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So, before we knew Darren was coming out, I was panicking about getting your paper children in the right hands—so I walked up to Joey and pulled them out, and he freakin’ flipped! He went on and on about how he loved cartoons and he would absolutely make certain to get them to everyone, and he was all “Who made these?” and I pointed out your name on your letter, so yeah. I think they’ll all end up where they belong. And here you go!
I think this was better than getting them to Darren—there wouldn’t have been time to get a pic! ;)
Send me your email and I’ll send the full pic!
Things to Tear Your Heart and Guts Out - Nuzlocke Recs
On this fine day, whilst taking a break from playing the games (even I need a break sometimes…besides, I’m getting frustrated with fighting 30 billion Magnemites and NONE of them having a Metal Coat), I am going to pass down to you some of the finest Nuzlockes I’ve collected over the past few months.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nuzlockes, they originate from this webcomic, started by a dude who was bored with just playing the Pokemon game regularly and wanted to mix up the gameplay—and then make a funny comic based off of it (and also on LOST). The word Nuzlocke comes from the Pokemon Nuzleaf and the LOST character Locke, since (I believe) Nuzlocke was one of the first Pokemon the protagonist Ruby lost in the game and since has been a kind of spiritual guide for Ruby in his adventures. The original I recommend you read first, since it gives you a good flavor for the subsequent boom of comics that followed (and it starts of pretty simply drawn, but it gets much better both in terms of story and artistry as it goes on, trust me). There are fancomics on the website, but since he moved servers he’s been busy and hasn’t been able to update the fancomic page, so I can’t recommend any on the official fancomic page (shame, as one of my top favorites is there), but I’m going to throw tons more at you, so stay tuned!
The first I’m going to recommend is one a lot of people are familiar with (actually two), by the lovely and wonderful Kynim (Tumblr blog). First in the series is Tales of Sinnoh, which is closer to your average Nuzlocke: hastily drawn, hilarious, heavy on the pop culture references and colloquialisms, and did I mention it’s ridiculously funny? It follows the Pokemon Diamond adventures of Kynim the Trainer, which is simple enough; to spoil you gently, it chronicles her as she and her friend Haisi and her stalker Lucas as they battle Team Gaga in their quest to destroy the world and remake it in the image of the great pop sensation Lady Gaga. A lot of Nuzlockes have trouble finding the balance between riotously funny and sobering, but Tales of Sinnoh hits the nail right on the head—when Kynim loses a team member, especially close to the end, it’s not only a jarring break from the light tone of the comic, it hurts like a sonuvagun, because we’ve grown close to Kynim’s team as much as she has.
Following Tales of Sinnoh as a sequel comes Myths of Unova, which is a titch more serious (but not by much), follows a more serious plotline, and includes awkward duck stalker supreme-o N Harmonia (a creepier portrayal of him than I’m used to, but somehow the most adorable one and my favorite so far) (I might be warped but who knows). It’s an ongoing Pokemon White Nuzlocke, featuring Nina the Pokemon Whisperer and her pals Bianca the Sammich Girl and Cheren the Adorkable Glasses Boy. It’s believed Nina, who is estranged from her family for the most part and especially has a rocky relationship with her mother, is related to someone we know from the Diamond Nuzlocke, but like any good storyteller Kynim is tight-lipped about that. This Nuzlocke and its predecessor is unique in that it’s realistic about how humans can’t speak Pokemon, but Nina can (and so can N, remember that). Included besides Creepy Stalker N is Sassy Gay Friend Burgh, honestly one of my favorite Gym leader interpretations (and not just because of his fabulous rainbow aura and “NINA GRAB MY SCARF” teleportation abilities). If nothing else, guys, read it for Sassy Gay Friend Burgh. Kynim pours her heart and talents and limited free time into this thing, and it really shows through with the storytelling and artwork. She’s definitely one to keep your eye on.
Up next, one of my personal favorites because of the amazing videos she also makes for some updates: Pettyartist (Tumblr blog). She also has two in a series right now, a LeafGreen and a HeartGold (ongoing). It’s a complex story, cutely simplistic, and deeply heart-twisting in parts, for good and for bad. The LeafGreen follows the adventure of Locke the female Pokemon Trainer as she kicks butt in the Kanto region and gets into fights with her rival Gary Oak. If there’s one thing I want to point out that a lot of Nuzlockes don’t do that she does well, it’s the Gary-Protagonist rivalry. It starts out as an adventure in derping, but over time it becomes bitter, violent, and poisonous, to the point where they can’t meet without getting into brawls. HeartGold starts with a grimmer tone than LeafGreen, as Locke has left Kanto and is now traveling through Johto with a new team while her old team (a fantastic group of Pokemon if ever there was one) takes a well-earned break and relaxes with Professor Elm. Funny, poignant, and great storytelling—the ingredients for any excellent Nuzlocke, all right here.
If ever you find yourself bored of the designs of regular old Pokemon, then read ShoelessCosmonaut’s Emerald and FireRed runs. They’re unrelated (so far), but drawn so uniquely that even though they’re short and both ongoing, it’s a refreshing aesthetic. While his runs are a lot more “realistic” than other Nuzlockes and less about situational humor, the characters and their personalities make for both an engaging and funny way to waste time. The Emerald run follows the wanderings of Jeremy as he avoids his crazy mother and builds a family with his growing team. The FireRed run is about a nerd with big dreams named Dash, traveling with his angry Charmander Riley and working on curbing her rage issues. The funny thing about Dash’s story is that his rival, Martin, is both a bully (in a traditional sense; he makes Dash do his homework so he won’t flunk out of school) and a sympathetic character (pressure from his dad into joining the “family business”, probably the Rockets, some confidence issues relating to his studies, a lot of deep-seated emotional unrest), and I like that about it. Pair that with Dash’s natural studiousness and braininess, and the FireRed run has every making of a great Nuzlocke. The Emerald run, while I can’t wax quite as eloquently about that one, has a derpy Wingull named Icabod who is hands-down one of my favorite Pokemon in all the runs I’ve read. He is fantastic. So, if bored with other Nuzlockes, give ShoelessCosmonaut a try. Please please please try it.
This next one is a real treat, you guys. land-walker’s Yellow Nuzlocke. It stars Red, the first mute protagonist I’ve ever seen in a Nuzlocke, partnered up with Apollo the Pikachu. This is another Nuzlocke where the Gary-Red rivalry is extremely well-done; their mutual dislike is prevalent from the beginning, the bitterness of former friends who’ve grown apart because of bad things happening in their lives (for Red, it’s the death of his first Pokemon, a Pidgey with whom he was extremely close; for Gary, it’s the neglect of his Rocket Scientist parents in favor of their jobs and anger over his parents apparently liking Red better than their own son. Fun fact: it’s Jessie and James). Apollo the Pikachu and Gary’s Eevee Lily are totes in wuv (so cute) and keep an eye on their boys as best they can, playing mediator and keeping in touch (their mock fights are adorable), but as the Nuzlocke goes on it’s becoming clear that a rift is going to start between Apollo and Lily the longer they spend with their respective boys, which is interesting; Gary is also made a sympathetic character who rushes blindly into battles and is beaten time and time again by Red (who battles using his Pokedex—how cool is that?). He’s a jerk at first, but he truly cares about his Pokemon and can’t understand why he isn’t as good at battling as Red is, why his parents don’t like him as much as Red, why everything is all about Red when Red is a loser who doesn’t talk to him anymore. And a note about the Rockets: no one knows they’re the bad guys, because they’ve built themselves up to be a company that rivals (and probably bought out) Silph Co., making everything from Pokeballs to pharmaceuticals to doing Pokemon fossil research. Realistic, fresh, and beautifully drawn, I highly recommend this one. A fly in the ointment: land-walker is Israeli and recently turned eighteen, which means he has to do at least two years of military service, which means that this Nuzlocke is on hiatus until he comes back. (If you say ‘em, maybe say prayers that land-walker comes home safe and sound, regardless if he finishes the Nuzlocke or not. Soldiers of any country have dangerous jobs, especially nowadays.)
One last one to munch on, my pretties, one that I found today: wanlingnic’s Burning Bridges, a FireRed run. Detailing the adventures of recently-fired-cop Moira Del Rosso and her partner Donahue the Squirtle, and told from Donahue’s perspective, it covers the adventures of a woman who’s been away from home for a long time coming back and facing ghosts from her hometown and aftermath from something awful she did/let happen back in Johto, it’s shaping up to be a unique read. Drawn beautifully (kinda reminds me of Moses: Prince of Egypt), told wonderfully, and incorporating a unique way of portraying Pokemon to rival Shoeless Cosmonaut’s, I’ll highly recommend this one. Highly.
If all else fails, I believe land-walker did a recommendation post of his own, but don’t just take my word for it! Go out, find Nuzlockes that inspire you, make your own, have FUN playing in the amazing world of Pokemon, whether through gameplay or through fanfiction/fanart/fanvid or through Nuzlockes. It’s your adventure. Go play.