In honor of today's Mankey Spotlight Hour in Pokémon GO, let's take a look back at some of the most iconic Mankey cards from the Pokémon TCG. We're covering modern and vintage here, and we'd love to hear from you as well. Let us know your four favorite Mankey cards in the comments below.
Ah, there's something so special about the old school Wizards of the Coast cards. Maybe it's childhood nostalgia, looking back to a time when a pack of Jungle that could contain this Mankey card by Kagemaru Himeno would cost just a few bucks rather than hundreds of dollars. Many Pokémon have their first TCG appearance drawn by Ken Sugimori, the lead designer for the franchise and the most prolific artist of the cards, but Mankey's is by Jimeno, who pictures it in this dynamic action pose that makes it seem as if it's speeding toward the reader.
Sumiyoshi Kizuki drew an experimental Mankey for one of the first-ever sets that did seem to toy with the expectations of the franchise's art style: Team Rocket. This early Mankey card is absolutely bonkers, and I can't say that I don't love the absolute fever dream energy it brings.
Brock's Mankey from Gym Heroes is my personal favorite, with Atsuko Nishida's intense coloring setting the mood beautifully. This one looks as if Mankey doesn't belong to Brock at all, but rather to the jungle. Maybe this is meant to depict Mankey before he was caught by Brock in this set, as it's exuding pure, wild energy with the viewer taking on a voyeuristic, National Geographic-style observer role.
Finally, we end with a card from Team Up, a Sun & Moon era set that I believe is among the best modern sets. Akira Komayama illustrates Mankey with clean lines and vibrant colors, delivering a perfect Pokémon card with no frills but instead boundless personality.