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Comic Book / Fish Police

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A black and white comic series created by Steve Moncuse in The '80s. The story centers on Inspector Gill solving crimes. The big one involves a drug called Hairballs, an organization called S.Q.U.I.D. and someone's niece being held captive. After that, things get kinda complicated.

Fish Police ran for its first 12 issues as a black-and-white comic under Moncuse's own Fishwrap imprint, which was also responsible for the first issue of Sam & Max: Freelance Police. Comico then picked it up, reprinting issues 1-4 in a trade, the rest in color, and running new issues (also in color) up to #17. Comico also printed Issue #0, a sort of rough draft of issues 1-5, and a special prequel issue, before going bankrupt. The series ended up at Apple for issues #18-#26, where it returned to black-and-white. Much later, Marvel Comics ran color reprints of issues 1-6. So at the very least, the beginning of the story is easy to find.


Many of the Comico issues included Guest Strips called Fish Shticks, still written by Moncuse but drawn by other artists (including one by Stan Sakai). After the original series ended, Apple ran six issues of original Fish Shticks. Moncuse did mostly inking and cover art for Marvel and Dark Horse Comics before retiring in 2000. He pulled Fish Police out of the vaults in 2011, when IDW Publishing approached him to reprint the first four issues, in their original black-and-white form, in another trade. Moncuse drew new art for the cover, and according to an interview, decided to start a new series set 20 years ahead of the previous one. Nothing has come of the reboot, but in March 2013, he wrote a new Fish Police story for Dark Horse Presents issue 22.

The comic was loosely adapted into a cartoon for CBS in 1992, with John Ritter voicing Inspector Gill. It lasted six episodes, three of which never aired in the US.


Tropes present:

  • The Alcoholic: Inspector Gill is constantly drinking. This is even mentioned in one letters section, where a reader points out that Gill went a whole issue without drinking. Moncuse counters that by saying that the violence and sex in that issue make up for it.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted in issue 5, where Gill wakes up, believing he just dreamed that he was a fish — only to find that yes, he really is one. He didn't dream up a single thing that happened so far in the plot; he was just drunk when a lot of it happened. Cue the "What Did I Do Last Night?" from Gill.
  • Anti-Hero: Inspector Gill. He drinks, swears, gets into fights, lusts after women, you name it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "I've got no friends, no family and probably no job. Angelfish and Goldie are *gulp* probably dead, and I can't find my rubber snail."
  • Art Evolution: Moncuse's art gets more "shiny" in appearance over time. He started making subtle changes to make the line art more compatible with color while at Comico, but kept the "shiny" style of inking when it reverted to black-and-white under Apple.
  • Author Avatar: According to Moncuse himself, Inspector Gill is pretty much him as a fish.
  • Bowdlerise: The Marvel reprints took out most of the profanity.
  • Call-Back: The first issue begins with Gill demanding "five minutes with the genius who decided fish should use stairs!" Issue 26 opens with him wondering who decided fish should use ramps and because he's now aware that he's the creator of this world, he immediately answers his rhetorical question that the "genius" in question was indeed him, in a shot very similar to Issue 1.
  • Cool Sword: At S.Q.U.I.D., Gill acquires one which he dubs Suds-Guzzler.
  • Detective Animal
  • Fish People: The cast is made up of anthropomorphic fish.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Lampshaded in the special issue, where Gill questions why he has only four fingers.
  • Guest Strip: The Comico run had "Fish Shticks", little one-offs set in Riverfront Joe's Bar, written by Moncuse and drawn by guest artists.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Water Is Air and the characters being fish are both lampshaded frequently.
  • Lighter and Softer: Fish Shticks, which (as mentioned above) started off as a special section of the Comico issues. They were eventually spun off into a six-issue series upon moving to Apple Comics.
  • No Cartoon Fish: Averted.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: The story in Dark Horse Presents, which is also set in prehistoric times.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Angel and nearly every other female.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: The Chief's mustache.
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Played straight. The females are often wearing swimsuits.
  • Prequel: A special issue from Comico gives a backstory on Gill and S.Q.U.I.D.
  • Tailfin Walking: Subverted. They are always in a standing position with their tailfins at the bottom, but tend to float moreso than swim.
  • Take That!: In the letters section to issue #10, Moncuse tells a story of an art teacher who tried to convince him that there was no future in doing comics. The entire last page is Inspector Gill yelling "EAT ME!"
  • Values Dissonance: In issue ten, a desert-dweller Gill meets while in self-imposed exile asks him, albeit indirectly, if he's a homosexual, to which he takes loud, disgusted exception. Just an issue later one of Gill's new pal's hulking fellow desert-dwellers voices his own assumption the detective is one of those "big-city queer-boys". Try getting away with that in today's uber-p.c. society.
  • Water Is Air: Zig-zagged to hell and back, with plenty of lampshading.