouse-mirror resemblance
to a pair of well-known characters from The DCU
adventures are evenly split between well-intentioned cluelessness and actual battles against supervillains. These villains — such as Chairface Chippendale
, El Seed
, and the Terror
— are frequently just as bizarre as the Tick
and his allies. Some, like the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight
("One of these days, baby! Milkshake! Boom!"
), have even developed their own fan followings.
In every episode, this program gleefully skewers the tropes
of the Super Hero genre, distorting and twisting them like Silly Putty until they can stretch no more and snap back to hit you in the face.
The resulting lunacy has spawned a cult
following that continues to this day.
In 2001, FOX
attempted to revive the series in a live-action format with Patrick
as The Tick, details are here
Recently, the comic has returned as a bi-monthly, ongoing title, written by Benito Cereno and drawn by Les McClane.
This series provided examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Sewer Urchin's domain.
- Accidental Misnaming: In "The Tick vs the Uncommon Cold", the Tick kept mistaking Thrakkorzog's name until he purposely called him Susan.
- Achilles in His Tent: Handy isn't the Trope Namer - that was Homer - but he certainly re-popularized it.
- Adaptation Distillation: Most fans agree that the cartoon version was a great step for the franchise.
- Adorkable: Arthur.
- Alien Among Us: Tick and Arthur get new neighbors in one episode: Thrakkorzog, some normal guy, and Thrakkorzog's brain-eating tongue.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: In one episode, The Tick goes to see a psychiatrist. His "therapy" consists of being forced to wrestle the psychiatrist's assistant Shaft, er, Taft in various disguises.
Taft (in wig and apron): Come on man, I'm your mother!
No, you're not! You're Taft!
- Altum Videtur: Milo from the supervillain team Venus and Milo spouts Latin phrases constantly.
- Amazonian Beauty/Statuesque Stunner: Jungle Janet of the Civic-Minded Five. On one occasion, a smitten Tick tries to woo Janet with a rose and... a potato that grew on his armpit.
- There's also Belgian superheroine Eclair, a one-shot character from "The Tick vs. Europe." She is more androgynous-looking than Jungle Janet, though (for instance, compare her to her more traditionally feminine sidekick Blitzen), but this is never commented on by anyone and Die Fledermaus even hits on her (to no avail).
- An Aesop
- Anal Probing: Subverted. When The Tick is abducted by aliens, he is enthusiastic about being probed to expand interstellar knowledge, but it turns out the aliens actually want him to help defeat their enemies. The thought of probing him never crossed their minds. When The Tick finally goads them into "probing" him they do so by tapping an electrical device against his elbow. He is sorely disappointed.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: The Tick... even if he doesn't actually suck blood. Also, Arthur is not a bunny, he's a moth (At least he could fly like one with his folding wings).
- Not to mention Sewer Urchin, Die Fledermaus, The Ant, Man-Eating Cow, Bumbling Bee, Caped Cod, Portuguese Man-of-War, Cockroach, The Praying Mantis, Blowfish Avenger, Caped Chameleon, Captain Lemming, Fishboy, The Angry Red Herring, The Fin, Octo-Raymond, Shiela Eel, and more.
- Animated Shows
- And That's Terrible: "Eating kittens is just plain wrong, and no-one should do it! Ever!"
- Anti-Hero: Parodied with Big Shot, a satire on the type of gun-toting psychotic vigilantes popular in the 90s, who's revealed to be deeply psychologically unstable and unsuited for crimefighting. Luckily, the show also averts There Are No Therapists, and Big Shot switches from a skull motif to a turtleneck.
- Anti-Villain: One episode had the mascot for an ice cream company, Uncle Creamy, mutated by its toxic product and literally turning into his costume. He's seen as the villain for most of the episode except by the Flying Squirrel, and eventually he reveals that he was attacking the company because he was trying to reveal that their ice cream is made from artificial sweetener and toxic waste.
- Ascended Extra: Several very minor characters from the comic took on bigger roles in the show. For example, Pineapple Pokopo and Multiple Santa were just henchmen of Chairface Chippendale and The Terror, respectively, but ended up becoming primary villains in their own episodes.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The plot behind "The Tick Vs. Dinosaur Neil."
- Auction of Evil: Takes place in the episode "Coach Fussell's Lament."
- Ax-Crazy: The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight.
- Backseat Driver: Tick and Die Fledermaus in "The Tick Vs. The Tick".
- Badass Grandpa: The retired superheroes from "Grandpa Wore Tights," who despite their advanced age and failing powers, put up quite a fight against The Human Ton and Handy, and actually managed to defeat him.
- Badass Mustache: This excerpt has the Tick grow one.
- Badass Normal: In the cartoon at least, most of the heroes aside from the Tick himself are this or at least trying to be this. Some have a gadget based gimmick like Arthur.
- Sewer Urchin is probably the closest when acting in his element, since he has faced off against those weird filth monsters and won.
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Evil Eye Cafe.
- Bad Santa: Multiple Santa.
- Baguette Beatdown: Paul the Samurai in the comics. A ever-so-slightly more realistic take, because he hid a sword in it to sneak it past customs.
- Baleful Polymorph: In the animated episode "Coach Fussell's Lament," Brain Child uses one of his inventions to turn the Tick into a two-headed bluebird that only speaks high school French and lays chocolate eggs. Later, as Arthur tries to reverse the transformation, he is briefly turned into a flatworm, a chimp, an ant, a sock, and a cow before his sidekick finally finds the button marked "NORMAL."
- Bat Signal: The Tick Signal first seen in "The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account."
- Die Fledermaus has one, as pointed out by the mayor, but leaves town and stops answering his phone whenever it's lit.
- Battle Cry/Catch Phrase: '"SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!"'
- Bilingual Bonus: Die Fledermaus is German for "The Bat."
- This is averted in the Colombian Spanish dub, since they translated his name literally from German to Spanish and it's translated as La Rata Voladora (The Flying Rat).
- Also, the Fortissimo Brothers from "The Tick vs. Europe" are the superstrong henchmen of a musical-themed villain. Fortissimo is a musical term meaning "very loud" in Italian, but it has a second meaning: "very strong".
- Blob Monster: Thrakkorzog.
- Body Horror: "ARTHUR! My mustache is touching my brain!" Actually possible- a little bit of your brain actually does protrude into your sinuses (that's how you can smell). Also, The Tick's transformation in "Coach Fussel's Lament."
- In the animated episode "Armless But Not Harmless," the Tick and Arthur are struck by a ray that causes their arms to fall off. The Tick takes his sudden debrachiation in stride. Arthur... not so much.
Tick: [clears throat] All right... uh... this is quite a pickle. But no reason to panic, Arthur.
Arthur: [long, anguished scream]
: [spots a phone booth]
Ah... come along, Arthur! We'll call for assistance!
Arthur: [screams again]
- Not to mention the various, Dick Tracy esque villains, such as Zipperneck, who has a zipper on his neck that he can pull down to expose the inside of his throat to horrify his opponents, Chairface Chippendale, Bolthead and countless others. Also worthy of mention is The Deadly Bulb/Pig-Leg, who for some unknown reason has a live pig in place of his right leg. The pig is perfectly healthy and acts like a normal pig, but being attached to eachother leads to some strife.
- Breakout Character: The Evil Midnight Bomber What bombs at Midnight! ("Yeah, baby!") has a rather strong cult following.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arthur is pretty competent in a variety of things, once you look past he's in a giant moth suit all the time.
- Averted in Arthur's backstory in multiple adaptations: he attempted to wear his moth suit all the time at his accounting position, and this bothered the higher-ups enough that he was "encouraged" to take a leave of absence and get psychiatric help.
- The Tick himself qualifies, as well. When compared to most of the other "heroes" in The City, at least The Tick has the drive and focus to get the job done, with most of the city's other heroes, excepting American Maid and Sewer Urchin in sewer-related crimes, are either too weak or too cowardly to be particularly effective.
- Butt Monkey: It seems that the Moon itself is this in the animated series. It's one thing having Chairface Chippendale using a laser to partially carve his name on it but a Galactus expy took a bite of it. So everytime something bad happens to the moon it stays this way thoughout the entire series. Lampshaded in the series' guidebook when the Tick responds "Hasn't the Moon suffered enough already?"
- The Cameo: The 10th anniversary re-release of Tick issue #1 has a bonus segment showing Tick's escape from an insane asylum. It turns out Dr. Bunsen and his assistant Beaker ran the place.
- Captain Ersatz: All over the place. Die Fledermaus for Batman and American Maid for Wonder Woman and Captain America were already Expies in their own right. Also, Taft for Shaft. The live action series had them for the major characters because of licensing issues preventing their use.
- In Transformers Animated, of all places, The Tick gets one. Sentinel Prime is voiced by Townsend Coleman, resembles the Tick (he's large, blue and has a lantern jaw and antennae) and even speaks like the Tick at times. The biggest difference being that Sentinel is a Jerkass instead of a Cloudcuckoolander.
- Captain Geographic: American Maid.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Many of the antagonists, particularly Chairface Chippendale and The Terror.
- Catapult to Glory: The Human Cannonball.
- Chainsaw Good: Wielded by the aptly-named Chainsaw Vigilante.
- Characterization Marches On: The first episode has Die Fledermaus springing into action, among other superheroes, to stop the Idea Men. He was distracted by American Maid.
- Chef of Iron/Evil Chef: The Breadmaster.
- The City: Called, oddly enough, "The City." It's said to have been poorly Anglicized from the French "Les Citrons" (The Lemons). Apparently early French explorers found a large quantity of some kind of fruit in the area.
- Clark Kenting: Clark Oppenheimer's glasses and The Tick's hypnotic tie.
- Closer to Earth: American Maid, compared to Die Fliedermaus and most of the rest of the cast.
- Arthur, compared to the Tick.
- Clothes Make the Superman: The Carpeted Man. With his suit on, he possesses the awesome powers of static electricity and overheating. Without it... he is nothing.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Tick, turned to 11.
- 11? The Tick's dial goes all the way to "Justice!"
- Combat Stilettos: American Maid wears them and actually uses them in combat as throwing weapons.
- Continuity Nod: Countless examples, in addition to the Deface of the Moon example below. In one case, Handy loses one of his eyes at the end of "The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account" and when Handy returns in "Grandpa Wore Tights," he's wearing an eyepatch.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: In the comics. The third issue is titled appropriately "Night of a Million Zillion Ninjas" and they're every bit as ineffective as you'd expect with such large numbers. Justified in part by the revelation that Ninja has become a cheap franchise.
- Cool Chair: The World's Most Comfortable Chair, no less. So comfortable that no-one would ever want to get out of it.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Tick versus the Infinity Orb.
- Dashing Hispanic: El Seed, to a certain degree.
- Dating Catwoman: Die Fledermaus meets his own personal Catwoman when he encounters The Ottoman, a stylish woman who knows everything about furniture.
- Deconstructor Fleet
- Deface of the Moon: An aborted attempt by Chairface Chippendale to write his name. The letters "CHA" appear on the moon as a Continuity Nod.
- Later the Tick successfully blows up the C, but is blown off the moon before he can complete his job, leaving a "HA" on the moon. Later that episode, a Captain Ersatz of Galactus takes a bite out of the moon, which also remains.
- In the video game adaptation, the laser will manage to spell out "Chairface" on the moon if the Tick doesn't destroy it in time. If "Chairface" is spelled out, the time will be up and you will lose a life and start over where you left off when you fought the laser.
- Dirty Coward: Die Fleidermaus. Despite being a superhero we almost never see him fight crime, and for one very good reason: as soon as he sees a weapon he runs and hides.
- Disney Death: In "The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil", Arthur and the army think that the Tick is Swallowed Whole by a mutated Dinosaur Neil, though the "gulp" Neil makes indicates that it is not the Tick that he has swallowed, but rather the special aspirin pill that our blue hero tries getting him to swallow while struggling inside Neil's mouth, until he manages to get the aspirin down Neil's throat successfully. It's just that the army doesn't see the action inside Neil's mouth as much as we, the viewers, do; and just when they think they lost the Tick and are about to shoot Neil, our hero manages to open the dinosaur's mouth and escape unharmed (though covered in saliva) in front of everyone.
- The Ditz: The Tick.
- Genius Ditz: The Tick may be very, very ditzy in just about everything, but he has shown a certain level of philosophical thought in some cases. Especially so in the second episode of the live-action series, where he learns that everyone (even potatoes) can die, and after thinking about it for about a minute, gives Arthur a motivating speech that actually makes sense.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength
- Doppleganger Spin: Multiple Santa, who duplicates whenever touched by an electrical spark.
- Draw Sword, Draw Blood: In one comic issue, Paul the Samurai has an overly dramatic monologue to himself, which he ends by pulling out his sword and striking a pose. He then remembers that his sword can only be sheathed when it has tasted blood. He then looks at his hand, which is covered in band-aids. Apparently, it was a bad habit of his.
- Dumb Muscle: The Tick himself.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In one issue of the comic book, a mysterious female figure wearing a flying suit identical to Arthur's appears in a few panels. The comic ended before her story was revealed, but she later appeared in the animated series as Carmelita Vatos, daughter of the suit's inventor and (eventually) Arthur's love interest.
- Arthur can be spotted flying around far in the distance before he was formally introduced in the comic.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Most fans know The City as a place overcrowded with crazy heroes and villains. In the original comic, the City is shown to be a very boring place for a crime fighter (at least until The Tick shows up), while New York is crowded with heroes.
- Egopolis: Pineapple Pokopo and Pokoponesia.
- Embarrassing Old Photo: In "The Tick vs. Brainchild."
- Enfante Terrible: Charles/Brainchild, who was also a Mad Scientist.
- Esperanto, the Universal Language: "Actually, Tick, I've taught myself to speak all your Earth languages. Except Esperanto. (chuckles) You could see that one was going nowhere."
- Eureka Moment: Given the less than stellar intellects of many cast members, these tend to be gems such as "... Water. People swim... in water!"
- Everything's Better with Cows: The Man-Eating Cow, possibly-heroic scourge of the criminal underworld and star of her own spin-off comic.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Yank.
- Evil Old Folks: The Terror, a crazy old has-been supervillain who used to be buddies with Stalin. Back in the day he used to be a credible threat; these days, not so much, but he still gives Arthur and The Tick a good go of it.
- Evil Plan: Parodied in the pilot episode, when the heroes catch one of the Idea Men and demand he tells them his scheme:
Idea Man: Well, we thought we'd steal a lot of money, and then we'd be rich, and we wouldn't have to work anymore!
Tick: You cads!
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight.
- Expospeak Gag: Google "acetylsalicylic acid."
- Eye Lights Out
- Eye Scream: One of the retired old heroes from "Grandpa Wore Tights", The Visual Eye, had the power to eject his eyeballs from their sockets with the phrase "Rocket From The Socket", and fly them around for scouting purposes. In his old age, he can no longer control them as well, and when he sends them out, they simply flop to the floor, where the Human Ton ends up slipping on them like a pair of marbles.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Without as much shrinking, though, as the Tick needs to get into Dinosaur Neil's mouth and get him to swallow the aspirin in order to neutralize the dinosaur DNA in his body.
- Feghoot: The episode "The Tick Loves Santa." Dear GOD, the episode "The Tick Loves Santa."
- Felony Misdemeanor: The Dreaded Infinity Ball, the most powerful weapon of the Hey Empire. Lampshaded by The Tick: "We have things like those on earth. We knock them into little pockets with sticks."
- Five-Man Band: Of sorts.
- The Hero/The Big Guy: The Tick
- The Lancer: Die Fleidermaus (sometimes American Maid)
- The Smart Guy: Arthur
- The Chick/Action Girl: American Maid/Carmelita on occasion.
- The Quiet One: Sewer Urchin (sometimes The Chick)
- Team Pet: Speak the Capybara
- There was an actual one in the Civic-Minded Five.
- In the comic, the Tick and Arthur are basically in a (nameless) team, where they have similar roles to the cartoon. They're joined by Rubberduck, the Caped Cod, and Bumbling Bee as, respectively, the Lancer, Big Guy, and Chick.
- Flanderization: Just compare The Tick from his earliest appearances (among other things, he actively hopes to avoid Ho Yay) to some of his later adaptations.
- Flight, Strength, Heart: In the comics, The Tick is incredibly strong, Nigh Invulnerable... and apparently has an inexhaustible supply of two-dollar bills in his pockets (also, he has pockets). The latter avoids the usual use of money for superheroes; The Tick just uses it for day-to-day expenses.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: In the episode "The Tick versus Pineapple Pokopo."
- For Science!: The primary motivation of most of the shows various mad scientists, most notably Professor Chromedome.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: "The Tick Vs. Science." Also includes Voices Are Mental.
- God Guise: Of sorts, as other inmates of the Evanston Asylum that escaped when The Tick did start worshiping him, forming the Mystic Order of Arachnid Vigilance. Which then underwent Defictionalization as The Tick's fanclub.
- Good Guy Bar: The Comet Club.
- Graceful in Their Element: Sewer Urchin in the, well, sewer.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: In the comics, just to tweak Chairface Chippendale, his attempt to carve his name in the moon is hushed up and subsequently blamed on Charo.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: "Arthur, my body is a weapon. Use it!"
- Hand Puppet: Handy, the Human Ton's good pal. "Read a book!"
- Heroic BSOD: In the comic story "The Night of a Million Zillion Ninjas," The Tick's ally Oedipus gets stabbed by two of the ninjas, and she ends up needing medical attention. The Tick completely drops his usual demeanor- he silently (and ruthlessly) defeats the two ninjas and forlornly carries her unconscious body, while whispering "This isn't supposed to happen." After handing Oedipus to paramedics, The Tick goes into a full-blown psychotic breakdown, complete with delusions of buildings questioning his worth, and he tries to deal with it by single-handedly destroying the theme park base that the ninjas built. Eventually, he is snapped out of by Arthur, who reminds him that superheroes do not kill.
- Hidden Depths:
- Most of the dumb characters get at least one such moment. The Human Ton's hidden depths actually have their own personality, the hand-puppet supervillain known as "Handy".
- The Flying Squirrel superhero student in "The Tick vs. Education" proved to be pretty effective with her squirrels.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Parodied to the point of ludicrousness (just take a look at the picture on the trope page).
- Hollywood Magnetism: "A fish magnet?!"
- Hot-Blooded: The Tick, especially in his more scenery-chewing moments.
- Hulk Speak: The Protoclown is practically an Expy of Ol' Greenskin.
- I Am Not Weasel: Arthur's moth costume is confused for a rabbit rabbit.
- Ice-Cream Koan: Many quotes by The Tick and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight.
"Gravity is a harsh mistress!"
"I hate broccoli, and yet, in a certain sense, I am broccoli."
"You know, when a tomato grows out of your forehead, it gets you thinking."
"I'm about to write you a reality check. Or would you prefer the cold, hard cash of truth?"
EMBWBAM: "AN OBJECT AT REST, CANNOT BE STOPPED!"
"SURF'S UP, SPACE PONIES! I'M MAKING GRAVY WITHOUT THE LUMPS!"
- Idea Bulb: The terrorist group Idea Men have a light bulb logo.
- Idiot Hero
- I'm a Humanitarian: Keith "Crime Cannibal" Donner, superhero with the power to eat human beings incredibly quickly.
- An odd inversion is The Indigestible Man. His super power is he can't be digested.
- In the Name of the Moon: "Sun-worshipping dog-launchers, you face... The Tick!"
- In with the In Crowd
- Instrumental Theme Tune
- It Has Been an Honor: In "The Tick vs. The Big Nothing", before going off to stop the Heys, Tick and Arthur have this little exchange while shaking hands:
Tick: Arthur, if we don't make it, it's been really nice knowing you.
Arthur: You too, Tick.
- Jungle Princess/Nubile Savage: Jungle Janet.
- Kaiju: Dinosaur Neil.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: The Tick doesn't "know what they mean."
- Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: A hand puppet compared The Tick to Achilles in his tent. When no one, even his ventriloquist, got it he said "It's from The Iliad. Read a book!"
- Done again in a follow up episode where The Human Ton slips on The Visual Eyes ejected eyeballs, upon which Handy remarks that it was an "Oedipal moment." Once again, no one gets it.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Really, just look at the Tick's profile (preferably against the Tick-signal).
- Large Ham: Pretty much anytime that Tick opens his mouth. The scary part? His villains are often even bigger hams than he is! Done, as just about everything else in the franchise, as an Affectionate Parody of super hero comics.)
- Lensman Arms Race: The CIA made a sentient mustache, because "The Russians were working on a beard!".
- Let's Get Dangerous: "That'll be QUITE ENOUGH OF THAT!"
- Limited Wardrobe: Tick and Arthur, and most of the other superheroes for that matter, are NEVER seen without their costumes, to the point where they usually sleep in them. In Tick's case, its debatable if it comes off at all. Arthur was seen without the bottom half of his suit in "Little Wooden Boy", after Swiss mercenaries stole his pants.
- Live-Action Adaptation: See the page.
- Love Freak: The Tick. He avoids being a Wide-Eyed Idealist simply by the world being only slightly less loony than himself.
- Mad Bomber: The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight (yes, that is his full title). "Yeah, baby!"
- Mad Scientist: The comic and cartoon being what it is, it has these guys coming out of its ears, but the most notable ones are the evil Dr. Chrome Dome, Brainchild and the mostly good but somewhat quirky Professor Vatos, the creator of Arthur's flying suit, as well as Dr Mung Mung, a less villainous take on the Yellow Peril, and the trouser-obsessed Dr Strangepants.
- Magic Pants: Subverted and lampshaded in "The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil," where Dinosaur Neil's monstrous transformation renders him completely nude, causing a group of top scientists outside of The City to attempt to clothe him with the largest pair of pants.
- Well, they would. They carefully studied the situation, and came to the conclusion that the fact that he was pantsless was Neil's beef.
- Matryoshka Object: The Living Doll.
- Mayincatec: The Deertown Aztecs are classic examples of this, right down to the trap filled temple pyramid.
- Meganekko: Arthur's sister Dot.
- Metaphorgotten: The Tick's aesops almost inevitably turns into this, if they are not coming off as straight up Non Sequiturs.
- Metaphysical Fuel: The Whats's starships run on fear — their own.
- Miles Gloriosus: Die Fledermaus.
- Mini Dress Of Power: American Maid.
- The Monolith: In the comics, a Monolith upgrades a town full of farmers into full-blown mad scientists.
- Monster Clown: The Proto-clown.
- Mood Whiplash: The comic buzzes along as a pretty silly send-up of superhero comics... up until one of The Tick's allies gets stabbed and is sent to the hospital. It's then that the reader is reminded that The Tick is a recent escapee from a mental hospital, and he proceeds to have the kind of breakdown (fortunately focused on the bad guys' lair) that only a mental patient with Super Strength could have- he spends at most a couple of hours to completely destroy an entire theme park, single-handedly. It's about a full issue before The Tick (character, not the comic) manages to stop being so serious.
- Mundane Made Awesome: To escape the Infinity Ball (see Felony Misdemeanor), they're forced to use a new drive to get to the Speed of Lint!
What Interpreter: Right after you do your laundry, what's the first thing you find in your pockets?
The Tick: Uh... Crayons? Change? Lip Balm?
What Interpreter: Lint! And how does it get there?
The Tick: Uh... I don't know!
What Interpreter: IT'S THAT FAST!
- The comic version also practically goes into shock upon the discovery that he has pockets.
- My Brain Is Big: Brain Child and Professor Chromedome.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya
- Nested Mouths: Thrakkorzog has a little face on his tongue that talks about eating brains.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Nothing, not even a black hole, can kill The Tick.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: Parodied with Big Shot.
Tick: Guns and superheroes don't mix. Seek professional help.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sewer Urchin has Dustin Hoffman's "Rainman" voice. Definitely, Rainman.
- No Name Given: The Tick.
- Only Sane Man: American Maid. She's likely the closest thing to a competant hero here.
- Arthur counts as well to an extent. Okay, the guy did want to become a hero on the first place, and was fired ("psychiatric leave") from his old desk job by showing up to the office in-costume, but next to the Tick, well...
- Paper Master: Papercut.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Often used by Tick and Arthur, who will usually just wear obvious disguises over their costumes, and in one episode, Die Fledermaus "disguises" himself and the Sewer Urchin with the contents of a potting shed (in order to get into a villainous auction).
Die Fledermaus: Greetings. I am The Rake. And my companion here is Buckethead.
Sewer Urchin: Can't see! What's goin' on? Definitely got a bucket on my head. Yeah.
- Parodied Trope: About half the Superhero Tropes were spoofed, as well as various other tropes.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight does this with a smoke grenade when caught by Arthur.
- Planet Eater: Omnipotus, an obvious parody of Galactus.
- Plant Person: El Seed.
- Pokémon Speak: The language of the Whats and the Heys.
- Pretty in Mink: Supermodel Mindy Moleford has a fur-trimmed coat.
- Pulling Themselves Together: The Living Doll is, as his catchphrase goes, "full of tinier men." Of course, that means that once the fighting's over he has to round himself up and make sure he's got all of them in the right order.
- Punny Name: Scarf Ace, a knitting supervillain.
- For that matter, the "Rive Droite" bank whose fitting slogan is "The Right Bank for You."
- Stalingrad, a graduate in Russian studies turned villain who looks and acts like Joseph Stalin.
- Sarcastro, a failed hero (literally, as he fails a course that The Tick offered) who looks like Castro and uses sarcasm as a weapon.
- Reinventing the Telephone: Parodying the Bat Signal.
The Mayor: You heroes keep sending us these things and they just don't work. Every time we flash the Die Fledermaus signal he unplugs his phone and skips town for a week.
- Retro Rocket: A miniature one was used as a Jet Pack by The Suffragette during her hero career.
- Robot Dog: Brainchild has one.
- Roofhopping: But tends to smash the parts he lands on, and they don't take too kindly to that in Europe.
- Running Gag: People thinking Arthur's costume is of a rabbit rather than a moth
- Santa Claus
- Sapient Cetaceans: "The Tick vs Nevada" featured a dolphin who, like Blowhole, wanted to conquer mankind rather than amuse it.
American Maid: Oh well, I suppose I could do a lot worse.
- Science Is Bad:
Tick: But beware the other head of science; it BITES!
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Arthur in the live action series, making The Tick think it's a Damsel in Distress.
- She's Got Legs: American Maid.
- Shout-Out: To many sources, including Dick Tracy and The DCU.
- Smurfing: The Whats mistake Arthur for a Hey and he still manages to get through an interrogation.
- Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: Evil giant ants plan to deliver Karmic Deaths to all of humanity via one gigantic magnifying glass.
- Something Person: There is even a superhero named "Door Man", although he's more of a Bouncer.
- Spikes of Villainy: Baron Violence's costume.
- Spoof Aesop: "You know, though today was the worst day of my life, I learned many things. First, the world looks a lot different when you're six inches tall and covered with feathers. Second, two heads are definitely not better than one. And finally, you can lay an egg and still feel like a man."
- Straw Nihilist: The Heys, an alien race that coincidentally happen to look exactly like Arthur, who have a species-wide obsession with non-existence and the lack of purpose of life.
- Super Breeding Program: El Seed had an ultimate goal of creating an army of super-strong animated plants.
- Super Hero
- Superhero Packing Heat: Parodied with Big Shot.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Literally—the Swiss Army mercenaries use gigantic Swiss Army knives with attachments like telescopes and helicopter blades.
- The Talk
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Sewer Urchin, normally somewhat useless and meek, becomes a Badass in the episode where they have to battle his sewer-based archnemesis. Here, he is largely unflappable with just the right tools for the job and a pretty cool base of operations.
Arthur: [sotto voce] Who knew Sewer Urchin of all people would be this cool?
Sewer Urchin: [revealing that he heard Arthur just fine] Down here I'm the apotheosis of cool.
- Title Montage: With most of the clips coming from "The Tick vs. Chairface Chippendale", "The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil", "The Tick vs. The Idea Men", and "The Tick vs. Mr. Mental".
- The Unintelligible: The Idea Men, while their helmets are closed anyway.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Die Fledermaus and American Maid. It's implied they previously had quite the intimate relationship, but broke up before the beginning of the series and are still bitter about it. Every once in and a while, though, they have their moments.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: You don't have to know the then-obscurenote historical footnote concerning the Donner Party and their descent into cannibalism, when they were trapped in the Rocky Mountains in the winter of 1846 on the way to California. But it helps your appreciation of Keith Donner, cannibal villain. note
- Villains Out Shopping: Which can turn even that into doing unspeakable evil.
- Watch Where You're Going!: Arthur manages to crash into ... Leonardo da Vinci while flying. Twice.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: American Maid.
- Webcomic Time: "I dreamed I stopped existing for eight months!"
- We Need a Distraction: "Hi, I'm Arthur, and this is my diversion!"
- We Want Our Jerk Back: With the villains bringing him back. "We've got to rescue the Blue Tick, who is also mad, but in a much more goal-oriented way."
- What Kind of Lame Power Is xxx, Anyway? Many heroes and villains have weird/marginal abilities: The Indigestible Man, Pig Leg/The Deadly Bulb, Bi-Polar Bear, the Caped Chameleon, the Carpeted Man, Four-Legged Man, Baby Boomerangutan, loads more...
Oh, Arthur! A little spit never hurt anyone. (Beat
) Except for Edible Lad. Poor guy.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The Tick fights crime in a city named The City.
- World of Pun: "It's a YULE TIDE!!"
- Another episode had a gun that turned half The City into "some guy named Ray."
- Apparently there was also a "Tommy Gun" that did something similar.
- "The Tick vs. Europe" was this mixed in with Visual Pun and Bilingual Bonus. The Belgian superhero-sidekick duo of Eclair and Blitzen both have names referring to lightning (éclair is French for "(flash of) lightning", blitzen is derived from the Germanic word blitznote ), with Eclair actually being a lightning user. On top of this, an éclair is a French pastry (which is the first thing Tick thinks when he hears her name). Naturally, Eclair and Arthur have to take down a villain known as The Breadmaster.
- As well as the Donner Party association, Keith Donner, cannibal, also has a name evoking the "doner kebab", a Turkish/Greek fast food item made from reconstituted meat of unknown provenance served in a pitta bread.
- The Worm That Walks: "ANTS IN PANTS!"