In honor of Pokémon's 25th Anniversary this year, Bleeding Cool is talking to comics creators (and perhaps some great creators outside of the industry) about the role that Pokémon has had on their lives. From the original games, to the cards, to Pokémon GO, we're excited to share stories of how this incredible world has changed our own. First up is Chris Shehan, artist of The Autumnal.
Chris Shehan: I was maybe 8 when my friends started bringing their Pokémon cards to school. I didn't have any, but there were little cut out Pokémon cards on Lunchables boxes so I started "collecting" those to fit in. But I thought the creatures were so cool. It wasn't long before I got a small pack of real cards and fell in love with the art. I would use the cards to practice drawing by copying.
This led to my parents buying me Pokémon Red and a Gameboy Pocket and I was on my first adventure. It was one of the first video games I ever owned and it was unforgettable. I have the game memorized front to back.
[It] was one of the first video games I owned and probably the first video game I ever "beat." It helped me make friends as a shy, introverted kid. Between learning how to play the card game, trading and battling with friends on my Gameboy at school, and just giving me some sort of escapism on long car rides. It was the perfect thing for an introverted kid and came into my life at the right time.
To me, [Pokémon has] always been about finding people (or creatures) who you can relate to or connect with on some level. Pokémon is one of those very unique things out there that does a great job of bringing people together.
Theo Dwyer: If you were a gym trainer, what type of Pokémon would you specify in?
Chris: I love dragons. They look cool and most of them can fly.
Theo: Of course, I have to ask: Favorite Pokémon?
Chris: It's a very basic answer, but Pikachu is my favorite. Iconic design, huggable, and a good friend. My favorite starter is Charmander and my favorite legendary is Mew.
Theo: What do you as a Pokémon fan hope to see in 2021 for the franchise's 25th anniversary?
Chris: As an older fan I've not kept up with newer Pokémon stuff. I spent many years not interested in Pokémon until Pokémon GO, Detective Pikachu (the movie), and Let's Go Pikachu drew me back in recently. So I feel like a new fan all over again and I'm just happy they're still continuing to make new games. As long as they're sticking with what always made them great, bringing people together, I'm excited to see what the franchise comes up with.
I hope Pokémon is still getting young people out of their shell and also inspiring their creative sides like it did for me when I was young!
The Autumnal #5 will hit shelves in March from Vault Comics.