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Pokémon Trading Card Game Artist Spotlight: Tomokazu Komiya Vintage

This week's Pokémon Trading Card Game Artist Spotlight focuses on the vintage cards of Tomokazu Komiya who arrived in the Neo era.

Throughout the years, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has featured a variety of incredible art styles. Now that the hobby has been around for more than a quarter of a century, we have seen the artwork of Pokémon TCG cards elevated by daring new artist choices as well as illustrators who have been veteran contributors since the very first releases. Let's take a journey through the eye-popping, mind-expanding history of Pokémon TCG artwork by exploring some of the hobby's most interesting and unique artists. Today, we will spotlight Tomokazu Komiya. Because Komiya has been contributing cards to the hobby since the early days of Wizards of the Coast-era sets, we will break this spotlight into Vintage Komiya here today, Classic Komiya next week, and Modern Komiya the following week. Let's begin.

Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Tomokazu Komiya's first credits were in the Neo-era set, Neo Genesis. This set featured a strong Johto focus, but Komiya's illustration of Slowpoke made this artist immediately stand out. He took an abstract approach to Pokémon design, setting his method and final result about as far apart from Ken Sugimori's house-style cards, which were very much the norm throughout the previous Base/Jungle/Fossil/Rocket/Gym era. Komiya also contributed evocative artwork for Trainers like Double Gust and Moo-Moo Milk which showed Pokémon in creative ways.

Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

Komiya stuck with the Slowpoke line as he expanded into using the Light and Dark features that we saw in Neo Destiny. Interestingly, Komiya maintains a Slowpoke family theme throughout his work, with 2021's Sword & Shield – Chilling Reign featuring a Galarian Slowking V Alternate Art by Komiya as one of its top hits.

Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG
Tomokazu Komiya cards. Credit: Pokémon TCG

More vintage Tomokazu Komiya cards came from two unique sets that English-language collectors may have trouble completing. Komiya contributed multiple cards to the Vending Machine series set, which you can see to the right with Voltorb and Chansey. He also took part in the e-reader era with the cards to the left, which were from the Japanese VS. series that was oddly never adapted into English.

Next time, we continue with Classic Komiya.

Be sure to check Bleeding Cool every day to follow our in-depth Pokémon TCG coverage as we explore the hobby's past, present, and even future with upcoming set reveals.

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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