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Sunday, June 1, 2014

HHHH Inducts Ben Edlund

It grieves me to do this to someone nearly a decade younger than I am - mostly because it shows what a failure I’ve made of my life. I induct Ben Edlund into the Headley Hauser Hall of Honor (pronounced Haw-nor.) Ben is the fourth inductee into the hall (fifth is you count both the Coen brothers link) along with Douglas Adams link, and Christopher Moore link.
Ben started out small – I mean freakishly small – less than 10 pounds. Knowing that Hollywood would never listen to anyone under 2 feet tall, Ben spent the next decade and a half growing to approximately full size.
This was only the first of his many accomplishments.
It was in High School (shortly after recovering from his ‘small’ disability,) that Ben created, The Tick
 the finest superhero in comedic history. (on the advice of my lawyers, I omitted the words “I’ve ever ripped off in novella form” preceding in comedic history.
While he was studying to do film stuff, New England Comics a local comic company, (on the advice of those guys, I omitted the words “a third-rate, derivative, fly-by-night” preceding the worlds, local comic company,) asked him to do a Tick series because they’d seriously dropped the ball on something else they were going to do. In spite of NEC desperate need for immediate rescue from creative blah-dom, Ben took his time creating issue 1. This served NEC right, but more importantly, it brought The Tick to public awareness.
Sometime afterwards he signed a limited edition #1 for me. It has a crease in the cover – but I don’t completely blame him.
Paired with Richard Libmann-Smith, Edlund created The Tick TV show in 1994. Edlund wrote a number of episodes in this GREATEST ANIMATED TV SERIES OF ALL TIME including the 20 minutes of gold that is: That Mustache Feeling,
as well as the very fine episodes, Grandpa Wore Tights and The Tick vs. Filth.
The Fox network showed how shortsighted they were by cramming The Tick into their Saturday morning line-up instead of putting it on Sunday evening right after the Simpsons. Not surprisingly, the largely adult male audience that gravitated to The Tick bought very little of the Baby-wets-herself type toys advertised as they were too busy buying pizza, beer, and pick-up trucks that Fox might have sold in abundance had they put The Tick in the right time slot. The Tick was cancelled after three seasons.
Freakin’ bean-counters.
A few years later, the bean-counters overcompensated by making a live action version of The Tick for prime time. Although Patrick Warburton was a fine choice to play the big guy, focus-group input insisted on more sexual innuendo which cheapened the product and it was cancelled after just a few shows.
As it turns out, the battle of good vs. evil has similarities to the battle of creative folks vs. beancounters.
Edlund wrote two of the live action episodes - The Tick vs. Justice, and The Terror which were each wonderful quirky throwbacks to the kind of humor all of us beer and pizza consuming, pick-up driving adult males hoped for when The Tick came to prime time.
Then Edlund went on to work with Joss Whedon with the series, Angel, (with that dead guy, David Boreanaz,) and did Firefly, and other Supernatural stuff…

Yada yada yada.
Let’s be honest – I’m inducting Edlund in the Headley Hauser Hall of Honor (pronounced Haw-nor,) because it looks pretty silly to induct a large blue animated fictional character.
So congratulations, Tick
… I mean, Ben!

And now – a YouTube full episode of The Tick!!!!!!! Rejoice, ye with sufficient bandwidth!