Take a moment to think about the best that newspaper comic strips had to offer. The medium gave us such classics as The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Dilbert, and the early non-sellout days of Garfield. One strip that you'll never see on such a list is the creatively bankrupt Pokémon comic strip that ran in papers for a brief period at the turn of the century. Platypus Comix walks us through some of the worst that Pikachu and friends had to offer in this latest installment of the ongoing series Worst Comix Ever.
Back when a higher percentage of the human population read newspapers, lazy syndicates could get away with licensing pre-existing, already-popular characters for new comic strips instead of buying original concepts. The peak of this practice was in the early 80's when Star Wars, Star Trek, Tarzan, Bruce Lee, several Hanna-Barbera characters and even Dallas had their own newspaper strips. The majority of them came courtesy of Creators Syndicate, ironically named because it was intended to sell creator-driven things, but they soon broke their promise and became the worst offenders for soulless product-based strips.
I'm not a Pokémon fan and my knowledge of the characters is limited to what I learned from the Super Smash Bros. games, but even I can tell that these comics betray their source material in favor of low-hanging humor fruit. They're obviously aimed at the younger fans of Pikachu, but it just makes me shake my head in disappointment that this sort of thing is expected to share the page with creative works from talented artists. Many of the strips remind of the little four panel comics I used to draw in early elementary school that relied on private in-jokes and poorly drawn sight gags. They were funny to me at the time, but nobody else had any hope of finding them the least bit amusing. These Castlevania comics I mentioned last year follow a similar theme. The Pokémon comic isn't the first waste of newspaper space to appear as an attempt at a quick cash-in and it certainly won't be the last, but I wonder, is there any hope of producing game-based comic strips on a mainstream level that are actually entertaining?